Doubts

So I’ve been having some trouble with the idea of Islamic feminism lately.  I know I posted about it on my old blog and said that I thought there is no contradiction between the two, but I’m starting to have some doubts.  I think it all depends on how you define feminism – if it means men and women doing the same things and being treated the same, then no, Islam cannot be seen as a religion that gives women the same roles and responsibilities as men.  But if you define feminism as men and women being valued equally, regardless of the roles or responsibilities, then yes, one could argue that Islam sees men and women equally. Because the Qur’an does state that in terms of piety, men and women are judged and valued equally.

But things like polygamy, men inheriting twice as much as women, and two female witnesses equalling one male one are all things I’m still having trouble with. On the one hand, I hear Muslims telling me to accept these things and stop seeing them from a “Western perspective” or as oppressive to women. On the other hand, I hear Westerners saying that there is no way a religion that allows polygamy and unequal inheritance can ever be reconciled with feminism.

I do appreciate the fact that feminism is largely determined by Western ideas of gender and gender equality, and I am definitely aware of the fact that Western feminism was extremely racist and thus difficult to apply to non-white women.  At the same time, I know many Muslim women who are also uncomfortable with the idea that the Qur’an gives men more rights than women.

Even if we argue, like Muhammad Abduh did, that polygamy no longer serves any function today and so should be banned, we cannot ignore the fact that it is in the Qur’an.  And to be very honest, I’m having a little trouble with that.

Just to clarify – this is in no way making me doubt God or the Qur’an. I’m just trying to understand why polygamy is in the Qur’an, how we should deal with that today, and how it relates to my being a feminist. I guess my question is, do I have to choose between being a Muslim and being a feminist? I know for sure I would choose the former. But is the choice necessary to begin with?

Does anyone have any advice they could share (in a nice way)? Did anyone else go through this process?

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71 thoughts on “Doubts

  1. The only issue I have with women’s role in the Quran is the 2 witnesses thing. Even if it is only in the case of financial transaction which is the interpretation of some of the less conservative scholars, it still doesn’t make sense and is pretty much inapplicable in today’s society.
    This leads me to believe that some things in the Quran have to be taken in the context of the cultural norms in which it was revealed and may not apply to us today. Of course this is an uncomfortable and precarious position and one that I haven’t yet fully reconciled with.
    I don’t have as much of an issue with polygamy personally because I’ve made it clear that I won’t put up with it and my husband jsut scoffs at the idea of having another wife anyway. It’s infuriating that some men abuse it, but I can also see some positive things in it as well.
    I wouldn’t call myself a feminist because of some of the negative connotations associated with the word and movement (which was discussed in the previous post you mentioned). But I do unequivocally believe a woman has a right to self determination and I don’t believe Islam stands in the way of that belief, although some interpretations and implementations of it do.

    • Although I know I would never tolerate polygamy, it still bothers me that it is in the Qur’an…I think on a symbolic level.

      “This leads me to believe that some things in the Quran have to be taken in the context of the cultural norms in which it was revealed and may not apply to us today.”

      You’re right, that is definitely an uncomfortable position. But hey, we apply this to slavery so why not to things that have to do with women?

  2. Only thing I can say about polygamy is it seems in the Qur’an it was intended for either A) how Muhammad used it aka to bring tribes together. And he had the ability to treat them all very well and equally. or B) in a time of war with a lot of widows in need of help where the man can care for them equally. EQUALLY is the key word.

    But as we know, this is not how it is being used today.

    I have issues with the same things you mentioned. Why 2 women, not 1? Why do we inherit less? Is it because our husbands are expected to take care of us so the sons would need more money?

    Although we could chock it up to translation errors….but I dont think that is the case here.

    • I think the inheritance thing made sense back then, when men were usually 100% financially responsible for their families. However this is rarely the case anywhere in the world today.

      And yeah I don’t think translation errors can be blamed for these cases 😦

  3. Cairo: But families don’t necessarily HAVE to give their daughter’s less. They are just not required to give them the same…at least that is how i understood it. Its not fair either way really because now days we all work, man and woman.

  4. My issue has more to do with the whole homosexuality issue.. I cannot bring myself to believe it is a sin, but it is in the Quran as such..

    As far as feminism, I think being a feminist means being radical in ANY religion.. All monotheistic religion is patriarchal, and all monotheistic interpretations have airs of men’s superiority over women.. So do we reject it entirely or do we decide we are going to practice the way we believe in our hearts?

