found this on another site, interisting and controvertial option peice
Women's Rights and Equality in Islam
At the beginning Islam was the most revolutionary liberalization of women's rights the civilized world has ever seen. But afterwards Muslims became ignorant
of this and now Muslim countries are the scene of some of the worst abuses of women's rights. As the Latin proverb says, "Corruptio optimi pessima" (When the best is corrupted, it becomes the worst). The Qur’ân expresses the same theme in Sûrat al-Tîn: "We created man in the best pattern, and later reduced him to the lowest of the low."
Think of the possibilities for liberalization
based on purely Islamic sources, not taking anything from the modern West.
That would be truly Islamic feminism. The origin of Islam is far more liberal and feminist
than what subsequent generations made of it. Women's rights were established by the Qur’ân and the Prophet (peace be upon him), who after all loved women; we need to filter out the spurious anti-woman hadiths that were added later
. Although the term feminism has developed a somewhat poisonous connotation in today's discourse, it really just means the promotion of women's God-given rights and liberties
, which is to the good of everyone.
We humans are essentially spiritual souls, and true liberation would begin from that identity. It's a shame that so often in the profane modern world, which only believes in quantity, all relationships are reduced to a zero-sum game of power. If feminism becomes nothing more than a power grab—men hold power over women, so now it's women's turn to seize the power
and use it against men in turn—then no one advances any further toward higher enlightenment; the contest stays on the same horizontal level, the same problems recur in new guise with no resolution.
Men may fear or distrust "feminism" if they think it means nothing more than women gaining control over them.
But genuine women's liberation would be liberating for all people, men and women alike. Not an issue of who wields power over whom, but transcending that whole issue of power, lifting our consciousness to a higher plane. A woman who is truly liberated would not be stuck in that old power struggle; she would not seek to control men any more than she would accept being controlled by men
. Rather, both men and women would rejoice at being freed to relate to one another as loving, spiritual beings. This is real, and most of all the Sufis have actualized it. This is what the Prophet (peace be upon him) brought, if only that original liberating spirit could be released from under the dead weight of centuries of cultural repression like "purdah", which came not from Islam, but from the concubinage of the ancient Greeks and Romans, where women had no rights and were property owned by their fathers, husbands, and slave masters, so it is nothing but jâhilîyah pretending to be Islam, while Islam established the independent, equal status of women for the first time in civilization.
No More Denial.
I have noticed in forums over and over that if Muslims call attention to systemic injustice against women in Muslim countries, they are likely to get attacked and accused of supporting kufr against Islam.
This reminds me of the divisive Vietnam War days when if anyone criticized the U.S. government for atrocities in Vietnam, the superpatriots would accuse them of supporting the Commies. It is sad that much of what passes for "Islam" these days is nothing more than mindless jingo flag-waving with no attention to the actual content of what Islam requires of us.
inna Allâha ya’muru bi-al-‘adli wa-al-ihsân
"Allah commands justice and the doing of good."
If some of us protest injustice that is being done in the name of Islam, that is because we love Islam and hate to see its good name being misused as a cover for oppression that is completely contrary to the spirit of Islam. Muslims have to clean up their own act, and insisting on denial of a problem is no service to the ummah. The injustice against women perpetrated by the system of power is very real. Willful blindness to the problem is no excuse for going along with it. If you really care about the essence of Islam, you need to establish justice. The injustice against women in Muslim countries is terrible, and there has been more than enough pious preaching about how Islam is great for women (in an ideal world), and not enough correcting of injustice on the ground. The evil comes from the system that keeps people locked in roles that stunt their growth, the system that unjustly penalizes women who would exercise their rights
. As long as it isn't happening to someone you know, it's easy to stay complacent and acquiesce with the conventional system, overlooking its injustice. There has been more than enough (merely verbal) assertion that Islam is good for women. Indeed, true Islam would be good for women, if it were ever implemented properly!
There has to be an end to the denial and more attention to the very real injustices that Muslim women are suffering right now. Why are girls left uneducated? What about access to medical treatment? Why are rape victims in Pakistan jailed or murdered while rapists go free?
Why do those vicious thugs, the Taliban, think they can get away with beating and confining women? The situation is compounded by the pretense that "Islam" can somehow be the justification for harming women. That is nothing but a slander against the good name of Islam.
Why focus on the rights of Muslim women only?
This question sometimes comes up when discussing Muslim women's issues. The reason women's rights in Islam need special concern is because women in Muslim countries are made to suffer disproportionately by the system. What adds insult to injury is the way they try to justify their oppression of women by calling it "Islam." How could it be, when true Islam requires us to honor women? We have to make women's rights a top priority if the society as a whole is ever going to be healed. As Malcolm X said, the fate of a nation depends on how it treats it women
. I am careful to emphasize that truly Islamic feminism wouldn't make the error of the modern world by treating human beings as quantities; we are spiritual beings above all. In Islam men and women equally submit to God and both are equally ennobled by the faith. Next, redressing injustice is a divine command: inna Allâha ya’muru bi-al-‘adli wa-al-ihsân.... (Allah commands justice and the doing of good.) When you look to the Qur’ân and the mercifulness of the Messenger, peace be upon him, you can see this beautiful vision of how life could be if selfishness weren't governing human dealings as it does. I am saying that Muslims should make sure to be good to women first of all, since they have been wronged the most.
The systemic crimes against women have now increased drastically under those woman-beating Taliban hoodlums. The pain is even more acute right now.
This is in the spirit of the Prophet's answer to the Sahâbî asking who was most deserving of good treatment and honor: 1) Your mother; 2) your mother; 3) your mother; 4) your father.
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A vignette from my Hajj diary.
Miná, 11 Dhî al-Hijjah 1416/April 29, 1996.
At the washing faucets at the end of the lavatory building, I have heard some men trying to drive away the women who were using the faucets for wudû’ and washing clothes. There are five faucets, and the men had been using the two or three on the right, the women the one or two on the left, according to their allotted sides of the lavatory building; the one in between was used by either, depending on the traffic of the moment. Some of the men decided that they would take over all five faucets, so they said things like "Hâjjah! Harâm!" Both times I saw this, I said out loud, "Lâ ba’s, lil-akhawât huqûquhunna." The sisters went and lined up alongside the building, waiting for their oppressors to go. When I would come back later, they would be using the left side faucets again. The unfair mentality of these brothers is not Islam. People use the word "harâm" much too freely. It should be limited to its technical meaning as defined in Islamic law.
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The Prophet, peace be upon him, loved women. How horrified he would be to see the wretched way so many in his ummah have been mistreating them.
- Muslim Women and Their Islam