ISIS: Wake-up Call to Muslim Women?

Amina Wadud
Amina Wadud

Why is Isis a wake-up call to Muslim women?
by Homa Khaleeli
April 13, 2015

With her warm manner, academic language and grey-tinged dreadlocks partially covered by a headscarf, Amina Wadud makes an unlikely rebel. But the 62-year-old African-American professor, the daughter of a Methodist minister, is one of Islam’s leading feminists. Ten years ago, she faced down a bomb threat in New York when she led Friday prayers to a mixed congregation of men and women – something many religious scholars argued was forbidden in Islam. Three years later, she defied protests from local groups to do the same in London. Not content with taking on the mosques, now she has her sights set on revolutionising sharia councils and the laws that underpin them.

Sharia, she points out, is a world view, “the divine order of the universe”. What she is interrogating is fiqh, the Muslim legal tradition of man-made rules based on almost exclusively male interpretations of sacred texts. “When we are talking about laws, we are into talking about who is interpreting the laws, and what judicial methods they use,” she tells me. “The prophet made radical reforms but [Muslims] didn’t keep pace with that. If you start with that and no one else on the planet has it, you should be ahead of anyone else on the planet with regards to gender. But instead we let patriarchy to take over.”

Wadud is working with Musawah, an organisation campaigning for gender equality, and has contributed a chapter to its new book, Men in Charge? Rethinking Authority in Muslim Legal Tradition, which focuses on just one verse in the Qur’an – (4:34) that the authors have called “the DNA of patriarchy”. It is this verse that scholars have used to insist that God has given men authority over women – leading to wildly discriminatory laws of which Saudi Arabia’s infamous guardianship system (which prevents women from having medical procedures, taking a job or getting an education without the permission of a male guardian) is just one example.

While much of the Qur’an speaks of justice and spiritual equality, the prominence given to the interpretation of this verse has led to discriminatory laws and, as Wadud points out, “completely patriarchal” sharia councils. In the UK, hold power to dissolve marriages and have been criticised for discriminating against women.

“I have more optimism than I thought I would ever have before I died,” she says, pointing out that, even in countries such as Saudi Arabia, women have successfully campaigned to be able to stand for certain offices, vote in certain elections and increase the number of jobs they can do. “You have no place on the planet Earth where women are not on the move,” she says, firmly.

Even the terrifying rise of Isis doesn’t quell her hope. “The worst manifestation of Islam in our time is the so-called Islamic State,” she says, “but it might be our salvation. This is a powerful wake-up call: just because people say they are doing something in the name of Islam does not mean you have to agree with them. And as soon as you have the freedom not to agree with an interpretation of Islam, then the question of interpretation comes up and that’s my life right there – talking about how Islam has always been filtered through the interpretation of people who have the power.”

Indeed… might we also say that just because Christians or Jews or Hindus or Buddhists say “they are doing something in the name of [their religion or their God] does not mean that you have to agree with them.”

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/apr/13/why-is-isis-a-wake-up-call-to-muslim-women?CMP=share_btn_tw

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ISIS: Wake-up Call to Muslim Women?

The Divine Masculine

Volumes are written about the contemporary rise of the Sacred Feminine – a cross-cultural, trans-religious movement that honors the female… as Goddess and Universal Mother (think: Isis, Aphrodite, Shakti, Eve, Virgin Mother Mary, Mary Magdalene, etc).

I’m suggesting there’s also a new masculinity paradigm that’s emerging. While its origins are spiritual… its manifestations can be seen, heard and felt from prophets of our times… our artists and our mystics.

Think about it.

I believe the new Divine Masculine is beginning to be widely embraced by most women in search of a mate (as opposed to a sex partner). I’ll also contend that this same emerging norm excites some more avante-garde men; terrorizes other more traditional insecure men…however, still the majority of American men are blind, deaf and numb to who they are and who they might yet become. I am not sure that’s the case for European or South American men…but this might all be changing.

As I remember back, it seems like I’ve honored the rise of the Sacred Feminine since I was a boy smack in the middle of the tumultuous 1960’s…in the days of mass protests and angry rioting when millions of Americans took to the streets demanding change – in civil rights, Vietnam and for America’s poor (those days before Fox News, smart phones and social media).

Now my maturity has shown me that my parents raised me to respect women. As women are empowered to be who they are and speak their truth… men need to catch up. This is the stuff of a cultural revolution that goes vastly beyond whether we are ready for a female President or women priests.

Its important to note that my contention that the Sacred Masculine is emerging does not in anyway dilute, cloud or adulterate the Sacred Feminine. No… indeed, I sense that it’s the Sacred Feminine that has conceived, nurtured and birthed the very possibility that a new Sacred Masculine paradigm might emerge. Mothers are transforming our culture…perhaps they always have.

My sense is that the rise of the Divine Masculine will have a profound affect on gender roles beyond male and female, sexual orientation beyond heterosexual and homosexual, economic models beyond competition and cooperation and family cultural units beyond male fathers, female mothers – frankly well beyond who marries who – yes… even what marriage will or won’t look like or mean (e.g polyamory).

The emergence of a new Divine Masculinity should not be confused with the black and white, more traditional moral absolutes of right and wrong. No. The Divine Masculine is not concerned with telling men how to behave. This new focus is gray… very blended. As always, it will take time for ethics to catch up (e.g. medical ethics still playing catch up with the right to die, 3 parent embryos and stem cell research).

Take a moment to look…listen…feel…the new emerging masculine paradigm. Do you see it? Can you hear it? Have you felt it?

I’ll suggest that the rise of the Divine Masculine is connected with the ways some mothers are choosing to raise their sons. Food for thought.

2 more thoughts from my meditation for your consideration:

Moms, please reconsider sending your sons off to war. Might there be other more creative ways for young men to serve and protect? (This being said… I am first to admit that we have witnessed enormous evolutionary gains by allowing women and homosexual people to be warriors). Moms could raise peacemakers.

Secondly, perhaps its time to reconsider the whole pink and blue mystique. Maybe the color purple has more to offer than we thought? Imagine a world in which boys are completely free to play house…and girls are encourage to master STEM courses.

This topic will be a recurring blog theme as it reflects many of the energies of my ministry right now. As always, I welcome your feedback. While I recognize its nontraditional focus, people that I minister to are teaching me that the “status quo” is spontaneously readjusting.

Whether we talk gender roles, our spectra of sexual orientation/sexual behaviors or coexisting in community, with other sentient beings in sync with our environment – we are all one and its ALL interconnected.

Namaste!

The Divine Masculine