Economic independence, equality, and freedom ------ these are but three monumental words in today’s society that have caused countless, brave individuals to rise up and to shed their blood. For centuries, the world has witnessed the interminable battle towards the actualization of these human principles. Why? It is simply because mankind is driven by “transcendescence” or that deep need to rise from a mere nothingness towards a purpose and a realization of one’s freedom , an occurrence elucidated by the study of Jess and Gregory Feist (as cited in Fromm, 1981,p.4). The limits of our day-to-day action, the boundaries implemented by the society, and the restrictions dictated by a diverse set of traditions and cultures propel us to look beyond the fences and consider the deeper aspect of our being. It has simply been a part of the human mechanism to break free in the presence of manacles.
According to Dr. Muhammad All Al-Hashimi (as cited in Ibid, p.202), it was over fourteen hundred years ago that this freedom was granted to the women of the Muslim society long before any nation of the world could. It was supposedly in the traditional and rightly-guided Muslim society where women enjoyed equal rights as that of men, some of which included the right to work if deemed necessary, the right to own and dispose her own properties, and to enjoy the protection of her wealth and possessions. But it seems as though a different story is being perceived around the world. Despite the fact that a myriad of textbooks and historical materials seemingly unite with the idea that Muslim women are highly respected in an Islamic community, the general public along with different international organizations for human and women’s rights completely see otherwise. Equality and freedom might just seem to be the last words, if not at all, associated to women of a Muslim society.
Different demeanors have risen from undertaking such issue. On one side of the story, there are those who completely believe that Islam oppresses women by denying them their freedom and by using a patriarchal religion as an excuse to abuse and enslave them; on the other are those who consider the matter as a part of their responsibility towards a greater, external force to whom their lives must be consecrated to----Allah. Many of the Muslim women recognize this inferiority as their divine destiny, which is “women as nurturer, man as aggressor” (Rippin, 1993). If religion calls them to serve their husband and children, then so be it. Furthermore, the traditions they adhere to strictly summons every individual to play a distinct role in their home and society with regards to their gender, a practice often perceived as a “natural order” needed to preserve the peace and harmony within the society, thereby constraining Muslim women all the more in the patriarchal bubble of their religion and tradition.
Being home to Islam’s greatest and most revered prophet,...