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INTRUCTIONS: You are required to carry out a review of academic sources on a specified topic within the study of Islam, which will be made available to you during the course of the semester. This review must include at least five literary sources aside from assigned readings, such as scholarly articles or relevant chapters in academic books. You are required to write a one-page review of each source and a two-page synthesis of all five literary sources, which altogether should total at least seven pages.
Your review of each work should be analytic and accurately present the key arguments of the work. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. (Please see the note on plagiarism below for more details.) This means that essays must cite sources correctly in accordance with scholarly conventions. All citations should follow the Chicago Manual of Style and must appear as footnotes. The literature review will be due on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 in print at the beginning of the lecture.
Late submissions will be penalized with a deduction of 10% per day, and papers may not be accepted after one week. It is important for you to contact me well in advance of the submission deadline if you are unable to submit your literature review on time. A bibliography must be included at the end. Further details regarding the expectations of the literature review will be discussed during the lectures.
WOMEN AND GENDER IN ISLAM
The article “Unveiling Student’s Perception about Women in Islam,” written by Lori Cohen and Leyna Peery, talks about how their purpose as teachers was to change how the student’s today have the Western idea that women are “oppressed” in the Islam society and broaden their view.
In order to change their perceptions they are introduced to 6 stories all ranging through a variety of genres such as short stories, essays, graphic novels, and film about successful women who are ideally the opposite of what these students have in mind. They first introduced, “The Young Woman and Her Five Lovers,” which talks about a woman who is “submissive to no man but uses womanly wiles to seduce and trick five different men to get what she wants.”1They also introduced a very interesting ethnography that was named, “Jihad is for
1 Lori Cohen, Leyna Peery, “Unveiling Student’s Perception about Women in Islam”, The English Journal 95, No. 3 (2006): pp. 20-26, http://www.jstor.org/stable/30047039 (accessed November 22, 2013).
Women, Too,” which explains the women were in the military back in Muhammad’s days and in the present too. It also talks about their roles in the military and how women were shy when they first entered the military but then because they were always taught to “gaze down” but then in the military they were taught to keep their head straight. At the end of the unit, Lori Cohen ad Leyna Peery talk about how they thought it was a very successful unit because they achieved their goal of broadening the student’s understand of women in the Islam world. They explained that many students such as Sarah changed the ways they view women in Islam, while other students, such as Julian and Eirin, learned a lot about Muslim women but still maintained their initial thoughts.
The following essay written by Dr. Jamal Badawi in the journal Al-Ittihad, is called “The Status of Woman in Islam”. In this essay, Badawi shows, us how the usual Western ideas of women are actually wrong and how the women’s roles in Islam are equal according to the Qur’an. Badawi starts by stating in an order, the historical, spiritual, social, economic, and political views of women’s roles in Islam. In the historical aspect of this essay Badawi talks how women’s submission to men in Islam weren’t really different from women in other parts of the world like Athens or Rome. The spiritual aspect of this essay talks about how “The Quran provides clear-cut evidence that woman in completely equated with man in the sight of God in terms of her rights and responsibilities.”2 The Social aspect of this essay discusses the roles of the women as a child, a wife, and a mother. One important thing it indicates is that the father
2 Jamal Badawi, “The Status of Women in Islam”, Al-Ittihad 8, No. 2 (1971): http://www.institutealislam.com/the-status-of-woman-in-islam-by-dr-jamal-badawi/ (accessed November 22, 2013).
must support the child, everyone must be kind to a mother, and women cannot be forced to marry anyone without their consent according to the law. In the economic aspect of this essay Badawi states that, “According to Islamic Law, woman’s right to her money, real estate, or other properties is fully acknowledged… With regard to the woman’s right to seek employment it should be stated first that Islam regards her role in society as a mother and a wife as the most sacred and essential one.”3 With this stated, a woman must have economic rights in marriage and property according to the law. In the political aspect of this essay, Badawi explains the women in Islam have the right of election as the nomination to political offices. The also talks about how the differences between man and a does not indicate any superiority of one over the other; that they rather compliment each other. Overall, Badawi has had a very moving essay that can simply change the views of the Western readers he states as opposite from how women in Islam are actually considered in the Qur’an and the Islamic Law.
This article is named “The Muslim Woman’s Dress” by Dr. Jamal A. Badawi, talks about how women are dressed and how a veil is required to be worn but. First they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers or their brothers’ sons, or their sisters’ sons, or their women, or the slaves whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex; and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments.4 The first requirement,
3 Badawi, “Women in Islam.”
4 Jamal Badawi, “The Muslim Woman’s Dress”, Al-Ittihad 8, No. 2 (1971): http://www.institutealislam.com/the-muslim-womans-dress-by-dr-jamal-a-badawi/ (accessed November 22, 2013).
which is looseness, states that a Muslim woman shouldn’t display her beauty except when it is evident. However, a Muslim woman can uncover her face and hands during pilgrimages or prayers, while keeping the rest of the body covered. The second requirement, which is thickness, talks about how the dress should be loose enough to not delineate the shape of a woman’s body. The dress should be thick enough and it should not show the color of the skin it covers, or the shape of the woman’s body. The final and fourth requirement is the overall appearance, which talks about how the dress should basically not attract the man to the women’s beauty. Moreover, the same requirements go for men. The only difference is that the ‘awrah for the woman is defined as the whole body except for the face and hands. And for the man the man, the ‘awrah is the area between the belly button and the knees.
