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Forum LockedA Muslim Woman

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    Posted: 11-May-2006 at 22:16
A MUSLIM Woman


The Jasmina Exhibit, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

The history of Muslim women is one of the most complicated, varied, and interesting chapters of the overall history of women.

The Islamic faith gave women rights at a time when they had none and offered them entitlements and expressions of justice unrivaled by any other societal structure until very recently.

At the same time, western women have now achieved and surpassed many of the rights granted centuries ago to Muslim women and - on the surface - it is easy to imagine Islam as a tool of oppression that victimizes women.

At the same time, women have been granted rights contradictory to Islam - for example, Bosnian women earning the right to drink alcohol in public. At the same time, women have also been oppressed in ways not dictated by Islam - for example, the Taliban regime's social order in Afghanistan.

Muslim or non-Muslim, what is your view of Muslim women's place in the history of the past and the society of today? What are your views about how an Islamic woman does or should be expected to live?

Be as brutally honest as you want, but please be respectful. There is an acceptable way to present any view not explicitly banned by the rules of this forum.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ponce de Leon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-May-2006 at 22:18
What is a muslim woman like?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mila Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-May-2006 at 22:34
I think one of the major contributions of Islamic women has been a sense of community. You see it quite often in very patriarchial cultures, Italy for example, and Colombia. A sense of unity and community develops, extended families live in a single home, people know their neighbors, and the home - the life of the home, the daily tasks, all of these things - have a life and existence of their own.

In Islamic countries, regardless of how much or how little women are able to participate in society as a whole, generally speaking no one comes home just to go to bed. Home is not just a place, it is an entire existence, an entire society of its own. When men are away for work, the house didn't sit empty as it often does in modern times. There were women, children, servants, and everything else creating a sense of community that doesn't exist to the same extent elsewhere.

In terms of an Islamic woman's place in today's societies, I think there is no reason why Islamic women - even in very (by my standards) traditional nations - cannot participate fully. Mira is a wonderful example of this, as is cahaya. They don't do many of the things I do, they are not free in the same ways I am free and I doubt they look at me and my life and even consider these things to be of any value. Yet they have the same traits I like to think I have - strength, independence, a desire to establish a good life, and so on.

A Muslim woman can capitulate to the demands of her society, her interpretation of the faith, her family, and herself and still - fundamentally - be as "free" as anyone else. Freedom is relative anyway.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote morticia Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-May-2006 at 01:10
I am curious as well, Mila. I have never met or spoken to a Muslim woman in detail about her way of life. What are the restrictions of Muslim women? How are Muslim women different from western women?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ramin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-May-2006 at 04:59
Originally posted by Mila Mila wrote:


The history of Muslim women is one of the most complicated, varied, and interesting chapters of the overall history of women.

The Islamic faith gave women rights at a time when they had none and offered them entitlements and expressions of justice unrivaled by any other societal structure until very recently.
that is true for some of the societies and cultures of that time. Surely women were sacrificed, buried alive for family honors, etc etc.... in semetic societies. However, there were communities that did not behave this way and treated women in a respectable fashion.


Originally posted by Mila Mila wrote:

At the same time, women have been granted rights contradictory to Islam - for example, Bosnian women earning the right to drink alcohol in public.
well, in fact in Islamic laws drinking is utterly prohibited. So, having women with permission to drink in public OR in private is not really a gift of Islam.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Richard XIII Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-May-2006 at 05:10
I suppose the second picture is not the actual Islamic fashion in Bosnia.

Edited by Richard XIII
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Digenis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-May-2006 at 08:05
Originally posted by ramin ramin wrote:

Originally posted by Mila Mila wrote:




The Islamic faith gave women rights at a time when they had none and offered them entitlements and expressions of justice unrivaled by any other societal structure until very recently.
that is true for some of the societies and cultures of that time. Surely women were sacrificed, buried alive for family honors, etc etc.... in semetic societies. However, there were communities that did not behave this way and treated women in a respectable fashion.


Yes..it may be true ,comparing the position of women in Islamwith  some societies in the past, but i m afraid we cannot compare it with the modern woman of the West.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mila Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-May-2006 at 09:38
Originally posted by ramin ramin wrote:

[QUOTE=Mila]At the same time, women have been granted rights contradictory to Islam - for example, Bosnian women earning the right to drink alcohol in public.
well, in fact in Islamic laws drinking is utterly prohibited. So, having women with permission to drink in public OR in private is not really a gift of Islam.
[/QUOTE]

Yes, I know it's prohibited - that's why I said contradictory. I just meant to show with that example and the Taliban example that some of the things modern Muslim women have aren't really Muslim at all, and some of the things more traditional Muslim women sometimes do aren't really Muslim at all either.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mila Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-May-2006 at 09:42
Originally posted by Digenis Digenis wrote:

Yes..it may be true ,comparing the position of women in Islamwith  some societies in the past, but i m afraid we cannot compare it with the modern woman of the West.


We can't really compare any woman of the past with the modern woman of the West, not even Western women just a few decades ago.

