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Monday, 18 February 2013

“Muhammad believed in women’s rights."

- As said by a middle-class, Western (UK) professional Muslimah trying to make the best of a very bad job.

The Islamic taqiyya (lies, deception, obfuscation, dissimulation, etc. to advance and/or protect Islam) comes into play with this barrister’s very use of the English language. (As a barrister, she should know about the importance of using language precisely.)

It can be argued that Muhammad did indeed believe in rights for (Muslim) women, but not that he believed in “women’s rights”. That sounds odd because aren’t they two ways of saying the same thing? No.

The phrase “women’s rights” has a specific meaning only applicable to its usage in the 20th century and in the West. It referred to the rights of all women as women. It didn’t apply to what rights they were given as wives, as daughters, or as Muslims; as with Muhammad.

Then again, this professional Muslimah knows this full well. Hence the taqiyya.
"A'isha said [to Muhammad]: 'You have made us equal to the dogs and the asses.'"- Koran: 4:1039

“Women have rights that are similar to men, but men are a degree above them." – Koran: 2:228b

“Your wives and children are your enemies. They are to you only a temptation.” – Koran: 64:14-15

"Unto the male is the equivalent share of two females." – Koran: 4:176

“If Muhammad's wives are good, Allah will give them an immense reward." – Koran: 33:28-29

“The wives of Muhammad are not like other women. They must not leave their houses.” – Koran:  33:32-33

“Men are in charge of women, because Allah made men to be better than women. Refuse to have sex with women from whom you fear rebellion, and scourge them.” – Koran:  4:34
What would you expect her to say? After all, apostasy in Islam is extremely rare. (There will be many Muslims who internally reject Islam but who can never say so to any fellow Muslim; let alone to their families.)  That's why she came up with this absurd and ridiculous statement. Apart from anything, the notion of "rights", in their present universal form pertaining to individuals (nor specific groups), of any description didn't exist until the late 17th century in then only in Europe. 

As for “women’s rights” particularly. She is foisting Western concepts and standards on Muhammad for reasons of taqiyya towards Western non-Muslims. A very poor and silly attempt if you ask me.

To be fair, I am talking about the "universal rights" of all men, women, etc. Rights existed before this period but they were given by kings, rulers, etc. to specific people (groups) and for specific reasons.

Muslim women might have been given rights by Muhammad (or in his own day); but only as Muslims wives, as Muslim daughters and, less clearly, as Muslim women. They were never given rights as women regardless of the places they occupied in a determinedly Islamic society or state. And it is here we can see that the rights of women in Muhammad’s time might not have amounted to much. In fact they didn’t amount to much.
For a start, logically rights can be demystified and taken down a peg or two by simply saying that Muslim wives might have been given the right, by Muslim men, to wipe their husbands’ arses or to clean the house. They might have been given the right to prepare the food and so on. In terms of a positive (rather than a negative) right, Muhammad might have given them the right to go out of the home (house) once a month to go to the market.

Again, rights in and of themselves are not necessarily/automatically good things; especially when given by others such as husbands, rulers, and suchlike. That’s why “universal rights” made all the difference in the West. They were universal in that they applied to everyone regardless of their position or sex. (Whether the West practiced these rights or abided by them is of course another matter. I personally have a big problem with the notion of “natural rights”; but I’m happy to see the very same rights applied but as not being seen as natural.)

For example, what Western Muslimahs are often referring to is their “right to spend all their own income". That is, not to be obliged or made to either spend it on their kids or on their husband. Only middle-class professional Muslim women (as in the image) would sing a tune about that particular right.

Similarly, this is tied in with the "right” of Muslim wives to be “taken care of by their husband”. This is a negative right – a right not to look after herself as such. So at one go it’s a right that makes her dependent on the husband in that he must “take care of her”. On the other hand, and seemingly in contradiction, the Muslim wife also has the “right” to spend all her money on herself. Again, this c/would only appeal, surely, to a Western Muslim professional woman who had become materialistic about her income or salary at the very same time as accepting the husband’s rule over the home and his duty to look after her financially (despite her wealth - which she can spend exclusively on herself).

The other thing I hinted at is that this seems like Islam as it would only be seen by a Western professional Muslim woman – as it is by the Muslim barrister in the image. This begs the question as to what the millions upon millions of other Muslim women (who are not in her privileged position) think about this stance on “Muslim women’s rights” - or whether they have even heard of it. I am absolutely convinced that this is an almost exclusively a Western professional Muslim women’s position on women’s rights within Islam or within the Muslim family. (However, in the capitals and metropolises of various Muslim countries I suspect there will be other middle-class professional Muslim women who also take this position on Muslim women’s rights.)

To restate. This is actually a position only on Western/Westernised professional Muslim women’s rights. It isn’t applied outside that role and probably couldn’t be applied outside it. As I said, this middle-class Muslim woman is simply trying to make the best of a bad job – that bad job being the Islamic position on Muslim women generally and specifically on their place/role in the family.

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