Why are our daughters becoming Muslim feminists? Are you concerned that your daughter is becoming a bit too liberal and losing her Islamic identity? Listen to the podcast here
There is no doubt that as mothers we want the best for our kids – but the older they become, the more freedom they have, exposing them to a world that we can no longer protect them from. From secondary school to college, to university. Your mind jumps to a million different thoughts about what ideas your impressionable daughter could be influenced by, and what she could become. One of those ideas, embellished and promoted under the guise of female empowerment, equality, and women’s choice; is feminism.
What is feminism?
Feminism is the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes. Although thought of as liberating by many Muslim girls, it is a big factor in causing them to slowly compromise or abandon some of the core Islamic values that you spent so many years nurturing in them. If we’re going to talk about feminism, and its relationship to Islam, we can’t do so without first recognising that feminism is an offshoot of the bigger challenge facing Muslims: Secular Liberalism. Our Islamic faith itself is under attack. Below I will be exploring some key reasons to explain, why are our daughters becoming Muslim feminists?
Asserting ownership over her body and consequently removing the ownership from God
“My body my choice!” An integral part of the feminist ideology is to assert your ownership of your body and remove it from everyone else. You should be able to do what you please with your body, be that wearing next to nothing, or covering head to toe – and no one can tell you otherwise. Your daughter may be insistent on disagreeing and rebelling against advice from you on how she should dress because it’s ‘her body, her choice’. Not only this, but a complete rejection of advice from her father, or other male family figures because ‘men should not control women’.
Such sentiments have unfortunately taken away the authority parents should have over their child, and the consequence of this is that many parents end up backing down. It goes against the following hadiths
Abdullah ibn Umar reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Every one of you is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock. The leader of people is a guardian and is responsible for his subjects. A man is the guardian of his family and he is responsible for them. A woman is the guardian of her husband’s home and his children and she is responsible for them. The servant of a man is a guardian of the property of his master and he is responsible for it. No doubt, every one of you is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock.”
Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 6719, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 1829
Al-Mughirah ibn Sha’bah reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Verily, Allah has forbidden you from disobeying your mothers, withholding charity, demanding from others, and burying your daughters alive. Allah disapproves that you spread talebearing and gossip, ask many unnecessary questions, and waste your wealth.” Bukhārī
The rejection of obligations – most commonly the hijab
Being a feminist is a slippery slope and can lead to young girls not only neglecting their obligations but rejecting that certain obligations are even mandatory. The former is sinful; however, the latter can be considered kufr according to certain scholars.
You may find your daughter not only refusing to dress according to the Islamic dress but rejecting that the hijab is an obligation. Whilst maybe when you were young, you did not even question such things as it was obvious, it is not the case now. Women now are challenging Islamic values that may hinder their ability to express themselves and their independence and giving various justifications.
For example, Muslim teenagers will say “Times have changed, the Qur’an doesn’t explicitly mention the hijab, modesty is achievable without the hijab, the modesty of the heart is what is important, and the list goes on.”
The Tedx talk ‘What does the Quran really say about a Muslim woman’s hijab?’ by Samina Ali generated nearly 5 million views, where she tried to explain the verses commanding the hijab, explaining the context of the time, and why therefore the hijab is not compulsory. But what she ended up doing was undermining centuries of Islamic scholarship, tradition, and history to suit her personal whims, because the hijab goes against her feministic morals and lifestyle. Samina Ali is a writer and feminist activist, she is not a scholar and therefore is not qualified to interpret ayahs of Quran.
Many young Muslimahs out of pure naivety and trying to please others will say that the hijab is ‘their choice’. But the reality is the hijab is an obligation, and it is not a choice. Once the command of Allah has come, you have no choice but to humbly submit to it.
‘Urwah reported: Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, said, “May Allah have mercy on the foremost women of the Muhajirun. When Allah revealed the verse, ‘Let them draw their cloaks over their bodies,’ (24:31) they cut their sheets and veiled themselves with them.” Bukhārī 4481
Undermining or rejecting the roles of men and women in Islam
A mother, a daughter, a sister, a wife – all hold much value and importance in Islam, and each has its own set of responsibilities and rights. However, not all of the rights and responsibilities that are given to us in Islam are the same for men and women, in fact, there are many differences. And we can all rightly say that if we looked at these roles within the lens of feminism, these rights are not equal between men and women, and therefore feminism would have a problem with it. The reality is, Islam does not claim to give equal rights to men and women, but rather it gives just and fair responsibilities to us according to the differences that we have – equity rather than equality.
Some feminists accept that men and women are different however they believe that we should still all have the same rights and responsibilities, i.e. absolute equality.
So, if your daughter is a feminist, you may find her…
- Undermining or belittling the role of a mother in Islam (as great emphasis is put on her raising her children)
- Feeling defensive about, or just plain dislike for the role of the father being the head of the household and the obligation on him to provide for his family as Allah has told us in the Qur’an
- Rejecting the obligation upon a wife to obey her husband
Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means. Therefore, the righteous women are devoutly obedient (to Allah and to their husbands), and guard in the husband’s absence what Allah orders them to guard (e.g. their chastity, their husband’s property, etc.).  Surah Nisa 4:34
A so- called feminist Islamic ‘scholar’ named Amina Wadud also shows us the dangers feminism causes to one’s own iman and religion. When viewing the world through the lens of feminism, it can lead to you insulting and mocking even our blessed Prophets. In the tweet below, Dr. Amina
Why can’t women…?
Cross comparing rules of men and women in Islam; from marriage to inheritance, to divorce, and the list goes on. Many feminists have tirelessly nitpicked at every Islamic ruling and either demonized the ruling or created their own ruling to make it ‘equal’ for men and women instead. A well-known example of this was a blog post shared by the infamous fashion blogger Dina Tokio, called ‘Why can’t Muslim women marry non-Muslim men?’ which has since been removed due to backlash.
The permissibility of a Muslim man marrying a woman from the ahl al-kitab (‘People of the Book’) is understood from the Qur’anic verse, “It is lawful for you to marry chaste Muslim women and chaste women of the People of the Book when you have given them their dowries.” (5:5)
According to most scholars, this verse specifies or abrogates a previous verse of the Qur’an (2:221) that prohibited men and women from marrying non-Muslim polytheists. The exception in Qur’an 5:5 was only extended to men and not to women as is clear. As such, the permission to marry the ahl al-kitab only extends to men. [al-Jassas, Ahkam al-Qur’an (2:15-20); al-Qurtubi, Jami li-ahkam al-Qur’an (2:453-57)]
There is scholarly consensus that it is neither valid nor permitted for a Muslim woman to marry a non-Muslim man. The simple reason for this is that the divine command in the primary texts does not extend such an allowance to women. While scholars mention certain wisdoms underlying this rule, such as the fact that the religious identity of one’s progeny is less likely to be preserved in a marriage between a Muslim woman and non-Muslim man, the ruling ultimately is not subject to context nor whether such a wisdom is actually realised in a given situation.
This sentiment coming from your daughter may come across as childish moaning or just being argumentative, but if not already, it can easily lead to her questioning and later rejecting basic tenets of Islam.
Another example of an outcome of the infamous ‘why can’t women…?’ questions is the start-up of mosques that allow men and women to pray side by side. An example of this is a mosque in Berkeley, California that says men and women are welcome to worship together.
All of the above are examples of the conflicting battle Muslim feminists are faced with. Islam comes with a clear set of rules and guidelines that God requires them to humbly submit to, and feminism comes with its own set of (woman-made) values that challenge and undermine their religion. It becomes a game of juggling your morals, where a Muslim is forced to drop some islamic principles and pick up other liberal, so called progressive ideas.
Our role as mothers
As parent you have the opportunity to mentor and guide your daughter through all the challenges she will face. As mothers we need to first understand ideas such as liberalism, secularism and feminism and then we can explain the fallacies of them to our daughters.
Of course, our daughters will make mistakes, just like we did as we were growing up. However, we need to appreciate that our children are facing a tsunami of subtle attacks which are making them question the very foundations of their belief. We were raised in a different era, liberal society did not make us have doubts about Islam. However, their faith is being questioned via a secular education system, social media, YouTube, Netflix etc.
The feeling of protectiveness you have over your child will never go, and it truly is a blessing from Allah because you want your children to live a noble and righteous life under the guidance of Allah, and you want them to be with you in Jannah. Therefore, it is important for you to be present and open to your child so that if she ever expresses ideas such as those mentioned in this article, you can open her eyes and allow her to see the disastrous road feminism leads to.
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