In Islamic sharia, laws have been formulated with full consideration of anatomical, physiological and psychological features of men and women.
We are all aware that human activities vary a great deal with regard to many factors. However, from an Islamic point of view, there is a certain specified range of variability that is considered to be ‘Mubah’, or ‘Normal’.
The classification scheme of duties and rights for men and women, designed by social scientists, has evidenced error in concept and direction. The most serious defect in the classification scheme relates to the choice of parameters and areas of interest. The problem has been troublesome for Muslims, partially because of the wide variety of disciplines involved in the understanding of Islamic laws e.g., anatomy, physiology, embryology and psychology.
It has been greatly recognized now that science and Islam are inseparable components of truth. From an Islamic point of view, whether we study physics, chemistry, astronomy or theology, we are dealing with the same problem, culminating in knowledge of ourselves. Both Islam and science educate us to live harmoniously with sharia, working in the universe and within ourselves. Scientists and theologians have yet to learn that a scientific fact is as sacred as a religious truth, and natural laws are as important as moral principles. The true religion, Islam, demands this allegiance.
In an analytical study of sociology, it must first be realized that humans are biological organisms. Thus, the terms ‘duty’ and ‘right’ should be interpreted with reference to the biological structures of the two sexes. That is, in order to assign social duties, the biological ‘makeup’ of man and woman should be the primary criterion. This is an Islamic viewpoint i.e. we should formulate social laws in their total biological context. In Islamic sharia, normative patterns appear in full agreement of biological demands of the two sexes.
Western sociologists have contributed substantially in sociological issues concerning women’s rights and duties, but they have labored to replace the old patriarchal myths with new feminist myths. The area of their research is enormous as it encompasses sex roles, cultural stereotypes, labor force, income differentials, and many other issues of significant importance but despite their collective efforts, no single theory exists in the West which does not exhibit behavioral deficiencies. Common errors in gender studies have evolved due to the negligence of biological consideration of the two sexes.
There is a popular notion in the West, and its allied communities, that there should be no difference between men and women in their functions, activities and roles in society. This move has generated a unisex society in which efforts are being made to destroy everything which shows a difference between man and woman. Unisex clothes, shoes, hairstyles, common clubs, and swimming pools… are the manifestation of this conviction. In fact, it is often difficult to identify the sex while talking to these unisex models. It happens sometimes by poor judgement that someone is talking to a boy, with reservations, thinking that he might be a girl, and thinking that she might be a boy.
Apparently, by superficial features of the Unisex Theory, it seems that women have got more privileges in Western society in terms of material benefits and social status. There is a widespread propaganda that Islam has deprived women of enjoying their natural rights and normal benefits, which they very well enjoy in the contemporary world. There are accusations that woman receives no respect, no freedom, no life in a Muslim society. Many ignorant Muslim women have become the victims of this propaganda; they feel that by having Islamic legislative restrictions imposed on them, they are being mistreated. It is a very delicate and sensitive issue and a minor error in presentation that can create serious misunderstanding.
In such a short article, it is not possible to show with evidence how the West is disgracing, humiliating and exploiting women. But one piece of information, which has been collected from the Western media, is sufficient to highlight the truth.
In its special issue on ‘women’, Time magazine reports that 25,000 women commit suicide every year in Switzerland only. The best-selling book in Europe was, “How to Commit Suicide”.
This shows how dissatisfied women in the West are; of all the rights endowed by the West, they choose the ‘right to die’. In addition, the number of criminal cases in which women are dying is increasing with such an enormous rate that no definite figure can be given at any time.
Islam regards woman as an important member of society; it considers no difference between man and woman in terms of human value. The Qur’an declares that the only difference that is recognized by Islam between man and woman is taqwa. It says:
“O you men! Surely We have created you of a male and a female, and have made you tribes and families that you may know each other; surely the most honorable of you with Allah is the one among you most careful (of his duty); surely Allah is Knowing, Aware.” (49:13)
By this, the Qur’an has clearly emphasized that in Islam, both men and women are equal in their human rights, and both have equal opportunity to achieve the highest honor and respect. Similarly, in another verse, the Qur’an reveals that both men and women are equally capable of acquiring good attributes. In this regard, a woman can achieve a higher position than man can if she utilizes her energies in the right direction. It says:
“Surely the men who submit and the women who submit, and the believing men and the believing women, and the obeying men and the obeying women, and the truthful men and the truthful women, and the patient men and the patient women, and the humble men and the humble women, and the almsgiving men and the almsgiving women, and the fasting men and the fasting women, and the men who guard their private parts and the women who guard, and the men who remember Allah much and the women who remember Allah has prepared for them forgiveness and a mighty reward. (33:35)
There are many other Qur’anic verses and ahadith which clearly show that there is no difference between men and women insofar as human values are concerned. Islam shows no difference in status between a man and a woman possessing the same qualities. The Qur’an has rejected fabricated stories added to the Old Testament showing the first woman was a lesser human than the first man, or that she was responsible for the expulsion of Adam from the Garden of Eden.
The Qur’an teaches us that Allah has created human on the same pattern on which He has formulated the sharia. Or, He has formulated the sharia in according with the biological make-up of humans.