    I have a problem with this whole “equality debate” because the roles defined by Islam do not make sense for me, at least not in my life. Equal but different versus equal on all levels…. hmmmmm…

    In my life, I am completely equal with my husband, there is nothing he does that I don’t do.. I am not saying this because this is something I strived for or insist on, but this is how my life has ended up.. For example, I work full time at the same type of job, in the financial industry, as my husband. I make more money, and I work just as many hours.. I do any of the things my husband does, we are a lot alike.. I don’t think men and women are so different to be honest. We try to share the household duties because why wouldn’t we?!?!?! I bust my ass all day, but because I have a vagina I am supposed to come home and cook, clean, do the laundry and take care of the kids while he sits on the couch?

    I work the way I do because in America dual income is almost needed to make a living with another person, so yes, on all levels my husband and I are equals.. Why shouldn’t we be equals socially also? What reason is there that we should not be equal on all levels?

    I have many doubts also, because my life makes me have doubts about how some people think Islam should be..

    I got discouraged for a while because a guy said to me “as long as you are a feminist and believe in homosexual’s civil rights you cannot be a Muslim. Stop trying to reconcile it.. You can’t”

    Well, I am still trying to reconcile it.. This is my life.. Homosexuals are my friends, and I am a feminist by default, because if I wasn’t it would mean that I don’t support my own way of life.. Does this mean I cannot be a “real” Muslim?

    • “The roles defined by Islam do not make sense for me, at least not in my life.”

      I can totally relate and I think many Muslim women can as well. Times have changed and the million dollar question is and will always be – do we change Islam to fit today, or do we change to fit Islam?

      My problem is more to do with the fact that no amount of interpretation can change the fact that there are rules in the Qur’an that put women at a disadvantage in today’s world when they are applies, e.g. the inheritance rule. Even setting polygamy aside, the inheritance and witness rules are pretty difficult to reconcile with equality.

  5. CLA, why do you say that if you had to choose between being a Muslim and a feminist you would choose to be a Muslim?

    There are two kinds of Muslims. The first says, I am a Muslim and I will die a Muslim, no matter what. True or false, right or wrong, I don’t care; I will never change.

    The second kind is open to consider whether Islam is true or false, and will entertain the possibility of leaving it if they become convinced that is the case.

    Please, don’t be so quick to put yourself in the first category.

    • I would never put myself in the first category. Faith is the most important thing in my life, and I would give up anything for that – that doesn’t mean I don’t *care* about what’s right/wrong etc.

      If I ever became convinced Islam was wrong, then I would leave it. But that has not happened until now. Re. polygamy etc, I am trying to understand why the Qur’an says the things it says – I’m not trying to find things that disprove the Qur’an or God.

  6. Islam doesn’t say that homoxesuality is a sin, only if you act on your attraction/desires, in that case it would be also considered fornication because it’s sex outside marriage.Having bad thoughts is not considered a sin in Islam unless you act on it.
    Even today in a lot of muslim countries,the males in the families are required to take care financially of the females.In my husband’s family it’s still like that.The divorced woman goes back home and is supported by her brothers if her father is old or deceased.The same for spinsters and widows,that’s the reason for the difference in inheritance.

    • “Islam doesn’t say that homoxesuality is a sin, only if you act on your attraction/desires.”

      That’s not a very nice life for homosexuals though, is it?

      From my experience in Egypt, it was usually the woman who was responsible financially for the family, if not partly then fully.

  7. The fact that questions of whether women are viewed as equal or less than in Islam should be a red flag right there. Because there are doubts…there are questions….which all by itself is the answer in my opinion.

  8. Sarah homosexuel acts are as gross and as horrible for a muslim as pedophila is for westerners. Its a sin against nature and against Allah. If you think about it:
    Both Allah and nature (evolution) say that you should marry and give birth to children. That you should spread your genes. How can that be done in a natural way if your homosexual?
    When you see media today and how western nations have allowed homosexuality, you see a big and great dekadens. I have homosexual friends too, but they know i feel they are wrong, they know that they wont start a discussion about its validity or a discussion of if its good or bad. The Quran is strict in this matter, the Prophets words are pretty clear and so are the hadiths.

    Cairo i think you have to define your feminism in a new way, in a more “muslim” way. there are fanatic feminists, who degrade men, there are feminists who only want more rights for women, there are as many differend groups of feminists as there are differend muslim groups.

    • “Homosexuel acts are as gross and as horrible for a muslim as pedophila is for westerners.”

      I don’t think that’s true…

      I think you are right about defining feminism. I think I’m currently going through a process that will leave me with a whole new type of feminism.

  9. Bahlool,

    I think your right about the many many variations of feminism.. I think the word “feminist” is given a bad name because we are all lumped into one category and perceived as only one way, usually the man hating way, which is completely wrong in my opinion.. We need more male feminists!! LOL

    As far as homosexuality goes, I just can’t see myself judging someone who is not harming me, or others.. They are adults, they can do what they want, who are we to lay judgment on them? I have no idea what it is like to be gay so I am not going to presume to be the all knowing… I just don’t see it as my business. Point blank.

