Why Islam Is Not Anti-Feminin (Or Anti-Feminist)
edited by Omar K N
Shaykh Hamza Yusuf on women in Islam:1
Q: Is not Islam Anti-Feminist or even Anti-Female?
A: Men are anti-women in general [all around the world - in all cultures and regions] . We don't honour our women like we should. [The] Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) said:
Paradise lies at the feet of mothers.
and he also said:
No-one honours women except an honourable man, and no-one demeans women except a degraded human being.
And so there is a lot of misunderstanding about Islam [not the least in this respect], and [it is obvious] that in the pre-modern world [the situation was different and with the socio-economic changes of the last centuries], a lot of things [had to or] needed to go. [Such societal structures which] at the time were probably there for important reasons, agricultural societies needed a division of labour that no longer exists in the modern world, [but which now don't serve their purpose any more]. 2
Q: Is there equality with women, what about the segregation of women?
A: Segregation: a great deal [of it] is cultural, for example the segregation of women is different in Eastern Arabia compared with Western Arabia, where there was no segregation, but respect with certain courtesies and proprieties were expected, but no segregation.
Segregation in terms of Islam is much more cultural [than religious.]
- From BBC Interview – Hamza Yusuf interviewed By Mark Lawson ≈ 2003 @11:49 ↩
- Text in square brackets are interpolations by the editor. ↩
(Interview with Glenn Greenwald in Brazil*)
(Editor interpolations and summing-up by Omar K Neusser)
”Essentially what these documents show,… is that the United States government has created a system – in virtual complete secrecy – that has as its objective the elimination of privacy around the world. [This is something] which is not an exaggeration, it’s not being dramatic, that is its truly institutional objective. Their goal, that they wake up everyday to fulfill, is to ensure that all forms of human electronic communication … is collected by the NSA, and then stored, monitored and analysed. …
Ultimately that is the real revelation of these documents.
[Snowden is very reliable as a source -and has become the most wanted man on the planet…]
[This criticism of our reporting supposedly helping terrorists to evade prosecution] ”makes no sense, because terrorists have known for many years that the US and UK governments do everything they can possibly do to monitor their telephone calls and emails. What we revealed to the world, that they didn’t already know, is that the vast vogue of this surveillance system is devoted not toward terrorists, but toward ordinary, innocent people. And it is being done for economic espionage. And its being done for questions of political power, and not national security.
[Concerning the criticism that publishing these classified documents would damage national security and ultimately put lives at risk]:
[Then anyone should point to a single published document that it would any way jeopardize lives.] This is just a cliché that governments and their apologists start yelling, whenever you report things that they don’t want to be reported.
”The governments around the world will misuse their secrecy power to conceal information, not because publishing it would harm national security, but because publishing it would embarrassing to them.
We’ve been aggressive and will continue to be aggressive in making sure that people around the world know what their democraticly elected governments are doing in the dark.
The Inevitabe Abuse oF Power
”Journalism is about holding people in power accountable based on the widespread recognition that those who exercise political power in the dark, in secret, will not sometimes or usually but inevitably abuse that power. And the role of a journalist is to expose that which people in power are attempting to conceal that the citizens of that country should know, so that we can have an informed and healthy democracy.”
”Then once I did get the documents … I realized that … we really do live in a kind of a surveillance state and he was quite right to be that worried.”
”Once I saw the … full first set of the archive that he provided, the thousands and thousands of top-secret documents, that’s when I knew that this was the most significant leak in national security history,”
*Source: Uppdrag granskning, Swedish TV, dec 2013
US government Against First Amendment oF US Constitution
“Disclosure of this still-classified information regarding the scope and operational details of N.S.A. intelligence activities implicated by plaintiffs’ allegations could be expected to cause extremely grave damage to the national security of the United States,” wrote the director of national intelligence, James R. Clapper Jr.”
“So, he said, he was continuing to assert the state secrets privilege, which allows the government to seek to block information from being used in court even if that means the case must be dismissed. The Justice Department wants the judge to dismiss the matter without ruling on whether the programs violated the First or Fourth Amendment.”
[The rule of law is being rapidly eroded.
[There is nothing much transparent about an administration that claims it is the "most transparent" ever.]
From: townhall.com – http://bit.ly/19ITy6E quoting the New York Times.
See also TED.com talk:
Mikko Hypponen How the NSA betrayed the world’s trust
NYT: A Powerful Rebuke of Mass Surveillance
”Det är upp till medborgarna i varje enskilt land att fråga sig – om de vill leva i ett samhälle där regeringen samlar in information om dem och andra runtom i världen, där internet inte längre verkar för demokrati och frihet utan blir det starkaste verktyg för förtryck som någonsin funnits.”
