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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 7 Jun 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Women and the Ethics of Slaves

By Mujahed Abdul Mutaali

Jun 6, 2016

Why do various religious groups and ideologues consider women’s rights as a matter of perennial conflict?

In fact, women play an important role in society. Being the nucleus of the family and its social identity, woman is the absolute mirror of our ethics and morality without any exaggeration.

Let’s analyze the pathetic condition of women in our society and the justifications some pundits give for this perilous state of affairs.

In the past, women were treated as slaves. People used to abduct women and sell them in the slave market. We can imagine how horrible were the life of women in those days. The age of slavery has ended but some men and women still behave like slaves. What is weird is they claim to follow the instructions of religious scholars, who are their new masters. This new slavery imposed by the so-called men of religion has weakened the confidence of free people.

Strong moral principles and a noble nature differentiate the free man from a slave. While determining punishment, the Shariah has given concessions to slaves because they lack the freedom and power to take independent decisions as they are obliged to act in accordance with the will of their masters. On the other hand, a free man will get the full punishment because he commits mistakes on his own free will.

I have given this introduction to highlight the fact that some religious scholars have nurtured a kind of slave mentality while dealing with women’s rights.

This enslavement process has continued over a long period in the name of religion, eventually leading to the creation of an integrated system to control women through prevention, incrimination, observation and punishment. As a result, male and female cousins cannot see each other during Eid festivities, weddings or funerals, even if they are in their 50s or 60s. Because of this, many men start to look at their female cousins with contempt when they reach the age of puberty. They also consider the Hijab as a concrete barrier to segregate men and women, as if the religion has come to create fission between people and build societies devoid of passion, nobility and human values.

The ethics of slaves will not condemn such religious rulings as fathers should not stay alone with their daughters because they consider these Fatwas as essential to prevent possible temptations for incest. The slave ethics demands continuous supervision of every action. Slaves always need punishment to deter them when free people need only signals.

The slave ethics demands stringent Fatwas and prohibitions on every issue but free people will not seek such rigidity in life. A slave only understands the meaning of fear perpetrated by punishment. Slaves can be proud of the halters in their necks because they don’t believe in nobility and freedom.

Many Salafi ideologists disowned their revered predecessor Sheikh Muhammad Nasiruddin Albani when he went against the traditional view of Hijab to say that there was no base in religion for women to cover their faces and the base is to bare faces. From this, intelligent people understood that the crisis arose not because of evidence in Islamic jurisprudence but because some religious masters wanted to impose their whims on their followers.

Those who consider their followers as salves impose all sorts of bans, restrictions and prohibitions to control them, giving false pretexts. On the other hand, those who respect the freedom of people present convincing ideas in the light of Qur’an and Sunnah, and without adding new things to the divine religion or describing people with opposing views as infidels.

In an incident some 40 years ago, a man complained about his wife, who was from a region where people follow the Shafie School, for not covering her face while meeting close relatives and not closing the door in front of other relatives. The woman’s relatives asked the man to apologize for asking his wife to close the door in front of her relatives because her tribe considered it as shameful. But the Salafist scholar whom the man approached for a fatwa said his wife and her relatives were wrong.

Now let’s discuss the situation of free people living among the slaves. It is as if falcons among crows. The latter express their jealousy by shooting at the male gynaecologist. A free man on the other hand acts reasonably without getting too emotional. Religious leaders promote this bullish jealousy through Fatwas as they think any woman could fall into the trap of immorality in the wink of an eye.

Free people are not angels and are ought to make mistakes. But they stop doing mistakes as soon as they realize it and seek God’s pardon. For them, making mistakes is not the norm. As for the modern slaves, committing mistakes is their nature or routine practice and they do it whenever a chance arose.

We have seen attempts by men of religion to treat women like animals by approving harassment of women who bare their face or use perfume while going out of their homes.