Monday, April 25, 2005

So Close

Just found out from wikipedia that Prophet Muhammad's birthday in Gregorian calendar was calculated to be on April 20th, 570/571 AD.

Note that this year, that's only two days away from April 22nd, i.e. 12 Rabiul-Awal - also his birthday in Hijri calendar.

Yeah, not as dramatic a revelation as it would have been if they had coincided on the same day, i gotta admit that. But still, no harm for a little wow there.


Blogger brown-eyed girl said...

But what if a woman wants to lead a prayer? Not because they want to be like men but just because she wants to lead the prayer? The person who wrote the response assums to automatically know the motivations of these women and feminist women in general. I have definitely read feminist women authors who are not all about being like men.

11:08 AM, April 25, 2005  
Blogger brown-eyed girl said...

I understand what she's saying. But my problem with it is that she's assuming to know what all women want and need. She's assuming that when women want to do something that has traditionally been done by men, it's because they want to be LIKE men. I'm afraid that's not necessarily the case. Besides, if indeed that is the truth of the matter, the only way many women will know this is by, as she describes it, experimenting. And she's also assuming that all women need (more or less) the same type of things in life. Humanity is mind-bogglingly diverse. She hasn't the right to assume that one way of being is THE right one for them, for me.

11:19 AM, April 25, 2005  
Blogger haya_shiloh said...

hmm... upon checking some online dictionaries, i found two different definitions of feminism:

1) striving for acknowledgement of women's right & interests
2) striving for equality between the sexes

def#1 doesn't necessarily mean equal rights. It could mean rights that are meaningful/applicable to women, e.g. the right to choose abortion. Whereas the 2nd definition goes further, putting men into the equation.

i think it is the 2nd definition that the writer is attacking, whereas the 1st definition is the one your upholding.

if i'm wrong, my apologies... and hope you can explain further abt your stand.

11:40 AM, April 26, 2005  
Blogger haya_shiloh said...

p/s to other visitors who got bewildered, asking "what the heck does these comments have anything to do with Muhammad's birthday??":

we are actually discussing abt the post right before it, "Female-Led Prayers: A Step Forward for Women?". Sorry for any confusions caused.

11:45 AM, April 26, 2005  
Blogger brown-eyed girl said...

I agree with this woman to an extent. I think I do believe in equality of the sexes when "equality" means that neither women nor men will be prevented from doing something they want to just because of their sex. "Equality" is not just about women wanting to do what men do. It's about being allowed to do what they need to fully realise themselves.

Hmmmm. I think the point is (correct me if I'm wrong), that women were not ALLOWED to lead the prayer before. That is an inequality. That is discrimination. I think the whole point of feminism is that women want to have the right to TO FIND OUT ON THEIR OWN whether something is good for them or not. NOT because men or social customs say so. It is through experiencing things that women (all humans for that matter) will find out whether something is good for them or not. This woman assumes that the main reason women want to lead the prayer is because they want to be like men. My point is, she isn't a mind reader. How does she know that? Who knows, maybe that's the case for some of them and others not.
It's not a "one size fits all" kinda thing.

12:08 PM, April 26, 2005  
Blogger rahmat said...

But in Islam the congregation prayer(especially the Friday prayer) is wajib(obligatory) upon men only. Women are not required to come to the prayer although Islam permits them to do so.
In Islam not doing the wajib is considered as sinful (reprehension)

4:31 PM, April 26, 2005  
Blogger Azazil Arashi said...

a woman can lead a prayer in a group consists of all women. there's nothing wrong with that. but a woman leads a prayer where the group has men and women... i really don't know what to say. it's wrong.

but for me it's a sign that this world is going to an end very soon... just get ready for something bigger than that...

8:00 PM, April 26, 2005  
Blogger brown-eyed girl said...

Man, I think very differently from you. I'm not Muslim and I know almost nothing of the workings of the religion. But I don't think that that
is what is going to make the world end. I don't believe in that kind of thinking at all. I don't understand it. I think it's more that there isn't enough love and respect for life, ALL life.

1:53 PM, April 27, 2005  
Blogger rahmat said...

That's why you should not make a blunt statement about something that you are not familiar with. As a muslim I can't just ask why pope is not elected among the women or why there is not even one occasion where United States has women president in its history. I can't make that statement because I have no knowledge about it nor I am part of that system. I might be right but there is no credibility in it.

2:40 PM, April 27, 2005  
Blogger brown-eyed girl said...

What statement exactly did you think was blunt? Was it "That is an inequality. That is discrimination."?
The point of my comments was more to criticise what Yasmin Mogahed wrote about "what women want".
You ask "why there is not even one occasion where (the) United States has (had a) woman president in its history". I'm Canadian by the way. Did you feel defensive when you wrote that? Correct me if I'm wrong but that sounds defensive to me. I'm sorry if I offended you. I still feel in my heart of hearts that there is a lot of sexism in Islam. Although in Christianity and Judaism as well. I'm a very very very loosely believing Christian.

