Journal entry Essay Example

5Islam and Gender


Week 1- The Gender and Religion Journal

Having researched about the relationship between religion and gender, I am inclined to say that religion in the world today is mostly characterized by sex differentiation — and Islam is not an exception. In Islam, for example, I feel that the status of women in society is greatly influenced by its institutional and cultural set up in the community. Women bear the brunt of an oppressive patriarchal society which is a creation of religion. They are treated unequally in relation to the men in the society (King 1995).          

In this respect, I have observed that Islam maintains some form of male dominance where the womenfolk are relegated to only participate in religious and family life. Their voice in society is not heard because of the patriarchal nature of Islamic societies (Riffat 2004)). Women are respected only as mothers and wives but do not enjoy total equality with men. Looking at the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book, I find many instances in its writings where it endorses the oppression of women. Since the medieval period, it endorses plural marriage where women are the victims. Other endorsements which alienate the women from the society include wife beating, and the veiling and seclusion of women (Okon 2013).         

In my view, Islam has prescribed a lower gender status to women as opposed to their male counterparts who dominate important issues in society. It provides that men should have authority over women because God created them to be superior. In this regard, women are compelled by religion to obey their male counterparts because they use their wealth to maintain them. Any woman who disobeys this decree by the Holy Book is liable to punishment. This is a form of oppression that is gender specific and one that is prescribed by religion (Foley 2004)         

Week 4 — The Secular Feminism and Islamic Feminism Journal

There has been much debate about the concepts of secular feminism and Islamic feminism. This debate prompted me to look deeply at the two concepts and find out their inherent differences and whether they are mutually exclusive. To me, the major difference is solely based on religious beliefs. Islamic feminism is an integration of Islam and feminism which is practiced or discussed within the Islamic context. All arguments regarding this concept are anchored in Islamic teachings. This discourse aims at attaining gender equality for both men and women in all spheres of life. I agree with many Islamic scholars who view it to be more radical in nature because its principles are well grounded in the Islamic faith.         

         On the other hand, I associate secular feminism with the imposition of western culture on issues related to gender equality. This type of feminism recognizes the importance of religion and religious differences but does not use it as its guiding framework. It is therefore non-religious in nature and respects the rights of everyone.

I am of the view that the two are not mutually exclusive because both of them agree on certain aspects. They agree on the need for gender equality of all sexes although Islamic feminism is somehow limited in its scope because of religious beliefs and principles. Secular feminism is not bound by any specific rules or conditions because it represents a dynamic cultural inclination. Therefore, it is important to note that these concepts emerged as a result of the feeling of gender inequality by women who wanted to liberate themselves from the chains of a patriarchal society (Ahmed-Ghosh 2008). My view is that both these concepts should be merged and a hybrid type of feminism created which is able to complement both these concepts so that they can work together.         

Week 6 — The Feminism and Quran Readings Journal

Should the Qur’an be read from historical contextualization when it comes to issues on feminism?  I feel that this question is debatable since there are proponents to this school of thought and others who oppose it. Most feminists will argue that this is the best way of advocating for women’s rights in the Islamic context. I totally agree with this viewpoint that argues that the Quran should be read from a historical contextual view especially when it comes to women’s rights and other social issues. It is only by this way that one can be able to deduce different interpretations. There are contexts in the Quran which are radical in nature while others are reformist. By reading it in historical context, opportunities for positive change can be created where one can use the reformist contexts to align his arguments with the present needs. One can be able to replace radical contextual arguments with reformist arguments (Moghadam 1991).         

I can give the example of polygamy as a cultural practice that is endorsed by the Quran. This cultural practice is legal in most Islamic countries because it is a prescription of the Quran.  I have heard most people arguing that the practice of polygamy in Islam cannot be disputed because it is allowed in the Quran. However, this argument can be put to rest when one uses this cultural practice to show how it transgresses on the rights of women which go against the spirit of equality in Islam. By using this line of argument, one cannot only prove that the practice is oppressive but can also point out sections of the Quran where this argument is based. This is why I strongly advocate reading the Quran on a historical contextualization at the time the verse in question is revealed (Peach 2006).        


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Riffat, H. 2004. “Are Human Rights Compatible with Islam? The Issue of the Rights of
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Okon, E. 2013, The Status of Woman in Islam.
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Moghadam, V. 1991, The Reproduction of Gender Inequality in Muslim Societies: AIOSR Journal of Humanities and Social
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Peach, C. 2006, Islam, ethnicity and South Asian Religions in the London 2001 census.
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       Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers,   Sarif, F. 2014, Tawhidic Paradigm and Organizational Policy and Strategy Practices.
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       South East Asia Journal of Contemporary Business, Economics and Law,   Vol. 5, Issue     

         2 (Dec.)