Me vs. Islam: Sexism of Our Age

One of those distinctive memories that I have is from a session of those “we wash your brain” classes that we had back at high school, which were called “Islamic thought”. Of course, as all these types of classes tend to be, this class was of as outmost stupidity as you can imagine. Most of the times we were bored out of our minds, but this particular session was not like that for me, since it was about men and women rights.

In these recent years, it seems that Islamist textbook writers and also teachers have become more and more aware of the unpopularity of direct sexist claims among people. It is actually amusing to watch an Islamist teacher sweat and try to give a mild version of a sexist statement or try to hide it behind bad reasoning.

That day was no different: Our teacher, who was our high school principle as well, was talking about women rights. He was not a full time bad ass fundamentalist, just occasionally; and he was sweating to make an argument in defence of Sharia law about women not having particular rights. Of course, as you may have guessed, in Islam women do not possess many rights, and one of them is they do not have the right to be judges based on Sharia law; and that is what we were talking about.*

“Women are by nature emotional.” Our principle declared loudly to the class “and we know that emotional people cannot make good decisions. Therefore it is absolutely justified to say women should not be judges.”

At that point I knew that this was wrong, but of course I was 16 and didn’t know “why”. I actually did try to say something in defence of women by stating that even they have specific rights in Islam (I don’t think so now), but obviously that was completely off topic. We now can see what is wrong with that stupid argument: Surely no one can state that all women are always emotional. Well, some of them are and some are not. Besides, men are emotional too; I personally have seen many women less emotional than me! But we all probably have: Benazir Bhutto, Margaret Thatcher, Hillary Clinton, Indira Gandhi etc. These were (and are) confident and strong women that shaped the history in their own way. I don’t think that an Argentinean would have agreed with our teacher-principle about Thatcher being “emotional”!

You can see that it doesn’t take much to be a sexist in the world of Islamic ideas. You just have to first believe in Islamic law, and then you can try to deceive yourself and others by vague or incoherent arguments.

In my mind, there is no doubt that the Islamic law (or Sharia) is Fascistic, and the reason is quite simple: It is based on discrimination. In Quran you can find phrases like (Sura An-Nisa: 34):

Men have authority over women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their property (for the support of women). Therefore, the good women are obedient, guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded. And (as to) those (women) on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and avoid them in beds and beat them; then if they obey you, do not seek a way against them; verily Allah is Ever-High, Ever-Great.

As one starts reading the passage, one immediately realizes there is a huge distinction between the way Islam talks about men and women. “Men have authority over women” basically sums it all up: Women are considered men’s properties, not conscious beings who have their own will and understand as much (maybe even more!). And this is all because Allah has “made” some of them like this. Like what you ask? Of course men are stronger and work outside to earn money and “properties”, and women stay at home and do some “housework”. So men are spending their property on women, and that gives them the right to “rule” over them.

And if that doesn’t cut it, the next lines does: If you are a Muslim and you “fear” that your wife may desert you, and she wouldn’t back off if you asked her “nicely”, you can beat her. And they call this “guarding your family”!

Well, if you think that’s bad, you should read this Hadith from Mohammed:

A woman came to the Messenger of Allah and said: O Messenger of Allah, what is the right of the husband upon the wife?  So he said to her: That she obey him and not disobey him, and that she not give any charity from his house except by his permission, and that she not fast voluntarily (i.e. not an obligatory fast) except with his permission, and that she not prevent him from herself even if she is upon the back of a camel saddle (qatab), and that she not leave his house except with his permission, for if she leaves without his permission the angels of the sky and the angels of the earth curse her, and the angels of wrath, and the angels of mercy, until she returns to his house.  So she said: O Messenger of Allah, who of mankind has the greatest right upon the man?  He said: His parents.  She said: So who of mankind has the greatest right upon the woman?  He said: Her husband.  She said: So is there for me a right upon him like what he has upon me?  He said: No and not (even) one for every hundred.  So she said: By the one who has sent you by truth as a prophet, no man will ever own my neck.

What came above can only have one name: “sexist slavery”. Women are effectively reduced to “sex slaves” of their husbands, and cannot refuse to have sex with them even if it is on the back of a camel! Obviously they also do not possess the same rights as their husbands, not even one percent!

There you have it: A bronze age book, combined with bronze age mind-set. Whatever it creates cannot be good, as it stops the progress of humankind towards a better moral and social existence. The sooner the people toss it aside, the better

______________________________________

* This does not mean that we do not have women in a judge’s chair, since Sharia law is not always done as Mullahs want.