But - I could be wrong, of course - but I truly believe that a woman's place, fundamentally, in society, is similar in - for example, the United Arab Emirates and Italy, more so than it is between Italy and America. I think Greek and Turkish women have rights more similar to each other than Greece and France, or Turkey and Iran.

So I don't think the divide is really between Muslims and non-Muslims today, but between - literally - the south and the north. Latin America is similar as well, as is much of Southern Europe, Africa, etc.


Edited by Mila
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sir Jerry Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-May-2006 at 09:43

Originally posted by Mila Mila wrote:

some of the things more traditional Muslim women sometimes do aren't really Muslim at all either.

A very interesting thread.Mila could you provide some examples of things that traditional Muslim women do which arn't Muslim.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mila Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-May-2006 at 09:51
Covering their faces was the example I had in mind, but there are other examples I've read:

- Many do not pray during menstruation, believing it is forbidden, when it is not in the Koran.
- Many women do not leave wills if there are direct descendants, when Islam allows them to leave wills once any debts have been repaid.
- Women (and men) are not allowed to get a divorce without a complicated, two-phase attempted-reconcilliation process where in many traditional countries the man can just say: I divorce you.
- Women are not allowed to be stoned for adultery according to the Koran, which we know happens.
- In Africa, some Muslim females are circumsized, which is definately not part of Islam.
- Women do not wear gold or listen to music in some countries, both of which are allowed in Islam.

Etc, etc, etc.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sir Jerry Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-May-2006 at 10:01
Thanx for the quick reply Mila.You increased my awareness about Islam.I would like to learn more.I think your signature is really cool.Is that you in the last pic [with a crown].
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mila Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-May-2006 at 10:03
There's another aspect of this I'd like to discuss as well.

In most societies, women seem to attempt to live their lives according to the male ideal. This is true in the West - with crippling high heels and makeup - as it is in the East - with modest clothing and polite ways. There are exceptions, of course - but generally speaking men and women seem to have the same ideals for women. These ideals seem to be based mainly in appearance and on-the-surface personality traits that suit the culture's male tastes.

Take barbie dolls, for example. They exist in most cultures. In America, she's blonde, has enormous breasts, a tiny waist, a homosexual and unthreatening boyfriend (Ken), and is an ideal that is quite literally impossible for women to physically achieve - Barbie's measurements, in real life, would kill a woman.

In Bosnia, among Muslims, it's quite different:



The female barbie is literally miniscule compared to her male counterpart, barely 2/3rds the size of the male doll. She's dressed in traditional Bosniak clothing and comes with accessories that never include a pink convertable. She is the woman every middle-aged man remembers seeing on the streets as a young boy and represents an ideal shared by women but not decided by women.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mila Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-May-2006 at 10:05
Originally posted by Sir Jerry Sir Jerry wrote:

Thanx for the quick reply Mila.You increased my awareness about Islam.I would like to learn more.I think your signature is really cool.Is that you in the last pic [with a crown].


No, no. That's Dzejla Glavovic, Miss Bosnia and Miss Earth 2002. She was dethroned though.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sir Jerry Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-May-2006 at 10:10

Originally posted by Mila Mila wrote:

a homosexual and unthreatening boyfriend (Ken)

I'm very ignorant about Dolls but this seems an attack on the US.Are you sure Ken is a Homosexual.

Originally posted by Mila Mila wrote:

She is the woman every middle-aged man remembers seeing on the streets as a young boy and represents an ideal shared by women but not decided by women.

What would be the ideal decided by women in this case.



 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mila Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-May-2006 at 10:17
Oh sorry, I didn't mean it as an attack on the US. I promise.

I think the ideal decided by women would be different. It would have to be more in-depth, personally speaking, of course. So many b-tches are idealized because they fit the physical characteristics that are pleasing to their culture when in fact they're horrible, evil, vendictive human beings. Women, I think, wouldn't be as willing to allow those who are ugly on the inside to be considered beautiful.

I think the women's ideal could be less important, really. It could be more abstract, generalized, and inclusive. If you look at, for example, Bosnian villages where there are few men left - the older women are contented with a nice veil to tie their hair in, even if they have the worst clothes. That veil, the nice veil, is a cultural ideal - it's something to be proud of. Now that exists elsewhere in Bosnia where there are lots of men and you can just say - it's just because they're old, physically they're past the point of even worrying about it.

But if you look at children in these villages, they dress poor. Not many get to Sarajevo to buy Levi jeans and United Colors of Benneton tops. But they still have a heriarchial structure, I'm sure. There's still popular girls and unpopular girls, but the lines couldn't be the same as they are elsewhere. Take Japan, for example, where popular students are generally the smartest - compared to America, where the dumbest ones stereotypically are the most popular.

I really don't know how it would be different but I'm certain it would have to be. It'd just have to be.

Look at the rise in metrosexuals - men who groom well, take care of their bodies, and so on. That's a direct result of women getting in a say in their socieities. That's a direct result of, "Well if I don't own her, how do I keep her?". Men are being forced to conform to a woman's ideal of how they should be as well. I think.
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