Jihadi, Sharia Law & Islamic Feminism
Muslims obtained independence in the 1950s, but they were still being dominated and controlled by Westernized elites who didn’t have independence for Muslims and economic growth of the country in mind. The Westernized elites neglected all forms of Muslim tradition, which created conflict. Thus the jihad in Afghanistan rose up against the Soviet Union, paving the Islamic revolution of 1979 (Sadar, p. 115) The militant jihad’s then wanted to create an idealistic Islamic state, which is why they created the Taliban. The West is now seen as an enemy of Islam. This history has created the current jihadi movement of today, which is a military movement that is a threat to the West.
1st Photo Retrieved from: http://mordechaikedar.com/jihad-forever/
2nd Photo Retrieved from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Flag_of_Jihad.svg
Sharia law is Islamic law that governs the political, social and moral duties of faithful Muslims. Sharia law comes from a combination of sources including the Qur’an, the prophet of Muhammad and the rulings of Islamic scholars. It is know for its harsh hudud punishments such as stoning, amputation or mutilation. Sharia law also diminishes women’s rights because it promotes the idea that women should be silent, secluded, objectified, and subservient (Sardar, p. 121). The fundamentalists are largely concerned with the crime and punishment part of sharia. They are concerned that “hudud punishments are demonstrable proof that the state is enforcing the whole of Islam, not the parameters that define it; or with the notion of balance sharia demands” (Sardar, p. 118).
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I don’t think Islamic law has always been consumed with punishment. I think the US media has over amplified the Sharia’s punishment laws and distorted them to be wrongful and inhumane, before even understanding them. The media has reiterated stereotypical characterizations of a few radical muslims and attributed them to all muslims. However, many Muslims hold a different view of Sharia law. They see it as something that nurtures humanity. “In a society where social problems are endemic, Sharia frees humanity to realise its individual potential” (BBC, 2009)
Islamic Feminists use the Qur’an, a feminist reading of the Shari’a’ and other religious texts to articulate a discourse of women’s rights and gender equality around the 1980s and 1990s. They seek the full equality of women and men in the personal and public sphere. There are many ways that islamic feminism is different from secular feminist. The secular feminism’s emergence was in the form of a social movement, whereas islamic feminism was in the form of a discourse. The secular feminism was created by Muslims and nonMuslims together as citizens in their respective countries. Secular feminism emerged on the scene in the form of organic social movements, while the holistic islamic feminism surfaced as an envisioned movement. Secular feminism was organized by politicized women who were activists, whereas islamic feminism was a product of scholar-activists. Secular feminism began and remained as voluntary and self-funding, preserving in tradition, unlike islamic feminism (Badran, p. 7).
Photo Retrieved from: http://www.altmuslimah.com/2014/11/reclaiming-the-radical-feminism-of-the-quran/
Islamic feminism has been a useful tool for addressing gender inequalities within Islamic societies and communities abroad. Women are going back to Islam’s classical texts and questioning they way men have read them. Women are challenging traditional customs about how women pray in mosques and whether they can hold leadership positions. In 2015, the first ever women-only mosque opened in LA (Power, 2015). In the twenty-first century in Turkey and Morocco, the patriarchal model of the family was overturned in favor of an egalitarian model. There was also a push to reform the Muslim Personal Status Code and created the Musawah, a group that focuses on reforming Muslim family laws (Badran, 2011). The secular and Islamic feminists create an unstoppable and powerful force when they work together.
Photo Retrieved from: https://www.islam21c.com/islamic-thought/is-there-such-thing-as-islamic-feminism/
Badran, M. (2011, January). “From Islamic Feminism to a Muslim Holistic Feminism.” Retrieved from: https://bblearn.missouri.edu/bbcswebdav/pid-3161660-dt-content-rid-31263463_1/courses/SP2017.GERMAN.4810.01/From%20Islamic%20feminism%20to%20a%20Muslim%20Holistic%20feminism.pdf
BBC. (2009, March 9). “Sharia.” Retrieved from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/islam/beliefs/sharia_1.shtml
Power, C. (2015, March 20). “Muslim Women Are Fighting To Redefine Islam as a Religion of Equality.” Retrieved from: http://time.com/3751243/muslim-women-redefine-islam-feminism/
Sardar, Z. (2007). “The No-Nonsense Guide to Islam.” Print.