Today it is common in the West to depict Islam as an inherently misogynistic religion, but, like Christianity, the religion of al-Lah was originally positive for women. During the jahiliyyah, the pre-Islamic period, Arabia had preserved the attitudes toward women which had prevailed before the Axial Age. Polygamy, for example, was common, and wives remained in their father’s household. Elite women enjoyed considerable power and prestige — Muhammad’s first wife, Khadija, for example, was a successful merchant — but the majority were on par with slaves; they had no political or human rights, and female infanticide was common. Women had been among Muhammad’s earliest converts, and their emancipation was a project that was dear to his heart. The Koran strictly forbade the killing of female children and rebuked the Arabs for their dismay when a girl was born. It also gave women legal rights of inheritance and divorce: most Western women had nothing comparable until the nineteenth century. Muhammad encouraged women to play an active role in the affairs of the ummah, and they expressed their view forthrightly, confident that they would be heard. On one occasion, for example, the women of Madina had complained to the prophet that the men were outstripping them in the study of the Koran and asked him to help them catch up. This Muhammad did. One of their most important questions was why the Koran addressed men only when women had also made their surrender to God. The result was a revelation that addressed women as well as men and emphasized the absolute moral and spiritual equality of the sexes. Thereafter the Koran quite frequently addressed women explicitly, something that rarely happens in either the Jewish or Christian scriptures.
Unfortunately, as in Christianity, the religion was later hijacked by the men, who interpreted texts in a way that was negative for Muslim women. The Koran does not prescribe the veil for all women but only for Muhammad’s wives, as a mark of their status. Once Islam had taken its place in the civilized world, however, muslims adopted those customs of the Oikumene which relegated women to second-class nature. They adopted the customs of veiling women and secluding them in harems from persia and Christian Byzantium, where women had long been marginalized in this way. By the time of the Abbasid Caliphate (750-1258), the position of Muslim women was as bad as that of their sisters in Jewish and Christian society. Today Muslim feminists urge their menfolk to return to the original spirit of the Koran.
Ad campaign against sexual harassment in Jordan.
Bottom caption:”Don’t say that the reason is the way she is dressed,but rather say it was a crime against her”
First woman: “It doesn’t matter,even though I wore long and dragging clothing.”
Second:”or short clothing.”
Third:”or a hijab.”
Fourth:”or in a niqab.”
Child:”or in my school uniform.”
A Palestinian teacher speaks to her class at a school in Gaza City (via Time Lightbox).
I found a religion that blended scientific reason with spiritual reality in a unifying faith
Two of the Greatest Arabs in the Modern World, It Doesn’t Get Any Better! - Kathem El Saher & Nizar Qabani
"I used to be a preschool teacher, but I got fired."
“Well, I decided that I wanted to have a socially conscious class. So we learned about apartheid in South Africa. Then we learned about homelessness. Then we made mother’s day cards for Trayvon Martin’s mom. And I think the principal decided that it was too much for three and four year olds, because she told me I wasn’t a ‘good fit.’ But honestly, I was just shining too bright for them. And now she’s going to see me on Humans of New York, and she’ll be sorry!”
A woman walks by posters of Imam Hussein (as) and Jesus Christ.