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March 20, 2005

The Greatest Tragedy From This Mess

Time for a moment of seriousness.

Dr. Amina Wadud and the Progressive Muslim Union believed that having such an event would be a significant step in delivering to women the rights have that have been oppressively held from them. While our classical history did not contain such a tragedy, it is tragic that the recent history of the Muslim ummah–one which is certainly the antithesis of the beautiful history that is our heritage–is characterized by a denial of such rights and privileges. Not only are these freedoms that are afforded to women by Islam God-given, but the worth and development of this Ummah depends on the contributions of women who exercise such rights. It should therefore not come as a surprise that when such rights were systematically denied to women due to cultural prejudices, the greatest victim was the nation of the Prophet (salallahu `alayhi wa sallam). Certainly then, a serious effort to renew the glory of the Prophetic nation demands that this issue be at the forefront. This is where Wadud and the PMU step into the picture, attempting to redress this issue. Yet, what escapes my mind is that of the hundreds of possible avenues and methods that could have been undertaken in order to make a more significant and positive impact for the state of Muslim women’s rights, the watershed chosen–the “Friday prayer”–is perhaps the most insignificant issue that is of concern to Muslim women.  So I guess the question we have to ask ourselves, after the smoke from this “Friday prayer” has settled is, “did Muslim women’s rights, in general, increase or decrease as a result?”

A talented writer, Ahmed Rehab, addresses these and several other aspects of this issue in an article (which I shamelessly stole from Sadiq’s website… only because I thought it was so great and no one visits his site anyway ):

http://usa.mediamonitors.net/content/view/full/13733/

While I think the article speaks for itself, I’d like to take Ahmed Rehab’s analysis one step further: I’d argue that because of something like this, the possibility of redressing the wrongs done to Muslim women by various forces (both within and from outside Islam) has taken a giant leap backwards. Now if any Muslim — male or female — attempts to speak for women’s rights and the need for our communities to honor and dignify women in the spirit of the Sunnah…

I fear that such sincere and righteous-minded efforts will be equated to a liberalist/progressive agenda or looked as shock publicity events.

I fear that the women’s rights problem in the modern ummah has only regressed back a few decades because of this, losing much legitimacy in the eyes of the masses.

I fear that those who would seek to deny women such rights will use this event as a bannerhead to justify their animosity and draw strength from this to persist and increase in their oppression.

I fear that Muslim women are the losers here since they may not receive the rights and freedoms that they rightfully have, need, and desire.

Worst of all, I fear that our communities, particularly Muslim men, are the greatest losers. The stability and success of men and societies depends on Muslim women embracing these rights and standing firmly as proverbial pillars. If women are not given these rights and freedoms, we (men) and our societies will remain spiritually stagnant–or worse, continue to progress on the painful course of spiritual, intellectual, economical, familial, and communal atrophy that has marked the last 100 years of Muslim history.

It is as if the most serious issue that this ummah needs to resolve has now been trivialized to the level of a Jerry Springer episode.

Perhaps that is the greatest tragedy. If you listen closely, you can hear Silbi laughing. 

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20 Comments
  1. Anonymous permalink

    silbi speaks to me all the time :/ .. the losers lie within, no doubt .. and don’t forget bro .. “subhanAllah, we suck” .. BUT i have to say dude .. stop trying to get brownie points with the sisters after I pissed them all off with my frics post .. rebound points don’t count .. (that was a joke for anyone that is taking even my comments as with my posts too seriously) ..

  2. Anonymous permalink

    haha…props for kareem…lol….nigga wht u doing writing this at 4 am?

  3. Anonymous permalink

    lol nice site but itz 2 long 2 read can u make it short lol

  4. good post.

  5. sh.hy had mentioned beautifully in toronto, 04– along the lines that there is no such thing as progressive muslims, because of the hadith that the Prophet alayhi salaatu wa salaam, where he said that no nation comes, but a worse one follows it.
    there is much work to be done.
    may God help us all

  6. Anonymous permalink

    Two clutch posts in a row.
    Props to Kareem99 who should be an NFL’er based solely on his studliness – mA
    Props niggs

  7. hey kr, remember you were referred to as silbi in cpsa? that was rad.

  8. Anonymous permalink

    Dont ever let go KR…
    aaaand IIIIIII d IIIIIII willl alwaaaayyyyyssss looooooveeeee youuuuuuuuu!

