Channel: Mohammed Hijab
This lecture attempts to assess the changing premise of feminism throughout the years. It also sheds light on the historical racism associated the ideology. The lecture compares feminist models of ‘women’s rights’ and Islamic ones.
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Salam Alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh
let's get started straightaway
is categorically for women's rights, there's no doubt about that. Just as Islam is categorically for human rights, and just like Islam is categorically for human beings giving God his rights as well.
And just like Islam is for animal rights.
Anyone who denies those realities is denying a part of Islam.
Because the ayat and the Hadees that have come about this matter, are too plentiful to be disregarded.
For example, Allah subhanho wa Taala says, faster Java long Rob boom.
And Neeraj Odia Hamel amla min min comienza care in our own savato common bat, that Allah subhanaw taala replied to them, and we said that I will not let to waste any deed of a dua, whether they be male or female and both of them are from one another.
Allah subhanaw taala he says is the funakoshi Nisa
they asked you about women,
Padilla who frequently henna say Allah will tell you about them. And in the area, he describes given the rights to your time and he said, the ones who are often girls particular. And the emphasis on female orphans in the Quran, I would argue, is more than any other ancient religious texts.
The Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu Sallam he said in a hadith narrated by Sharon johannah, the indominus al Shahada that certainly men are equal to women.
But it's this equality that we're going to contest and talk about today, because what equality is the Prophet Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wa sallam mean here?
The Hadith itself was referring to will do.
And she was asking the Prophet Mohammed salaria. So is it the same for men as it is for women? And so he replied with this phrase, the inner man itself Chicago corrigenda, certainly men are equal to women, ie in front of the law. In front of the Islamic law, men are equal to women, so long as there is not an indicator or what you refer to an abacus at Kadena to indicate otherwise.
And most of Sharia or most of the Quran, the Quran, Sunnah
are very much for both sexes.
The Prophet Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wa sallam on many different occasions, he told men and women
it's also a hierarchy that be good to women, in fact, that his final speech and
he made this a point of emphasis,
just as he made racism, a points of emphasis, and how we should avoid this, as well. So there is no doubt in anyone's mind and they cannot be a disputation
that Islam is pro woman's rights.
But the question remains,
is the phrase woman's rights synonymous with the phrase feminism?
That question requires some kind of historical investigation, which we will go through today.
You see feminism as a phrase originated in the late 1800s. It appeared in some French texts, some medical texts and others, other texts. It was not regarded as a term referencing women's rights in particular.
In fact, it was seen as a derogatory term, a term to label women as fanatics of some sort.
It was only seen
in a scholastic sense after the 60s or 70s. And if you go on, for example, Google Ngram, it's a really interesting tool. You write the word feminism, you'll find that the word really wasn't being used up until the 60s 70s. to refer to women's rights activism is just to suggest that for all of human history, that we
Women were not when men and women were not asking for their rights of women's rights? Of course not. Is this is just that women only in the 60s and 70s began to realize that it's time
to demand rights for women? Of course not.
So the point is this is that feminism now is a political philosophy. It is a political philosophy. If you go into a university, they have gender studies. They have political philosophy courses. It's an ideology. It has its own scholastic tradition.
And when someone says I am a feminist, they are associating themselves with that scholastic tradition with that framework.
So someone can be an advocate of women's rights without being a feminist, and that is the majority opinion. In, for example, America or other places where surveys are done. And women decides to not identify themselves with feminism. Now.
If you look, for example, in Britain, where the movement,
the western movement, you could say, I'm not gonna say it started in Britain, because there was parallel movements in Canada, in the United States of America, in France and in Britain, but looking at Britain, just for an example here, because it was the colonial
mother of the world, if you like.
For example, in the 1640s 60s, and 50s, that there kind of emerged, this criticism of the fact that women were not being educated.
For example, Belfry you are makin a woman, she she famously said,
If you let women be fools, you will let them be slaves. She's very interesting point.
