Saturday, August 7, 2010

World Religions -- Islam

See the other World Religions papers for explanation/"disclaimer".

What I find most interesting about the reading regarding Islam is the treatment of women. As far as the religious ideals go, women and men are supposed to be equally respected and fairly treated. However, the actual treatment of women in predominantly Muslim societies has been far from what most people would define as respect or equality.

Women in Muslim societies have historically been treated as anything but equal. Harems, veiled faces, polygamy, institutionalized wife-beating, denial of suffrage, and the execution of adulterers are practices that have been common to Muslim societies. While it can be argued that these are practices that were present before the adoption of Islam by Arabic and Persian societies, and that the legal treatment of women actually improved. While the ideals and dicta of Islam allow women the right to divorce, inheritance, and employment, these sadly remain as little more than ideals in modern Islamic societies.

By modern, western thought, Islam is an inherently sexist religion because it is stated that men are in charge of women. The Koran states that Allah made men to excel over women and bear financial burdens, while women are meant to perform motherly and wifely duties. Any religion that dictates specific roles for men and women is, by our modern, more “enlightened” definitions, sexist. Even if it is the word of some almighty god, it is still sexist.

As with many religions, the more abominable practices in Islam are often claimed by more modern practitioners to be aberrant to the fundamental ideals of the religion. While it can be argued that certain things are up to interpretation, and that extremists interpret the religion incorrectly, I think that it says something about the religion itself when so many Muslims can so easily “misinterpret” the fundamentals so as to institutionalize inequality and mistreatment.

1 comment:

mohitparikh said...

appreciate your objectivity.