Monday, April 27, 2015

Women in Islam and Stereotypes

Eliot El Zein

In this art project I had an image in mind at first of the whole idea of women in general and what the Qur’an really says about them. I figured to draw a silhouette with Qur’anic verses inside the body using a normal A4 paper and pencil, and once I’m done with that, I scanned it into the computer and added body parts in the empty spaces. I thought this was a good idea because after interviewing a few Muslim female friends, I learned more about their thoughts on themselves and what their free minds has to say. The verse I chose were the ones I felt stood out the most in the Qur’an about women rights. 

On the first verse I used, it talked about how before Islam, the pagan Arabs used to torture and bury the female children and the women being used as objects of sexual pleasure possessing no rights or position. And the teachings of the Qur’an were revolutionary and put an end to the misuse of women. Islam regards men and women as being created from a single soul.

On the second verse, the verse acknowledges women as a piece of clothing that gives us warmth and comfort. This piece of clothing or garment is the grace, the beauty, the embellishment of the body and so are wives to their husbands. Islam does not consider women as “an instrument of the devil”, but rather as a fortress against Satan because a good woman, by marrying a man, helps him keep to the path of rectitude in his life.

In the third verse, it again refers to cruelty towards women before the advent of Islam, and that a Muslim must not hate his wife, and if he is displeased with one bad quality in her then let him be pleased with one that is good and also that the more civil and kind a Muslim is to his wife, the more perfect in faith he is. In Islam a woman is a completely independent personality. She can make any contract or bequest in her own name. She is entitled to inherit in her position as mother, as wife, as sister, and as daughter. She has perfect liberty to choose her husband. The Prophet's followers accepted his teachings and brought about a revolution in their social attitude towards women. They no longer considered women as mere chattels, but as an integral part of society. For the first time women were given the right to have a share in inheritance. In the new social climate, women rediscovered themselves and became highly active members of society rendering useful service during the wars which the pagan Arabs forced on the emerging Muslim Ummah. They carried provisions for the soldiers, nursed them, and even fought alongside them if it was necessary. It became a common sight to see women helping their husbands in the fields, carrying on trade and business independently, and going out of their homes to satisfy their needs.

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