In 1792, I think it was, Mary Wollstonecraft came out, she wrote a book called vindication of subjugation of women very, very famous book, it's seen as probably one of the most impressive books that started what is referred to sometimes as first wave feminism,
after her, and during her time, after and around the French Revolution, many people came out.
And the main demand was as follows. This was the main premise of feminism at that particular time, the main demand was that women just like men have mental faculties, they have intellect, they have rationality, and therefore, their intellect and rationality should be nourished through the system of education. And this was the main argument of Mary Wollstonecraft. She said that we should be educated just like men, why not? We are we are accountable, are we not? We're intelligent, are we not? We have intellect. Do we not have that? So the argument was a very clear argument.
A very simple argument. And that's why it was a very true argument.
And not many people in history.
Not many people in history really would go against the premise of those arguments.
Why should say not many people today, even because in the dark ages, and
in the in Europe, you had
serious problems when it related, for example, to women's education.
So the main point is, this moved on to what you call universal suffrage.
And here is where we need to really think about some very key questions. universal suffrage, is the idea that men and women should both vote. And in both the United States of America and United Kingdom and other places like Canada, and France and other places.
There was a movement now to try and get women to vote.
Now, obviously, once again, from our perspective as Muslims, we don't have any issue with this because at the time of the Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu sallam, when they will give them doing bi was men and women doing via we don't have an issue with this. We don't have an issue with it fundamentally, like you know, why should women not have a vote this is not an issue for us. So once again, here, there is no line. There is no line of demarcation. We have not parted ways yet with the feminists with the so called feminist because at this point in time, by the way, they didn't call themselves feminists. Those individuals didn't call themselves feminists.
Some points needs to be noted.
first wave feminism, despite having reasonable claims, was a racist movement. Now, wait a minute, you're going controversial all of a sudden? Yes, I am.
But it's the truth and most people would recognize this for example.
Emily skansen, who started this in the the the falls conference.
The Seneca Falls conference in 1848.
She was not happy with the fact
that black people could get the vote for example, before white women would.
Felton, Rebecca Felton, Rebecca Latimer Felton.
She was the first senator of the United States, that was a woman.
And she explicitly advocated white supremacy, she was part of the KKK.
And she said that if it wasn't, I cannot bear to see a black man, you know, vote on my rights, I cannot bear to see this. And she even advocated the lynching of black men lynching, she said, I would rather see 1000 black men lynched every week. Then, then for me to
then for them to vote for my my issues.
And this is not isolated incidents, even in the United States, the United States, but in the United Kingdom, you had Millicent for four set who's got a society named after her now in the United Kingdom. It's called The Fawcett Society.
She was once again very appalled with the fact that New Zealand Maori woman have a vote before white woman do. So she this was a racist movement. Why is this very important? Because
the second wave narrative of feminism, which we're going to talk about more in detail,
has women being oppressed at all times by men? This is the narrative. This is the story that hey, you have women on the bottom, subjugated, subordinated oppressed, and then you have men on the top oppressing them. My question.
If this is a generalizable statement, can we say that black men were oppressing white women? Wait a minute, say this one more time? Okay. Okay. No problem. I'll say again,
if this is a generalizable thesis, that men
are oppressing women.
Can we say in the context of the United States, or the British colonial context, that men of color, I'm not even going to just say black men, either black men living in the United States, or colonial
subjects of other nations? Can we say those men who were oppressing women? Can we say this? It's impossible for us to make this claim.
The narrative of feminism therefore, is an unsophisticated narrative. Because the narrative is this. Men are always oppressors. And women are always oppressed. But here's the question we must ask what men are you talking about? and What woman are you talking about?
And what time are you talking about?
Because each time has its own context. This is our This is our point of
That we say that actually,
the narrative the story, the myth, that men throughout all of history, have been attacking and oppressing vulnerable women.
has some truth in it. But it is not true. Absolutely. We also find the opposite being the case.