  9. props for the article and the comments.  both shed lights on this issue and the inappriateness of it aside from the theological reasons. may Allah guide us all

  10. salam3laykum
    mashallah GREAT post i agree 100%. it really is a sad, depressing situation because as stated  above, it does remove our credibility when we DO ask for something legit. just like a situation we had in our masjid, the sisters simply ask for a row in the back of the main masalla on jumuah, and the current “khateeb” responds to this as “look at the sisters today, asking for their *rights*,  they even want to lead men in prayer?!?!!” and this just creates more ignorance and yadda yadda “SHAME ON YOU SISTERS!!! >__< YOU’RE ALL SInNERS WHO WANNA LEAD THE MEN IN PRAYER AND WEAR BIKINIS!!! AND DIE UR HAIR BLONDE!! GO HOME WHERE U BELONG!!!”
    and im really depressed that Wadud has taken this road…it really sucks. cuz her book was friggen AWESOME. but now it has lost all credibility in the eyes of most because of her actions now..and due to the things she says now. oh well i guess thats life
    but Alhamdullilah, Allah’s promise is true, and he is most Just. Us women just have to continue to deal with this with patience…
    anyway salam. props again. much better than just labeling her kafir like some ppl. labeling doesnt achieve anything really.

  11. Anonymous permalink

    Man I’m so sick of hearing about Amina Wadud. It’s like being told bad news over and over and over again. KR can you post something about postive male role models of our time. Seriously, this whole things left such a sour taste, that I don’t want to hear about women for a looooong time.

  12. haha @ ihussaini’s comment.

  13. Anonymous permalink

    Salaamaat. props on the post. you and rehab raise good points regarding what i call the – shady aftermath – of this event. after all, it’s only fitting that a shady event based on shady support should have a shady aftermath.  but, seriously, let me just say this event only underlines the need for us to take this issue up and bring it to the forefront.  i’ve worked on many a women’s-rights campaign, and it has never been easy to induce change, let alone be heard. as a community we definitely need to reevaluate the issues of priority in this struggle, as you two said. this may be selfish, but it kinda pisses me off that this insignificant issue has gotten so much attention as “championin” womens rights or blah when i have seen fellow sisters and myself work tirelessly on issues like domestic violence and civil rights for muslim women (both here an abroad), which i think are far more significant and immediately dangerous.  a shout out to all my girls holdin it down with that. oh, and ihussaini, how bout a post on some positive women role models?  anyways, again, props on a good article on the “so what” of this mess.

  14. Anonymous permalink

    asalamualaikum,good post, you said a lot of the important thoughts that should be running through people’s minds in regards to this issue. I went to hear Dr Umar Farooq Abdullah on Friday and we asked him what his opinion was of Amina Wadud and what she is trying to do here. His answer was something that should have already been in our minds, subhanAllah. He turned around and asked us, why are you even asking this question? Why is there such an uproar about this? Why have emails, phone calls, and committees being hurriedly called together all over the US and the world? Why are there fatwas on this? If people care so much about this small event, then why are we not caring what is happening to our Muslim brothers and sisters around the world? Basically his end point was that we should be focusing our attention elsewhere, on the degradation of many friday prayers, on the rate of muslims that convert to Islam but then are not kept within Islam and “rerevert?” out of Islam, etc. I’m not saying I agree or disagree with what Amina Wadud has done (well I will say i disagree), but we should honestly understand that us as Muslims need to step forward and worry about the more important things…just like you said KR, we should worry about how culturally, the rights Islam has given to women, are being overlooked…anyways. good post mA.

  15. Anonymous permalink

    scarfaced83, nah….i don’t want to hear anything about women for a while, not even about positive female role models. No offense. It’s just getting so annoying. I want to hear about the brothers for a change.

  16. salaam,
    theres also another point of view…of that everyone is missing the whole point.
    After all, someone just may be able to prove there is nothing wrong with a women giving jumaa, it might be a non-mainstream opinion of a mainstream shaykh but a non-mainstream opinion nonetheless. So the jumaa is not really the issue at hand here.
    but the point is that when a group starts takin all these nonmainstream opinions (sorry i forget the correct word in arabic) thaaats when the real problem starts to show up…they continue to progress until they eventually become a deviant secretive “underground” [baatini] group…take for example the Druze (and Alawiya) of the syria/lebanon area. they all start out the same way. Their methods might not seem to have such a big goal, they can claim to rejuvinate or progress islam out of blindness or anything else…i think THATS the point.

  17. i agree with realize. for us to not confront them is one thing but to disregard them and their actions as non-problematic is not wise. just because there are other problems out there doesnt lessen this is as a big problem at all. these people and their views are a growing fitna and the people who speak out against them should be commended. i don’t like the whole “if you’re speaking out against this, why arent you speaking out against that” mentality. i think we should give props to the fact that at least we still have some faith left to speak out against atleast one thing that’s wrong.

  18. i think we should give props to sadiq for that picture. i cant stop laughing everytime i see it.
    as for what realize said: if the one and only Imam al-Ghazali were here… he’d have written a “Tahafat al-PMU” by now… hehe.

  19. Anonymous permalink

    dude kr……can u take a fobby picture of urself like that, same pose, part ur hair, and find some polyester suit.

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