    I am not God, I am a human being who believes in compassion, empathy, and unconditional love. What if your child was gay? Would you ruin their lives trying to make them something they are not, or would you accept them for who they are and love them anyways? To love despite yourself… Would you be that strong?

    Which is more pious? To love despite, or to despise because of….

    Why is it that religion is the cause of so much pain for so many people?

  10. I feel completely fine about polygamy in the Qur’an. I don’t think it should be outlawed because it’s just not illegal by the Qur’an. Definitely though, I think people should be educated about why polygamy is legal in Islam to better be able to know if they should have it for themselves or not. Both for the men and the women. They will have to deal with the consequences if they do it for the wrong reasons…

    And I consider myself a feminist and a Muslim and I see no contradiction. To me, feminism is fighting for our rights and fighting for equality. It doesn’t matter if my definition of equal is a tiny bit different than most people who call themselves feminist. The fact is that men have taken our rights in Islam and that there is work to be done for us to be equal as we should be. And for believing in that, I am a feminist.

    • “I don’t think it should be outlawed because it’s just not illegal by the Qur’an.”

      But then what about slavery?

      “I think people should be educated about why polygamy is legal in Islam to better be able to know if they should have it for themselves or not.”

      But who decides what the right reasons are?

      “It doesn’t matter if my definition of equal is a tiny bit different than most people who call themselves feminist.”

      That’s the only solution I see now – defining equality differently. But I feel uncomfortable with that.

  11. Sarah Elizabeth: About homosexuality, I am also trying to find exactly where I stand on the issue. I definitely don’t think that our impulses (like impulses towards the same sex) is a sin. And I don’t feel anything negative or sinful about 2 homosexuals being in a committed relationship (like a marriage) and being to each other exactly what husband and wife are… And I feel the same way about gays being promiscuous as I do about straights being promiscuous…

  12. You can be Muslim and feminist at the same time by fighting for the rights that women DO have and are supposed to have according to Islam and don’t have.

    You can put polygamy to one side and fight for the right for the right for women to drive (in Saudi Arabia), divorce, work, less harsh “criminal justice” against-women friendlier penal systems, women being allowed to choose their husband, no child marriage, social mobility and active participation and all of those other things that they are supposed to have and dont have in Islamic countries.This way you are still feminist and still Muslim.

    Regarding Polygamy – in a purely reproductive sense polygamy advantages our offspring – more than one woman can have the best sperm and genes for her child. So, by putting love, companionship and intimate friendship aside, and looking from the perspective of an animal that needs to provide her offspring with the best chances of survival in life: polygamy means more good genes to go around – this is how it works in the animal kingdom already. From this perspective, monogamy actually advantages men: even the weedy weaklings with half a brain will get a woman at some stage. So I guess you could (if you wanted to) look at it that way. I personally dont and cant look at it that way – but I hope it helps.

    • “You can be Muslim and feminist at the same time by fighting for the rights that women DO have and are supposed to have according to Islam and don’t have.”

      Good point! I do try and focus on that, but there’s always a nagging voice in my head reminding me of the rights women don’t have.

  13. Yes, I have struggled with those very issues, and still do, too, to be honest. Not everything makes sense to me, or sits with me perfectly, but why should it? Who am I? If it sits well with me, it sure won’t for someone else. I believe that God establishes these laws with pure justice and reason, and that reasoning may come easier/quicker to some than others. Alhamdullillah, in Islam we are given the RIGHT to ask questions, debate, ponder, challenge, reflect, etc. unlike other religions… I don’t really feel like I”m articulating my thoughts on this subject exactly, but I hope you get the jist of what I’m saying.

    • “Yes, I have struggled with those very issues, and still do, too, to be honest.”

      Hearing that makes me feel a lot better, just knowing I’m not the only one!

      “If it sits well with me, it sure won’t for someone else.”

      That’s a really good point…and like you said, it is important to remember that God is just. That’s why I never feel like I am losing faith in God when I question things in Islam. And I think I need to accept that there are things in the Qur’an we may never understand the purpose of.

  14. Umm Omar said “if it sits well with me, it sure won’t for someone else” maybe that’s the key. Maybe one rule might suit one woman but it won’t suit the other – but it’s there for those women who want it? I feel like I’m oversimplifying everything by writing that but it seems to make sense to me.

