The Western World views Muslim women in a different way from the Middle East countries. In the Western World perspective, Muslim women have specific roles bound by religious cultures and beliefs. Inherently, the Western World has a different take on Muslim women’s mode of dressing, social roles, and spiritual life. For instance, the West believes that Muslim women are forced to adopt a particular mode of dressing – covering the whole body with specific attires. These values contradict with that of western values; hence, they suggest that Muslim women should seek salvation. The western fraternity has abolished some of these behaviors.
For example, Belgium banned covering of face for security purposes. Equally, Germany imposed regulations on the religious attires. Ultimately, before the introduction of western education, women were used for one purpose only. For instance, women were used for birth, and they had no obligation to own any property. Moreover, countries outside Arabia handled women in a careless way more than slaves. Conversely, Middle East countries view Muslim women in accordance with the Quran, which entails adopting the dressing codes as stipulated in the Quran, as well as restricting the role of the woman as per the Quran. The paper explores stereotype on Muslim women by the western world and compares with that of the Middle East.
Muslim Women According to the Western World
The Role of the Woman
Muslim women are viewed as wives whose roles are to provide comfort and company to their husbands. In most of the western countries like the US, Muslim women receive directions from their husbands and execute their duties as directed by the partners. According to Arimbi (2009), a woman who fails to follow directions from the man is seen as disrespectful woman in the society. In addition, a woman is seen as a tool to perform daily household chores. For example, cooking is one of the profound duties of a woman in society.
Views of Women and Terrorism
Historically, women have been viewed as partisans to violent cases. Reports show that over 35% of women are involved in terrorist cases. Even though they do not take part in the physical war, Muslim women are viewed as the main perpetrators of the war. For instance, Palestinian women have actively been involved in the war of Intifada, which is also known as the uprising war. In essence, these women provide the necessary ideas that are used to execute military activities during the war (Benn, 2003). Secondly, Muslim women are seen as the providers of food and other basic requirements to the partisans of the war. The militants require food for energy during the war.
Education and Muslim women
Currently, westerners view Muslim women as people of less education. They have the perception that these women do not attend formal education but can only attend religious education, which is not mandatory to the Muslim fraternity. The Muslim religion does not restrict education of the women. For instance, reports from UNICEF show that only 60% of the total women that enrolled in 24 education centers were Muslim women (Bowen, 2002). According to westerners, Islamic countries top in having illiterate women. Equally, some scholars opine that Islamic countries have the largest gap in education between males and females.
Muslim Women and Employment
Most of the westerners view Muslim women in a different dimension inability to do some work. They are considered people of less energy; as a result, most industries prefer employing other women to Muslim women.
the Modern View of Muslim Women
Countries outside Europe, especially the Middle East women, are treated equally with men in accordance with norms of the Islamic religion (Burek, 2007). They do not wear hijab, they travel, and receive education and work. In these regions, for instance, there are specific human rights that protect Muslims from any violation. In addition, Muslim women have the freedom to engage in non-criminal activities without fear.
Rights of Muslim women
The Islamic religion has human rights that protect the interest of Muslim women. Human rights are put forth to ensure that women feel they are equally important before Allah. According to their religious doctrines, Prophet Muhammad states that women are twin halves of men. They do not judge women from the first sin that Eve did. Quran precisely states that both men and women faced the temptation and committed sin. Eventually, both women and men were forgiven their sins after realizing their sins and repenting (Hoyt & Simon, 2011).
Further, Islamic law dictates that a woman is different in her behaviors. From this dimension, they are autonomous, making them have their own defined rights. The duties of the woman are related to the other needs of the creatures and their Creator. In case a woman misuses her gender rights, she is bound to punishment from God without insight. Some of the rights that Muslim women are entitled to in most of the Middle East countries include civil rights, right to education, right to own properties, right of moving out of their home, right for employment, right to dress in a presentable manner among others.
Muslim Women and Civil Right
Clearly, in civil law, Muslim women are under no liberty after marriage to change their details like names. This implies that she is identified by the name of her father but not the husband. Similarly, a woman in the Islamic religion is given a chance to choose a husband of her own without external influence. Finally, civil right allows the Muslim woman to divorce a marriage without any coercion. Therefore, civil rights in countries like Arabia ensure freedom of women.
