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Introduction Of Secularism To Islamic States

1394 words - 6 pages

Although secularism is familiarized by most of the world, it was introduced late to Islamic states because religion and politics were not as intertwined as many believed to be. Drawing comparisons to Roman Catholicism in Europe, the church and state encountered many struggles which created setbacks in society whereas, Muslims were moderately stable and leaders played roles in society to ensure order. The major difference was that no such set of body existed that would dictate the laws unlike Christian churches. Islamic scriptures like the Qu’ran have been used but not to a great extent and Islamic Law, such as Sharia Law, has been reinterpreted when necessary. One can argue that leaders from abroad have helped to decline the usage of religious doctrines where Professor Keddie has asserted, “Words like secular were not widely used in Muslim countries until the twentieth century. Then, until roughly 1967, secular nationalists and socialists played a growing political role in the Muslim world, coming to power in several countries and carrying out secularising programmes as a concomitant to modernisation”(CITE). Islamists from within the country or outside can help to reinstate this policy where programmes played a crucial role in demoralizing doctrines that were not needed and instead used politics, power and law how it should be. This proves that decades ago, the principle of secularization helped to diminish cultural aspects including the texts that interpreted law. One can argue that this does not affect gender policies which is the basis of this paper, however, if leaders were to not judge society based on religious doctrines, then this indeed, can benefit women. The doctrines of many religions, including Islam, tend to be in favour of men dominance in the public sectors versus women being trapped in the private/domestic sides. Secularists retain practices in which they are reluctant invoke gender quality in all aspects of society including politics and education. An example which is derived from Islamic religious doctrine that has harmed women in the Middle East, is the tradition of wearing a ‘hijab’. In the Islamic tradition, a woman who wears a ‘hijab’ symbolizes honor and protection, but it also signifies that men have predominance. Due to this cultural norm, it limits the rights of women to attain equivalent practices that men have the rights to do. But, as mentioned before, if those in power were to not judge society based on cultural norms or invoke gender policies, then women will have their righteous role in the public realm where everyone has the right to be in. Such secular programmes can help to advance women in health care, employment, and education where again, it will be a slow process. There could potentially be a fall comparing to other non-Muslim countries of similar status, but at the end, some development is at work and it is helping to ameliorate the lives of millions of innocent women in the Middle East.
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