9:13 PM, April 27, 2005  
Blogger haya_shiloh said...

Let's see, there are two issues here that you are at odds with, right? namely:

1) Ms Yasmin's assumption that feminism is led by women striving to be like men.

2) Since Islam forbade women to lead prayers, that is an indication of inequality/discrimination.

For issue #1, I am definitely with you if she's saying ALL feminism is about that strict equality. As such, I can't infer her stand much from the article, so I would reserve my judgment on her stand. However, would you agree with me, that for those feminist who DOES follow that line of thought, her points are valid?

for issue #2: bearing azazil arashi's comment in mind, i.e. that women can lead an all-women prayer service, so the issue is refined further to the mixed gender prayer situation. Why is that not allowed? is that a sign of discrimination?

i think it sounds like so, only because we have been focusing on "what men can do, but women can't" all these while. i.e., we are not looking at the bigger picture. In reality is, in Islam, there are just as much prohibition the other way around as well, i.e. what women are freely allowed to do, and men can't. Women can wear jewelleries, men can't. Wives are not required to work (but htey certainly can), whereas husbands will be held responsible if they got lazy butts. Women can easily get days off during fasting month, whereas men need to get slimier to get away with it. and whole loads of others. I can point you to some links that talk abt this extensively if you're interested.

So to summarize my point: both genders have their own exclusive sets of Do's and Don'ts, as well as rules that apply to both.

It is more abt specialization rather than discrimination. Men and women have some similar traits, but there are some marked differences, biologially, physically, psychologically or whatever. There are some aspects that one sex is superior than the other, and another of opposite cases, and what I think a lot of people miss is, there are some aspects where quality comparison is meaningless, simply because men and women are different, period.

Probably your next discontention would be: "But why the baggage of rules? why not let them find out themselves what's best for them?" That, I believe, would be best handled in a separate topic thread... what say you?

10:12 PM, April 27, 2005  
Blogger rahmat said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:08 PM, April 27, 2005  
Blogger brown-eyed girl said...

What bothers me most are her generalizations and her attitude.
I think a lot of the differences between women and men are "socially constructed". I wrote it in quotations because I don't like using catch phrases like that. I think we have to be very careful with making statements about what the "natural" differences are between the sexes.

I said from the beginning that on certain points I agree with her, like about women immediately thinking an occupation etc. traditionally reserved for men is better just because it "belongs" to men. I think that that is the case sometimes, but definitely not all the time. It's also all about giving both women and men access to all fields/jobs/life occupations that they are capable of. I think that women have always wanted to do things that are traditonally female and also things that are traditionally male, and the same goes for men.

Being honest, I can still see a lot of sexism towards women in the examples you gave me. I think, however, that there are also a lot of limitations for men. I find men are too often confined to having to have certain types of general behaviours, which sucks for everybody.

1:57 AM, April 28, 2005  
Blogger haya_shiloh said...

hehehe, sucks yeah... but they're there for a reason, innit? a society without any limits won't be able to stand as a society for very long, IMHO.

equal shares of limitations aside, what other gender injustices do you see btw in the Islamic system? I ask this because I believe the system is fair in its pure form, and any injustice is due out of its adherent's shortcomings rather than the doctrine itself. Am curious on how an outsider would look at this issue. Care to share your thoughts?

9:24 PM, April 30, 2005  
Anonymous Yasmin Mogahed said...

The point isn't to talk about the motivations of any particular woman. The point is to say this:
First, when Muslims pray, who are they praying for? God, right?
So if God says that the person who leads prayer is NOT superior in His eyes, *why* would we as women want to covet it? For what reason? The only thing 'special' about leading prayer is that only men happen to do it. It's like coveting a Y chromosome. Is there something superior about Y over X? If not, then coveting it would have no other explaination than because men have it. So if it doesn't mean any more to God, wanting to lead prayer is as arbitrary as wanting a y chromosome. In terms of equal access to all roles, then it wouldn't be fair that God didn't give equal access to men to bear children--a role that *is* higher to God.
-Yasmin Mogahed

1:07 AM, May 13, 2005  
Anonymous Yasmin Mogahed said...

God decides, we obey. This is the definition of Islam-which means submission. Part of our fundemental belief in God is that He is the most just to all His creation. And because God is neither man nor woman, His laws are not partial to one sex or the other. This we cannot say for man's law, however. Thus, by definition God's religion and commandments-as opposed to human made laws-can not be 'sexist' or unjust in any way.

1:19 AM, May 13, 2005  

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