Short Answer: There is nothing in Islamic text that indicates a woman must be confined to her house and yet – paradoxically – have no say in the household. What a shameful way to represent our faith, given to us by the One God. Allah has never said in the Quran that women are to be kept indoors and under lock and key. Such beliefs are upheld by archaic cultural tradition that has nothing to do with Islam. If you hear people touting these beliefs as truth, challenge them to show you where Allah has commanded such a thing, in full context.
Salaam alaykum brother.
Feminism and Islam: Mutually Exclusive?
Alhamdulillah, it is very nice to hear of young men identifying themselves as feminist. Contrary to widespread belief, feminism and Islam are not mutually exclusive. Most feminists today define feminism as being a woman’s right to choose her own path. Whereas past incarnations of feminism proclaimed that women who stayed at home with children were oppressed, modern feminists counter that as long as it is her choice to do so, it is not oppressive. What is oppressive is forcing a certain way of life on women.
Alhamdulillah, this is perfectly in line with Islam. Throughout Islamic history and in the modern world, there are many examples of Muslim women who have had fruitful lives outside of the four walls of their respective houses. And, of course, there are many Muslim women who happily stay home and care of household things. What is un-Islamic is to force a woman to stay home, or to force her to work against her will. I believe more Muslims are coming to realize this and alhamdulillah I am so happy to see that a teenage boy such as yourself is one of those Muslims.
Rights of a Husband and a Wife
You bring up some interesting points to explore, brother. Let’s talk about intercourse between a husband and wife. Alhamdulillah it seems that you will be a good husband one day, insha’Allah, who does not feel entitled to his wife’s body. This is a healthy attitude to have and will ultimately, insha’Allah, result in a better sex life. When a man has the attitude that his wife must not refuse him that leads a woman to having sex out of obligation.
Rather, when you approach marital relations with an attitude of love and tenderness, and not one of obligation, the result is an amazing experience. Ask any woman if she prefers sex when her husband demands it or when she herself wants it. Ask any man if he prefers sex when he demands it of his wife or when she wants it.
It is important to note, however, that intercourse is a right that spouses have over each other and a husband or wife should not refuse their spouse without good reason, such as illness or fatigue.
Men and women alike should be sensitive to the fact that their spouse might not always be “in the mood.” When love and mercy exist between husband and wife, this should not cause problems and each spouse should strive to not become angry when their counterpart does not feel like sex. Becoming angry will only lead to tension and anxiety around the issue of sex, which will cause more and more problems in the long term.
So, while sex is a right in marriage, it is not good practice to claim your rights like you are claiming a prize at a fair. If you have affection and love in your relationship then insha’Allah, there will be harmony in this aspect of your marriage.
I recently wrote an article on the subject of obedience. In the English language the term “obey” is an ugly one that commands the image of a superior-inferior relationship. If we look in the Sunnah we find that the Prophet (saw) did not treat his wives as his inferiors. Indeed, he treated them as partners. He consulted with them and confided in him. In turn, they respected him.
I encourage you to read related articles if the topic of obedience is one often on your young, feminist mind.
Where is a Woman’s Place?
You mention in your original submission that you believe that a woman should be able to go out and have a social life and have a say in the household, etc. What is horrifying to me if the thought that there are people – Muslims! – out there who believe differently.
There is nothing in Islamic text that indicates a woman must be confined to her house and yet – paradoxically – have no say in the household. What a shameful way to represent our faith, given to us by the One God. Allah has never said in the Quran that women are to be kept indoors and under lock and key. Such beliefs are upheld by archaic cultural tradition that has nothing to do with Islam. If you hear people touting these beliefs as truth, challenge them to show you where Allah has commanded such a thing, in full context.
To circle back to what we were discussing in the beginning: a woman’s place is where she chooses to be. I would caution you against using language such as “weak,” “helpless,” or “doormat.” Some women want to stay at home. Some women may not want to have much of a say in household matters. Some women don’t want to have much of a social life. And that is okay! It does not make her a doormat.
The important thing is for women to be allowed to have the rights that Allah gave her. Violating that would be oppression. But for her to choose to stay home does not make her weak – that choice is one of her rights.
It is always good to see boys growing into feminism. I would only caution you to learn more about rights that husbands and wives are due, as well as to avoid using judgmental language when women make choices about their lives that you don’t understand.
Allah knows best.
I hope this helps.
Salam and please keep in touch.
(From Ask About Islam archives)
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