The Right of Marriage to Muslim Women
Evidently, Muslim women from the countries of the Middle East have the right to leave their homeland for other parts of the world. Therefore, they are free to visit friends, work in a different place, and learn in a different environment. However, she must go out of her home in accordance with the rules and code of conduct from the Islamic religion. For instance, Islamic law provides that a home remains the ultimate working station of a woman. She is to move out only when she has a specific task outside the home.
Muslim women with the right of education
In the Quran, education is impartial for everyone. This means that both men and females are entitled to education because it is meant to improve the life of every individual. From this perspective, Muslim women have the right to seek knowledge and education. Allah (God in the Muslim religion) declares in the Quran that the person who seeks knowledge will have a clear way to paradise. Education, in this sense, encompasses religious and formal education. Through education, one is able to gain knowledge that enhances creativity within individuals (Mirza, 2010). In this regard, women are free from all the sanctions that may derail their rights for education. In these countries, penalties are enforced to men that refrain the rights of Muslim women.
Right to Go to the Mosque
In the Middle East countries, women are given the opportunity to go to the mosque without any objection. Going to Mosque has various benefits. For example, it instill spiritual nourishment among the women. Secondly, women receive religious education by going to the mosque. Women are taught how to handle their husbands and children. Equally, they are taught how to take care of the general wellbeing of a family as outlaid in the Mosque doctrine. To ensure women participate actively in religious activities, modern Muslim women are given positions in the Mosque to execute the duties. In essence, this will help in ensuring that women feel like part of the Islamic fraternity (Mirza, 2010).
Therefore, in these countries, individuals that dictate rules for the women in line with going to the Mosque are said to have infringed the rights of the women hence held accountable. This is supported by the belief from the mosque, which states that every individual is equal before Allah and that each individual will be judged in his/her own way of conduct. There is no specialty in gender on the Day of Judgment; therefore, women have equal rights to go to the mosque as the men do.
Equal Rights Between Men and Women
Countries in the Middle East, like Indonesia and Arabic, treat modern Muslim women equal to men in the society. Both men and women are charged with equal responsibilities to create a sense of belonging in the community. However, the degree of responsibility depends on the capability of the person without discrimination. In western countries, women are seen as lazy people that cannot be given equal task as men. Many reasons are behind the equal treatment of males and females. For instance, there have been reductions in the level of manpower during wars and the industrial revolution. As a result, many women found themselves doing duties that were initially assigned to men. Secondly, there was need to search for food and other needs to the family. Men could not manage to bring all the wants of the family; women found it prudent to join in the provision of these wants. Because of these responsibilities, women are not seen as sex-oriented tools, but as people who can equally take care of the family like man.
the Right to Seek Employment
In the current modern world full of advanced technology and western education, every individual is considered eminent in the society when he/she can do some work to earn a daily bread. Women are considered useless when they solely depend on the men for survival. For these reasons, the modern Muslim women have the freedom of searching jobs to earn salaries. Apart from the vital role of nurturing a responsible family, a woman can take part in other activities that will improve the living standards of the family. However, in Islamic religion, it is not a condition for the women to engage in employment activities. Quran states clearly that women should be concerned with the fulfillment of the home duties and the fear of the highest God (Allah).
To express the concern of the Islamic religion, women should have tasks that satisfy the needs of the family. It is easier to employ women because of the knowledge that they may possess like doctor and teacher skills (Bowen, 2002). Middle East countries scores in ensuring that women are given opportunity for employment. However, their employment should not cause conflict in the family, change the general behavior of the woman, and reverse family roles in the house. Instead, the job should help maintain the moral upright of the woman, and, finally, the job must be related to the skills of the woman. This right has helped most of the families as it has improved their standards of living.
Right to Choose on the Presentable Dressing Codes
Various changes in the modern world have come up with different dressing codes. In the Middle East nations, Muslim women have the freedom of choosing the presentable attire. However, the dress should not portray any immoral act. For example, the chosen dressing code should cover all the private parts of a woman. For the woman to be respected, the dressing code should be commendable and appreciated with others. Any woman who dresses immorally faces the consequences before the rule of morality (Arimbi, 2009). Therefore, not all Muslim women that dress immorally should be judged with others.
In retrospect, it is evident that western countries and Middle East countries have a complete different view of the Muslim women. According to western countries, Muslim women are used for specific purpose like sex tools, have no right to education, and may take part in facilitating terrorism among others. Conversely, in Middle East countries, women are viewed, as people equal to men. They have right to education, freedom of worship, freedom to choose the best dressing codes, and right to employment. Therefore, Muslim women may play different roles in Middle East countries and Western countries.
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