Change She WroteWhat women want [Archives:2004/729/Culture]

April 15 2004

By Sadaf Shah
[email protected]
For the Yeamen Times

The most asked and forever confusing question that men often find themselves in a rut attempting to answer is 'what does a woman want?' Do women want jewelry, a big house, fortune? Well, these things are not limited to women alone; even men want them. Basically, we want the same things men want: world peace, and equal rights. We want to be able to raise our children in a world free of racism, sexism, and extremism. We want to be respected and not be objectified. Most of all, we do not want anybody assuming to know exactly what we want without our expression!

Muslim Women Not Oppressed
For some odd reason, the West has this crazy idea of Muslim women being oppressed just because they choose to wear the veil or the simple 'hijaab'(scarf) covering their head. Modesty is not equal to oppression. Being able to flaunt one's sexuality is not an extraordinary freedom that Muslim women are dying to adopt. Modesty is a virtue, and it is ordained by the Almighty for the sole purpose of protecting women against being objectified by men. So we are living in a modern world with man's achievements going past our wildest imaginations. But this is exactly the modern man's folly. Throughout history, man of the present time has always viewed himself as being advanced, and the man before him in history as backward. Advancement and modernity is relative to the time in history it is applied to. A few years down the road, and history will label us at the present time as not knowledgeable enough and possibly 'backward'. Virtues such as modesty, truth, and honesty have transcended time and will always be honored. For the Western woman to be able to flaunt her beauty is considered an equal right. For the Muslim woman, there is no such freedom to fight for. Freedom is to be able to wear what a woman wants without discrimination. And Muslim women choose to dress themselves modestly. There are some who do not wear the head covering and that is their choice. They are not answerable to any government official as was done under Afghanistan's Taliban regime. That was wrong and not at all sanctioned by any principle of Islam.

Separation of State and Religion
There is no place for religion in the political arena of a state. According to the Holy Qur'an there is no room for a theocratic state. Islam is a religion that emphasizes the role of secularism in government. As members of government, one must discharge one's responsibilities with the principle of absolute justice regardless of the religion, color or creed of the people over whom one rules. The only known system of dispensation of government in Islam is that based on absolute justice.
Having said all that, why then, one may wonder, does an Islamic country not exist in the world that exercises absolute justice towards its citizens? It is a shame truly, and there is no excuse except that of corruption of the human spirit, lack of knowledge and the pursuit of power. It is politics that exploits religion to spread hatred and to encourage the killing of others. No religious document in the world has sanctioned the killing of a people of another religion or race. It is simply the exploitation of religion by corrupt politicians.