Wednesday, January 16

Living in a Patriarchal Society

Throughout human history and in all ancient societies women were a significant driving force in sustaining the development of their community, safeguarding resources, educating youth and ensuring continuity of social, cultural and historical heritage values. Although this role is not explicitly stated in ancient texts, the impact and influence of women is evident by implied symbolism in mythology, as well as the presence of ancient goddesses in ancient religions. For various reasons discussed before, societies gradually changed, and began following the patriarchal rather than the matrilineal model. A closer look at all societies worldwide would lead us to believe that most if not all are now, or were at one point of time completely patriarchal in nature. At one point of time, when physical strength was more important than intelligence, a patriarchal society was the solution to the way society was set up. It was survival of the fittest, and males fought among themselves to achieve dominance. It was not very fair for women, but the harsh living conditions, and aggression of males belonging to other tribes dedicated what was required to survive, and women agreed to live in these primitive patriarchal societies, as a way of ensuring their own survival. Before modern feminism and as far back as the late middle ages, women were not satisfied with their rights in their societies, however their efforts were not organized, so had minimal impact on the status of women in society.

In patriarchal societies, most men felt that they needed to compete together, and women were not even part of the equation. At the same time, women had the additional burden of child bearing, and rearing children which made it difficult for them to advance their status, or their society as a whole. As time passed, and new inventions came up every day, and human's use for muscles decreased. A sudden shift were intelligence became more important than physical strength happened, and women found a place where they were able to compete with men, and sometimes even excel. For the first time in modern history women found their niche... their way of integrating with society, contributing to the progress of humanity, and regaining their previous respected status. The term "feminism" was coined in the late 19th century. The first wave of modern feminism started in the 19th-early 20th century, mainly giving women the right to vote. This was a worldwide movement but unfortunately had very little impact on the middle east ( some countries like Saudi still don't allow women to vote, and when Kuwait allowed women to vote a few years ago, men called television stations complaining that they feel it is unacceptable to "release women out into the streets" to go vote.) Many women began getting an education, but the patriarchal society dictated that a woman's priority should be marriage, usually at a young age, and with marriage came children... one after the other. The multiple children in a short period of time adversely affected women's health, and most were still unable to compete in society, because they had bigger responsibilities to handle, namely their 12 or 13 children! The patriarchal society model was still being followed despite the fact that women and men were of equal intelligence. The real revolution happened with the invention of the birth control pills in 1960, despite the many adverse effects initially found, they adjusted the doses, and found a dose sufficient for birth control without harming women. This is how the second wave of feminism took place in the 60's-80's. This wave involved equalities of laws and of culture. The third wave of feminism is from the 90's until today, and it is mainly a continuation of the work done by the first 2 waves.

By looking at this short history, one can see that with progress, came the chance for women to be treated as equals, so equal rights for women are an equivalent to how civilized a country is, and how far they have come from the primitive patriarchal societies that once existed. You will also notice that women were never given their rights easily, they had to fight and work hard for them. In the world we live in, religion plays a big part of most peoples' life. Everyone wants to follow their religion carefully, so they will eventually be rewarded and go to heaven. The patriarchal interpretation of religion has been a very large obstacle for women, especially because they wanted to stay within the boundaries set by religion, and they never once questioned the interpretation or how certain rules or restrictions were imposed. With progress and the dramatic increase of educated and free thinking women, many began thinking "outside the box". Some people began questioning points they felt were unfair, and they believed that God would never be unfair to the people he created. They started reading, and many came up with conclusions that they believe contradicted earlier interpretations. These women felt that their own interpretations represented God's word and not an ancient ideology of people's mixed interpretations a thousand years ago. They have found that women were grossly underrepresented in religious institutions, and that when a text is open to individual interpretation, it is usually interpreted from a man's point of view, which may be unfair to these women.

Although women are educated about religion just as much as men, and some even graduate from Al-Azhar university with degrees in religion, so their religious knowledge surpasses that of the average sheikh in a local mosque, women have been denied the right to preach religion in mosques, or to lead prayers. Even worse than that is that women are discouraged from, and rarely pray at the mosque. They are told that it is best for them to pray at home, while the men go to the mosque to pray. In the mosques that allow women to come in to pray, women usually are given a small corner in the back, so they pray behind the men. Women are taught that this is their place, and they should never question the validity of this blatant display of misogyny. Some go as far as considering any discussion of this subject as blasphemy. The idea of a woman imam was unheard of and ridiculed. Any woman who dared think of such a ridiculous act was deemed immoral and irreligious. The Hanafi interpretation of Islam allows a woman to lead a female only congregation, but if a male is present, regardless of his age, social status, education or knowledge, he should be the leader in prayer. There is no frank Koranic text that prohibits a woman imam, but again it is the patriarchal interpretation that refuses to see a woman lead in any way, including prayer.
The only hadith that unequivocally states that women may not lead mixed congregations is Ibn Majah (Kitab iqamat is-salat was-sunnati fiha) #1134, narrated through Jabir ibn Abdullah: "A woman may not lead a man in Prayer, nor may a Beduin lead a believer of the muhajirun or a corrupt person lead a committed muslim in Prayer." So again this hadeeth equated a religious pious woman to a corrupt person, or a non believer. The blatant misogyny expressed in this hadeeth is not fit to be a saying of the prophet, who clearly respected women, and one if his sayings actually tells people to learn their religion from 3a2esha. "You can learn half your religion from this rosy-cheeked girl." He therefore encouraged people to consult her in religious matters, and after his death she became one of the major sources of Hadith. It is clear that the prophet respected her opinion, and trusted her ability to preach religion and teach others about it, which is what an imam does during the Friday sermon and prayers. The conclusion is that the prophets actions contradict the saying of the hadith forbidding women to be imams. Religious scholars have also stated that "The eminent scholars of Hadith say that the chain of reporters of this hadith is extremely weak, and hence, it is not to be taken as evidence in the question in hand." In conclusion, no religious text forbids a woman from becoming an Imam in any prayer, or from preaching religious sermons. It is also clear that the one factor that stops women from practicing their religion in the way they choose is society, and the patriarchal ideology that society tries to disguise in a religious form.

In recent years, women have become more active on this front, and many examples can be found worldwide of how women stood up to the decaying old traditions, and attempted to regain their rights which they were originally given by religion. In 1994 a woman named Amina Wadud became the first woman in South Africa to deliver the Friday sermon, at the Claremont Main Road Mosque in Cape town. In 2003, a new venue for Eid prayer was established in Durban by a group of individuals and was later taken on by an organisation called Taking Islam to the People . To date there are 5 women who offer the Friday sermons at this venue. In Canada in 2005 and 2006, many women preached on Fridays, and led mixed gender prayers. These events were organized by The United Muslim Association in Toronto, Canada. This organization is determined to continue this practice of having women delivering the sermons and leading prayer.The United States also has its own activists, who started in March of 2005 to lead prayers, despite the uproar of the assembly of Muslim jurists of America, who issued a fatwa banning the practice, totally disregarding religious facts,and acting only based on their patriarchal ideology. The women also received bomb threats, and the venue where the prayers were to be held was changed to avoid violent extremist reactions. These events all took place in non Muslim countries, who gave these women enough space and freedom to practice their religion in ways they felt was acceptable to God's words.

The sad part is the events in "Islamic" countries, who have the available resources of understanding religion, and speak the very language the Koran uses to teach Islam. In Bahrain in 2004, a 40 year old woman attempted to deliver the Friday sermon in one of the biggest mosques there. This took place on the last Friday of Ramadan. The would-be Imam was wearing full male dress with an artificial beard and moustache. The mosque was packed with 7000 worshippers. When she sat in front of the people just before she was to deliver the sermon, some worshippers realised that the new imam was a woman in disguise. They and the mosque's imam, Sheikh Adnan Al-Qattan , handed her over to the police who arrested her. The reaction of the worshippers as well as that of the police was uncalled for. This is in addition to the fact that the voice of a woman working alone can never be loud enough to impact a patriarchal society. Had this woman had enough support from her peers, she would not have had to resort to drastic measures to practice a right she believes that she has. Had the worshippers been more open minded and more respectful and understanding, they would have discussed the matter with her rather than called law enforcement. Had the police officers enough respect for women, they would not have arrested her for attempting to deliver a sermon in a mosque, which is not an illegal act.
In India, a Muslim woman named Daud Sharifa runs a 3,000-strong network to help Muslim women. She believes that a mosque for women is one way of relieving the many sufferings of Muslim Indian women who have to submit to "community rulings" of mosques which are run by males, and women have no say in how the rulings are made, women are also not allowed to enter most mosques in the area.. Many of the women feel that the rulings are biased against women who have been divorced, abandoned and mistreated by their husbands. The mosque is basically run by women, but prayers are open to everyone. Although this is not against God's teachings, it has caused an uproar from religious figures. After this news was published on an Arabic website, the reactions of the Muslim men were astounding. They have ranged from outrage to anger to redicule and insults, with very few supporters.