Do you think that Rebecca Felton, the first senator of the United States if she had her way,
that there would not have been an oppression against black men in the United States of America. So here, this is very important. We cannot say
that they that men have been oppressing women all throughout of all of society. Now second wave feminism.
really started in the 60s. second wave Now usually, is divided into first wave, second wave and third wave. That's how they divide it now. Yeah. And they also divide feminism into liberal feminism, Marxist feminism, and radical feminists loosely how they define feminism, historically, and ideologically. That's how they compartmentalize it.
In the 60s, you have people like Simone de Beauvoir very influential, if not, in my opinion, the most influential feminist, maybe two have ever lived. She wrote a book called The second sex you have a Betty Friedan who wrote a book called Feminine Mystique. Yeah, these women coming out and writing books about feminism.
And here now the premise has changed. Now this is very important, because the question would be okay, what's wrong with being a feminist right now? We don't know what's wrong with being a fit. Isn't it just about women's rights? I'll tell you what the problem is.
first wave feminism. The demand was reasonable. We need to women need to be
Educated just like men, women need to vote just like men. Women need to be a part of public life just like men. All of these were very reasonable demands which were premised on a very reasonable, intelligible, coherent premise, which is that look, men are accountable, women are accountable, men are rational, women are rational, women are rational. Men are intelligent women are intelligent, therefore, they should have the ability to nourish their faculties. That is a coherent premise. In the second wave, you had completely different premise. The premise changed.
You had a theory now, which was saying that
men and women Yes, they are different. This is what Simone de Beauvoir set in her book. She mentions it in her book. The second section has a whole chapter called biology. And she says, Yes, she even says women are much more emotional than men. They cry this this, that the weaker the men will be a woman in a fight. She said this, and she's the most influential feminist of all time, the mother of feminism.
And she says, Yes, men are stronger. And women are weak on these things. We know this, we're not ignorant. She says, we know this.
By the way, if I had said this, it would probably seem misogynistic. Imagine if I was working in somewhere in in Norway and say, Look, women are more emotional than men. I say this is problematic. But if Simone de Beauvoir says it, no problem. Anyways, the truth can only be said by some people in certain corners. Anyways. So here, she says, we know the differences between men and women, there are physiological differences. There are psychological differences. There are biological differences we know. She says, despite this, this is the point of second wave feminism, where the premise starts to crumble underneath. She says, we know this. But despite the differences, we should be treated the
same. That is the premise.
Because gender is socially constructed, she famously says
that a woman is not a boy, you're not born a woman, you're made into one. So gender is socially constructed. Therefore, we're equal, we should be treated equally. Even though in terms of sex, we are different. First question, can you prove this? Why? Because here you are, you're saying ought to? And should these are moral judgments.
The assumption here is that different things should be treated the same way. My question is, how can you prove this? Is there a mechanism of proving this philosophically?
And she provides absolutely no mechanism whatsoever. There is no mechanism. Now it becomes even more ridiculous, because, and by the way, many people would agree with me even as feminists on this point. Third, wave feminism.
For example, a woman called Monique wittig, who wrote a book in 1996. And also Judith Butler.
I think she's still she's still alive. Now. These women now are saying that sex itself is socially constructed. Wait a minute, please. Why did you have to go there?
Why did you have to say such silly things? What do you mean sex is socially constructed? They use post modernism, post structuralism and these things, and they say sex. You know, when I say sex, we're talking about when a baby is born, they are born with certain genitalia. A man is born with a penis, a woman is born with a vagina. Yes, we can, we can see, no, this is a social construction.
Okay, my question to you how do you know, I would say to have How do you know what you're saying is not a social construction? How can you prove what you're saying is not socially constructed?
is why without Oscar, to what extent now is because now there's a tension between science and feminism.