    I don’t think polygamy needs to be banned… God himself says to men that it is unlikely they will be able to be equal with more than one wife so it is better to marry one. I think the real issue with polygamy is not to do with the Qur’an. It is about how we as humans interpret it and how we apply it to our lives – e.g. marrying more than one wife *while acknowledging* that you won’t be able to deal justly and equally with them. The Qur’an states that in that case it is better to marry one but do we listen and apply that? No. All we hear is the first thing, we don’t stick around to listen to the rest of it.
    To be honest I don’t think I can explain the two witnesses thing. I’m still not sure of that myself. As for inheritance… the only way it fits for me is the way you’ve heard a billion times lol.

    I think that in terms of being a Muslim feminist, yes you can be both. I know you’ve done this but why don’t you revisit the life of Khadija (as) or Fatima (as) or even Zainab (as)? Look again they lives and how they applied the Qur’an to it. E.G. Fatima (as) had a “slave” (don’t think this is the right word) but she had one day off and one day working, so did the “slave”. They did equal work and had equal time off. I will add here that Imam Ali (as) also had chores that he did around the house. Or what about Khadija (as) who successfully ran her own business but gave up her worldly comforts to worship God and be an example to other women? Or even Zainab (as) who had the first majalis (commemoration of Karbala) in the court of a tyrant? Majalis’ continue to this day, every year, across countries and cities because of her.

    It’s idealistic, sure, to believe that *we had this once and can have it again* but I’d much rather be an idealist than a realist, at least with these issues.

    • It is either that the Qur’an says we can marry more than one woman OR that we can’t…so if the Qur’an is saying it is impossible to treat the 4 women equally and so don’t do it – then the Qur’an is effectively banning polygamy. But it can’t be both ways.

      Khadija is a good role model but then again, she was not raised under Islam…she converted when she was much older so I always wonder whether her independence had more to do with wealth and status than Islam?

      Another thing is the fact that out of Islamic history we can only come up with what, 6 women? It’s nice to look up to them but then again, they are so few in number it’s sad 😦

      • I don’t think it’s saying it is impossible, you know that the Qur’an is generally not black and white (unfortunately lol). It says “but if you fear you cannot deal equally with them, then it is better to marry only one” or something to that effect. So that actually supports what you’re trying to say (or what I think I am getting from this?) – that polygamy is OK in certain circumstances (that may or may not apply currently) but not when it’s just for getting a younger, hotter version of your wife that you’ll spend all your time with.

        I don’t think Khadija’s (as) independence comes from not being Muslim before… I don’t know her full history but to me she seems the kind of woman that would understand how to apply Islam to her life. Plus she had the Prophet (pbuh&hf) as her guide. That says something to me: that the Prophet of Islam did NOT limit his wife, nor make her disadvantaged in any way. And he was said to have lived by the Qur’an.

        I think I could come up with over 6 women though 🙂 But in the overall scheme of things, yes Muslim women are definitely under represented and it is sad. But (and pleeeeease forgive me if I sound horrible here Sara!!!) that’s the reality now and staying sad about it will only make things worse for you. Be idealistic! I know you love Islam, so fight for it. Even if one woman reads your blog, for example, and realises that something she wants to do is not against Islam then you’ve changed a person and that is not a small thing.

        • You’re right…Muslim women are under represented but women in general are under represented. I do strongly believe that the Qur’an and God value women equally but sometimes when I hear too many conservative/orthodox/traditionalist Muslims talk about women, I really start thinking about all these issues. Allahu a’lam.

  15. There are many impulses a person feels. I can feel an impulse to hit someone. There are impulses that atract me to bad girls, impulses that atract me to hurt people, there are people who have impulses that make them get atracted to animals, to sex with differend partners, to sex with children and so forth. According to your logic, i should accept those impulses because my partner and i feel comfortable with them?
    Allah tests us all, if someone is born or thinks he or she is born with atraction towards the same sex, then he or she have to fight it. I find it very weird that you guys go against the written laws of Allah and try to accept such behaviour.
    Homosexuality goes against the laws of all religions and especially in islam its forbidden. According to hadiths and sunnah such behaviour is seen as a crime.
    Seems a lot of you have issues with basic islam, so the question is why stay muslim? There are a lot of differend sects and a lot of differend views in the world, and you can probably make your own little religion there you believe in one god and his Prophet but pick the parts of islam that you like, like new sharialaws, a new view on homosexuality and so forth.

    Islam is not the modern christianity, you cant just pick and choose as you like, just cause there are things you feel are unmodern or dont suit you. islam is perfected.

    So you guys have issues with the hudud punishments for unfaithfulness? How about the hududlaws for stealing and murder? I think the western thinking has influensed you way too much..

    As for slavery contra polygami.
    The prophet and the hadiths and the Prophets sunnah were clear. You were a better muslim if you released slaved, or freed them. But the muslim system works so that it takes time to remove certain aspects or certain behaviour.
    Many muslim countries dont have socialwelfare, if polygami was forbidden many women would not find a partner and would not be able to be taken care of…

    • Bahlool I don’t understand why you feel it is okay to say things like “why are you still Muslim”. Seriously, it is very disrespectful! I don’t know how you learnt about Islam but to me I see hundreds of different interpretations, and I don’t see why your orthodox traditional one is the best?

