By Atika Abbasi.
Feminism has gained immense popularity over last few months. It has triggered an un abatingly hot debate among masses. The opinion of people are swinging on two extremes; one approving while other disapproving.
Those, who are the protagonist of the movement, claim that women in Pakistan is an oppressed, undervalued and unprivileged community. Although, women, in Pakistan, have an overwhelming majority over men. They argue that women are less literacy rate, job opportunities, less political representation and face many other problems. Feminist, in Pakistan like many other countries, contend for equal rights. They think that even today women’s progress is hindered by social mores and taboos. A faction of this group even question religion which ordains women to stay at home. However, there is another faction of the protagonist which justifies feminism through Islam. In fact, there is a whole group of intelligentsia who introduces themselves as “ Islamic Feminist.”
On the other hand, anti-feminist in Pakistan, claims that Pakistani women are not only privileged but enjoy equality as well. They believe that Pakistani women are in way better condition than men as Pakistani men have more social, financial and familial responsibilities. Moreover, they claim that men has an inherent superiority over women as they are more powerful than women. Anti-feminist substantiates their argument with the help of religious ordainment, however, such ordainments have always been disputed.
Nevertheless, there are people like me who try to find a middle or balanced opinion in this debate. Such people not only hold the belief that women and men both are equally important part of society. However, both gender are different from each other, therefore, have different functions to perform in the progress of a society. For instance; an analogy of four wheels of vehicle is created quite often, however we should ponder the fact that the front pair has a different function to perform than the rear one. Similarly, those some duties allocated to men cannot be performed by women while others cannot be performed by men.
In addition to that, Islam must not be misinterpreted to belittle women or to denounce men. We all need to acknowledge the fact that Islam is the most moderate religion which extensively ordains Human Rights. It is not restricted to the rights of only one gender, rather it renders equal significance to both. It talks about the education of both male and female, gives a right of inheritance to both, allows to establish career. We know that Hazrat Khadija, first Muslim Lady, was a famous business women. Hazrat Ayesha, wife of Prophet (PBUH), was a great scholar after the death of Prophet. She was on of the most consulted scholars in religious matter. Hazrat Khola Bin Waleed was a stout and fearless warrior 1400 years back. The presumption, therefore, that Islam hinders the progress of women would inherently be ha false notion.
In fact, it is Islam which secures the women basic rights, women are given an upper hand in Islam. For instance; women enjoys a right of inheritance in the property of her father and husband, their financial expenses are responsibility of either husband or father. It is optional for them to establish their career.
However, it is to be admitted that Islam is often influenced by the culture of region which harms the religion. As our culture has an inherent patriarchy in it, but some misinterpret it as part of religion. Moreover, some perverters also distort Islam as in men is made the guardian of women but they interpret it as men is superior than women. Some other perform hypocritical role in this movement, they claim themselves protagonist of women rights and equality etc. However, as soon as a women stand up and bring forth the forth the violation of her rights. They, with anti-feminists, would vehemently backlash that particular women for whining on fabricat.
Writer is an English literature student and hails from Islamabad.