You're denying biological realities. So you can make a point at a metaphysical point, which cannot be proven. Why did they have to say this is the question, very important question. Why did they have to go down this route and say that sex is socially constructed? Or that it doesn't matter? Sex does not determine gender in any way, shape or form? Why did you have to go down that line of reasoning to fill the gap that Simone de Beauvoir left, which is what she had no mechanism of proving
that differences should not be treated in different ways. In other words, Simone de Beauvoir said, Yes, we have biological differences, but we should be treated the same. But she didn't tell us why. Or how. Now these other feminists that came afterwards, they realized that there's a problem in that reasoning. And they said to make it easy for us, we're just going to say, yes, that sex and gender have no connection whatsoever. Sex
Gender have no connection whatsoever. Therefore,
you can be whatever you want to be. And this woman would take, she says a lesbian woman because she was a lesbian, radical lesbian. She said that, by the way, a radical lesbian means that she believed that lesbian ism was the way forward for women in order to assert themselves independently. She said that
lesbian women are not women.
Five was the Pope.
I mean, what do we say about this? Well, how do we respond to that? Now, the point is this, fine. If they're not women, then women have not been impressed.
If they're not women, then Okay, was the whole point of the whole thesis drops.
Then why are they they're not men, they're not women.
They're their own category. And this is where the feminist thought to attack each other because of the incoherence of the premise of feminism. The new premise after the second wave, for example, Germaine Greer, who is she's, she's Australian born, but she's now based in the UK. She wrote a book in 1970, called the female union, which means this means someone who has been castrated you know, anyways, very famous book, she came on news night or so one of those TV programs and she said
that transgender people, yes, transgendered people. They are not really women.
So they're contradicting each other one is saying biology has everything to do with it. The other one is biology has nothing to do with it. This one is saying sex is linked to gender. This one is saying no gender is not linked to sex, they are contradicting each other. Because there is no basis for what is gender, what is sex, they're all contradicting each other. It's literally ramblings, this is this is what it is. It's become ramblings, philosophical ramblings.
And they're all contradicting each other one after the other.
The question is why? as Muslims for example, why can we not associate with this because of many reasons. Number one,
Islam is clear in its demarcation between men and women, men are biological, born as males, etc, women and the feminist movement is not agreed upon this, and they would seem to suggest that gender is socially constructed. This is a problem number two, the second wave attack on motherhood. The second wave attack on motherhood. Simone de Beauvoir has a whole chapter on motherhood and on marriage. And she herself never got married and never had children. And she thought it was oppressive by virtue of the fact that you do it that you will be oppressed. So in other words, she thinks that if a woman has a child, that she is oppressing herself, she never had a child. And it's
really interesting. By the way, if you go online, you will write her name, Simone de Beauvoir, you'll find that she always wears a hijab.
It's really interesting. I've never seen this woman without hijab.
But she never had a child.
She never had children. She never had a job. She never had children. She never got married and she thought the whole thing was oppressive.
So Islam encourages marriage, encouraging a encourages for you to have children, therefore, there is a contradiction. Point three, the attitude towards men generally,
that they would argue that men are not the enemy. Betty Friedan said this men are not the enemy. But in other parts of her book. She says, you know, in Feminine Mystique, as she wrote in 1963, she said that, you know, we're in a comfortable concentration camp, comfortable concentration, just listen to the listen to the words that she's using women in a home or in a comfortable concentration camp. How can you have a comfortable concentration camp? That's a contradiction in terms. a concentration camp is uncomfortable by nature is meant to be uncomfortable. So how can you have a comfortable concentration camp? Anyways, these things are extreme ramblings
of women who came
a thesis which was coherent at first, and then it became unintelligible, incoherent and contradictory. So, feminism now, when you say I'm a feminist, people don't even know if I if, for example, I've been to many universities in the UK, and we've talked about feminism. And I usually do i'm not going to do this here with you guys. You know, in no way. When I say Put your hands up if you're a feminist, oh, I'm a feminist, I believe woman's rights. So I take one of the people from the audience, I say, What book Have you read about feminism?
And they say, I don't know. I haven't really read any books by believing women's rights. I believe in women's rights as well. Yes. But when you read the works of the feminist, you will realize very, very quickly that actually, especially second wave feminism, it goes a little bit too far. And third wave feminism is just nonsense.