My conclusion is that in order for women to live free and have equal rights in our society, religion has to be understood in its true form, devoid of any patriarchal or misogynist ideology. Then, and only then will men support the rights of their mothers, sisters, wives and daughters. This will only be accomplished if women stand up for themselves and their beliefs, and never give in to a society that undermines their efforts or initiatives. It will also work only if women are united so their voices can be heard. {13:11 Truly, God will never change the condition of a people until they change it themselves (with their own souls)} .


egy anatomist said...

السيدتان الجميلتان فانتازيا والفيمنست المصرية

من قال إن الطيور تقع على أشكالها؟ فأنتم طيور لم تقع بل على العكس طارت وارتفعت وارتقت فوق الجميع

تهانئي وتحياتي واحترامي الفائق لكِ سيدتي الفيمنست المصرية وكل التبجيل طبعا للموهوبة الملهمة فانتازيا هانم

احنا ماكناش ملاحقين على فانتازيا لوحدها.. دلوقتي بقت هذه المدونة كجرائد الصباح والبوسطة اليومية في الشغل .. لا يصح يوم إلا بها وبقراءتها

أما بعد

بوست مذهل



قدرة ملحوظة على مسك جميع خيوط الفكرة ونسجها بمهارة وحرفية وتتابع

كاتبة متميزة وباحثة جادة


الموضوع محل التعليق له أبعاد أحتار في اختيار واحد منها كمضمون لتعليقي

سأركز على الجانب الذي اخترتِ حضرتك أن يكون قلب مقالك الرائع

ترى النظريات النقدية ما بعد الحداثية - وأرى معها - أن أي فكرة أو نسق فكري ينشأ أولا بسبب سياقات اقتصادية وظروف اجتماعية معينة في زمن ما.. فإذا تمأسست هذه الفكرة (انستيتيوشنلايزد يعني) فإنها تستمر حية لفترة طويلة حتى بعد انقضاء الظروف الاقتصادية والاجتماعية التي أفرزتها اصلا

المهم نشوف الاول هل انقضت أسباب ظهور ظاهرة المجتمع الذكوري أو الأبوي؟ أم ليس بعد

أرى أنه ليس بعد بشكل كامل للأسف

وأرى أن كل النجاحات التي تحققت في الغرب - رغما عن روعة الكثير منها مما نأمل أن يتحقق للمرأة المصرية والعربية والشرقية عموما - هي نجاحات للسيطرة الأبوية أكثر منها نجاحات في طريق تأسيس مجتمع متوازن غير خاضع لسيطرة جنس من الجنسين على الآخر


أرى أن الذكورية تطورت وتعولمت وتحورت بذكاء تراكمي اكتسبه الرجال من طول ممارسة السياسة والحرب

هم عرفوا أن المرأة يستحيل أن تقنع بشرانقها القديمة

هم عرفوا أن المرأة يستحيل في عصور التنوير والنهضة والمساواة العقلية ثم التكنولوجيا والتطور العلمي والطبي أن تقنع بدور ربة المنزل وكفى

هم عرفوا أن مجتمعاتهم تحتاج لجهود المرأة في العمل كي تستطيع أن تنافس اقتصاديا وتتفوق على غيرها من الدول المنافسة

لا أقول إن هناك مؤامرة.. هذه الأمور تتشكل ببطء وبالتجربة والخطأ والاتفاق المجتمعي العام الذي تصنعه ظروف الحياة في زمن أو أزمنة معينة

هم عرفوا أن لا بد للمرأة من دور جديد وساحة جديدة

تغيرت الأدوار وبقى الجوهر كما هو

الذكور يحكمون يسيطرون يقررون يهتمون بالجاد والمهم من الأمور

ونساء العالم غارقات فيما يصنعه لهم الذكور من أزياء حديثة وعطور جميلة وأخبار مثيرة للنجوم والنجمات

باتت المرأة - التي كانت رمزا للجنس والاخصاب - رمزا للإغراء والأنوثة في زمن يقال فيه على أي شئ جذاب "هوت" أو "سكسي" .. حتى لو كانت سيارة أو حذاء جديد

فلتت بعض النساء طبعا من هذا الفخ واستفادت من الفرص التي وفرها النظام الذكوري المعدل وشاركت الرجال في الأمور الأعلى والأهم

ولكن أرى غالبية نساء الأرض واقعات مازلن في فخاخ الاثارة البصرية والحسية والشكلية ومازالت المجتمعات الغربية مجتمعات ذكورية تعاني من مشكلات جديدة عليهم - وجديدة جدا علينا - ولكنها تختلف عن المشكلات التقليدية للمجتمعات الذكورية التقليدية

ارى أن النظام الرأسمالي مرتبط ارتباطا وثيقا بالسيطرة الأبوية.. والفكاك من أحدهما دون الآخر صعب

ده باختصار عشان مطولش أكتر من كده في النقطة دي

طيب احنا بقى

احنا لسه في التقليدي

زي ما حضرتك تفضلتي وشرحتي

فيه عندنا مشكلة تفسير ذكوري للدين من ضمن مشاكل أخرى

في الواقع هو فيه تفسير ذكوري لكل الأديان .. لكن قبضة التفسير الإسلامي مازالت هي الأعلى والأقوى

الدين لا يمكنه أن يكون عنصريا بأي شكل

الإسلام بلا أي شك هو دين يحمل بداخله أفضل القيم الإنسانية المشتركة بين كل البشر وكل ما به يخالف ذلك هو من تفسيرات اصحاب المصالح والأهواء

اتفق معك في أهمية وحتمية تصحيح مفاهيم الدين الخاطئة والملفقة كشرط لحدوث تغيير حقيقي في نظرة المجتمع للمرأة

لكن هناك شرطا أراه لازما بالتوازي مع ذلك

التنمية الاقتصاد/اجتماعية

لا يمكن عن طريق اعادة تفسير الدين وحدها أن نقنع رجلا مزارعا مثلا يعمل في حقله ليل نهار بأن يساعد امرأته في عمل المنزل؟ أن نقنعه - إذا افترضنا أنه يستطيع القيام بذلك جسديا - أنه لن يفقد مكانته واحترامه بين الرجال بينما هو يستمد شعوره بقيمته وذاتيته وكرامته من مكانته بين هؤلاء الرجال بسبب الفقر والقهر والاحباط الناتجين عن تدني مستوى معيشته وعجزه عن تلبية احتياجاته واحتياجات اسرته الأولية؟ كيف نفعل ذلك دون تطوير حقيقي في ظروف معيشة هؤلاء البشر جميعا وتصنيعهم (يعني إدخالهم عصر التصنيع وما بعده) بحيث يتولد بداخلهم شوقا لقيم جديدة تحمي الأنساق الجديدة لظروف حياتهم؟ كيف نقنع السيدات أنفسهن بأنهن مخلوقات مكتملة بينما يرون الرجال يفعلون كل شئ: العمل والانتاج والأدب والفن والسياسة والحرب الخ

لنفعل ذلك نحتاج كما قلت لظروف اجتماعية أفضل مما نحن فيه كما نحتاج أيضا إلى مئات الفانتازيات والفيمنستات المصريات الشيكَّات :) ودول مقدور عليهم وعندما من كل نوع واحدة نقدر نبني عليها :)


مش عايز أطول أكتر من كده أو اؤثر بأي شكل على التعليقات اللي جايه بعدي


حابب بس أعيد تاني التعبير عن اعجابي اللامتناهي بتعليقات حضرتك سابقا - بوستاتك حاليا - وبالتعاون النووي الرهيب بينك وبين فانتازيا هانم


تحياتي واحترامي

Dr. Eyad Harfoush said...

Dear EFC,
welcome on board. And congratulations for the post, cI agree with most of your thrusts. More importantly about the conclusion of religion role in society perceptual development.

Once upon time, a man on his own, researched the depatable scriptures about women and their status in Islam. You will find it as a serious here:

If you are not into prolonged reading, you can get a clue from Fantasia. Only one point. Be cautious employing apostolic teachings degrading or esteeming:
1- Aisha
2- Ali ibn Abi Talib
3- Muawia ibn Abi Sofian
4- Talha
5- Zubair ibn Al-Awwam

As good percent of it was created to support the different parties of the "Major Conflict" in Islamic history. Best Regards for the very comprehensive post

Amre El-Abyad said...

I like the post EFC, It presented the history of humanity in a nutshell from a feminist perspective. Although I disagree with you, I do admit that you are a good and talented writer.

I wish we could see one day a coptic woman pope. Or a gay priest. Or a lesbian sister. Anyway, I am sure it won't be in my lifetime. Also, I object to your denotation of Bharain and Egypt as Islamic societies! Insofar as I know, those are Arab secular societies. Of course they are Muslim countries at large; but I would prefer to be cautious of using the term Islamic, given that we have an alliance of M.Bs and Irani medival Mullahs which is posing a discriminatory project in the Arab world that forges identity on basis religon.

Also, I think there is a mistake in the English translation of Hadith. The word "A3rab" is to be translated benedit beduins i.e the outcast Beduins who live in the desert - it doesn't go for all Beduins. Even the beduin tribes of Najd like Bakr, Sa3d, Tamim and Ta3'loub used to live in oasis ( badiyah) not the open desert.

