Sunday, 13 January 2013

Islam-A Misogynistic Religion?

While many of us may refrain ourselves from delving deep into matters of religion, I can’t help but dive into its intricacies. We live in a country that sees many religions, one of them being Islam. Islam dominates in countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, etc. I have pondered over Islamic culture umpteen numbers of times in my head but it took a Muslim teenage girl being shot in the head by the Taliban to finally drive me to the point of penning it down. The strong willed girl propagated education for women in Pakistan. The Taliban thought it inappropriate and shot her. The chief spokesman of Taliban justifies himself saying “A bullet had Malala's name on it, because she has become a symbol of Western culture in the area; she was openly propagating it''. He also called her ''the symbol of the infidels and obscenity''.
This is just a tiny example. Although we have many successful and outgoing Muslim people but then there are those who haven’t escaped the radar of the prowling Taliban people. Take for example Salman Rushdie and Taslima Nasreen. These people wouldn’t have imagined getting issued a fatwa against them when writing their respective books!

Salman Rushdie had to hide under the name of Joseph Anton for 15 years. How must it feel to not being able to live with your identity for 15 years?
As a person outside of Islam, I have tried to be open about this religion. I don’t mean to criticize any religion and although I try not to think of any religion negatively, but truth be told, Islam is mired. What is the image of a Muslim woman in your mind? Oppressed, secluded, submissive, controlled by men? The rights of women are so limited that it is actually surprising. A woman's testimony in court is worth half that of a man and her independence is restricted by seclusion in the home, laws of guardianship by male kin, polygamy and unilateral divorce. She is nothing but a second class citizen who is taught to identify with the mores of male domination.
As I gather from my research, the Holy Quran gives the following quotes on women, which is more than enough to prove that Islam is dominated by misogynists:
II/223: Your women are a tilth for you (to cultivate). So go to your tilth as ye will...
It clearly states how highly women are treated!

IV/34: Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them.

This quote says that men are superior to women. Secondly, you should beat and admonish women if they turn rebellious.  You’re probably wondering how such a thing can be written in the “Holy” Quran, right? Well, go on.

IV/15: (For women) If any one of your women is guilty of lewdness ...confine them until death claims them.
IV/16: (For Men) If two men among you commit indecency (sodomy) punish them both. If they repent and mend their ways, let them be. Allah is forgiving and merciful.
If a woman takes the wrong path, she is to be sentenced to death, while a man should be pardoned because Allah turns forgiving in his case.

A woman isn't allowed to wear makeup, isn't allowed to speak during prayers because apparently her voice is too distracting.

Maybe the aforementioned things seem trivial to many of you, but to me even these are extreme. Many claim these early gains were thwarted by a male-dominated interpretation of the holy texts without sufficient input by women, and that the problem lies within the culture and not the religion.
Misogyny has become so endemic to Islamic societies that it's not just a war on women; it's a destructive force tearing apart their economies and societies. To bring about a change, a huge transformation is needed. According to most Muslim women reformers, the antidote to misogyny is not abandonment of Islam but sharia reforms followed by changes in culture.
Obviously all Muslims aren’t barbarians, probably not even half of them are. But if you read the Quran, you realize that it is vile and written by a woman-hating man, and to follow such a book blindly and derive your laws and rights from the very same is foolishness.
I think we've seen enough. Its time Muslim cultural attitudes and practices changed. Islamic countries (especially the ones ruled by the Taliban) need to be jolted into awareness of the harm they are doing to themselves. We don’t need any more women martyrs before the Islamic leaders gather the courage to speak out against misogyny.


  1. It is not just Islam, all religions and philosophy have elements of misogynists.. because all are written by men and misogyny is a historical prejudice evolved over generations, all based on the societal (male) perspective over women..
    What has islam got to do with female genital mutilation -- and it is the worst form of hatred towards women... what you have written is a bold revelation... but it is not just with one religion..

    1. I agree with you. Somehow Misogyny is more evident in Islam though.
      I'll have to cover other religions soon enough! O.o

  2. I am sorry to say but I greatly disagree with you there.
    First, Talibans, I for one and most among us do not believe that they are true muslims, Islam has never mentioned that people should be forced into it, it has given full liberty to everyone to practice and preach there own religion. Hence, I do not believe that talibans are muslims.
    All religions have misgynoists it's not just Islam. The only thing is thatonly when it comes to Islam, people are reminded of justice.
    As for the verses you are only looking at one side of the story. There are several verses stating the stature of women and the rightful place for them. It's not oppressive. I am a muslim girl and I am not opressed, I have all freedom but every freedom has it's limits.
    There are several other societies that opress woman, but are questions about them raised? No.
    Everyone has their own right and respects to their religion but you cannot go and blindly call chaos over it. It's wrong. You don't even know half of what Islam teaches and just reading about on websites doesn't proves a point. If you go ask women that are muslim and live their lives in an islamic household you'll realize some of the very wrong points you've made.
    To call a Holy book vile and what not is also very wrong. You might have been blinded by the wrong you saw in malala's plight. But think before you write and think clearly at that.