This is a universal truth, acknowledged and recognized by all scientists. For instance, we know that different kinds of animals have a definite kind of food which they eat for their survival, and do not eat other than that. Carnivorous animals, such as the lion, the cat, the dog and the bear, feed on flesh and will never eat plants and fruits. Herbivorous animals, such as the cow, the rabbit and the elephant will instantly reject meat, as they only like to eat plants.
Why? Scientists have good biological reasons for this behavior. They say that this is merely because of their physical structure. God has created each and every organism for a particular purpose. The anatomical and physiological make-up of these animals is in accordance with the purpose of their creation. That is, they are all equipped with many different types of tools and mechanisms, which help them to perform their assignment. Thus, the physical structures, the living habits, the nature of foods and the biological mechanisms of living organisms speak for themselves. Each creature is born with a special assignment, which is manifested by its body. Charles Darwin’s phrase, “survival of the fittest”, is based on this law, which he misinterpreted in order to fit it into his Theory of Evolution.
Thus, in order to take full advantage of a living being’s potential, it is necessary to understand its bodily structure and internal bodily mechanism. Islam has taken this biological law as the fundamental criterion for formulating social laws. All Islamic legislation regarding the rights and duties of men and women are based on biological laws. The unisex theory of the West is rejected by Islam on scientific grounds. Islam condemns it because it has no scientific basis or biological clues to support its central thesis.
In Islamic sharia, laws have been formulated with full consideration of anatomical, physiological and psychological features of men and women. Western scientists do not deny the prominent biological differences between men and women. In fact, many biological differences between men and women, which were not known to us, have been revealed through scientific research. We are taking advantage of their discoveries to disprove their hypothetical theory of total equality between the sexes. We believe that every scientific truth discovered by either a Muslim or a non-Muslim certifies Islamic truths. We know that biologists consider man and woman two different living species of the same class.
Supporters of the Unisex Theory can only change the physical appearance of men and women by unisex clothes and hairstyles. But how can they change the height, weight, voice and facial expressions of the two sexes, which are remarkably different?
In addition, there are physiological and psychological differences, which cannot be tempered by unisex designers. For instance, how can they change the construction of the brain, the nervous system and internal bodily system, which are very different between the male and the female? Both Islam and biology can justify why certain duties should be performed by women, not men; or certain others by men, not women.
By breaking the sharia or biological laws, the natural beauty and efficiency of our lives will be affected. Let us consider one difference which unisex designers and theorists have failed to overcome. The whole process, which commences from the time a woman, conserves until childbirth cannot be shared by a man. Even the most loving husband, or a staunch supporter of unisex theory, cannot offer his services in order to share the hardship of pregnancy, the pains of delivery and the multiple sufferings which follow.
One should ask, If men and women should have equal rights and equal duties, then why should only the woman suffer pregnancy, which always occurs after a mutual sharing of pleasure? The unisex theorists should first invent a technique by which man and woman can equally share the burden of pregnancy that is both the man and the woman should join each other organically in shouldering the normal burden of pregnancy, including headache, morning sickness, depression, irritability, cravings, abdominal swelling and many other common illnesses. Each time she is impregnated by her husband, a wife exposes herself to a wide range of risks.
In fact, by claiming equal rights and equal duties, the West has deprived woman of her natural entitlements. The reason why Islam has restricted the woman’s role in social affairs is not to deprive her of her normal benefits, but to compensate her sufferings, which she alone bears in the development of the society. When the man does not equally share the duties of motherhood, a key factor in his own existence with the woman, why then should the woman equally shoulder the burden of fatherhood? Thus, equal rights or equal duties exploit the woman.
Allah has equipped both man and woman with special qualities. For instance, women have unique characteristics of showing maternal affection needed in the upbringing of children, a warm feeling of emotion necessary for keeping the husband fresh and active. Men are allowed with talents for exploring ways of satisfying women’s unending desires. These natural tendencies draw the classification scheme of duties and rights within the widest possible range of human endeavors.
There is also a widespread propaganda against hijab. It is said that hijab is a literal show of woman’s imprisonment. There is not enough space in this article to give recorded statistics of cases where women have been tortured, abused and killed as a result of their so-called freedom. I will again confine myself to the scientific aspect of hijab in order to establish its importance.
We know that there is a natural attraction between a man and a woman; this has been created by Allah for a very special purpose. The tremendous natural attraction and affinity for each other plays a key role in the formation of the family.
It is an undisputed fact that both man and woman feel a perpetual need for each other and cannot survive without each other. This natural attraction created by Allah takes its natural course and exerts a positive influence between a man and a woman if Islamic sharia laws are maintained. But these natural forces, which work as a binding force between a man and a woman can be misused by nafs(soul) to develop, unauthorized relations between a man and a woman. Thus, by observing proper hijab, one can utilize the full benefits of Allah’s blessings. The Islamic hijab is a biological shield that regulates the biological tendencies within its legitimate share. It covers the physical body of a woman, while unveiling her spirituality.
The article was written by Sayyed Qasim MM Kamoonpour and published to Mahjubah.