WOMEN AND THEIR CHALLENGES IN ISLAMIC MOVEMENTS

By:Fithri Dzakiyyah Hafizah

Introduction:

Nowadays, we often hear about some gender equality issues around us. Not only in some dominant religions in the West such as Jewish or Christian, but also in Islam which is known as the most dominant religion in the East. Accordingly, some feminist out there demand about their right for the equality in the public especially in social and politic, and even so in Islam. Another that, we mostly find some verses in Koran (Al-Qur’an) which show the representation that women position is under the men position. Subsequently, this interpretation becomes the fundamental understanding that truly the dignity of female is under the male. While currently we often find a lot of Islamism movements in the world such as Hizbullah, Al-Jihad, Al-Harakat Al-Islamiyya Al-Siyassiya and so on, but in other side, we find that women in Islamic perspective itself still crisscross before us. Moreover, Most of people followed the conservative outlook about women based on what Koran said about women textually. Consequently, the conservative perspective is spring up all over the societies and even become the conservative points of view on women in social and politics. Hence, briefly, there is a relationship between Islamism and the presence of women’s social and political participation either in Iran, Afghanistan or other Islamic countries especially in Indonesia. However, there will be some further explanations about the real role of women in Islam primarily about their contribution in social and politic according to some verses of Koran and their challenges in Islamic awakening movements primarily based on some female’s participation phenomenon in Indonesia.

Women Role in Political and Social Participation according to Islam Perspective

Literally, women and politics are two entities which cannot be united. It is proved that numbers of women in political stage are lower than men. Empirically, politics world is always associated to public which is relatively nearby males. All this happen because most of societies in the world still hold the ideology of patriarchy, while this has been become the root of culture that cannot be separated in the human social life.

Essentially, to understand what the women’s political role in Islam is, firstly we can see to the appreciation of Islam to females that appeared evidently in the reality of doctrine implementation and the history of Muslims since the first generation. For instance, we can see Siti Khodijah who was helping Rasulullah for spreading Islam widely. Concerning about the gender equality, Koran asserts that,

Verily, the Muslims (those who submit to Allah in Islam) men and women, the believers men and women (who believe in Islamic Monotheism), the men and the women who are obedient (to Allah), the men and the women who are truthful (in their speech and deeds), the men and the women who are patient (in performing all the duties which Allah has ordered and in abstaining from all that Allah has forbidden), the men and women who are humble (before their Lord – Allah), the men and the women who give Sadaqat (i.e. Zakat, and alms), the men and the women who observe Saum (fast) (the obligatory fasting during the month of Ramadhan, and the optional Nawafil Fasting), the men and the women who guard their chastity (from illegal sexual acts) and the men and the women who remember Allah much with their hearts and tongues – Allah has prepared for them forgiveness and a great reward (i.e. paradise).” (Q. S. Al-Ahzab/33:35)

Basically, there are some outlooks of women’s political participation in Islam. It means that we cannot perceive it in only one side. It is because women’s voice is needed for political administration affairs, and because no one else who can understand every problem which is woman face but themselves. By and large, there are three opinions about women’s representation in politics according to Syafiq Hasyim,

  1. Conservative point of view who said that Islam, since its appearing in Mecca and Madina, never let women to participate in politics, and they consider the best place for them is house.
  2. Liberal Progressive outlook who stated that Islam have been introducing the concept of women in political contribution since the first time. Because they think that Rasulullah’s wife (Siti Khodijah) was contributing herself in politics.
  3. Apologetic Perspective who argue that there are certain political areas which can be entered by females, and cannot be entered by them either. They exemplify that some political areas which are not allowed for females here in term only active in politics and not more. To be a president is not allowed by them. And the appropriate political area for women is to be a mother.

Those outlooks which mentioned above as the reference of Islam Perspective even are impressed not strategic. However, it is because those outlooks come from fiqh area. But, according to the interpretation of Koran about women’s political and social activities clearly said that, “The believers, men and women, are Auliya’ (helpers, supporters, friends, protectors) of one another; they enjoin (on the people) Al-Ma’ruf (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam orders one to do), and forbid (people) from al-Munkar (i.e. polytheism and disbelief of all kinds, and all that Islam has forbidden)…” (Q.S. At-Taubah/9:71).

In other words, the understanding of “enjoin (on the people) Al-Ma’ruf” here involves the whole of improvement sector in life, including giving advice to the leader; nevertheless, every male or female suggested to follow the society development in order to be able to perform that function based on the steady knowledge. In short, whoever who disavow the massage of this verse standing; he or she is not only ignore half of society potencies, but also ignore the guidance of the Holy Qur’an.

Challenges in Islamic Movement based on Phenomenon in Indonesia

There is an argumentation that mostly used to attack the women weakness in their political competence. This argumentation is delivered by an ulama named al-Zuhaili, he considers that, politic needs the big capability and women is impossible to do it and it is too hard for them.

Besides, In Indonesia, females are sat on the lower position of bureaucracy than males. Accordingly, this infidelity occurs for some reasons.

The first reason, according to Ani Soetjipto – a researcher of gender research of postgraduate study program from the University of Indonesia – said that, “In Indonesia, broadly, the higher education grade, the fewer females who can access it. Because they need long time enough to achieve their fact of having fallen behind in the high education grade”.

The problem about woman’s role, she adds, make the public carrier become the double barriers for woman. Moreover, the stereotyping about woman is still widespread all over the society that females are attributed as the passive and uncompetitive worker. In addition, women in the age of reproduction, certainly they would rather to choose and focus on their household interest than bring to notice their carriers.

Thus, in the job world notably in Indonesia, there are some assumptions and considerations that woman should choose among household or carrier. And there is no choice that females can do their job as well as doing their household interest.

Accordingly, scholars of Islamic Studies in Indonesia agree that the religious worldviews tend to be the breeding ground for the absence of women’s political and social rights. They argue that a few verses of Koran are literally true as an important religious source of prejudice and misogynist against women. Subsequently, those verses have been interpreted textually by Islamist to justify their conservative points of view on women in politics and social.

Conclusion

In conclusion, basically, women qualities in intellectual and other potencies are the same as men. Women in the contemporary thought of Islam are described as the same creation in the sense of their position in front of Allah. That is why, this equality subsequently realized as the opportunities that given to males and females for expressing their rights and their obligations. And so do women in Indonesia. They have the same right, obligation and the same opportunities as men to participate in the sector of politic. Because politics is the fundamental domain for women’s rights fulfilling.

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