Since we live in an age where everyone is free to subjectively define whatever concept they want to talk about , I will simply define feminism as an altruistic fight for the rights of females, if my definition stands then Islam itself is feminist , since the Quran campaigned for the right to life of the girl-child (Q16:58-59; Q81:8-9) and abolished the treatment of women as mere property to be inherited (Q4:19)
(So all those arab feminists need to show more appreciation to the Prophet , they wont even be alive by now if the Quran hadnt abolished killing females )
Secondly , we wont necessarily throw the entire concept into the dustbin since what we will only need to attack is extremist – feminism which is in itself ranges from women who want to make themselves equal to men, or women who deem even a Prophet irresponsible for following Allah’s instruction ( Amina Wadud ) and a particularly nasty review i read way back where the author of the initial paper was arguing that pronouns for God be feminized!
Fortunately ,in my part of the world ,these sort of extreme feminism is absent, at least for now ! You know crazy things in the west always find a way to reach Africa!
However we still have to deal with some form of hardline feminism.
My definition was deliberately chosen so as to let sisters know of our support and commitment to the rights of women ,perhaps more so than some of them.
Why wouldnt one sympathise with advocating for womens right when you see the appalling way in which some men treat women ? When it comes to sexual exploitation and molestation, brothers easily start questioning her being alone with her would be or eventual rapists, (absurdities like : why was she even doing classes with him in the first place ? ), criminals are left off the hook and the victim is the one who gets blamed for not following islamic etiquettes ! Am i missing something ?
Majority of the victims wont even come out because they wont be believed ,especially if the perpetrator is a close relative or publically revered, and this is repeated in diverse environments and different cultures …always.
Why wont one sympathise with advocating for womens right with the appalling record of domestic abuse women are subjected to ? You would sit at arbitrations or reconciliations and feel utter revulsion at the ‘brother’ sitting in front of you , people who have molested ,oppressed , abused their wives in ways unimaginable, so much so you look at your own imperfect relationship with your wife and say , ‘ man, what a great husband i am’, individuals who ,save that their biology indicates otherwise, ought not to be referred to as men, literally or figuratively.
Strangely enough a lot of sisters would still want to cope with men who have crossed all decent lines of moral behaviour , with arguments like : ‘its for the kids’ , she actually knows its a lie , but its a lie she must tell herself, No, force herself to believe, because she believes she has no where to go , society , african society frowns at once-married-daughters coming back home….
she is young , and her sexual hormones are still firing , she cant sleep around , her faith, her culture , her society doesnt support a sleep around mom, even with unspoken words she is condemned . So she’d continue coping with the sperm donor even if he commits major shirk.
Stranger still are those who are so broken that theyll even continue with one who will not carry out even the sexual duties, and she continues praying for a solution that Allah has kept right there in her grasp !
So I agree with training and teaching sisters when to quit inasmuch as its within the limits laid down by the sharia, I agree with any advocacy that intends the liberation of women from physically ,spiritually and emotionally killing relationships.
Perhaps we understand this more than some of our sisters who are cheerleaders of the so called women rights, infact i do believe some of these feminist cheerleading are shambolic and hypocritical…
When sisters advice and support their fellow sisters to leave such relationship ,they stop at that, what happens after the divorce ? None of the business of the cheerleaders!
More often than not, it is the students of knowlegde who face the post divorce blues … Woe betide that divorced sister if she so much makes repeated tasleem to the husband of the same sisters who were her divorce-right-activists , Wallahi , its so bad that a fellow sister told a recently widowed sister to steer clear of her husband because she wasnt the one who made her husband die ! Feminism ?! An altruistic advocacy for your fellow sisters right ? God!
Sisters symphatize , emphatize ,infact they suffer with the females in oppressive relationships , they pray and do tahajjud that their fellow sisters be saved by a good brother , a good brother that will save their fellow sister from this oppression and humiliation by marrying her, any good brother would do, any good brother… except their own husbands ! Our sister’s feminism obviously has limits.
How come we have so much formal and informal groups of sisters teaching sisters how to repel a mans oppression and we dont have groups advocating for plygyny for our husbands ? Dont you think the fact that you have a successful marriage should be an impetus for you to advise your suffering brethren to partake of your largesse ? Or our feminism isnt that altruistic ?
How many gruops do we have teaching pregnant women the rudiments of safe delivery? In Nigeria where the motarlity rate from childbirth is appalling ?!
What about sex education, breast and cervical cancer enlightment ? Do these not fall under the category of rights a woman needs to have ?
Perhaps we need to redefine our feminism, perhaps when next you pray, sister, against the oppression of them dictator brothers , please add a solemn prayer against the oppression of blind feminism. Amin..