Anonymous said...

However, you tell me. What would be the situation when women are allowed to pray in the front raws and men behind, how that will affect the men concentration in the prayer seeing all those women in the men's favorite position-the doggie position. Me personally I won't be able to pray

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Fantasia said...

dearest EFC,
what a great post. you addressed many issues and linked many points so smoothly and logically.
it is a bless to have your posts published here my dear.
i believe it is time for women to become imams and deliver friday sermons. we've tolerated male interpretations and religiously covered bias for so long. and i dare anyone to get one, just one, proof from quran that forbids this.
actually, just the other day i saw a woman on TV who works at elshar el3aqary and has got an MA degree in law. she was claiming her right to work as maazoon. although certified for the job, she was not allowed to practice it! but she didn't give up.. she filed a law suit against those who refused to give her the permit and she won it! way to go, i thought.. but there was one condition before she could practice her new job.. the agreement of al azhar. stangely, the fatwa committee in al azhar refused to issue a fatwa in her favor, and they didn't even give a reason!!
ughhh.. what's that? are those men making up a new religion? there is nothing in sharia that prevents a woman from being maazoon. the maazoon is someone who records the information of a married couple in the offical records. which means that all her job would be to make sure that all religious requirements are fulfilled and then fill in papers to make the marriage offical. that's all. it is a legal job, not a religious one. the sheikh with handkerchief is not the one who fills the papers or goes to add them to the official records. he just practices a tradition, and he will continue to practice it. this woman will only do the legal work that is done by another man, who is not the sheikh we falsely call "maazoon".. what's the problem with filling legal papers?!
women should take things into their own hands really. what is right and does not contradict with God's orders has got to be respected. a woman has got the right to have access to those jobs just like the man. if she has got all what the job requires, then no one should be allowed to prevent her from retaining her rights.

of course this is your page, feminist chic.. yet i would ask you to allow me to respond to some of the comments here.

keep up the good work. i am sure our joint forces will arouse much jealousy.. but i believe it will arouse more admiration and hope in a better tomorrow.

Fantasia said...

dear anatomist,
thanks a lot for your warm welcome of feminist chic and for your encouragement. i liked the expression of "nuclear cooperation" so much :)
yeah, there is a feminist bomb here.. everyone would better beware from now on.
very sweet of you, and very good points of discussions to raise.
lucky us to have such a devoted reader like you.

dear dr. eyad,
thanks for your thoughtfulness, support, and vital advice. would love to know more about your suggestions related to this issue.

dear amre,
i don't believe it is fair to compare a muslim female imam to a female pope. moreover, i guess making the idea of a female imam feel as bizaar and unacceptable as the notions of a lesbian sister or a gay priest is really cruel and unfitting.
i think that aside from any observations you might have, the argument presented is both credible and fair. and i so much believe that you will see a female imam during your lifetime.

the coward anon,
don't worry.. prayer won't do any good to the souls of the sexually obsessed insects like yourself.. so whether you are praying behind a man or a woman, it won't make much difference in your case. the drooling doggie will always be standing in the back.
no wonder your sexually obsessed mind has caused you to add the letter k to make the nickname suit your sick imagination. the word "chic", mr peanut-sized-penis, means smart and stylish. nothing that you would be expected to understand, loser.

Egyptian Feminist Chic said...

egy-anatomist, thank you very much for your kind words! I agree with your point of of view that the west still has a patriarchal society, however,this is also a to a much lesser extent than we have at home. i believe this is a slow process, women will never have equal rights overnight, but step by step, we can convince people that equality of women is actually a positive thing, that it will make our community as a whole prosper. that this is supported by religion, so giving your wife or daughter or sister the same opportunities you give your son or brother is a good thing.

the one thing i wish to point out is that i believe that feminism and equal rights do not contradict the fact that women have their own things in life that bring them pleasure. meaning fashion or perfumes...etc. this is the same as men who enjoy watching soccer matches, or wresteling competitions. this in no way contradicts your ability to function well in society and perform your responsibilities and duties. I think that just the fact that the opportunities for women are available is always a positive thing, and the one thing now needed is to educate women who dont use the available opportunities about how they need to be responsible functional parts of society, the same way men are taught and educated all their lives.

Regarding economic and social growth, I agree with you that they are much needed, but they go hand in hand with women's rights.I agree with the example of the farmer who will never help his wife at home for fear that this will tarnish his image, and I dont expect him to do so... at least not now. When this person feels that women as a whole, and his wife in particular are an important part of the community, and of his household he will gradually begin to see her as an equal, and will sympathise with the amount of work she is required to do... gradually he will accept the fact that it is okay to help, it is not demeaning, and contributing to the effort put in maintaining a household is not a menial task fit for the unworthy woman.

Regarding your other very important point... how do we convince women they are worthy, since they see that only men have contributed to art, literature, wars...etc. I believe that this is simply by educating them. If women learn about history as a whole, they will see that there were many things many women were never allowed to do, so they never had the chance to contribute, not because they were uncapable, but because feminism had not become as effective as it is now. I'll give you examples of women in the west. Did you know that women were not taken seriously as writers in europe? If a woman chose to write a serious novel rather than a romance , she had to choose a man's name in order to publish it. One writer who has done that is George Eliot... who is in fact a woman, and this is the name she chose to publish her books under. Her real name was Marian Evans....
Another famous person is Florence nightingale she was a nursing pioneer, she came from a rich family, and women of her status were expected to marry and raise kids, not to work in the ill reputed profession of nursing.... who was for the poor folks... notice how she was discouraged from following her passion of helping others or having a career.So you see how it goes, history shows women all over the world who worked real haard to be able to contribute to society, wheras men did not face these obstacles. if women are taught how other women contributed to society, and if they understand, that if fairness was the norm, more women would have had the opportunity to contribute, they will not think of themselves as inferiors. I will tell you that I have never learned about Hoda Sha3rawy or mostafa ameen in school... I heard her name at home and went and looked it up.... as a child when i asked adults about her all they say is she is the one who toook off her head cover... no mention of other contributions to womens rights.. this is why we need to educate women about history. It will give them self esteem and hope that their efforts will not go unrewarded.

again egy-an thanks for your comment i look forward to hearing more of your opinions!

Egyptian Feminist Chic said...

Eyad, thank you for your post and for the links... I visited your blog,and I like it a lot, and I hope to be a frequest visitor later on. I am very much into prolonged reading, and i actually started reaidng your posts. You have put a lot of effort and thought into them. Thank you for the links. Like Fanta said, we would love to have you post your thoughts on this issue.and thanks for your advice!

Egyptian Feminist Chic said...

anon.... you make the most uncalled for comments. We are having a decent civil conversation, and exchanging different points of view. you are welcome to participate in this discussion in a civil manner, but using bad language is not acceptable. Please get your mind out of the gutter, and remember that when you pray you are standing between the hands of God, and this entails piety, and removal of all sleezy thoughts out of your head, no matter how you think in everyday life. Also remember that during pilgrimage, men and women pray together, and over the past several thousand years, there have been no incidences of rape of praying women around the ka3ba. so if these millions of people can control themselves in the presence of god, so can you, and all other sick minded people who dont have enough repect for fellow human beings who enter the mosque to worship god and learn more about their religion.

Egyptian Feminist Chic said...

Amr my friend,
I actually look forward to reading your comments because you always disagree with me, and a lot of times yoiu make valid arguments. This time however I feel that you are being grossly unfair.
You are comparing a muslim woman preaching religion, which has happened at the time of the prophet and early islam, to a woman pope... First I would like to tell you that I am not discussing christian religion, and I am not knowlegable enough about it to argue the validity of a woman holding the post of a pope. However, a pope and an imam are 2 different things. The pope is the head of the catholic church or the coptic church... my limited knowledge of the catholic christian religion is that they believe the pope is selected by god, and takes direct orders from him... and he is basicly the one who has the highest authority over all the churches. They also believe that if he is convinced of a certain fact he can talk to god about it, and the teachings of he bible can be changed... an example of this is a year or so ago, when the pope was petitioned to cancel limbo for babies who were not baptized, and he actually went ahead and changed the teachings of the roman catholic religion.
This position however does not exist in islam, and an imam is not the same as the pope whether the imam was a man or a woman.

The second disheartening comparison you make is a gay priest or lesbian nun!!! in islam, homosexuality is a sin. the same as in other abrahamic religions. I would also like to tell you that yes, some christian religious sects have gay priests, and here is a link to one such article .

That being said,being a woman is not a sin. Religion says certain actions are sins, so you are comparing the religiously sinful action of a man to the mere fact of being a woman, which is in no way a sin. Now homosexuality is not the issue of my post nor is it relevant in any way to women's rights in the egyptian community.

This Brings me to the subject of my post.. you say you disagree with me, yet you offer no reason for this disagreement. you made no religious reference to why you believe this is a negative thing, nor did you make any logical explanation. I believe it is men like you who are the problem. Please try to keep an open mind and think about what I have written, you may find that I have a point, and that maybe your complete resistance to the idea arises from the upbringing in the egyptian society. In a way I understand why you dont want to give yourself a chance to think about the opposite of your point of view, however try and see... It might be better than you think.