      “Seems a lot of you have issues with basic islam, so the question is why stay muslim?”

      Even what you say is “basic Islam” is not common to all scholars and ‘ulama. Even traditional ones disagree on many things, including who can practice polygamy and why; and including male-female inheritance.

      Also your comment about polygamy doesn’t make since since in MOST Muslim countries polygamy rates are VERY low…so continuing polygamy as a means of social welfare doesn’t cut it.

      So please, think twice before asking people why they are still Muslim or before assuming your version of Islam is better than others.

  16. “Homosexuel acts are as gross and as horrible for a muslim as pedophila is for westerners.”

    I don’t think that’s true…

    you wont find many muslims who share your liberal views on homosexuals. They are gross or seen as criminals in the muslim world. Same goes for the status in many african and south american countries. Only few nations and mostly western countries accept or defend their “rights”. 30 years ago they were seen as sick or criminal in the west too.. The people of Prophet Lot are criminals under the laws of islam, this has nothing to do with orthodoxy or with fanatism, but with basic islamic thinking.

  17. “you wont find many muslims who share your liberal views on homosexuals.”

    I also don’t find many Muslims who share my views on gender equality – does that mean these views are wrong?

    “30 years ago they were seen as sick or criminal in the west too.”

    30 years ago women were seen as inferior to men in the West too. Thank God they moved past that, right? Oh right, but when it comes to homosexuals it is a different story…

  18. Bahlool,

    I get tired just reading your argument. I can only say I blatantly disagree with your superiority complex.

    But I am Western, so yea, heavily influenced by the God forsaken west, I’m off to go burn in hell..

    Have fun with your ‘social welfare’ programs.. I pray you never lead a country.

  19. Time and time again I wonder to my self “why is it that those who claim to be the most religious are also the most rigid and hateful?”

    It is a tad hypocritical, and so opposite of how it seems religion should make a person…

    Not surprising, or unpredictable, I must say.

  20. I keep coming to leave a comment, then deciding not to… but I’ve finally thought of something to say that I hope I will not be hated by anyone for. 😉

    I think when it comes to the beliefs that support feminism, these beliefs should be informed by science.

    To quote from the introduction of “Why men don’t listen and women can’t read maps” by Allan and Barbara Pease:

    “… men and women are different. Not better or worse – just different. Scientists, anthropologists and sociobiologists have known this for years, but they have also been painfully aware that to express this knowledge publicly in such a politically correct world could turn them into social pariahs. Society today is determined to believe that men and women possess exactly the same skills, attributes, and potentials – just as science, ironically, is beginning to prove they are completely different.”

    It’s not a very academic book, but it makes a good point here. We should not be so determined to believe anything about men and women without proper evidence.

    Values – such as the desire for equality of opportunities – are a different matter: values in general are not determined by science, but by what we find desirable. But beliefs should be based on evidence.

    This is important because beliefs affect things like policies. For example, if we believe that men and women have the same skills and abilities, then we should expect equal numbers of men and women in every job type, and we might even create a policy that forces employers to hire equal numbers of men and women. This is quite possibly a wrong belief, and my opinion is that we shouldn’t just believe what we want to believe, but we should believe what the evidence tells us.

    • Interesting comment. The problem is – what is proper evidence? Like Sarah Elizabeth pointed out, science is not objective or value-free and has been used time and time again to oppress people. So even science is not enough to look to as a determinant of gender roles.

      So I agree that beliefs should be questioned and backed up, but there are different views on what proper evidence is.

      • Science at least tries to be objective and account for human bias, unlike a lot of other thought systems based on culture or speculation etc.

        I didn’t say science should determine gender roles – but it has something to say on the natures of men and women, albeit not with 100% confidence.

        • That’s a really good point Sarah – science does try to be objective and this does make it different from many other systems of thought.

          I think I misunderstood then, I thought you were saying in the end we should rely on science to understand gender roles. Sorry!! Yes, I definitely agree that science has a lot to say on the natures of men and women and I think it can be used effectively to dilute radical or extreme interpretations of Islam for example. The fact that science shows that women do not have a higher sex drive than men is one way of countering the ridiculous argument many Muslims use to seclude and oppress women, which is that women have high sex drives and need to be controlled. So I definitely agree that to understand the nature of men and women, science is an important tool.