The article “The Violent Oppression of Women in Islam” by Robert Spencer and Phyllis Chesler talks about how women are actually oppressed in Islam and treated very unfairly. It talks about female mutilation as when young girls have their genitals cut out in order to destroy their sexuality and make them “pure”. Men beating wives and daughters are very common, Women who are raped in Muslim countries end up being punished while the rapist runs free, and Muslim girls get married young. Men can also divorce their wives very easily and marry many women. It shows a violent picture in which seems to be a woman being buried alive by men. Uncircumcised girls are told they will become prostitutes but that circumcised girls will be pure. “One Islamic legal manual states that circumcision is required for both men and women.’»5
5 Robert Spencer, Phyllis Chesler, “The Violent Oppression of Women in Islam”, David Horowitz Freedom Center, (2007) pp: 5-30, http://www.frontpagemag.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/ViolentOpp.pdf (accessed November 26, 2013).
Also, dominating their women by violence is very common for Muslim men. It says Muhammad even struck his favorite wife, Aisha, when she followed him one time without him knowing. Also, this article talked about how the veil is strictly required for Muslim women and that by taking it off for even one second puts them at risk for violence or even death. In February 2007, Zilla Huma Usman, the Pakistani government’s minister for social welfare in Punjab province, was shot dead by a Muslim because her head was uncovered. The murderer, Mohammad Sarwar, declared: “I have no regrets. I just obeyed Allah’s commandment. I will kill all those women who do not follow the right path, if I am freed again.”6 This article at the end talks about how Western feminists should help the poor treatment of these women in these countries. There is too much violence and unfairness to women in these countries because the men think there is nothing wrong by treating women these days.
This article is named, “Viewpoint Dialogue to Bridge the Gap: The Challenges of Women in Islam”, by Ambassador Sallama Shaker. In this article, Sallama Shaker, a visiting professor of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at Yale University is talking about Women’s unfair treatment in Islam. She talks asks many questions such as to why Islam is being views stereotypically as the religion that oppresses woman. Then she says, “the message is clear, as both genders are being addressed equally to remind them of their social responsibilities, and the verse is clear that the most honed is the most righteous, without discriminating between males or females… Then what went wrong in Muslim Societies? Is it the lack of education or misinterpreting some of the Qur’anic texts and the lack of proper understanding in many verse and sometimes manipulation religious authority? If one of God’s names in the Qur’an is “justice”, how can women be ill-
6 Spencer, Chesler, “The Violent Oppression of Women in Islam”
treated under the name of Islam?7 Her solution is to use technology, feminism, and mass media to fix the ignorance cause in Islam. She then says, “The riddle is solved. What is needed is quality education that can empower and free the spirit.”8
The topic about women and gender is a very controversial one. The first three articles of this paper introduce a view in which women in Islam aren’t really that different from men in society. The women have had their rightful positions in Islam since historic times and have rights according to the Qur’an. These articles tried to broaden or change the usual Western views in which men oppress women. However, The last two articles are how women are horribly oppressed in Islam by men and have very unfair situations going on in their lives.
The first article, “Unveiling Student’s Perception about Women in Islam,” is about how two teachers wanted to expand the Western views the students had in the class. They were successful in showing a variety of different genres about women in Islam. These 6 pieces
7 Sallama Shaker, “Viewpoint Dialogue to Bridge the Gap: The Challenges of Women in Islam”, Digest of Middle East Studies, (2012), http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer? sid=6dc0cdf6-9784-4f80-8297-9f40e13b7e39%40sessionmgr198&vid=2&hid=127 (accessed November 26, 2013).
8 Sallama Shaker, “Viewpoint Dialogue to Bridge the Gap: The Challenges of Women in Islam”
demonstrated how women in Islam are not really that oppressed by men and how they actually have positions in the military and are equal to men the majority of the time. The second article, “The Status of Woman in Islam”. Talked about how women in Islam are equal to men according to the Qur’an. The article starts by stating in an order, the historical, spiritual, social, economic, and political views of women’s roles in Islam. In each category women had special rights stated by the Qur’an. The third article, “The Muslim Woman’s Dress” stated how women were required to wear such garments in order for their body or ‘awrah not to be reveled. Men were basically required similar regulations that had them cover their ‘awrah as well. The only difference is that the place of the ‘awrah differentiated from the man and the woman.
The article, “The Violent Oppression OF Women in Islam” talks about how women are treated unfairly in Islam. It states how the topics, rape, easy divorce, child marriage, wife and daughter beating, circumcision, violence to women, among many others is normal among Muslims in their daily routines. Then the article ends stating how Western feminist should help the poor treatment of these women in these countries. The article, “Viewpoint Dialogue to Bridge the Gap: The Challenges of Women in Islam,” analyzes why woman are being treated unfairly in Islam and provides a solution as to how Muslims can fix this problem. It indicates how Muslims have misinterpreted the Qur’an when it stated that all genders are equal. However, women were still being oppressed in Muslim countries. Its solution was to create education to “empower” the spirit using technology, feminism, and mass media.
These 5 articles can definitely broaden western views about Islam. They provide much information on the topic of women and gender in Islam. The first three explain many unexpected views of women in Islam. They show how women actually have a stance in Islam and have many positions similar to men like election in political stands or even enrolling in the military. Their purpose is to expand the western views of women in Islam and provide good information on different genres such as genres based on the Qur’an, the history of Islam, and Islamic laws. However, the last two articles on show entirely different positions of women in Islam. They indicate how Muslim men may have misinterpreted the Qur’an. They also explain how oppression is a big factor on Muslim women nowadays and try to provide solutions on how Muslim women can be saved fro such violence going on in the country. These articles like the first three also provide great information in broadening the views of women in Islam. In general, they are great articles to learn about women and gender in Islamic societies.
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