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thetruthfulheretic

Dear fellow Homo sapiens, or if you prefer conscious mammals! And of course, friends nonetheless: I created my blog in order to speak my very weird mind, mostly about three subjects (as I identify myself and my state of mind with them): Atheism, as I was born in the Middle East and saw and felt the affects of Islam; Homosexuality and equal rights, as a gay man who has tasted the Homophobia and also Sexism in that society; and Liberalism and political philosophy, which I think is a good ground for secular values and criticism of fundamentalism. If you wish, visit and join your state of mind to mine. I hope they don't short circuit!

10 thoughts on “Me vs. Islam: Sexism of Our Age”

  1. Nice post- it’s important to impress upon people the inhumanity that is written in the Koran. I was wondering, what do Muslims with more humanistic views, who believe that men and women are equal, say about such passages? I know that Christians always find a way to excuse inhumanities in the Bible, by saying “that’s an old law” or something like that, but what do Muslims say?

    1. Hi dear Tim,

      Well, Muslims never say That an old law, for them the Quran is true for all the times. What they normally do under these circumstances, is to add “conditions” to their “law”.

      For example, it is Koranic law to cut the hand of thieves: (Al-Maedah – 38)

      وَالسَّارِقُ وَالسَّارِقَةُ فَاقْطَعُواْ أَيْدِيَهُمَا جَزَاء بِمَا كَسَبَا نَكَالًا مِّنَ اللّهِ وَاللّهُ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ ﴿۳۸﴾

      Which basically says this as a punishment for God, cut the hands of men and women who do thievery.

      Islamic scholars have said that there are “conditions” to this, almost 10 conditions depending on the Mullah that gives the fatwa on the matter, and these conditions include: It must not be from public goods, the thief must be an adult and sane, there must be at least two eye witnesses or the thief gives confession two times.

      Most importantly, if the thief has been in difficulty in life, they will not cut his/her hand. Really?! I mean, between madness and financial difficulty, are there many other conditions remaining?! Why not reject the whole damn thing as inhuman?

      These so called “conditions” practically make the “law” useless. But they are there to act as a bridge between these immoral so called “laws” and the “faith” of Muslims in the Koran.

      //

      They may do other things as well. For example they may add other “laws” to try and somehow give a facade of a humane and internal consistency to discrimination and injustice of this Sharia law. For example, in case of women, some countries have developed this principle that men have to pay a certain amount to women every month, and if not the woman can deny the man in bed.

      We can call it a bit of upgrade from sex slavery to prostitution.

      //

      Terrible, really terrible in every aspect.

  2. I can’t express how much I loved this post. It’s unfortunate that ALL religious texts preach the same thing. It’s a real man that isn’t afraid of a woman’s sexuality… most of the real men I have met have been gay men.

    1. Thank you, I’m glad you liked it. I think If one writes a book on history of Sexism, 99 percent of it, if not a 100, will end up being about religion, especially Abrahamic religions.

      Ha! I was thinking the other day that had I not been gay, I would never have known as much about different sexualities… In this sense I actually am lucky to be gay.

  3. A well written article. I am always amazed when a woman tell me that Islam honors her. When I read passages from the Koran or Hadith she is just paid for the use of her sexual part. In other words a prostitute.

    1. Thank you for the positive feedback. It is very much as you say my friend. Islamic attitude towards women (still) is something that appals me. And frankly I think not enough people are appalled by it, and exactly because of the ghastly disguise of “moderate” Islam that tries to hide the real face from the rest of the world.

      1. Funny that you mention moderate Islam. I actually read an article on a Islamic cleric that the media called moderate. This article articulated that Islamic was to be slowly and gradually introduced into a society. At some point there would be a tipping point of no return and there you have it an Islamic society. Malaysia actually had a politican that stated this very same thing. He likened people to frogs and Islam being water that is slowly heated. At a certain point there is no return. He went on to state that once you have enough power and numbers the rest would have no choice but the follow suit. He too was called a moderate. After reading a number of moderate statements, I have come to called them gradualist. You will rarely hear them going against human right violations if it falls within the realm of Islam unless it is to further there cause. I have gotten cynical toward moderate muslims. I shake my head at the media when they ask where is the outrage from moderate muslims, where is there voice against the injustice and the destruction brought about by the extremist. The media has been given their answer, it is just they either don’t want to believe it or are afraid of putting it into words that moderates could just be the people who open the doors for the extremist. Now all I can hope for is maybe liberal or secular muslims have a different view of their theology and justice. Well shall see.

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