Opinion

Rising tide of Islamic feminism: For and against women

Argument Against

Islamic scholars agreed that women are not fit to be leaders or judges, because the leader needs to go out to organize jihaad and take care of the Muslims’ affairs, and the judge needs to go out to judge between people, but women are ‘awrah and it is not right for them to go out.

Because of their weakness, women are not able to do many things. Women are imperfect, and the positions of leaders and judge are among the most perfect of positions for which only the most perfect of men are qualified.

Undoubtedly this is proven by reality. People know from experience that only men are fit for leadership, because women by nature are more emotional and more easily swayed by their feelings and compassion. These qualities have been created in women to enable them to carry out their most important duty, which is that of motherhood and nurturing children. Men, on the other hand, are not usually swayed by their emotions as women.Their way is usually one of logic and deliberation, which form the essence of responsibility and leadership.

Argument in support

Quran was not categorical on female leadership role. However hadith of prophet made a pointer on the subject.

“A people will not succeed who are commanded by a woman.”

Source: Sahih Bukhari 4163, Grade: Sahih

Scholars understood this statement to be general in meaning and therefore they did not allow women to take any public position of authority. However, other scholars understood this statement to be specific to commanding the armed forces and therefore allowed women to hold the position of judge.

In modern practice, Muslim women perform many roles in society in the fields of religion, politics, science, medicine, education, police, the military, and other important functions. Muslim women provide important contributions to their countries and they should be valued for the services they provide.

Therefore, a Muslim woman is allowed to obtain any position of leadership and authority for which she is qualified, although some positions are specific only to men such as commander of the armed forces and prayer leader.

Muslim women in modern times

Movements for Muslim women to seek roles in national leadership have increased rapidly. Greater opportunities for women in education have further encouraged their involvement in politics.

The most prominent Muslim female leaders are former prime minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto (served 1988-1990 and 1993-1996), Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri (became president 2001), former Turkish Prime Minister Tansu Ciller (served 1993-1995), former Senegalese Prime Minister Mame Madior Boye (appointed 2001), Bangladeshi Prime Ministers Begum Khaleda Zia (served 1991–96 and 2001–06) and Sheikh Hasina Wajed (first elected in 1996), former Iranian Vice President Masoumeh Ebtekar (served 1997–2005), former Malian president Cissé Mariam Kaïdama Sidibé (elected in 2011), former Kosovan President Atifete Jahjaga (served 2011–16), and former I President of Mauritius Bibi Ameenah Firdaus Gurib-Fakim (elected in 2015).

The case of Nigeria

Nigeria has no state religion and is not an Islamic country. Those saying it is not a secular state because secularity was not mentioned in the constitution should know that whether mentioned or not,any state not connected to religion or spirituality is a secular state. Nigeria can have a female president, vice president,governor or local government chairlady. Nigeria once had a woman that headed its House of Representatives, the lower arm of National assembly. Nigerian judiciary was also headed by a woman.The rise of women to positions of leadership has just started and is gaining momentum.

I have no problem with women holding leadership positions. I had woman boss before. I also know fully well that Nigeria is not an Islamic Republic and must accept the dictates of its laws.

Anyone resisting woman leadership is merely looking for trouble in a fight he cannot win.

Aliyu Nuhu wrote in from Lagos 

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