Regarding egypt and bahrain being islamic societies, I did not mean that they are allied to any of the fanatic regimes out there, however my intention was to say that they are both predominantly muslim, and I believe that the egyptian constitutions rulings stem from the muslim religion even if it doesnt comply with it 100% ( al islam howa masdar al tashree3at).

Regarding the correction of the term a3raby... Good to know! thanks for the info. but the meaning of the hadeeth still does not change, and I believe the points are made are still valid.

Either way, thanks for your input!

Egyptian Feminist Chic said...

Fantasia my dear,
so glad to read your comment. i am so happy to have a chance to be part of a team, and to post here.
Thanks for sharing the story of the maazoon woman... I can guess why al alzhar will never issue a fatwa in her favor. IT all goes back to funding, and giving her her legal and religious rights might upset people who fund elazhar, since any gain of power by a woman is considered a threat to the funded ideology. In my mind I have always thought of alazhar as the one place that is concerned with teaching people moderate islam, so it saddens me to see where it has gone, and by denying this woman her right, they are confirming what everyone suspects... they are not moderate anymore, Add that to erda3 elkabeer and all the other unacceptable fatwas, and you will come up with the conclusion that they make it extremely difficult for people to depend on them to interpret religion in a fair or a reasonable way anymore.

I think if they will take away her right to hold a position, they need to have a very good reason for it, and if not, they should let her do what she likes because after all, God states in souret al ma2eda 5:27

Ya ayyuha allatheena amanoo la tuharrimoo tayyibati ma ahalla Allahu lakum wala taAAtadoo inna Allaha la yuhibbu almuAAtadeena

One more thing, thank you for answering posts with me, i was held up a little so was not able to respond immediatly. Again, I am so glad to be here :)

Amre El-Abyad said...

Dear feminist chic,

I refrained from setting out my reasons for disagreement out of convenience. As the Egyptian anatomist discussed the paradagim shifts sociological theories. Thus I thought that it would be selfish on my part to reiterate an argument where the core lines are congruent with Egyptian antomist's. Economic demands, socio-political environment and culture changes all, construct specific conceptions of reality in societies at certain times. In this regard, scientific revolution in the 16th century could be justified in terms of the growth of a middle class of merchants taking power from feudal aristocrats in Europe and seeking to materialise on the oppurtunities set by Kicking the Arabs out of Spain and the oversees geographical explorations. Similarly, the modern feminist movement started to float on surface under the paradgim shift of industrial revoultion where where male masculine power had started to lose at least some of its former significance , and the growth of the Bourgoise focuced the the added value of work on intellectual effort, as opposed, to physical one. There, the city life style which provides safety for women on their own, and provides more chances for them to interact with the dynamic forces of society, furnished the ground for more gender equalities.

The boom of feminism in the sixties took place in the midst of the radical post world war two ovgerall revision and rejection of the old romantistic and bourgoil values which lead to the murderous killings of world war two. Moreover, one must never overlook the fact that this feminist revolution had an ancient extension in the very matriarchal and sexually liberal Gothic and Saxon Germanic matriarchal traditions( the Germanic revolt against the Arabic values of the catholic church was one of the motive forces behind the reformation movement in western and northern Europe against the Latin catholic church).

Now where are we?. We are still stuck in specific historical period, under a constant pressure from the more mature and stronger other who has his hand on our resources and doing it best to dlete our identity and convert us into soulless chatholic clones that are easy to control.

We havent even fully entered the industrial era to start talking about the contemporary post modern condition! an overall cultural , scientfic and industrial rennaissance will inevitabley reconstruct the gender relations in our societies within the context of our Arabic culture specifity.

Now regarding the comparison with the pope, alright, ni problemmmo.. I wish we could some day winess acoptic bishop or woman priest heading the ceremonis in the Heliopolis church. Leaving alone, of course churches in Manafaloat or Badary in Assyout.

As for how relevent it is ,well, you are the moderator of the blog and and it is only you that can descide what is relevent and what is not. However , I think it is relevent because half of your post was a compact encapsulation of feminism in a historical context. Then in the second half you moved on to Egyptian society where you used religon to explain gender inequalities. Hence I thought that since copts are an integral, essential part of our society, and the are also subject to the same forces which are leading to misinterpretations of Islam, then citing a coptic example would shed some light on social and cultural factors behind the contemporary status of women.And, I don't think I have to say that coptic church is most conservative authorittarian church in the world, with too much influence on the social and politcal lives of its people. Take the divorce issue, for example.

It is quite lear both the islamic and chritian religous institutions in the Arab world are in a desparate need for reform. And it doesn't make a big diffrence at the core which of them I cite as an example inmy argument.

Amre El-Abyad said...

Despite of my utter disrespect of the comments of anon, because of my Arabic morals and ethical code.

I think that you were inconsitent and self-coontradictory when you came to say:

"Please get your mind out of the gutter, and remember that when you pray you are standing between the hands of God, and this entails piety, and removal of all sleezy thoughts out of your head"

First of all, feminists criticise the male dominated Judeo-christian and Islamic religous institution for associating sex with ethics and piety!Hence they use the sexual taboo to objectify and subdue women. In this context , anon's comment must have never annoyed you. Sex and gentials are not an unclean theme.

Anyway, his comment has dragged me to think of the huge amount of sexual reprssion among Egyptian women and men. In fact, sexual repression among women is more intensive than males. So that must be factor we takle into consideration on discussing the issue of woman priesthood.

P.S from the English I have identified the blogger.... once you read his blog and his comments on many blogs you will identify him at once

raaasa said...

Bravo EFC, you go girl!!!! Excellent post. I am currently under a time crunch, but I have been following the discussion and will respond with my two cents when time allows, soon I hope.

Briefly in response to Amre: As EFC had so nicely put it in an earlier post...dude, "the Germanic revolt against the Arabic values of the catholic church was one of the motive forces behind the reformation movement in western and northern Europe against the Latin catholic church)"? Amre, is is really reaching.

As for the boom of feminism of the 6os, if I am not mistaken, this boom of feminism in North America was made possible by a series of fortunate circumstances. First, the post-WWII baby boom was coming of age which means that there was a very high percentage young people, in their teens and early twenties. Furthermore, the young recognized and acted upon the fact that the traditional structure and mentality of society was not working. The numbers of young were sufficient that the rebellion made a different. Feminism did not just arise from a vacuum. (The feminist movement had always been around here and there throughout history. ) In the 60s, however, the general mood of change, in addition to simultaneous Civil Rights Movements and Gay Liberation movements in addition to medical advances in birth control made real changes possible.

These are just the basic things about the rise of 60s feminism, but there are other factors such as general dissatisfaction w the Vietnam War, also discontent with the massive effort to have women work during the WWII when the men were at war and then in the 50s the propaganda to push them back into the kitchen when the men came back.

Amre El-Abyad said...

Dear Raaasa,

Thanks a lot for the brief comprehensive introduction to driving forces behind the sixties feminist movement. However, I don't think it qualifies as a reply to my argument. On the contrary, it actually, reinforces it. IT all comes down to the point that neither the socio-political environment nor the state of our Arab culture could justify a western style feminist movement. We need to be more innovative, that's if we realy want to solve our problems, rather than argueing in closed loops inside sealed rooms or addingf one more failed experience to our recoed of failures.

Regarding the reformation movement in the 16th century, Well, In Bertrand Russel's ultimate analysius of the reformation and counter reformation, he came out with the concliusion that it was fundamentally a germanic revolt against latin catholic church. But you might as well be right when tthink that it was rather far fetched on my part to use the term Arabic values of catholic church. Thereofre, I will replace Arabic values with Arabo-Latin. So now I am on a very form ground and can defend my stament.


Regarding the gay issue, well I know about the Lutjheran gay priests. I think I wqs quite specific when I talked about the coptic church. For Lutherans and presbytarians, coptic chuch is, at best, a very special christian cult just like the Danish and American mormons.

egyptianfeministchic said...


Feminists argue against the objectification of women, and how the men practicing these religions have a 1 dimentional view of women as simple minded subhumans whose ony functions in life are sexual pleasure and servitude,however most, especialy muslim women ( i am sure most women of other faiths also have the same concept) understand that religion forbids certain practices. SO for example if God explicitly forbids extramarital affairs, then yes, if you are trying to follow the teachings of your reigion, this is something you should not do. And womens rights do not oppose this or contradict it in any way. However anon's comment was that during prayer, when people should be talking to god and worshiping him,and not having any other thoughts, he will have the desire to jump on the nearest woman and rape her. For one, this is a very vulgar attitude, it is offensive because he claims that men are animals with no self control, and only one objective on their minds, even when they are praying to god. so I responded that this happens during pilgrimage, and yes, men can control themselves very well, and no onehas everraped or complained of the desire to rape near by women during prayer in mecca. This attitude is that of a serial rapist not a sane human being. To threaten the well being of women because he is sexually obsessed is wrong, and not natural or normal. Someone with this attitude needs to be admitted to a psychiatric ward, receive medications, and psychotherapy, and then not released into the community until we are sure he can function as a normal human being in society. I dont understand why this is not offensive to a woman who believes that women are equal human beings and that they deserve respect just as much as men do?

egy anatomist said...