For most people anyways, it's just nonsense. And it has no basis whatsoever.
And that's why you'll find that they're contradicting each other on key issues on transgenders on. For example, what do we do about the objectification of women pornography? Andrea Dworkin,
who was an individual who wrote about
feminism, and pornography, etc.
She talks about, for example, there's no difference. And this is once again, I have to check if I read this correctly, between consensual sex and rape. A woman has sex with a man consensually and if you rape sir, so we might as well as men, we might as well you know, according to his theory, forget this whole thing of rape, let's just do what we need to do.
What nonsense is this? I mean, if you really read what they say you cannot identify with their statements, if you are rational, honest person with sincerity, if it was a matter of women's rights, and women need to be educated just like men, women need to be given rights just like men.
You we know in the 1800s in this country,
that you had certain acts put into place for example,
you had the infant custody act, you had in this country in the UK, you had infant custody act, you had you know, the married woman's property act, all of these acts, the matrimonial causes act. All of those acts, for example, gave women rights to property, and they give women rights to, for example, divorce, the divorce woman's act, I forget the name of the Act. These were all of the 1800s they were put into place. But all of these things were given to women 1400 years ago, the prophet Mohammed Salah, so a woman came to him, she said to him, Lola Mahi for two levels after Viva Jiabao husband, if it wasn't for the fear of Allah would have spit in his face. I don't I can't stand the
guy. For for Mahavira Houma he got them what kind of old fool until Islam, this was the first line Islam woman had the right to reverse 1400 years ago, not in this car in the UK and the US. And these countries, it was like 150 years ago, it's nonsense. And that's why there was a need for that kind of narrative.
That's why there was a need for it. Women didn't have the right to own their own property. Women were being sold in the Victorian period. Did you know this married woman were being sold as good wife selling. There were books written about her wife selling in the Victorian period, there used to be sold, a wife used to be sold in England, hey, by my wife, this is what used to be. That's why there was a need, at a certain point in time, for there was a need for a kind of movement, or you could say, a kind of effort to get rid of this kind of thing. Because the premise that men and women are rational, accountable actors didn't link with the social organization of them at that particular
time. Another interesting feminist, and I found this really, really interesting. She is probably one of the biggest names in all of feminism. Her name is Virginia Woolf. And she wrote a book in 1929. She actually wrote many books, which one of them was called the three guineas. And you know what she said in this book, and she's one of the, you know, she's regarded as one of the biggest feminist thinkers. And this one I will conclude with, because I've got one minute 45 seconds. Why shouldn't we be feminist she said this.
She said, the word feminism.
It used to refer to when a woman couldn't make a living for herself. No one has the rights that she didn't have. So she says Now the word has become meaningless. And she's writing in 1929, less than 100 years ago, she goes the word has become meaningless. And any meaningly meaningless word what is morally corrupt? She says you refer to the word feminism as a morally corrupt word. Because it would be assumed that she thought it would create more tensions between men and women. There's no need to use this word 1929 she's talking about this before the second wave of feminism even started. She's saying it's a morally corrupt words. And I'll end so Pamela that's why I would say to men or women
who say why should we not identify as feminism because the need for using that terminology is not existent. You don't need to use it. You don't need to use it because I believe in women's rights. The Quran says what matters Well, I will message the men know my father a lot of biblical male about this beautiful line
that Allah says to the to us do not wish
for what the other person or the other gender has, literally jelly now see boom accessible. Men have a portion of what they have earned willingness say enough.
See bone min max is seven. And for women there is a portion of what they have bent. In other words, men and women in Islam are both treated with justice. And
they have a complementary relationship with one another. We should not be attempting to compete with one another with the things that either of us don't have some things men can do that women can't, as some things women can do, that men can. And so therefore, we should live in complementing one another, and like the day in the night, covering one another in that sense, and it should not be a competitive relationship. Rather it should be a complimentary relationship but salaam aleikum wa rahmatullah wa barakato