Anthropologically speaking, “patriarchy” means “rule by fathers.” Feminist and other left-leaning literature, however, use the term to describe a nefarious power structure, an authoritative system in which males can militarily, economically, politically, and psychologically dominate and subjugate women. Patriarchal systems such as these allow males to reap undeserved rewards while women are oppressed—whether by having their accomplishments dismissed, by being forced to the bottom of the socio-economic ladder, or by having their ability to live a life of justice taken away by other means.
Many Radical Feminists stems views all responsibilities, moral standards, or duties placed upon women as being patriarchal. Radical Feminists seek to obtain maximum autonomy, which results in eroding all perceived obstacles to that end. Radical feminists are mostly atheists because of their perspective that submitting to a creator is a threat to their autonomy. Thus, they see religion as preventing them from having freedom; hence, secular Western feminists have frequently attacked the Qu’ran as a source of patriarchy.
Despite these attacks, there are far more Muslim women than females who sympathize with Western feminists. Islam is currently the fastest growing religion in the world. FutureAgenda Notes:
“Scholars predict that Islam will overtake Christianity as the world’s biggest religion by 2050. Muslim countries are also profoundly Muslim in a way that Christian countries are not – according to Pews Global Attitudes Survey, 99% of Indonesians and 98% of religion plays an important role in their daily lives.”
Furthermore, Islam is even the fastest growing religion among women in Britain; according to FaithMatters, of 100,000 British converts to Islam, two-thirds were women. Radical Feminists have yet to explain why women who live in the heart of the free, liberal world would willingly follow a religion that is allegedly repressive and patriarchal. Yet radical feminists believe Islam is inherently oppressive and patriarchal towards women! If its true that Islam is inherently and irreconcilably patriarchal, then Radical Feminists must work to eradicate Islam as a part of their agenda to eradicate patriarchy. Otherwise, if Islam is allowed to flourish then patriarchy will only increase as Islam increases! Radical feminists must per their own ideology reject and actively work to combat all instances of patriarchy. Thus, they must down upon Muslim women who willingly embrace this “patriarchal way of life”. , Yet, if they seek to actively work against Islam then that actively infringes upon the ‘autonomy’ of multiple Muslim Women and the multiple women actively embracing the Islamic way of life. which contradicts feminist ideology. So radical feminists are in a real conundrum!
Why do Women Embrace Islam?
In “Why do Western Women Convert?” Julie Bindel, a British feminist who views religion as a source of the oppression of women, sought answers for the rampant conversions women were making to Islam. She writes: “As a feminist who rejects religion on the grounds that it promotes inequality between men and women, I wanted to try to understand why so many women are attracted to Islam.” Bindel chronicles one lady who converted to Islam who said, “[In Islam,] women are respected and not seen as sex objects. Western women are defined by their appearance but [Muslim women] are viewed as whole human beings.”
The lady continues “The big mistake people make is by confusing culture with religion. Yes, there are Muslim cultures which do not allow women individual freedom, yet when I was growing up, I felt more oppressed by Western society.” She starts to talk about alcohol consumption and the pressure to have casual sex, stating, “There was no real meaning to it all. In Islam, if you begin a relationship, that is a commitment of intent.” Amazing so women are embracing Islam due to the failures of the liberal way of life.
Another convert stated: “I’d been out interviewing rock stars, traveling all over the world and following every trend, yet I’d felt empty inside. Now, at last, I had contentment because Islam had given me a purpose in life. In the West, we are stressed for superficial reasons, like what clothes to wear. In Islam, everyone looks to a higher goal. Everything is done to please God.”
British women are leaving a life of secular liberalism and finding Islam in overwhelming numbers. Simply put, many Brits see Islam as an alternative to the hedonistic, consumerist, and materialistic culture in the West and embrace Islam for the spiritual tranquility it provides. When Western feminists label Islam as patriarchal, they imply that wome who embrace Islam are either incompetent, willingly seeking to oppress themselves, and lost because they follow a patriarchal religion, and that they (Western feminists) are the enlightened ones who must save them.
Is the Qu’ran patriarchal?
