Women in Islam are treated as second-class citizens.

Women in Islam are treated as second-class citizens.

Recently a Muslim women’s organization called the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, which has over 70,000 members in 13 states has written a letter to the Prime Minister of India, Shri. Narendra Modi. In their letter, they sought the PM’s intervention in bringing about changes in the Muslim personal law. Mind you, they did not ask for a uniform civil code. They just sought some changes in the Muslim personal law.

As usual, the Main Stream Media (MSM), which spends most of its time provoking the minority against the majority, did not give any prominence to the news and published it in the remote corners of their newspapers. Media and the left liberals don’t utter even a single word against Islam, giving Muslims a false sense that their religion is absolutely perfect and does not require any reforms whatsoever.

The so-called secularists, media and the left-liberals, by posing like the well-wishers of Muslims, just pamper to the religious beliefs and sentiments of them. By doing so, they actually scuttle any effort on the part of the progressive elements to bring about any kind of reforms in Islam. Here is a tweet posted by Malini Parthasarathy, the Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu, a well-known daily newspaper owned and run by the communists. Mind you, The Hindu is very notorious for its left-wing rumblings and for being pathologically averse to Modi and the central government headed by him.

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When we talk about gender equality in Islam, that doesn’t mean the other faiths, especially Hinduism, are perfect as far as gender equality is concerned. Hinduism is also very much patriarchal in nature, and women were treated as second rate citizens. However, the situation has changed a lot and these days women in Hindu society are treated almost on par with men.  They are getting educated and became career oriented. They even started competing with men even in those fields which were hitherto male dominated. What made this change possible? Hinduism, unlike Islam, takes criticism in a positive way and introspects a lot. It is not averse to change and is ever-ready to  reform itself. One more reason is, the Hindu clergy, unlike their Muslim counterparts, don’t enjoy much influence over their community. The Hindu pontiffs don’t have the habit of issuing ‘fatwas’, and even if they issue, no one cares.

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A Sunni Muslim leader says that there is no place for gender equality in Islam.

Recently, the Minister for Education of the Government of Kerala, Abdu Rabb, who happens to be a Muslim, made a statement saying that boys and girls should not sit together in the same benches in the classrooms or on the campuses of the higher education institutions. And a high-ranking Muslim clergyman from the same state made a really shocking comment on the status of women in Islam. The influential Islamic cleric, Usthad Shaikh Aboobackar bin Ahmad,  who is the General Secretary of the All India Muslim Scholars Association, and also the founder and Chancellor of  the Sunni Cultural Centre in Karanthur, declared that the concept of gender equality is totally  “un-Islamic” and went on to say that women could never equal men as “they are fit only to deliver children”. Since the statement was made by a high-ranking and influential Islamic cleric, we all have to believe whatever he said about the status of women in Islam to be true. Mind you, these are the voices from Kerala, which is considered to be the most literate and progressive state in India. If the situation of Muslim women in Kerala is this poor, what about the other states? The statements made by the Muslim leaders from Kerala are really shocking and even more shocking is the fact that their remarks did not attract any condemnation whatsoever from the Muslim community.

Shah Bano was deprived of alimony after the parliament pitched in and reversed the judgement.

Shah Bano was deprived of alimony after the parliament pitched in and reversed the judgement given by the Supreme Court.

Now the moot question is whether the Muslim community will stay opposed to any kind of reforms by continuing to remain in the tight grip of their clergy or snub them and move ahead with reforms.  The way things are going, it is highly unlikely that the Muslim community will tolerate any kind of intervention, leave alone reforms, in the Muslim personal law. Even the politicians and the media are not ready to trigger any debate on the need for a uniform civil code, fearing the backlash of the Muslim orthodoxy.  The Shah Bano case bears ample testimony to the distressingly poor social status of Muslim women In India. In the famous case, the judiciary granted an alimony to a 62-year-old Muslim mother of five, but later on the parliament pitched in to deprive her of the alimony, coming under pressure from the Muslim clergy.

It is high time that the Muslim women ignored their clergy and raised their voice against the deep-rooted gender discrimination prevalent in their religion. They should put pressure on the government to listen to their voice and make the required legislations for their empowerment.

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