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Mon Jan 28, 2013, 01:15 PM

Wage Jihad. Against Misogyny

I thought his little opinion piece was interesting, since it shows a point of view we don't often see in the West.

PREACHING IN 7th-century Arabia, the Prophet Muhammed said that in a just and fair Islamic society, women would be able to travel without fear and alone on a camelís back to Mecca to circumambulate the Kaaba. This was a revolutionary aim, given that bandits and thieves notoriously ruled the Arabian wastelands at the time and female infanticide was widespread. Far from mandating that women stay invisible, the Prophet made it a mission to establish norms so that women could go anywhere anytime, be it the deserts of Arabia or the streets of New Delhi. Never did he suggest that women needed protectors or caretakers; rather, he saw them as independent individuals with a deep sense of responsibility.

Unfortunately, recent statements by some Indian Muslim leaders, suggesting that the way women conduct themselves is responsible for the violence against them, run contrary to this spirit of Islam as the Prophet espoused. These leaders donít offer solutions. In fact, their mindset is the problem.

Far from being a doctrine or a religion, Islam is, in fact, an experience of building a society that gives primacy to a just and equitable community where individuals come closer to God by experiencing values lived communally and not by traditional faith alone. The Holy Quran makes it mandatory for both men and women to strive for justice and freedom; for Muslims, there is no scope for dormancy and neutrality.

There were no schools or universities during the Prophetís time and both sexes packed the mosques to attend the Prophetís sermons. The Prophetís wife, Khadija, was a successful businesswoman with enterprises as far away as Damascus. The Prophet regularly involved himself in domestic chores, which sadly are now reserved for women. Every year, millions of Muslim women and men mingle without segregation at the holy mosques in Mecca and Medina during the Haj, which is the single most important ritual for the Muslims. When narrating the story of Solomon and Sheba, the Holy Quran draws a portrait of Queen Sheba as a just and democratic leader.


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