فانتازيا هانم

ازاي حضرتك قدرتي تجمعي هؤلاء الرائعين في مكان واحد؟ والأجمل أن كلهم مصريين، والأغرب أنهم جميعا ذائبين عشقا لمصر


أصدقائي الأعزاء

إي إف سي

أعتذر بشدة لعدم تمكني من توضيح ما عنيته بدقة

طبعا لا غبار في رأيي إطلاقا على الاهتمام النسائي بالعطور والموضة وأخبار النجوم وأيضا بالرياضة والتنس والسباحة.. وطبعا الأمر يشبه كثيرا اهتمام الرجال بالمصارعة وكرة القدم والحروب :) ولكن ما قصدته هو الانخراط حتى النخاع في هذه الأمور وجعلها مركزا أساسيا وأوليا للاهتمام بحيث يصبح هدف العمل هو الإتيان بالمال من أجل شراء مزيد من الثياب أو المتعة الحسية بأي شكل.. لا أقصد - أكيد - كل النساء

وما أقوله تحديدا هو ان هيكل الاقتصاد السياسي العالمي يتحكم فيه عند القمة رجال يكرسون نظاما رأسماليا هو بالضرورة أبويا، وفي هذا النظام فانه من المسموح للنساء أن تشارك ولكن تحت شروط وقواعد النظام، فلن تجدي سياسات ثاتشر مثلا أقل ذكورية بأي شكل من بلير أو براون ، وقولي نفس الشئ على ميركل أو أوريو في الفلبين أو حتى بوتو الراحلة.. وغيرهم.. ونفس الشئ ينطبق على السيدات مديرات الشركات الكبرى في العالم أو مالكاته.. كلهن يمارسن السياسة والبيزنس بطرق ذكورية بحتة تكرس سيطرة نفس النظام

أتمنى أن أكون أوضحت فكرتي بشكل أفضل.. وأشكرك بشدة على تعليقك الرائع الذي قرأته مرتين بالتفصيل.. البلوج ده بقى تايم كونسيومنج أوي:)


العزيز جدا عمرو

أقول ايه طيب

لا أخفي اعجابي بردودك وثقافتك واحيي جرأة منطقك وانطلاقه بل جموحه احيانا وسط فضاءات الفكر

أنت تثير في عقلي دائما بعض أفضل التأملات

لكن برضه.. أحب أوضح رأيي في كيفية حدوث التغير المجتمعي

المشكلة يا سيدي ان التحليل الماركسي أيضا يخضع لقواعد البنية التاريخية.. مش مستثنى منه.. لا توجد - في رأيي - نظرية ما تقدر على تفسير الليلة كلها:)).. الليلة طويلة أوي ومعقدة.. يعني انا مقدرش استخدم تغير علاقات الانتاج وهياكله كعامل وحيد في تفسير البني الفوقية كالسياسة والثقافة وحقوق المرأة وغيرها.. أنا عارف ان انت تقدمي حتى النخاع ومستحيل توافق على فكرة ان مفيش حاجة اسمها تقدم.. لكن أنا كمان رغم تقديري اللانهائي للعبقرية الماركسية المذهلة إلا إنني لا أوافق على مراحل التقدم المتمثلة في التصنيع ثم ما بعدة وما قبله كسلم واحد وحيد يشرح ويفسر تطور المجتمعات

مش لازم في رأيي ان ظروف الثورتين العظيمتين في الغرب تتعاد عندنا بالظبط

مش لازم في رأيي اننا نمر بالتصنيع وما بعد التصنيع عشان ندوق الحداثة ثم ما بعدها

انت ابتديت تمام في رأيي بانك ذكرت السوشيوإيكونوميك فاكتورز والمؤثرات السياسية والثقافية كمسببات للتغير المجتمعي لكن في أمثلتك ركزت فقط على السبب الأول (الاقتصاد) وشوية في رأيي قللت من اهمية السبب التالت اللي هوه الثقافة.. انا شايف ان إي أف سي وفانتا وغيرهم بيلعبوا في المؤثر التالت ده.. الثقافي.. صحيح هيتعبوا أكتر.. يمكن يغيروا شوية عقول.. يمكن يهزوا الماء الراكد.. يمكن يجيبوا نتيجة محدودة أو واسعة.. مش عارف.. بس اللي واثق منه.. ان آثار جهدهم هتكون دليل مرشد لناس تانية هتنقلها لأجيال تالتة ورابعة لغاية ما تحصل البارادايم شيفت اللي كلنا في انتظارها.. وده مش شوية يا دكتور:)

ومعاك مليون في المائة ان الويسترن ستايل مستحيل ينجح عندنا .. بس ده لو اتعمل كوبي وبايست.. لكن انا شايف انه مجرد بيتقال على ألسنة نساء ذوات أسماء عربية وهوى عربي مصري أو مصري عربي عشان محدش يزعل ده معناه تعريب وتمصير مبدئي للقيم الانسانية الغربية بحيث تركب على العقول اللي في شبرا أو في الكنيسة اللي في ميدان هليوبوليس أو في كوم الشقافة وسرس اللبان :))

بخصوص التعليق في البوست اللي فات.. فأنا مثلك يا سيدي عاشق للسان العربي والموسيقى العربية والشعر العربي القديم تحديدا وبعض الحديث

ولذا أهديك هذه النفحات من المعري.. مع تقديري

يحطمنا ريبُ الزمان كأننا -- زجاج ولكن لا يُعاد لنا سَبْك

وما الإنسان في التطواف إلا -- أسيرٌ للزمان فما يفك


الدكتور اياد حرفوش

كل التقدير والاحترام والإجلال

اعجابي بكتابات حضرتك كبير وغير محدود


سيدة الأفكار الراقصة :).. في انتظار
ur usual amazing two cents


تحياتي واحترامي للجميع

Egyptian Feminist Chic said...

Raaasa, thank you so much for your great comment,like egyanatomist said there are so many fabulous people on this blog. I am so glad you made time to post... i am under a time crunch myself, my daughter is climbing over my head as i type, and pushing all the buttons she could get herhands on.i promisei will respond more when she sleeps!!

raaasa said...

My three cents:

And just who is advocating a western-style feminist movement?

Even if the socio-historical--economic conditions were conducive to that, it would still be as likely as-- umm, lemme see--say a unified Arab world spanning the territory from somewhere around the Black Forest to the Hindu Kush.

What are you understanding to be a western-style feminist movement? or a feminist thrust of any kind, for that matter?

I will explain what I mean by feminism. Feminism is the belief in and the fight for the right for people of both genders to live and develop fully to their utmost potential without being hampered by the gender they belong to. Simple.

And yet, it is not so simple. In the late 19th and twentieth centuries, women as similar and as different as Malik Hifni Nassef, Mai Ziyada, Zeinab al-Ghazali, Inge Aflatun, Latifa Zayyat, Doria Shafik, Andree Chedid, Alifa Rifaat, Nawal al-Saadawi--feminists, nationalists, communists, Islamists, writers, activists--have fought and worked towards carving a bigger space in the lives of Middle Eastern women.

Claiming that feminism is in any way a western concept is most insulting and de-humanizing. It calls to mind George W's brilliant blunder when he said some time ago that Iraqi people are against freedom.

Why must the desire for a better life, more choices, and more freedom for women have to compete with their national, cultural, political, or religious identity?

And furthermore, why, if a woman desires to be a fuller human being, is that perceived to be a betrayal of her role as wife or mother or daughter or citizen?

I think we must be wary of each of these many silencing mechanisms. Qassim Amin's Tahrir al-Maraa (the Liberation of woman)--regarded as the beginning of feminism in Arab culture and the first attack on the veil--was discredited because of its association with European discourse and the colonial presence.

Because EFC's awesome post is partially about women's equal participation in the Islamic tradition, I think it is necessary to mention here that Islam is no less and no more misogynistic than the other two monotheistic faiths, Christianity and Judaism.

And here, I am not comparing, I am showing examples of how women in other monotheistic religions approached their struggle within the patriarchal monopoly on faith.

As in Islam, in Christianity and Judaism, the power of interpreting the words of the holy books and administering rites and sacraments and such was in the hands of the men who gave themselves power to act as mediators between God and the leity.

Like Christian and Jewish feminists, Muslim women have three choices: a) the choice to believe that their religious tradition in the more conservative interpretation gives them power within the faith (the Islamist approach, like Zaynab al-Ghazali for example), b) the choice to step out of the faith that has no room for them as women, c) the choice to fight to create a place for an active role within the faith (here is what EFC is talking about in leading prayers and so on) It is a matter of creating space within the faith for women.

A lot of work has to be done and as both EFC and Fantasia have mentioned, it won't be easy. Given the current climate in Egypt, it is quite likely that women able to create space for themselves and make changes will only be able to do so in foreign lands, like North America for example.

