As I sit here enjoying the simple pleasure of truffled scrambled eggs for breakfast, I wonder at how the beauty of faith can be reduced to ugliness, no better represented by events of late. Apparently, some guy named Abu Eesa (who I never heard of prior but) who is a religious teacher at a religious institution (which I have also not heard of), spoke a series of misogynist comments. I’m less interested in what he said, as I’ve heard such commentary before but this is what it means to me:
1. There are men conversant in the Quran and Prophetic sayings whose attitude to women reflect neither the values taught by the Quran nor the Prophetic example.
2. When such men make anti-women statements they demonstrate that their religious knowledge is ‘learnt’ not ‘understood.’
3. When men, and it is predominantly men, make excuses and support such men, they are not protecting him from being the subject of criticism, nor are they ‘hiding his faults.’ Rather, they are simply covering over a real issue – some men’s unIslamic attitude towards women – and by defending them, imply that such is an acceptable norm.
Faith is often used (mostly by men) to enforce deep rooted prejudices and this is just another example of how Muslim society has transformed away from the holistic message of justice and fairness which was preached by the Prophet, which, incidentally doesn’t matter as much, after all, God Almighty says in the Quran that the Prophet is just a reminder and not an enforcer (c 88: vs 21-22). Though the irony is that such men ignore the reminder (of being fair and just towards half of humanity) and instead enforce injustice (misogyny and more).
I stopped paying attention to most Muslims years ago as I found these misplaced values almost everywhere. It does not matter how many platitudes one serves to remembering God, or speaking in God’s name, ugliness is ugliness and I have no desire to take my understanding of faith from any ‘teacher’ whose attitudes towards women is so flippant and unpleasant.
If such men cannot get their attitude towards half of humanity right, then nothing else they say, no matter how truthful, is of meaning to me. Much the same way that shaitan is described: speaking partial truths while misguiding the people en masse.
We all make mistakes, it is part of being human but this doesn’t excuse the under lying attitude, which, through his expression, he revealed. And for any person to hold such feelings towards half of humanity – despite many of his positive works – it’s a glimpse of their ugliness of which I want no part of.
As a Muslim however, I strongly believe in the Prophetic statement, that a person does not have faith until they want for another what they want for themselves, so I will say a prayer for guidance for myself first and for everyone else.
As God Almighty says in the Quran, guidance is a mercy and kindness from God, which God can give or take at God’s discretion, so I will not trouble myself with trying to convince such men of their religious obligations, nor will I mix in environments where such people exist. Instead I leave it to God to inspire them (and the rest of us), amen.