                  • I guess I should have stressed that although science must inform us about the nature of men and women, it does not dictate what is “right” for men/women. It seems I had you all thinking I was a scientific fundamentalist! 😀

                    In my view, what is “right” for anyone is just whatever is beneficial and doesn’t hurt anyone. If a particular man can take another wife without hurting anyone, it’s right for him to do that. If it benefits a particular woman to work in construction, and doesn’t hurt anyone, then that’s right for her. That’s just my value judgment but probably a lot of people have similar views.

                    The only part science plays is to say something about what our skills/attributes are likely to be, for each gender. This is important though, because if culture tells me I am likely to be bad at driving, and religion tells me I am not likely to be a reliable witness, science might disprove these and give me more confidence about them. Or it might not. 🙂 But I’d rather hear it from science either way. (Maintaining a bit of healthy scepticism about the results, of course.)

                    • LOL @ scientific fundamentalist 😛

                      I think you’ve just given me a new way of looking at polygamy in the Qur’an. My problem is I keep imposing my own value judgements on the Qur’an…so because I would never want to be in a polygamous relationship I assume no other woman would want it. But like you said, some people might be okay with it. And I agree with you that as long as it is not hurting anyone, then there should be so problem.

  21. Cairo:
    The Quran is pretty clear. Sharia is pretty clear. Hadith is pretty clear. The Prophet and hte sahaba are pretty clear. Homosexuality is a crime and is punishable.
    There are many issues in islam that you can reinvent or change depending on the passing of time, homosexuality is not one of them.
    The Quran says it clearly, Muhammed didnt speak out of his own whims, all he said, came from Allah. So if the Quran says Allah punished Lots people due to their behavour, then i find it weird that you compare the change of women inferiourity with the view on homosexuality.
    Do you believe the Quran is Allahs word? Do you know the ayahs refering to Lots people and that homosexuality is wrong and a crime against Allah? If you believe the Quran is Allahs words and if you know those ayahs, then there is no discussion. Allah has decreed what he thinks of the people of Lot. Those are not my words, or the words of ulamaa or the words of the majority of muslims or the words of the Prophet Muhammed, but the words of Allah. So why even consider the fact that this would be changed?

    As for other muslims views on gender equality, yeah they are wrong IF they go against the words of Allah. I dont really bother with what muslims say, what i care for is what does Allah say and as i think the Quran is his word, and his work, then there is no discussion for me, homosexuality is a crime and its punishable with death.

    • Yes, there is no doubt the Qur’an says that. That’s not what I am arguing. The Qur’an also does not forbid slavery and yet we, MAN, have forbidden it. So it is not always so black and white when it comes to applying things in the Qur’an. And yes, it was clear that God did not want people to own slave, but it also seems clear that God sees monogamy as the ideal type of marriage and yet what do you think would happen if MAN tried to forbid polygamy?

  22. Sarah, its not my problem you dont know about islam. Islam is not christianity where you can pick and choose what you take and what you dont take. The Prophet has made it pretty clear that the people of knowledge know best, and the people of knowledge are the ulamaa. If you like it or not is not my problem. What religion you choose is not my problem. I am explaining to you what the Quran says, if you take it to yourself and learn or if you get “tired” is not my problem either.
    Certain issues are discussed on a daily basis and the muslims differ in their view but all ulamaa who matter, and all the muslims who believe in the Quran and that its the words of Allah are pretty clear. Homosexuality and the acting after their preferences is unlawful, haram and punishable by death in a shariacountry.
    So i ask again, why are you muslim if you get annoyed by facts? This is not something i have made up or that muslims have made up, but these are the words of the Quran and of the Prophet. Why choose a religion that is so clear in this issue?

    “Time and time again I wonder to my self “why is it that those who claim to be the most religious are also the most rigid and hateful?”

    It is a tad hypocritical, and so opposite of how it seems religion should make a person…

    Not surprising, or unpredictable, I must say

    This is so stupid that it amazes me that it comes from a grown up person.
    I dont claim anything, i am anything but a good muslim and i am not too religious, but i write bout islam, i study islam and i discuss islam on a daily basis. I can tell you that this is what islam says, what shias and sunnis and sufis say, this is what the Prophet has said. Show me a single ayah in the Quran that defends homosexuality, or a hadith that defends this action.
    I can return the action. Time after time i have to ask myself, why is it that converts try to change islam, instead of realising that they have to change their own views and own habits and their own thinking.

    I hate wahabis, i hate Israel and i hate those who have hurt or hur innocent people. I dont hate homosexuals and what they do in bed is of no concern to me, but its clear that their action are haram and seen as a crime according to islamic rules.
    Me running a country? rofl…of course you dont like that idea..its better with the kings and presidents of muslim countries..who are ruled by the western countries who themselves rule the stupid masses.
    Some years ago over 60% of the americans supported the masskillng of muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan..and they chose a person like Bush and Obama to be their leaders..of course i am no match compared to them and i understand you prefer them 😉

    It amazes me how hostile you get just because i explain to you how islam sees this issue, how the Quran sees this issue..sigh..

