Women's Appearance and Value: Between the Western and Eastern Thoughts

Islam has granted human beings rights in every walk of life and it does not discriminate between man and woman in the way that other religions and schools of thought have done. The value Islam has given to them, that Allah has indeed determined and placed, is far beyond the sphere of others’ appreciation. The religion of Islam tries to preserve the status of a woman and to protect her against dangers from the external world. It considers her to be a pearl worthy of being safeguarded from those who only dream of their transitory passions. It has also regarded her mission to be the upbringing of children who will lead the future society. The woman, from the Islamic perspective, is the bearer of this great responsibility.

The official website of Imam Hussain has taken a step to clarify this topic and to shed light on this issue, to those people coming from both the east and west. Such investigation will expose the true face behind the slanders that are promulgated against the Muslim woman. To achieve this goal, it is essential to first reflect on the perspectives portrayed by the Islamic framework vis-a-vis the typical western ones, and to examine their impact on other areas of human activities.

Women’s Rights from the Eastern and Western Perspectives

Yasmin Salah Ahmed, a resident of Germany, echoed that there are numerous western people who discuss the rights of women in Arab countries. They are also against the act of veiling due to the understanding that it conceals the beauty given to them by Allah. They claim that Allah created women beautiful so that others would enjoy looking at their beauty. Moreover, they fabricate a pseudo-scientific claim that veils add to the body temperature during summer months. Despite such claims, they are ignorant of the fact that the woman is regarded as a precious pearl, so valuable that she is to be safeguarded from perils, all due to her inviolable sanctity. Yasmin also added that western discourse always equates man and woman, an attempt that can wreck society and be harmful with respect to domestic laws; surely the woman is by far more valuable than the conceptions of such people.

Differences in the Rights of Women in Other Religions

Dr. Amal Muhammad Khazaal Sudanee said in a short interview that one cannot make a comparison between the rights of a woman in Islam and those in other religions. This is because while Islam has warranted all the rights of women, a typical western worldview looks only to the benefits that are gained out of the presence of the woman. This means that the moment she proves incapable of producing anything or giving benefits to others, she is not regarded as a valuable object in the society thereafter. In contrast to this mundane view, Prophet Muhammad had confirmed the rights and status of the woman in such a way that it protects her, while the western world has long failed to recognize her rights.

She continued that Islam respects the woman and gives her sanctity. The women’s rights that one may see in other religions are essentially derived from those asserted in Islam. Also, if we were to glance at the other obligations that are imposed on women: traditions, habits, and customs, we would find that these have little connection to Islamic law. She concluded her comments thus: “In Islam the woman enjoys her right whether or not to help her husband in earning, while in the west, the woman has to work to survive, a further burden added to her mission of rearing the children, and such a dynamic can create a dysfunctional family."

Western Perceptions of Muslim Women

Dr. Rasha Fakhry Jassim, an employee of the Ministry of Health, expressed her views thus: "There is a misconceived notion in the western societies, that in Islam the woman is enslaved and oppressed. They derived this idea from some Muslim men's mistreatment of their wives and neglect of their wives’ feelings." She clarified that the west imagines that it is the woman's right to display her charms, and thus western women boast of their equality with men based upon this, while the truth is far from such illusions and hallucinations.  In Islam, the woman is much higher in status than any object; she is considered as a gem so elite that others are not entitled to cast a look upon her. In contrast, in the west, they might regard her as an entity hidden at home but displayed for others outdoors.

She concluded her comments with the consideration that the woman has and is expected to play a great role on the political, economic, and social fronts, hence women prove to be much more than merely half of the community. This is because women teach great men the core values of life, and in turn are the influential forces behind society itself, whether they are aware of such or not. Committing violence against or putting pressure upon women has direct effects on the upbringing of her children and subsequently on the society and the state.

What Typical Western Nations Hold

Noor Tanikh, a Turkish national who is an employee in a food company in Germany, expressed that Americans and Europeans believe that a woman is entitled to claim for and gain all her rights on par with a man to achieve equality between the genders. She also added that they believe that Arab and Muslim countries do not apply human rights in the cases of Muslim women and there are some distinctions between women and men in Islam. The distinctions concerned are the results of many rules explicated in Islam, which they brand as unjust. She concluded that they assign such criteria to measure the development of nations, and a country that respects the rights of woman is regarded as a developed and progressive nation.

Reported by: Faidal Ghazi

Translated by: Haidar M.K

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