We often see news in some western media regarding women activists who call for equality of rights and we will find many speeches that discuss feminism. Before going into the discussion, let us first describe the meaning of feminism itself and how to react according to the Islamic perspective. (Also read: The Law of Conveying the Truth in Islam and Its Proposition).
Feminism is the belief that women have equal equality with men, judged from the life of society, politics, and all other aspects. So, what is the problem? If the meaning of our feminism is related to the title of this study, then does that mean Islam prohibit gender equality?
Islam Does Not Ban Gender Equality
This is something that should be highlighted. In Islam, there is no such thing as prohibiting gender equality. But, indeed some rights are restricted in certain corridors. The Shari’a corridor is indeed a limitation that distinguishes the rights of women and men. So, from that, we will examine these corridors from the perspective of the Qur’an and Hadith.
Allah SWT said in Surah An-Nisaa ‘verse 34:
الرِّجَالُ قَوَّامُونَ عَلَى النِّسَاءِ بِمَا فَضَّلَ اللَّهُ بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَى بَعْضٍ وَبِمَا أَنْفَقُوا مِنْ أَمْوَالِهِم
“Men are leaders for women, because Allah has exaggerated a portion of them (men) over others (women), and because they (men) have spent part of their wealth.” (Surah An-Nisaa’: 34)
The surah mentioned about the obligation of men who do have nature to lead/guide women as explained. If we go back to the time of the Prophet, where it was told that Ummul Sulaim refused the proposal of Abu Talha who at that time spread it and wanted to convert converts (Abu Talha was converted to Islam) if we wanted to marry him, we would understand the importance of an Imam as a guide for women. That is why for these obligations, men have one degree higher level than women.
This is also explained in Surah Al-Baqarah verse 228 which reads:
لَهُنَّ مِثْلُ الَّذِي عَلَيْهِنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَلِلرِّجَالِ عَلَيْهِنَّ دَرَجَةٌ وَاللهُ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ
“And women have rights that are balanced with their obligations in a manner that is frank. However, the husband has one level of strength over his wife. And Allah is Mighty, Wise.” (Surah Al-Baqarah verse 228)
Does It Mean that Women Cannot Become Leaders?
Before continuing, let us refer to the following Hadith,
لَنْ يُفْلِحَ قَوْمٌ وَلَوْ أَمْرَهُمْ إِمْرَأَةٌرواه البخارى و النسائى و الترمذى و أحمد
“No people will succeed if their affairs are controlled by women.” (Narrated by Al-Bukhari, an-Nasa’i. Al-Tirmidzi, Ahmad)
A debate arose among the scholars in interpreting the meaning of the Hadith above. But, most believe that the woman in question is a broad view (in a sense, not specific to lead). On that basis, the conclusion was taken that the message of the Prophet could be understood as a preventive effort towards people who were not worthy to lead so as to bring harm to their people. (Also read: The Law of Taking Wudhu before Sleep for Menstruating Women).
Things That Allow Women to Be Leaders
It raises the view that women may lead if they are hit by the following conditions:
- These women were declared capable of heart and knowledge (both Islamic and Non-Islamic).
- No man can/is worthy of holding a leadership milestone.
If the above conditions are not met, then the men must be prioritized.
So what would happen if women ignored those boundaries and stepped over the men whose nature had taken precedence to take the lead? Some of the following explanations are also the reason Islam forbids feminism.
- If Women Become Household Leaders.
If women are prioritized by stepping over men who are capable of science and mentality, then, the right to neglect is also neglected.
وَعَلَى الْمَوْلُودِ لَهُ رِزْقُهُنَّ وَكِسْوَتُهُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ لاَ تُكَلَّفُ نَفْسٌ إِلاَّ وُسْعَهَا
“And the obligation of the father to feed and clothe the mothers in a way that is ma’ruf.” (Surah Al-Baqarah verse 233)
Feeding is mandatory for men to women. Suppose the wife chooses to be independent and refuses to be supported, then the meaning of marriage is meaningless.
- The Negative View of the Community Will Arise.
Then, if women choose to lead (in this case the context of the household and others), speculation will emerge that in the future, it will lower the dignity of men. And it will get worse if the woman fails in her business; because she does not have a back that can be used to hide (protect her). In fact, one form of glorified women are protected and guarded by men (who are the mahram).
- Ignoring the Nature of Allah SWT
If women become the leader, then God’s nature has been ignored. Thus, men (who are capable and knowledgeable) also sin because they cannot be role models for women and instead let them become leaders. In fact, the Qur’an was revealed as a guide for us to go the right way. And every word of God is really a clue that we are not lost.
- Competition between Women and Men
The last is the emergence of competition. Namely, both women and men are competing to be at the forefront of leadership. If competition like this has crossed the line, there will be a split that has no benefit. In fact, to achieve essential happiness, both men and women must cooperate in working on it.
Explained in Surah At-Tawbah verse 9:
وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتُ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاءُ بَعْضٍ يَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ وَيُقِيمُونَ الصَّلَاةَ وَيُؤْتُونَ الزَّكَاةَ وَيُطِيعُونَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ أُولَئِكَ سَيَرْحَمُهُمُ اللَّهُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ
“And those who believe, men and women, a portion of them (are) become helpers for others. They sent (to do) the ma’ruf, prevented from the evil, established prayers, performed zakat and obeyed Allah and His Messenger. They will be given mercy by Allah; surely Allah is Mighty, Wise.” (Surah Al-Taubahayat verse 9)
The conclusion that can be drawn from the reason Islam forbids feminism is that feminism is actually not allowed if there are still priests (men) who are capable of reason and knowledge to lead because indeed humans live in this world have been given their respective rights in managing the Earth. And these rights have been arranged by Allah and explained to humans in the Qur’an. (Also read: The Best Time to Study the Qur’an).
On that basis, men should properly continue to study in becoming good leaders for their community. The aim is that women who have our obligations to respect do not have to be leaders with reasons that we are not capable of in religion and science. God knows what happened on His Earth and every occupant in it. (Also read: How To Dress Up for Men According To Islam).
Thus, the study of the reasons for Islam prohibits feminism and the danger of feminism in life. Hopefully, with the study of science discussed, we are made as human beings who are always given grace and guidance by Allah SWT.