  23. Bahlool,

    Excellent reply, excellent point.

    And this is my problem. I think you are right that I am trying to shape Islam into something that I can believe in, have faith in, stand up for, and value as something beautiful. It is not that I have not learned, it is that I have learned but I find myself loving parts, rejecting others.. I don’t think it is within my power to NOT pick and choose, because if I had to do that I think I would reject it entirely, and I am not ready to do that yet.

    I keep running into Muslims like you, who follow the religion literally, and I wonder to myself if truly religion just is not for me. Because I cannot follow it literally. It is not just Islam, but all monotheistic religion. I could never literally believe being gay is a sin or that they should be punished. I found and accepted the religion based on feelings, the love I felt, and agreeing with the 5 pillars. Classes I took and studying I did was based on iman, ihsan, learning Arabic, and how to interpret the Quran… 4 years later I keep bumping into people who tell me there is no way I can be a Muslim. That what I have studied, what I have learned, what I have interpreted, is wrong.

    Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t

    I am still trying to figure that part out.

    As far as me supporting Bush or Zionist policies, you are out of your mind if you think that. The world is cruel, I don’t support anyone who contributes to the pain of the world.

  24. Sarah,

    If you want to know how I feel about it I just wrote a post on my blog about feminism and gender.

    As far as the workplace, I don’t think it is about making quotas to make sure women are similar in numbers in all jobs, I think it is about not blocking women from pursuing something if they want it.

    My Aunt (in-law) works construction. Do I think equal numbers of women should be represented in construction? No, I just think if they want or need that job, they should be able to pursue it.

    Science was used as the proof that ‘white’ races are superior to non-white, Science was used to prove that a woman’s brain is too small to learn. I think our own life experiences are valid, not just what science has to say, because science, especially when studying society and sex, has had many flaws.
    We do not need to reach for a book to tell us what our own life experiences are. We are living it..

    • Science isn’t flawless, for sure. Its results are always provisional and open to change in light of new evidence – we should definitely be aware of that and not give any results too much credence too early on. And like anything, it can be misused and manipulated by people with an agenda. But that doesn’t mean we can or should ignore facts that are well-established by science.

      There are some things life experience doesn’t tell us because we can’t be both a man and a woman to compare! We can speculate about things, like whether they have the same sex drive for example, but I think we shouldn’t just speculate if there are results of studies available that can shed light on these things.

      I share the same values as you in terms of women (and men) having the opportunity to pursue any work they want. And like you said, I don’t think equal numbers in all jobs is realistic or desirable. I have never thought of myself as a feminist because I don’t think men and women should be expected to want to perform all the same roles, but maybe there’s different brands of feminism.

      • Sarah,

        Oh definitely, I certainly don’t discount Science, and I have a love affair with reading and education. I don’t think I have ignored Science by any of the statements I have made.. I don’t think my personal experiences in any way disprove what Science says. Because in my personal life I see more similarities than differences between my hubs and I doesn’t mean I think that is how the world is.
        My passion is Sociology, Social Psychology, and Social Work, so I tend to read from these disciplines. I received my undergrad in social welfare and am pursuing my graduate degree this fall in Social Work and Marriage & Family counseling, so I definitely approach these issues from a certain background and perspective in regards to society and feminism and even religion.

      • “I have never thought of myself as a feminist because I don’t think men and women should be expected to want to perform all the same roles, but maybe there’s different brands of feminism.”

        Definitely. I don’t think feminism is thinking men and women should be exactly the same at all. I think they should get equal value for whatever they choose to do.

        The problem with scientific studies is also that they keep changing. One day it’s good to eat chocolate, the next it isn’t. One day we should drink 2 cups of coffee, the next we should drink 4. Of course there are things that have been established beyond doubt, but when it comes to gender, I wonder how many of these there are.

        I’ve always thought of you as a feminist though 😛 I think the term feminist is also very off-putting to many women, unfortunately.

        • I don’t know how well-established the gender differences are. I think it would be hard to tell without being involved in that research, because political correctness (i.e. cultural bias) affects what can be said publicly. The authors say some of the researchers they interviewed insisted on anonymity!

    • I completely agree about science – it is dangerous to think it is “objective” or “value-free” and the fact is, MOST Westerners today think that and act accordingly. “Oh, if science says that then it must be true.”

      Also, Sarah you bring up a good point – life experiences are and must be taken into account. A big problem with modern academia (that claims to be scientific) is that it is almost completely detached from the grassroots. They write about people they have no idea about. So of course life experiences are important as well.

