Hi, my question regards the way women are treated in Afganastan, Saudi Arabia, and other Islamic Countries. I read some in the Koran excerpts and then some of what the Taliban claimed. I’m lost exactly how much of the Koran is true according to the interpretations of the Taliban? I know that they are extremists and loose cannons as my friend a practicing Muslim put it. But they got all their rules, so they claim, from the Holy Koran.
It just doesn’t make sense to me.
Thank you for your time
In light of the fact that you have not stated your objections to the “way” women are treated in certain countries I may not be able to answer the question to your satisfaction. Having said, there is a sense of mistreatment of women in various Muslim populated countries (that’s actually true in most countries in the world, unfortunately). It is a matter of fact that there is no country in the world that has a body of government functioning completely under the Shari’ah (i.e. Islamic Law). So whatever mistreatment or abuse suffered by women, or any other citizen for that matter, is not reflective upon Islam or its laws. I could delve into many examples but would have preferred that you provide your own objections. However, for the sake of your time in writing this question, I will discuss a few of my own examples.
In Saudi Arabia women are not allowed to drive cars and in Afghanistan many women were not allowed to leave their houses unless they were wearing a Burqah (an outfit that covers a person from head to toe). As I said, I’m not sure if these are your objections but I am referencing them in order to give you an idea of the difference between cultural norms and Islamic Law. Before I continue with my explanation I would like to clarify that an individual or a group of people may understand the same subject in a completely different way. Also, these same people have different capacities and different experiences that allow them to accept things one way rather than the other. I would also put forward that most people interpret the Qur’an according to their true understanding and not for some deceptive purpose, although a few may have hidden agendas.
A woman not being allowed to drive a car in Saudi Arabia has no basis in Islam. There is nothing, not even of an interpretive nature, that would bar women from such travel. Women during the Prophet’s times were asked to be accompanied by protectors. Travel in the desert was brutal and tribal feuds made it absolutely unsafe for women and children to move about. This, in the context of the Prophet’s civilization, was a norm. However this does not translate to our times. In the case of women not being allowed to leave the house or only allowed to leave with a Burqah, this again is a cultural situation. It may have been the Taliban’s (cultural) and/or socio-political outlook that may have motivated their governance. To be quite honest I cannot speak upon their motives, I can only assure you of one thing; the confinement of women is not supported by any statute of Islamic Law, which is a combination of the Qur’an and the Sunnah (i.e. practice) of the Prophet Muhammad. Confinement is imposed upon those who commit crimes.
It should be clear from the above that many countries have rules, laws and norms etc… that are not part of Islam nor derived from Islamic sources. Even the “interpretive” nature cannot be accepted as Islamically based. Interpretation can be of two kinds; 1. based on sound reasoning and logic and 2. uninformed, baseless and an imposed meaning. Islam does not violate human rights, it enhances them and anything contradictory to this does not adhere to Islamic doctrine. Finally, it should be obvious that women’s rights that are infringed upon in the Middle East or anywhere do not reflect Islam.
I hope I have clarified the issue.
God knows best.