When Muslim Women look at their history, they find it was the Prophet Muhammad who gave them their rights. He ended female infanticide, secured them property rights, and gave them martial rights. When women in the west look at their history, they typically find that religion was a source of oppression for them. This gave rise to the feminist movement leaving religion. However, the historical occurrences that gave rise to the western feminist aversion to religion did not occur in the Islamic World. If women in the modern era who seek to secure women’s rights sometimes call themselves,”Islamic Feminist” but they don’t totally abandon their religion as what happen among western feminist. As The Prophet Muhammad, the last Prophet of the Islamic religion was the first in Arabian history to secure rights for women. In early Islamic history, many women embraced Islam and followed the Prophet Muhammad because justice for women was dear to his heart. Aisha(who has been put in a victim trop by western feminist), Khadijah, Umm Ayman(a black woman), and Sumayyah all were strongly devoted to the Islamic cause. According to radical feminists, these women must have been seeking to oppress themselves by spreading patriarchy via Islam!
Yet, rather than accepting the possibility that not all religions are necessarily repressive of women, they fight back by attacking all religious instruction as a source of oppression.
The other day a feminist told me that religious textbooks such as the Qu’ran, was invented by men seeking to control women’s sexual autonomy and oppress women. First of all, the Qu’ran is not patriarchal at all. For one, the Islamic conception of God is neither male nor female but completely unlike the creation; hence, following God is not “patriarchal,” as the primary source of guidance in the Islamic perspective transcends gender. The Qu’ran is not the word of a man but the verbatim word of God; however, such an argument is of no use to secular feminists, who vehemently deny the existence of a creator, and thus they would attribute the words of the Qu’ran to the Prophet Muhammad in order to make it seem that a man’s words are being complied with.
Let’s rationally investigate this claim of patriarchy in the Qu’ran. One of the unique aspects of the Qu’ran is that it addresses both sexes:
“Surely the men who submit and the women who submit, and the believing men and the believing women, and the obeying men and the obeying women, and the truthful men and the truthful women, and the patient men and the patient women and the humble men and the humble women, and the almsgiving men and the almsgiving women, and the fasting men and the fasting women, and the men who guard their private parts and the women who guard, and the men who remember Allah much and the women who remember– Allah has prepared for them forgiveness and a mighty reward.”
The Qu’ran (4:20) tells men that, “You are forbidden to inherit women against their will nor should you treat them with harshness…” This is the exact opposite of the patriarchal mentality in which men force women to do things against their will and engage with them tyrannically. The Qu’ran then informs men to “live with them [wives] on a footing of kindness and equity…” Not only that, but the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has also said, “A Muslim must not hate his wife and if he be displeased with one bad quality in her, then let him be pleased with another that is good.”
The Prophet’s unwavering acceptance of women holding a primary and vital role in society is demonstrated by the following incident. When asked, “Who among the people is most deserving of a fine treatment from my hand?” he replied, “Your mother.” When asked, “Then who [is the next most deserving]?” he said, “Again, it is your mother.” The Prophet was then asked, “Then who is the next one?” and he repeated, “Again, it is your mother.” Only when asked a fourth time did he respond with, “Your father.” Clearly, he valued the good that mothers do in teaching, providing for, and loving their children, and saw them as deserving much respect. The Prophet Muhammad was the instigator in giving women their rights to own property, gain inheritance, and divorce. When Muslim women were being forced into cruel relationships, it was their God who said in the Qu’ran, “O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! It is not lawful for you to force women into marrying or holding on to them in marriage against their will.”
It was the Qu’ran which instructed husbands, “You shall treat your wives nicely. Even if you dislike them, it may happen that Allah has placed much good in what you have failed to realize.” And it was the Prophet Muhammad who said, “The best amongst you are those who are best to their wives, and I am the best to my wives.”In terms of inheritance and property rights, the Qu’ran states, “Men get a share of what the parents and near relatives leave behind. Women get a share of what the parents and near relatives leave behind. Women have the right to own property. Whether the inheritance is small or large, these shares have been ordained as a duty.” The Qu’ran guaranteed Muslim women property rights long before such rights would be obtained by Western women, which wasn’t until about a century ago; yet feminists insist that the Muslim women are those who are being oppressed.
Furthermore, the Qu’ran describes patriarchy as a threat to the pure monotheism that God has prescribed: “And when it is said to them, ‘Follow that which God has sent down,’ they say, ‘Nay, we will follow that wherein we found our fathers.’ What! Even if their fathers had no sense at all and followed not the right path.
If, as feminists allege, the Prophet Muhammad created Islam to oppress women, then he certainly did a terrible job of it: the views following one’s fathers as an unsavory social relationship and directly critics such patriarchal social relationships. The essence of the Qu’ran is to follow God and not man. Thus, with the rampant amount of female converts to Islam, the narrative of Islam as something which inherently oppresses women must be questioned.