Från Uppdrag granskning dec. 2013
Mera på engelska:
The Elimination oF Privacy Around The World
The outstanding characteristic of imagination is “its intermediacy, the fact that it combines the attributes of the two sides, such as spiritual and bodily, absent and witnessed, intelligible and sensory, subtle and dense.”
Shaykh Muhyiddin Ibn al-'Arabi says: ”Part of the reality of imagination is that it embodies and gives form to that which is not a body or form… Hence it is a sensation that is nonmanifest and bound [delimited] between the intelligible and the sensory.”1
What Is Made Possible Through Imagination
”Through imagination, spirits establish contact with bodies, or rather … No spirit can govern a body without the intermediary of imagination.”
Ibn al-'Arabi says: ”The spirit becomes corporealized to eyesight through imagination, so halt not with it, for the affair is a misguidance.”2
Concerning the cosmos, it ”is a barzakh between wujúd and nonexistence. In the same way, the cosmos that is manifest to us in the present moment is the barzakh between the past and the future. On the divine scale, the past is the infinite wujúd of God from which the cosmos is born at every moment, so it is known as “eternity without beginning” ( azal ). For the same reason, the future is the infinite wujúd of God that will never cease disclosing itself, so it is “eternity without end” ( abad ).”1
”God is manifest through self-disclosure when He is hidden, but He is hidden through the forms that appear when He is manifest,” and thus ”He is not recognized as He.” [SDG334b]
Title: There is still time to side with those committed to democracy in Egypt; by Maha Azzam
[2013-12-17: Time for this is gone, it was the author's wishful thinking!]
”Those calling for a return to the days that preceded the 25 January revolution in 2011, which brought about the fall of Hosni Mubarak, were not only the military high command, the interior ministry, the security services and the police, but critically the judiciary and the state media. These coteries of power actively worked together to block the smooth functioning of the state.
This went hand-in-hand with a vicious campaign to vilify and demonise the party in power, namely the Muslim Brotherhood. … the secular and liberal opposition, having failed to win enough votes themselves, played spoilers rather than engage in the political process, accept the results and campaign for the next elections.
And so the military and this opposition to Mohamed Morsi were to come together in an alliance of convenience with at least a nod from the US and UK to bring down the elected government through unconstitutional means.”
”Egypt’s state institutions, as in most dictatorships, are corrupt and fearful of change. The security apparatus is taking revenge for the last two years when it felt threatened by the possibility of any new order that would eventually hold it accountable.”
”There is still a window of opportunity to side with those committed to democracy in Egypt, and to put pressure on the military by cutting off aid from the United States and by ensuring that it has to be held accountable for any crimes against humanity.”
(For mahiyya-blog; on that bloody day in Egypt.
We regret the violent events of 20130814, orchestrated by the Egyptian army and deep state.)
What follows was written and edited before those violent, uncompromising events of this day. Nothing will be the same any more in Egypt. The old gangs of the Mubarak era and the deep state have taken back the Egyptian revolution for the time being, relying on the power of the gun. But the only way out is reasoning together, working together for the better life in a battered country.
Here are some highlights concerning Sufism in Egypt before July, August 2013 and about their shuyukh’s and some followers ‘ analysis of the events. The increasing degree of fitna in the country for the last couple of years have influenced and engaged everyone in the political affairs of Egyptian society. But there has not been enough ground for agreeing on the basics and to come to a consensus.
Salafi intolerance threatens Sufis in Egypt, Baher Ibrahim; 10 May 2010
Whenever religious freedom is discussed in Egypt, the topic inevitably turns to the status of the Christian Copts. Thousands of articles have been written about Egypt’s Copts and how they are denied their religious freedoms, but it almost never occurs to anyone that even Sunni Muslims are being deprived of their basic rights to religious freedom and worship.
That is exactly what happened at the end of last month when the ministry of awqaf (religious endowments) decided to ban Egypt’s Sufi orders from holding gatherings for the performance of dhikr – rituals devoted to the remembrance of God. Sufis have been performing these rituals for centuries, so a ban at this particular time is absurd.
The ministry’s excuse is that the ban is intended to pre-empt undesirable behaviour at Sufi gatherings, such as the shouting of invocations and late-night loitering in mosques. In a city such as Cairo where the noise of traffic is a constant background, it just doesn’t make sense.
Sufi Islam in Egypt, Sarah El Masry, October 21, 2012
Lately, Sufis …being supportive of the “civil state” camp and against political Islam added more to the long list of misconceptions about Sufis…
Someone said, “today people decide for us what to wear, buy, eat and drink; we no longer feel spirituality. Even religion is now measured with material rewards. Do this and you will get a reward from Allah. How about doing this because you love it or because it’s right?”