Many women are asking themselves if Islam is the faith of tolerance, why am I not seeing any tolerance around me? When the message of Islam came, it specifically came for both male and female believers. There in that phrase is the balance, male and female. Is it possible that now that men have claimed religion as their sole preserve, there is no balance and hence no tolerance?

By necessity, re-creating the female space within the faith means re-interpreting and re-placing the woman in the faith. Of course, this is not new. Women have been studying the Qur'an for quite some time. Still, if female interpretations / translations are accepted on a larger scale, with time, things will change.

I came across this article of an Iranian-Muslim woman, Laleh Bakhtiar, translating the problematic ayas on male-female relations and found that there is reason to be optimistic:

Just in case I have not yet made myself clear, in my opinion, women in the Middle East need to reject, or at the very least question, the androcentrism of their culture and tradition. However, this is absolutely not the same as saying that they need to adopt Western aspirations, approaches, and lifestyles.

مروة الزارع said...

اولا : أحب أن أطمئن على اخبارك وانتى يا فانتازيا

ثانيا : لست أعلم حقيقاً من اين تأتيكم تلك الأفكار

انا أحترم كلامكم طبعا

لكن اسمحيلى ارد


نعم هناك اختلاف بين النساء والرجال في كيفية أداء الصلاة.

وحقيقة ان الأصل أنّ المرأة في جميع أحكام الدين مثل الرجل سواء بسواء لقوله صلى الله عليه وسلم :

" إِنَّمَا النِّسَاءُ شَقَائِقُ الرِّجَالِ " . رواه الإمام أحمد وصححه في صحيح الجامع 1983 ، إلا إذا دلّ الدليل على اختصاصهنّ بشيء ، ومما ذكره العلماء في هذا في موضوع الصلاة ما يلي :

- ليس على المرأة أذان و لا إقامة لأن الأذان شرع له رفع الصوت والمرأة لا يجوز لها رفع صوتها ، قال ابن قدامة رحمه الله : لا نعلم فيه خلافاً ( 1/438 المغني مع الشرح الكبير ) .

- كل المرأة عورة في الصلاة إلا وجهها ، وذلك لقول الرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم : " لا يقبل الله صلاة حائض إلا بخمار " رواه الخمسة . وفي كعبها وقدميها خلاف . قال في المغني (2/328) . وأما سائر بدن المرأة الحُرَّة فيجب سترها في الصلاة وإن انكشفت منه شيء لم تصح صلاتها إلا أن يكون يسيراً وبهذا قال مالك والأوزاعي والشافعي .

- أنَّ المرأة تجمع نفسها في الركوع والسجود بدلاً من التجافي … لأنه أستر لها . المغني (2/258) .

وصلاة المرأة في بيتها أفضل من الصلاة في المسجد الحرام والمسجد النبوي
خير صلاة النساء في قعر بيوتهن
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( صحيح ) انظري حديث رقم : 3311 في صحيح الجامع . ‌

وقال النووي قال الشافعي في المختصر ولا فرق بين الرجال و النساء في عمل الصلاة إلا أن المرأة يستحب لها أن تضم بعضها إلى بعض وأن تلصق بطنها بفخذيها في السجود كأستر ما تكون وأحب ذلك لها في الركوع وفي جميع الصلاة . انتهى ( انظر المجموع (3/429) .

- استحباب صلاة النساء جماعة بإمامة إحداهن لحديث : أمر النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم أمّ ورقة أن تؤم أهل دارها . وفي المسألة خلاف بين العلماء فليراجع المغني (2/202) والمجموع النووي 4/84-85 وتجهر المرأة بالقراءة إذا لم يسمعها رجال غير محارم .

- يباح للنساء الخروج من البيوت للصلاة مع الرجال في المساجد وصلاتهن في بيوتهن خير لهن لقوله صلى الله عليه وسلم " لا تمنعوا النساء أن يخرجن إلى المساجد وبيوتهن خير لهن " ( لمزيد من التفاصيل في هذه المسألة يُراجع سؤال رقم 983 ) .

- وقال الإمام النووي رحمه الله في المجموع 3/455 : و يخالف النساء الرجال في صلاة الجماعة في أشياء :

1- لا تتأكد في حقهن كتأكدها في حق الرجال .

2- تقف إمامتهن وسطهن .

3- تقف واحدتهن خلف الرجل لا بجنبه بخلاف الرجل .

4- إذا صلين صفوفاً مع الرجال فآخر صفوفهن أفضل من أولها وفائدة مما سبق يُعلم تحريم الاختلاط لأن جسم المرأة كلة عورة كيف تأم بالرجال وتكون امامهم


ولا يجوز للمرأة الأذان للصلاة، ولا يجوز لها كذلك أن تؤم الرجال. لأنه لا يجوز لها رفع الصوت لأن صوت المرأة عورة. وأنه لا يجوز لها الجهر بالقول امام الرجال.
والاختلاط هو الاجتماع بين نساء ورجال غير ذوي محارم لهن، والأصل في النهي عنه الكتاب والسنة. أما الكتاب فقول الله تعالى: وإذا سألتموهن متاعا فاسألوهن من وراء حجاب ذلكم أطهر لقلوبكم وقلوبهن (1). وأما السنة فعن أبي أسيد الأنصاري أنّه سمع رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول وهو خارج من المسجد، فاختلط الرجال مع النساء في الطريق، فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم للنساء: (استأخرن فليس لكن أن تَحْقُقْنَ الطريق. عليكن بحافات الطريق). قال أسيد بن مالك بن ربيعة راوي الحديث: إن المرأة كانت تلتصق بالجدار حتى إن ثوبها ليتعلق بالجدار من لصوقها به (2).

فكيف تؤم بالرجال وترفع صوتها وتصبح فى الصفوف الأولى ليروا مفتناها وجسدها وتؤذن الأذان بصوتها وتخطب بصوتها

كيف بالله عليكم؟

Amre El-Abyad said...

Dear Raaaasa

It is quite obvious that we are on the same side. Out of diffeent premises, though.

Yes Arab women must reject and defy the stagnant tradition. They must fight along with men for healthy society gender wise. After all, gender is one of the driving forces of life itself.

All what I am asking for is to be innovative and independent in our path. And trust me Raaasa, I am the last one to be considered an enemy of women rights . Women of Egypt, women of the Arabs.. free yourselves and your people. I have to tell you that I feel very happy when I see independent strong minded dedicated Egyptian women. And when Arab nationalism is added to the above I become as high as a kite. So Peace, All my guns are put down:))

Yet, I have two reservations on your post. First Iran is not part of the middle east. Persian culture is part of the Indian civilsation shpere. Shiites are muslims of course. But Iranian shiites are not muslims. They have a very wierd oriental cult where shiisim for them is a national symbol of the days of the old barabric persian empire which sacked and destroyed savagely the Arab civisation in Baylon and pharoanic Egypt. What is the middle east? Israel is a colonial forign entity. So nothing is left in the middle east except Arabs.

Also, at least out of pure ethical reasons, we have to totally boycot Iran and Israel. What the Iranians are doing In iraq is horrible, and their relentless attemts to reshape the Arab world so as to enter the so called midle east is by all means criminal, hateful and barbaric.

raaasa said...

My mistake, in typing about Laleh Bakhtiar, I intended to identify her as an Iranian-American, not Iranian-Muslim. If I was aware of a Sunni woman translating the Qur'an I would have used her as an example.

In addition, I am well aware of the difference between Sunni and Shia Muslims and the difference between Arabs and Persians, racially, ethnically, culturally, historically, ideologically, linguistically--hmmm, have I missed anything?-- but thank you for pointing this out.

last of the mohicans said...

congratulations are in order hope to see more of you and can not wait to differ with you..!
this subject is so deep and mr al-abyad said all i have to say.
just came to congratulate you.
please accept my best wishes and regards.

Egyptian Feminist Chic said...

Wow!! so much has happened while I was gone...

egyanatomist... again thank you for your response. I truly value your comments and I am glad you took the time to clarify. So yes, I agree with you completely on the likes of Paris hilton, who realy do nothing with their money other than drink party and shop... my one question is what do you mean by women who run things in a masculine way?? like margret thatcher, I am not sure I understand what you mean by that.. can you please clarify?
regarding how businesses are run.. i never realy differentiated betwee mn and women... i always thought that if business requires toughness and requires being strict, it can be done by either a man or a woman... it depends on the person having the right education and the right attitude and work ethic, as well as the ability to accomplish the tasks at hand... gender should not make a difference... I actually didnt expect things to be different. the important thing is that the women are not forbidden from doing certain jobs solely based upon their reproductive organs, which is notrelated to the job itself. individual attitudes at work shouldnt raly make a difference... if however a woman chooses to lead in the same way a man does, it might be because the subordinates will not take her seriously if theyfeel that the attitude is not what they have been used to.... if this is what you meant, then you are right, and i agree the west still is patriarchal and mysogynist, in a non obvious way.... but hey.... its a start, and things can only get better!!

