With the growth of human interactions and advancement in knowledge, there has risen a vivid need for equality between women and men. People resort to their religious scriptures to support their beliefs and claims regarding feminism. As a result, Islamic feminism arose in the 1990s and gained popularity among Muslim scholars as well as both ordinary men and women (Rhouni 38). These scholars refer to the ideologies described in the Quran to support gender equality and social justice. As a result, this kind of feminism became different from secular feminism. As Islam continues to grow and develop, the need for social justice arises, and both genders learn the Quran to find the truth. The primary methodologies of Islamic feminism are tafsir and ijtihad, and this makes it different from Muslim’s secular feminism.
Some of the supporters of Islamic feminism view the topic from the perspective of principles of the religion expressed in the Quran. The author says, “They describe the articulation and advocacy of a Quran-mandates gender equality and social justice as Islamic feminism” (Badran 245). This group of campaigners feels that the social justice and equality that women should enjoy is not something new; however, it is evident that the previous generations chose to ignore it. They feel that the Quran does not grant one group more rights than the other; as such, they base their claims of extracts on the book.
Another group of Islam followers feels that the discussions going on are actual Islamic feminism. The author says, “It is a woman-centered rereading of the Quran and other religious texts by scholar-activists” (Badran 245). Their argument depicts both fear and jealousy. Looking at the way they argue and the points they put across, it is obvious that this group is devoid of the ideas to counter the movement of the proponents of Islamic feminism. Just because they support it using various texts, the Quran does not make the texts they use “favorite” quotes for the activists (Kynsilehto 103). Therefore, the group could have succeeded in their counter-argument by providing more substantial claims.
Though it appears to be a topic related to the Muslim religion alone, the author disagrees with such a view. According to him, its producers and users include both those who accept the identity and those who do not. He says, “I would like to add that while many Muslims use the adjectives religious and secular to label themselves or others, there are other Muslims, who feel uneasy about the terms” (Badran 245). He manages to convince the reader that the idea of Islamic feminism comes not from all members of Islam but rather from those who support this position. It is a way of showing how different people in Islam hold different views and advocate for what they think is right. As such, while some see the importance of being referred to as religious or feminist, others do not see its importance.
People who advocate for Islamic feminism support the religious or secular labeling of Muslims. These scholars-activists have put their stand clear since the beginning of the movement for the abolishing of gender disparities concerning women Muslims. They have criticized such issues as Muslim husbands battling their wives, Muslim ladies being wedded off at their early age not being given a chance to choose their life partners among other problems. In their analysis, they have categorized religion followers into two groups mentioned above, the religious and the secular. In their view, those that do not uphold social justice when it comes to dealing with women are secular Muslims (Madsen 345). Their view is debatable because they offer no supporting arguments. One would claim that the Quran does not give guidelines on how to handle women or even men but guides on living. Therefore, its reference to the term ‘peaceful coexistence’ is relative, and each of the readers of the book understand what ‘doing good to others’ means in their own way.
Consequently, the author is categorical regarding the cause of the thought disagreement between secular and religious feminism followers. He says, “Suggestions or allegations of a supposed “clash” between “secular feminism” and “religious feminism” may result from ignorance or, more likely, from a politically motivated attempt to impede solidarities among women” (Badran 246). People, who do not have the facts to warrant the claim, will be deemed as ignorant, which is the case with many activists who rush to profile different people in Islam. Due to the lack of information, they refer to some people as secular because they observe certain rules in treating women (Rhouni 149). The writer has succeeded in bringing out this point because the ignorance he talks about can be traced back to the cultural backgrounds of the people who profess Islam. In addition to being a Muslim, one hails from a particular culture. As such, most of their relationships are shaped by the cultural norms. Therefore, a scholar-activist have ignores a myriad of factors when labeling such a person as a secular Muslim.
Additionally, the world we live in is politically motivated. Politicians will take any move as long as they are assured of numbers at the end of the exercise. Therefore, the writer’s view of the thought clash between secular and Islamic feminism as politically motivated is rather relevant. While some may view the argument as fear, it shows a building attempt to unite Islamic women (not to say they are not united) and have them support the common agenda as a group. These people have conceptualized an unutilized potential in Muslim women and are using the idea of feminism as a sacrificial factor to undertake their motive (Kynsilehto 201).
Those who favor Islamic feminism will succeed in their arguments only if their proofs are inscribed in the Quran and no other source. The writer says, “Thus, a priority of Islamic feminism is to go straight to Islam’s fundamental text, the Quran” (Badran 247). Therefore, some women that argue in support of Islamic feminism base their claims on the interpretations of the Quran and formulations of the sharia laws with some focusing on the Hadith. All the three are interpretations of people or groups and, therefore, do not support the argument related to this topic. In the contemporary world, people have been criticized because they do not act in line with some Quran interpretations. Such a move is wrong, and Muslims should always question themselves and rate themselves as pertains to what the Quran dictates (Rhouni 183). Therefore, secular and Islamic feminism can be distinguished only in the view of the Quran.
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Considering the existing disagreement on the issue of equality between Muslim men and women, the writer focuses on the Muslim hermeneutics. Therefore, he says, “All human beings are equal. They are differentiated by the practice of taqwa or God-consciousness (sometimes translated as piety)” (Badran 248). The text indicates that both genders are equal, and difference between them is based on their capabilities. As such, hermeneutics studies intend to reduce the fueling of these heated debates, and one thing they are doing is citing the verses from the Quran that are a bone of tussle in the argument. Both genders are equal and complement each other in a certain way (Rhouni 38). It is for this reason that women can become leaders and take up other roles that otherwise would have been thought to be not suitable for them. However, the point is that the two genders have different roles. Basically, these roles are determined by their capabilities. Therefore, it is not a question of equality but rather the roles played by each gender.
The interpretations that have resulted from the ongoing debate show a strong expression of self-interests. People of both genders use various terms to satisfy their ego without referring to other texts that tell more about the truth. A good example is what the author says, “Men are responsible for women, and because God has given the one more than the other” (Badran 248). From the above quote, a male who intends to dominate claims his authority. However, that should not be the case as the context and relationship details of the text with others in the Quran is overlooked. The text is interpreted in another way as the writer says, “The believers, male and female, are protectors of one another” (Badran 249). Therefore, both genders are equally treated in the Quran, however, having different duties as pertains to their relationship; thus, the people who intend to claim dominance ignore the truth.
The writer feels that Islamic feminism advocates for equality of everybody and in every aspect of life. I agree with their view that there are people whose purpose is to ruin the relationship. The aim of Islamic feminism is good as well as its goals and content, but the way some people in the society are using it to distract attention is the only bad thing. These people raise some petty issues that bring dissension, for example, the debates on who has the right to speak. The proponents of the Muslim feminism use wrong a evidence hence making it appear wrong. It is, therefore, upon every Muslim to read the Quran, understand it, and learn from it about the different capabilities of a man and woman applying this gained understanding to ensure the peaceful coexistence. Therefore, if well propagated and given sufficient and correct evidence, Islamic feminism is a good idea.