    1. Looks like i offended you, and i deeply apologize for that.
      You, being a follower of Islam, obviously must know better.

      I have written what i think based on the dozens of novels I've read. Of course Misogynists are there in all religions. But i'd like to disagree with you on the point where you say people are reminded of justice only when it comes to Islam. You'll have to think and think clearly here.
      If you realize I'm only talking about a certain section here which actually is oppressed. I am glad to hear you aren't one of them but you can't deny that there aren't women who've faced the above.

      I would really like if you could enlighten me on your religion and change my views. :)

    2. calling my holy book vile, will obviously offend me.
      Okay so some women suffer but thats only because their men are extremists and you cannot deny the fact that there are extremists in every religion and circle of life.
      But you really do have to admit that it's mostly only Islam that enrages people.
      Every religion is different, it has it's up and downs. And you are entitled to your opinion but kindly respects its norms. You cannot just base your opinion on what you have read in novels, since not all bits of non-fiction are true, theres always something made up. And in extremeing we forget that there is a medium.

      Just please kindly respect the religions. No hard feelings, I was just trying to make my point.

    3. Absolutely. I understand.
      I'm not a very religious person so i never thought of it that way. I Apologize again!

  3. I am neither a Muslim nor very religious, but I guess there are white and black regions in every sect. Take for example the recent fatwa issued against the all-girl band 'Pragaash' from Kashmir. On one side, we have the clerics baying for their blood, and at the same time we have Omar Abdullah lending his (ineffective) support to them.

    1. See exactly my point. According to those people, singing and dancing is un-Islamic. They are deviations from the Islamic way of life.

      Its all a little senseless if you ask me. There are so many things to deal with in Kashmir already, but you are issuing fatwas against teenagers for pursuing their passion in music!

    2. And ironically, of all places, Iran, the birthplace of Ayatollah Khomeini's Islamic revolution, has an all-women band too. If an ultra conservative country like Iran has no problems, I don't see why the clerics in Kashmir are so hot and bothered.

  4. The point is,Diksha,that if a certain group of people tend to hide their crimes through Islam,you can't convict the religion for that.And the ayah mentioned above are being used out of context.The psychology behind these orders is pretty deep and true.But you have to be open minded to study them.I remember a quote that says something like "Perception is greater than reality"Don't go for perception.Find the truth and reality.There is a reason why still millions of Muslims gather every year in Makkah and that Islam is the fastest spreading religion in Europe.Discover the reality and you'll be amazed.Don't pre judge.Bye

    1. I'm amazed by your outlook. I will definitely try and learn more about the religion. May be i haven't been too fair after all.

  5. Every religion right now is not the religion itself, but its interpretation after (at least) a few hundred years, not by truly religious people but by people who can influence others.

    I am sure Islam has lots of good things to say when it comes to women, but IMO the leadership in that religion likes to ignore these things at will.

    Most of the times when we try to influence someone, one of the simplest narratives is that of a hero and a villain. And when the villain is somebody (supposedly) weak and in your own home, and you are made the hero, lets just say it becomes very easy to get you to do what they (the leadership) want.

    It is for the same reason that in many contexts, the best way to show your love for something is to show your hate for something else. For example, any debate on politics/religion/sex/regionalism etc that you have had with friends falls under this. Being a leftist means hating the rightists and all.

    I think there is no substitute for actually talking to people following a religion. Books/internet/media normally have their own perspective.


    Btw, I landed on your blog somewhere from Arpit Rastogi and sethTheWizKid's blogs. You have got a great blog going.

  6. Now that I remember there was a woman who ran for Saudi with a hijab on in the Olympics. Her time was so terrible, many 9 or 10 year old girls could easily beat her... It's terrible. A fit person could beat her quickly jogging. Just look at the hilarity of her next to the other athletes, also how pissed off the other women look. She was heavily applauded, but I mean... As someone who used to be a serious athlete.. It's laughable. She was a spectacle. She stands for why women should not wear those ridiculous garments. A 2:44.9 is a horrible time in the 800m.