Egyptian Feminist Chic said...

Dear raaasa ... your 3 cents are priceless!!! i am realy enjoying the discussion between you and Amr.
and thank you for the link!

Amr, I knew that sooner or later we would agree on something :) We are all on the same side. we both agree that women need to be liberated and have equal rights.... and even though we disagree about certain things, raaasa's comment said everything i wanted to say and more! looks like a good start to me!!

looking forward to reading points of view from both of you guys!!

Egyptian Feminist Chic said...

Last of the mohicans!!! so glad you dropped by, and thank you for your comment. I am looking forward to hearing more from you later... you know the most informative comments and the most thought provoking ideas arise when people differ and discuss why they are different! Looking forward to differing with you too :)

raaasa said...

I'd like say a few words about Anatomist's post, specifically men and women in power.

Anatomist, I think you are starting from the premise that men and women are essentially different, whereas I think that men and women are essentially the same, ie. human, but are socialized to be different hence the main differences. Then, there are the differences imposed by survival instincts.

Yes, I agree men and women are different, but really not so much.

Girlie-ness, such things as make-up, perfume, nail polish, exaggerated hip-swaying, coy expressions and gestures, and so on are superficial, designed to attract men and signal, "I am a girrrrrrl." I think for many women these embellishments are fun and playful, like playing dress-up.

It is my belief that such things are culturally created. That is to say that if in Egyptian culture it were accepted for women to expose their shoulders and paint five red spots on each shoulder, then men would be attracted to that because they would be responding to the "I am a girrrrrl" signal.

Ok, so back to the men and women being essentially the same discussion: We have the same capacity for mental and intellectual development, creativity, innovation and so on--look at Fanta and EFC as prime examples. We have the same capacity to experience the full range of human emotions. Both genders have the capacity for spiritual development. Finally, both sexes have equal capacity for physical development appropriate to their gender.

If we look on men and women as essentially different based on their biology, then I see this as problematic to some extent because that imposes limitations on the women--like in the women as judges debate (despite the fact that the arguments of the opposition were ridiculous).

There is no reason for men not to be masculine or women not to be feminine with each other in relation. There, however, has to be balance in power not that the man makes all the decisions and the woman has to take it.

For me, the big thing is decision-making. Currently, in Egypt men are making most, if not all, the main decisions.

I am talking here from the big to small--in politics, in religion, in law, in business, in the academy, in society, in families. Here, it is about power, direct power. (Also, obviously not all men have equal shares in power.)

A man with power can say, "It should be or will be so." And then, it happens.

Here, we can see the Margaret Thatcher approach because of the direct power. Now, is this gender-specific--meaning that the approach is essentially masculine or essentially feminine, or is it human nature to behave in such a way when one has power?

On the other hand, if a woman does not have the power to make decisions, despite being more qualified or informed than the men/man, she has to do a side-ways shuffle using charm and so on, making the man feel like her idea or decision was his to begin with. And, finally, saying something like, "Hadr, ya habibi," in agreement that his will shall be

We have seen so few examples of women wielding real power that maybe it is premature to consider whether there is such a thing as male or female behaviour in power. Until proven differently, I will believe that such behaviour is governed by intellect and the right to make choices with the understanding that they will either be implemented or at the very least be given serious consideration by others.

Anatomist, I would like to ask you a favour. Could you at least write half of your postings/ comments here in English--or comment in English from time to time? I really do enjoy your thoughts and ideas, but it takes me forever to read in Arabic, so often I give up before I have finished. I realize it is faster and easier for you to write in Arabic, but could we reach a compromise? (Sorry, I can't offer to reciprocate by writing half of my comments in Arabic.)

Egyptian Feminist Chic said...

Marwa, thanks for coming by...

it is obvious that you do not agree with my point of view, however in doing so, you have completely confirmed everything i wanted to say.
first you claim this is your idea, yet you failed to mention that you copied this and pasted it here from this link.

It would be much better if you actually thought about it and wrote down your own thoughts... that would realy mean something, instead of reciting what someone else says without thinking.

The only hadeeth you have indicated is the one which says that men and women are the same.
إِنَّمَا النِّسَاءُ شَقَائِقُ الرِّجَالِ

So this actually confirms that men and women are equal, according to the prophet.

then you gave me a misogynist idea of someone who is not god or the prophet:

- ليس على المرأة أذان و لا إقامة لأن الأذان شرع له رفع الصوت والمرأة لا يجوز لها رفع صوتها ، قال ابن قدامة رحمه الله : لا نعلم فيه خلافاً ( 1/438 المغني مع الشرح الكبير ) .

- كل المرأة عورة في الصلاة إلا وجهها ، وذلك لقول الرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم : " لا يقبل الله صلاة حائض إلا بخمار " رواه الخمسة . وفي كعبها وقدميها خلاف . قال في المغني (2/328) . وأما سائر بدن المرأة الحُرَّة فيجب سترها في الصلاة وإن انكشفت منه شيء لم تصح صلاتها إلا أن يكون يسيراً وبهذا قال مالك والأوزاعي والشافعي

the above reference does not represent gods word in any way... who exactly decided that a woman's voice is like her genitals and needs to be private???? do you realize how strange this sounds?? this is the perfect way to silence any woman who would like to live like a normal human being... if she cannot talk, then she cannot ask for rights, then she cannot work, then she cannot discuss, then she cannot buy or sell, then she cannot take care of her house and children... she is basicly a useless doormat. this is the perfect way to opress women render them helpless.There is no proof in the koran that women should not talk or that talking is a sin!!!!

the term لا يقبل الله صلاة حائض إلا بخمار " this translates into... god will not accept a woman parayer if she is on her period ...unless there is a cover??? now this is no way means that a woman is like a vagina and we should cover all of her body... where did you read this as a translation?? do you understand arabic? if you do, please explain to me where in this sentence is it mentioned that a woman needs to be covered from head to toe... because i dont see it anywhere! i only see an ancient idea that aims to opress women and push them out of life. please explain why i need to follow these this a new religion or something?? because islam does not say this... if god did not say it, and mohammed didnt say it, then why should anyone follow malek or elshaf3y if this is their personal opinion?? they can think what they want, but it is not part of our religion, no matter who wishes that it was... it isnt!

- أنَّ المرأة تجمع نفسها في الركوع والسجود بدلاً من التجافي … لأنه أستر لها . المغني (2/258) ... again this is another examle of the mysogynist interpretation of islam... this is a new idea!!! never thought of by god or his prophet.. yet it miraculously found its way into religion!! however this book ( المغني) was written by موفق الدين عبد الله بن أحمد بن قدامة who was born in the year 541 hegreyan.. meaning several hundred years after the prophet died. so he never saw the prophet, or witnessed how women prayed at that time. he is a typical example of what we are talking about.... a misogynist interpretation of religion... and he is not referring to the koran in any way, this is just his personal opinion... please elaborate on why in this day and age we have to follow this man's sadistic ideas of how women should live.

one more thing:

- وقال الإمام النووي رحمه الله في المجموع 3/455 : و يخالف النساء الرجال في صلاة الجماعة في أشياء :

1- لا تتأكد في حقهن كتأكدها في حق الرجال .

2- تقف إمامتهن وسطهن .

3- تقف واحدتهن خلف الرجل لا بجنبه بخلاف الرجل .

4- إذا صلين صفوفاً مع الرجال فآخر صفوفهن أفضل من أولها وفائدة مما سبق يُعلم تحريم الاختلاط لأن جسم المرأة كلة عورة كيف تأم بالرجال وتكون امامهم

, i looked this up in the book, and here is a link to this particular paragraph.... now we all agree that this is not the word of god.. so how did they come up with these "rules"?

notice how there is no reference to the koran???

what about إن المرأة كانت تلتصق بالجدار حتى إن ثوبها ليتعلق بالجدار من لصوقها به ... you have got to be kidding.. this is whatyou want women to do?? they cant even walk in the streets? they should stick to the walls out of fear?? listen to yourself.. this is not religion, this is opression. feel free to stick to the walls and for ever stop talking, and dress like a black tent if you wish, but do not associate this with religion!!! and dont try to convince others to do the same..

i will stop criticizing every word you said now.. but this is exactly my intention behind my post... stop using these horrible ancient ideas , and practice religion the way god intended, not the was a man living a thousand years ago liked!

it is so sad how these books are used to lie to women and convince them they are inferior and should therefore act as such and be treated as such! such a shame!

Amre El-Abyad said...


I happen to agree with you that men and women are essentialy the same in terms of mental capacity, power to develop......etc. I also agree that definitions of masculanity and feminity are basically social constructs. Yet, cultural codes compete in a Darwinistic fashion, in order to adopt to a certain environment.Consequantly, one may very well state that such constructs have proven themselves to be environmentally fit. But that doesn't mean,however, that they are to be static; a fact sustained by the changing roles assigned to women over temporal and spacial dimensions, and the evolutionary nature of such constructs. Having you pressing for renwed feminie constructs, is yet a further validation of the ddynamic nature of gender constructs. Never the less, there is a point feminists can never evade, no matter how hard they try, in their press for disintegrating gender boundaries, that is that the genetic and concrete biological differences between men and women- eventhough they are not static either, given the proven biological evolution of European women from the 4os till now. Therefore I find your lines:

"If we look on men and women as essentially different based on their biology, then I see this to be problematic because that imposes limitations on the women--like in the women as judges debate (despite the fact that the arguments of the opposition were ridiculous)" romantic and charged by a genderless feminist "dogma".

