Feminism: A Trojan Horse?

The social construct of “Feminism” has been co-opted by liberated minds - which has proved itself quite crucial with time but with alarming consequences.

Before talking about the importance of notion of equality and feminism, the knowledge of its cultural context is equally significant. Throughout the history, many theories have been formulated, addressed, and practiced; but a theory cannot be separated from its historical context. Feminism is originally a western theory which originated at the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848, which talked about the gender inequality. In Christianity, the biblical concept and portrayal of women is demeaning and degrading. It is considered in their religious beliefs that Eve compelled Adam to do the sin, resulting in his downfall. “Do you know that you are each an Eve? The sentence of God on this sex of yours lives in this age: the guilt must of necessity live too. You are the devil’s gateway: you are the unsealer of the forbidden tree; you are the first deserters of divine law; you are she who persuades him whom the devil was not valiant enough to attack” (Encyclopedia Biblica, 1902, Vol.3, p.2942).  The entire personhood of women was questioned and related to the sin. If the historical context is observed, women had no right to vote, to own property, and to even have an identity. Mary Ann Evans a famous English novelist was known by her pen name, George Eliot. In order to write, to portray her thoughts to the world, she had to opt the male identity. This is when the revolutionary battle between women and the norms, and social constructs of the society began. This battle was fought in the name of “Feminism” to attain the basic right of individualization. In 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, American women were granted the right to vote, which was passed by Congress on 4th of June in 1919, and ratified on 18th of August in 1920.

In Pakistan, women have been battling exploitative treatment at the dominating hands of their male counterparts. Women who fight against this self-constructed patriarchy, get backlash and are labeled as manipulative. But the question arises, why did this western ideology created its landscape and set its deep roots in “Islamic Republic of Pakistan? What does Islam have to say about it? The second wave of feminism has been a revolutionary movement towards progression indeed. Despite its significance and good reasoning, the movement has proven itself superfluous in this region and contrary to the ideology of Islam.

Islam is a complete religion which individualizes men and women and addresses them as separate entities. “O Mankind, keep your duty to your Lord who created you from a single soul and from it created its mate and from them twain ahs spread a multitude of men and women” (al-Quran, 4:1). Islam refutes the idea that Eve tempted Adam to disobey God, and therefore leading to his downfall. In fact, in one verse (al-Quran, 20: 121), only Adam was blamed specifically for the sin. The Holy Quran negates the idea that women are a source of evil and neither does believe in male supremacy. Men and women are said to have same responsibilities but certainly not identical because of their physiological and psychological differences, which does not imply that women are inferior to men. Islam has granted women the personhood with the rights of inheritance, freedom of speech, to participate in administrative matters, and to enterprise, to earn and possess independently. Hazrat Khadija (R.A) was the best female trader and businesswoman of her time, Hazrat Ayesha (R.A) was the best known scholar. It is evident from the teachings of Islam that women have been granted a very high and respectable status in a society. Islam has established a system for women which suits their nature, provides them full security and offers them protection against contemptible circumstances and uncertain channels of life.

The intrusion of this ideology in a state comprised on Islamic principles seems completely alienated. The western ideology which stands true to its magnificence in its western territories is acting as a “Trojan Horse” in the premises of Islam. Every ideology is coherent to its society, culture, and beliefs. If people keep on insisting to make this ideology a part of this culture with entirely different roots and norms, it will be chaotic for everyone. Instead, people should be enlightened with our own Islamic principles and to learn the true and magnificent value of women. Islamic teaching must not be confused with the cultural practices, because Islam grants women peaked and high status in the society.

Instead of blaming the whole religion and its principles, the society and its mindset shall be perfected. It is people who are not giving women their rights, not the God. Rather than importing the alienated ideology, we need to look in our homes and revive our own ideology and practice it. The process of reformation will start by teaching people the real essence of Islamic teachings regarding the women rights. “Feminism” is one of the most significant and revolutionizing theories of time, but segregating it from its culture and executing it an entirely different culture is making it a “Trojan Horse” for our own society. Men are standing on one extreme and feminists are standing on another extreme. Instead of moving along towards greatness and progression, they have been fighting against each other. We are in dire need to establish a moderate ground in our society to resolve this conflict, that is Islam.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt