A number of initiatives have been launched in the last few years to engage Muslim women in public discussions of issues related to Islam in general. In her post “Reviving the Spirit Without Recognizing Half The Audience?“, Sumaya, a guest contributor to MMW, suggested a list of women who should be invited on such events. One of them is Yasmin Mogahed (who has since spoken at the same conference that Sumaya covered), an internationally-renowned writer and speaker who launched her book, Reclaim Your Heart, in 2012.In her book, Mogahed shares her thoughts on liberating the soul from all materialistic attachments, and on how to enable greater connection with God, as He is the only source of strength and inspiration for us as human beings. She talks about human relationships, love, dreams and life challenges, relationship with God, women’s status, and the state of the Muslim world at large.
Using examples from the Quran and Hadith, Mogahed presents the spiritual journey people go through, with all its success and downturns, in order to reach their goals. Mogahed says that people usually attach themselves to materialistic objects in their lives, forgetting about God, and the life hereafter. She suggests mainly that we, as human beings, should “free our hearts from this slavery.” This book will teach readers how to live in this life without allowing life to own them. In this sense, the book looks like a primer on how to protect their most prized possession – the heart.
Towards the end of the book, Mogahed discusses in details the status of women in Islam. She talks about empowerment of women, arguing that mainstream Western feminists erased God from the scene. The result, according to Mogahed, is that they were left with no other standard, except for men. She writes:
“What (women) did not recognize was that God dignifies both men and women in their distinctiveness – not in their sameness. When we accept men as the standard, suddenly anything uniquely feminine becomes by definition inferior.”
In her book, Mogahed clearly stands against the concept of feminism. She says “Western feminism erases God from the scene, and in that case, there is no standard left, except men.” She suggests that instead of following the ideas presented by feminism, which according to her, consider men the standard, a woman should discover her distinctiveness given to her by God. In Mogahed’s argument, a woman should be looking for privileges given to her and not to men.
The problem I have with Mogahed’s point of view about feminism is that it is looked at from a narrow angle. [Read more...]