      • This is quite scathing. Scientists cannot be completely objective but they do at least try and I think the science community as a whole moves towards the truth quite effectively. Science cannot deliver certainty though, and that is something I think the public need to become more aware of. There is something called “error bounds”, lol.

        • I wasn’t attacking science itself, but rather how many in the West tend to see science as “truth” without critically examining it first. Like Sarah Elizabeth said, science has “backed up” too many colonial projects for it to continue to be seen as something that cannot be manipulated. It can be and will be from time to time. Doesn’t mean we should not appreciate or use it, rather that we should always be critical of science or any other discourse for that matter.

          “Science cannot deliver certainty though, and that is something I think the public need to become more aware of. ”

          Exactly…I totally agree.

  25. I dont do takfir or told you that you go to hell. I am just telling you that there are certain aspects of the religion that you cant reinterpret and there are other parts that you can reinterpret depending on what age or situation you are in..
    To be gay or to be hetero is all about urgets, a pedophile has urges a person who is unfaithful has urges. Why is one urge better or more accepted then another. We know that unfaithfulness isnt accepted in our societies, and still its beeing commited. A survey in Sweden showed that 50% of the swedes had been unfaithful. Does that mean they are hypcrites, or that they accept it? No. Adultery is wrong, thats a fact.
    Same goes with pedophilia..we have in certain countries no lower age for sex, others like in sweden have the age that the law allows sex in to be at 15, in some US states its when ur 18 that you can have sex.

    Some people have the urges to have sex with minors, does that mean its wrong that we should punish it?
    Why is it ok with gay love but not with pedophilia love? Or love and sex between sibblings?
    Love is love according to your western thinking, and i think thats what is wrong.
    There is legal and illegal love and homosexual love is illegal in islam and under the eyes of Allah..
    I think we dont get anywhere…i know how you tand and you know how i stand but i still have to say, that some certain things of islam are not changeble..they are part of a “muslim” thinking and i think we have to accept and realise that we cant change those parts.
    As for other parts, like inheritance or polygami, its not the whole world. I mean the rules of marriage make it pretty easy for a woman to retain her rights infront of a man..only stupid muslim culture is in the way.
    wsalam wal ra7ma

    • “I mean the rules of marriage make it pretty easy for a woman to retain her rights infront of a man..only stupid muslim culture is in the way.”

      Very true!

      I have a question…do you think homosexuality is a choice or something people are born with? If it is just something someone is born with, then I wonder why God would create someone and then make them live a miserable life? This is the trouble I’m having with homosexuality :S I wonder what you think? Some scholars for example say that homosexuality is a test and if they resist the urges they will go directly to heaven.

    • Well didn’t Prophet Muhammad supposedly marry Aisha when she was 6 and consummate it when she was 9 or 10? I would think at that young age she would be a ‘minor’.

  26. Cairo:
    I think its a test. Look at bipolar (not sure its spelled like that in english) the sickness when people have moodswings and even commit suicide. Should we ask ourselves why Allah creates a beeing with the urge to commit suicide? How about those men who lust for animals (in sweden there are some 300-400 such cases every year) or those women who have lust for many men and so forth. A lot in life can drive you to do bad things, its up to you to do the choice, the right choice.
    I think in our society now, where we allow homosexuality, and where we already in school, in movies, in tv shows, show that homosexuality is good, or ok, or accepted, that we somehow increase the pressure on some people to become gay.
    If its not allowed, very few will be homosexuals. In shiaislam (Iran) you have Ayatollahs who have made fatwas that help transsexuals to get a gender change. They say that your born in a wrong body and that its ok.
    So islam is flexiable in many cases. I think some people have urges that are towards the homosexual part, others to the bisexual part others to have a desire to have sex with kids and so forth, they all are born like that, but if a society takes the stance that this is not good, then i think very few will go all the way, like with murder, we all think murder is illegal, and punish it, but only few go all the way and comit that crime.

    So to answer your q, think its both, part choice and part born with. Howcome we dont have parties that celebrate heterosexuality but homosexuality (gay parades) ? Why dont we ever see a movie or tv show that shows homosexuality as bad but always as good?

  27. Aynur in that age, people did mature earlier then now. People married earlier and life was differend. It wasnt seen as something bad to marry a minor, as minors were not considered minors.
    Nature has made the human body become ready when you get into puberty, we are talking about the 700-th century….

  28. i think its quite simple.

    1-if u truly beleive Allah is just, u can try to understand but if u know its from allah and u stil can’t understand u need to say ‘he knows me better than i know myself’ full stop. this is a very famous trick shaitan does with ppl . question up on question. was happening to me a while back.
    2-Allah gives practical solutions to societal problems. sometimes we dont like them. we dnt own wisdom.

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