Saturday, April 28, 2007

On being a Muslim woman

There was a magazine that had been sitting in the back seat of my car for a couple of months, that I happened to pull out a few weeks back and read while eating dinner one night. I prepared myself to be disappointed in this article, title "On being a Muslim woman," which is an excerpt from Winning the Modern World by Abdessalam Yassine.

Yes, that's a guy's name.

So why is a guy writing an article that's been titled "On being a Muslim woman?" I thought I could smell trouble... and the article was actually the opposite of what I thought, and I really found it to be a wonderful piece on today's society, with respect to women.

These bits below I found particularly powerful, but the essence of the article is that Islam is clear in protection of women and importance of family. However, the image seen in too many societies today he describes as "insignificant and oppressed creature.. stunted by illiteracy and weighted down by unjust macho traditions."

It is urgent to deliver the contemporary Muslim woman, fallen again, perhaps even lower than her pre-Islamic sister, and to draw her up from the abyss of injustice and negligence where she languishes. Our era is perhaps no more merciful toward women than one in which a depraved and inhumane father could cruelly bury his newborn infant if by misfortune it was found to be a girl! The misfortune of today's Muslim woman is twofold. She lives torn between the unfortunate situation in which local masculine injustice has placed her, and the Western model whose apparent freedom attracts her.

So there are two evils--the current state of women in the Muslim world, and the current state of women in the Western world! One limits her participation in society, the other limits her participation in family, so the author encourages that women learn about their rights in order claim them. He does not place the entire responsibility on Muslim governments, but calls it a "joint effort of men and women."

The feminine touch is more than a complement to masculine decisiveness: her delicate sensitivity and motherly love are irreplaceable, indeed decisive in the effort of change in order to bring about the "alternation of days." The decisive hand of an Islamic government can and should stop the hemorrhaging of a wounded society, but what other than feminine compassion can gently tend its physical and psychological wounds, soothing with healing balms the effects of so much suffering?

So anyway--I was pleasantly surprised. You can read the entire article here inshaAllah. I could only find it as a word doc, but this should be the cached html version.


Yusuf Smith said...

As-Salaamu 'alaikum,

Abdessalam Yassine is the leader of the Adl wa Ihsan (commonly translated as Justice and Charity) movement, which is a Moroccan Islamic political party. He himself lives in Salé, which is next to Rabat. He spent several years under house arrest under the previous king (Hassan II) but was released towards the end as Hassan II, I suppose, began to fear death more. I have his other book, "Winning the Modern World for Islam", originally published in French as "Islamiser la Modernité", which is a nice book ma sha Allah and worth getting a copy of.

Amy said...

You know I was just at an Islamic bookstore today and happened to see that there, since you'd mentioned it. Otherwise I'd've thought nothing of it. I was there for something else though, and already have an extensive reading list, so I just left it on the shelf. Thanks for the recommendation though.