and the Response of Muslim Women
Dr.Saied Reza Ameli,
of Islamic Studies,
former Director of Islamic Centre London-England,
researcher on Sociology of Culture and Mass Media at the Royal
Holloway University of London.
This lecture formed part of the
International Conference on "Woman in Islam" held
in London on 9th September 2001. Wonderful lecture which while
recognising the mistreatment of women and the need for them
to be given their Islamic rights, warns Muslims against reinterpreting
Islam inorder to fit alien secular ideologies like feminism.
Instead understand Islam - understand why it says what it says
rather than trying to change it. The 26 minute lecture is followed
by 6 minutes of questions and answers.
Treatment of women:
Through out history we have isolated the woman from society
and we have insulted the woman in society in a way that
gradually this became institutionalised behaviour among
the women, they accepted that they dont have ability - even
if they dont say it, but this imposement have created a
lot of disadvantages for the woman. This is the responsibility
of our scholars and woman herself to stand for their own
is purely a secular ideology. Fundamentally it has no concept
of divine principle but on the contrary in many cases religion
is regarded as the main source of inequality between men
and women, in other words like other principles of secular
libralisation, main theories and principles values of feminism
arise from mental creation of human desires and this is
what can distinguish the man made theory from the divine
Muslim Response to Feminism: Apologetic Approach
and secular perspective of Muslim activists and Muslim scholars
lead them towards apologetic reaction. this group either
trys to adapt religion to feminist principle or accept feminism
as an inevitable way of life for Muslim woman, whether religious
principles could be established accordingly or not.
are always sorry about what religion has said about woman,
they try to make a good excuse as a Muslim towards feminism.
This group of feminists re-reading the sharia texts to introduce
womans rights according to the islamic values, it is important
to find out whether their aim is reformation or reconstruction
of womans position in the family, society and the whole
social structure and public sphere.
western feminist point of view Islam and in particular veiling,
hijab, is the main barrier for muslim woman and in general
for muslim society to become civilized - basically hijab
is considered as uncivilized behavour in the western eyes
only by giving up this pecular and intrinsic practice would
Muslim society move forward .. on the path of western political
culture , its the most visible marker of otherness and inferiority
of islamic society. Every arab feminist incorporates feminist
ideals into an islamic frame of reference There are many
quotaions with regards to apologetic explainations about
hijab, about divorce, about polegamy, about vidiat and hadud
Muslim Response to Feminism: Holistic Approach
Holistic approach does not isolate woman from absolute society
, they see womans rights and position within the whole structure
of the society and avoid the segragation of society in terms
for feminism or masculinism or any sort of monocentric approach
as opposed to feminism.
to holistic approach, society as a whole including men and
women are addressed to their individual and social responsibility
without any monosex inclination. The feminist perspective
is monosexim perspective, neglecting the valueable place
of men and woman side-by-side as a unifying force in family
and in society. Holitsic approach looks at one comprehensive
position of woman and man in public, private, in society
and in politics.
of the distinguished scholars who offered the holistic approach
was Shaheed Mutahhari. He explained the reason and the necesaty
of different treatment of woman in Islam according to biological
and pychological differences between man and woman. while
the apologists try to reread the Holy text in line with
change - changed codition of the current society."