You said

"There is no reason for men not to be masculine or women not to be feminine with each other in relation" that reads, masculainty and feminity are mere social constructs , not biological facts.

your lines simply don't go with your definition of feminsim on a previous comment as the women push for " space". Both women and men are bounded to a certain extent by their genetic make up. Still, that is not the same as saying that women can not do this type job or that sort of work. Women can do all jobs of men , but they will always do it in a different way. Gender is a real tangible structure of power, so gender exists.In this regard, women who want to have power at their hands must play along the masculine rules. The Tathsher example, to my own opinion, is a woman stepping in a man's shoe:) as it is clear that, at least, so far, the human species are patrirachal ones. However, that is due to change, given the tremndous rise in power assigned to the feminine institution in the last 200 yeras. Cloning and bio technology might lead to a peaceful transfer of power to women:)) or even the extinction of men altogether. Especially, that as I see it, women are more fit to handle the gigantic infinite social networks that are controling production at the present.

My dearest friend EFC

you said to Marwa :

"will stop criticizing every word you said now.. but this is exactly my intention behind my post... stop using these horrible ancient ideas , and practice religion the way god intended, not the was a man living a thousand years ago liked!"

In a previous comment to me you said:

"SO for example if God explicitly forbids extramarital affairs, then yes, if you are trying to follow the teachings of your reigion, this is something you should not do"

Hope you can see the contradiction.

raaasa said...

Gender roles, interactions, and relationships are not static. I will give you that, Amre. Change is the nature of life.

Women and men are biologically diffent--we can agree on that too. However, why should women be defined and limited by their biology? Are men? You are calling this romantic and charged by genderless feminist dogma.

Let's go over this then. To define women based on their biological function and sexuality does women and men a disservice.

Most women can have babies. This happens through sex. This, however, does not mean that we are pregnant or having sex all the time.

When I say that Essentialist theory regarding the sexes is the wrong way to go, I mean that when you ascribe certain characteristics to the genders--for example, such as women are soft, gentle, unpredictable, compassionate etc and men are violent, intelligent, fierce, rational, analytic and so on. You are setting up an opposition, a dichotomy destined for failure.

In fact, women are not just this and men are not just that. Each person contains a universe inside him or herself. My aspiration is that each one should have the possibility to glimpse, experience, and attain his or her potential.

This is not romantic, nor is it feminist dogma. It is a real possibility if we choose to make it so.

(It will not be so if there are people who are advocating and others who are naively or ignorantly believing this misogynistic crap that women's voices should not be heard or that women should slink in the shadows against the walls.)

Ok, now where was I? Now about men being masculine and women being feminine. It is a fact, undeniable for most heterosexual people in the world, that men are attracted to women and women are attracted to men. This, however, does not mean that either men or women have to be hyper-sexed all the time. Nor does it mean that every man is attracted to every woman or vice versa.

Because women are attractive to men, does not mean that women want to be groped on public transportation or muttered at and followed with a string of obscentities as they are going to the market to buy bread and tomatoes.

Masculinity and femininity are also aspects of charm and manners in society.

In addition, in personal relationships, masculinity and femininity play a role in balancing the other--not one as leader and one as follower etc. These roles are part of the mating dance, not the dance, by the way, of opposites but of complements to each other. Masculinity should not be understood as domination through fear or violence nor should femininity be understood as weakness or uselessness.

Ok, now we are with women pushing for space in relationships and in society. What's not to understand here? We can call it space or territory or rights or just simply the ability and the full right to equal participation in their society. Maybe we can just start with the simple concept that women are people too. Women want what men want.

Next time you open up an Egyptian newspaper, see how many times a woman is mentioned and in what context. See an example of how a man and his action is described and see if you can substitute a woman's name in his place and still get the same description. Next time you go for a walk in an Egyptian street, think about how your experience would be different if you were a woman.

Next....feminine institution....what?

Cloning? ...what?

Peaceful transfer of power to women?

Extinction of men?

ok, here I see more of this black and white thinking. Why must one sex rule and the other serve?

Amre, I get the impression that you think I don't like men. That's not the case at all. I love men. I truly do. I do have a serious problem with patriarchal power structures--I am hoping that much is clear.

raaasa said...

Dear Marwa,

God gave each one of us, men and women, a mind or an intellect. We must trust that giving women a mind or intellect was not a mistake.

Our responsibility is to use this mind or intellect to understand and judge for ourselves.

If we do not think for ourselves, there will always be others who will decide for us. We, however, will have to live with their decisions. It has been my experience that this does not usually turn out well.

Egyptian Feminist Chic said...

hi amr,
actually there is no contradiction... in the first comment. I stated that we need to follow God's orders... which are in the koran, and which are dictated by the prophet... provided we are sure this order was mentioned by the prophet, rather than something which was not, but was inserted into local culture under the guise of religion. I still believe this is the right thing to do.

the second comment was because marwa copied an article which shows so many restrictions on women... to the point of being degraded into a subhuman level, and like animals execreta, they are thrown onto the side of the road in fear.... highly offensive and derogatory!!! add to all of that, the text bases these rediculous "rules" on certain books, which I actually went and read to see how they came up with these humiliating conclusions... and the books did not refer to the koran, and when they referred to the prophet, they would mention one hadeeth, then come up with a conclusion not related to the hadeeth in any way... ( an example is this:
كل المرأة عورة في الصلاة إلا وجهها ، وذلك لقول الرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم : " لا يقبل الله صلاة حائض إلا بخمار " رواه الخمسة . وفي كعبها وقدميها خلاف . ) as you see the conclusion has nothing to do with the wording of the hadeeth.

so i believe that these repulsive ideas are in fact made by the writer of this book, or by his society at the time, and he just recorded it in his book.... so this ideology is not mandated by god or by religion... so we would be idiots if we decided to follow it, because it belonged to a man who died more than a thousand years ago, and it is not based on religion!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Amre El-Abyad said...

To the Egyptuian anatomist:

إلى العالم العلامة ، سابر غور

الكلمة و منغم الأدب ، أهدي تلك الأبيات

فَهِمْتُ الكِتابَ أبَرَّ الكُتُبْ فَسَمْعاً لأمْرِ أميرِ العَرَب

وَطَوْعاً لَهُ وَابْتِهاجاً بِهِ وَإنْ قَصّرَ الفِعْلُ عَمّا وَجَبْ

egy anatomist said...

Dear EFC and Ra'asa

Thank you for ur insightful comments. Actually it seems I should write all my comments here in english, not only half of them, as my thoughts were quite misunderstood:)

I will briefly pose my argument as clear as i can:

there are bilogical differences between males and females (in all living species.

there is no any kind of differences between men and women.

these biological diferences between males and females dont have any impact on the "nature" of men and women; i.e. there is no bilogical determinism or social roles based on biology differences.

social norms and values transform males into men and females into women.

these social norms and values or lets say social system or patriarchal society was created, managed and monitored by leading men, following men and women!

I like Connell's theory about hegemonic masculinity. I think it does interpret much of the social facts surrounding us.

by giving examples of some politically or economically powerful women such as thatcher or merkel, i wanted 2 assure that these women, and others, have been playing inside the borders of the area designed by hegemonic masculinity. otherwise they would have never been in office.

i dont imply it is a conspiracy! i mean it is a social system that has been formed due to many historical socioeconomic factors.

changing this structure is a matter of ......huge miraculous work (if we want rapid change. however im not sure of the reslut), or hundreds or thousnads of years of slow change in the infrastructures of human societies.

I dont have any problems with women taking care of their femininity. otherwise they would have a problem in my opinion! however i have a problem with women dont realize but their feminine compononet. i have the same problem with men who define themselves as males "full stop".

the previous arguemnt contradicts with many many so-called social facts based on wrong and misleading interpretion of religion, let alone the socioeconomic circumistances.

bass khalas. i think this clears things up:)


عمرو العزيز

أخشى أن تطردنا فانتازيا هانم من المدونة بأسرها :)

يقول لك المتنبي الخالد

أمِنْ كُلّ شيءٍ بَلَغْتَ المُرادَا
وفي كلّ شأوٍ شأوْتَ العِبَادَا

فَمَاذا تَرَكْتَ لمَنْ لم يَسُد
وماذا ترَكْتَ لمَنْ كانَ سَادَا


تحياتي واحترامي

Pallavi Trikha said...

hey...this is one amazing post that i've read....i'm going to be doing a debate on young males of the the genx still being conservative and the conservatism in the society'. i will be interjecting have an amazing knowledge of writing and i would be really grateful if you could help...
hope to read more of your posts soon..

"When I dare to be powerful - to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid" - Audre Lorde