He thinks that true followers of Islam should control themselves because the Prophet, peace be upon him (saws), was not afraid of Muslims being infidels, he was afraid of them being tempted by ’al dunyah’ (worldly desires).
Conforming to the five [rules] of the order disciplines the person; eating less to purify the body, speaking only to say good, limiting sleeping, refraining from vicious company and keeping dhikr.
Sheikh Mazhar of the Borhameya order explained what Sufism is, “Sufism is the rúh [soul] of Islam. It seeks to help people reaching ihsán (a level of perfection and certainty in worshiping Allah) because it is based on the principle of purifying the baser self.”
“The ruling principles of any order are to abide by the Quran and the Sunnah [actions and sayings] of the Prophet (saws) in our manners, talks, and actions. The order is really about istiqama, incorruptibility,” he said.
Sheikh Alaa Aboul Azayem of the Al Azmeya order in Cairo agrees with Sheikh Mazhar. He said, “all the orders are spiritual paths to reach Allah.”
On the other hand, Sheikh Mazhar agreed with some of the criticisms by Salafis and disagreed with others. He agreed that some [who try to become] Sufis are not good disciples of Sufism. Those disciples sometimes commit mistakes against Shari’a and in that case Salafis are right to criticise Sufism.
He said, “Ibn Taymiyya (the grand Sheikh who influenced Abdel Wahhab) distinguished between the early pure forms of Sufism and the later forms. The former he praised and the latter he criticised. However, he was criticising with knowledge of the ruling principles. Some critics of Sufism slam it so hard and generalise the wrong practices they see without having knowledge of the principle.”
Sheikh Mazhar explained that having awliya’a and virtuous men is important in Islamic societies.
“If the awliya’a are not highlighted, then people will think that Islamic virtues like loyalty, asceticism, honesty are just theoretical manners restricted to prophets only. Showing them that in our time there were awliya’a who practiced these virtues strengthens their belief in religion.”
Due to its overt involvement in politics, Al Azmeya order, in particular, has been criticised by different media outlets. The media capitalised on the membership of Sheikh Aboul Azayem in the Iranian-based organization known as the International Academy for the Approximation between Islamic Sects (IAAIS) and some Islamist fronts insinuated that Sufis are being infiltrated by Shi’a groups to be used to spread Shi’a Islam in Egypt.
Sheikh Aboul Azayem commented on the accusations of spreading Shi’a Islam saying, “Iran is an Islamic power, calling it an infidel only helps Israel and divide the Islamic nation further.”
He believes that Al-Azhar should play a stronger role in reforming what Islamists ruin. He said, “Egypt is Al-Azhar. If Al-Azhar is virtuous, so is Egypt, if Al-Azhar goes off track, so does Egypt,” referring to the autonomy of Al-Azhar from the state and its impartiality.
Unlike Sheikh Aboul Azayem, both Sheikh Mazhar and Stelzer think that Sufis should be out of the political realm and if they are to play a role in it, it should be to guide those in power towards the true principles of Islam.
Sheikh Mazhar said, “politics has its own balance of power, is governed by interests and needs compromises that can endanger some religious values.”
Sufis In Egypt Thrive With More Than 15 Million Despite Attacks By Islamist Hardliners, By Hassan Ammar 06/14/2013
Egypt’s Sufi Muslims say their places of worship are under threat by rising radicalism, as shrines sacred to them are coming under attack by Islamist hard-liners who deem them heretical.
The Secretary-General of the Union of Sufis in Egypt, Abdullah al-Nasser Helmy, says more than 100 attacks against shrines have taken place across the country in several Nile Delta provinces, the Mediterranean coastal city of Alexandria and northern Sinai Peninsula where radical extremists are active.
In the northern Sinai town of Sheikh Zuweyid, for example, extremists bombed the shrine of the saint who gives the town its name. The tomb was not totally destroyed, so a few months later, they bombed it again. In other places, shrines have been defaced or damaged…
Salafis are now the second largest bloc in the interim parliament, after the Muslim Brotherhood… Helmy says Sufis are concerned that the new government and Salafis are slowly trying to encroach on mosques and force out moderate scholars.
Still, he says it is not in the nature of Sufis to be politicized or be consumed by worldly problems. “Sufis only tremble from God’s majesty, though they are being fought by the current government,” Helmy said.
Egypt’s Sufis to form popular committees for self-defence, Ahram Online , 1 Apr 2013
Sufi orders in Egypt are to form popular committees to protect their shrines and mosques from “radical Salafists,” a Sufi leader Alaaeddin Abul-Azayem, founder of the Azamiyya Sufi order, one of the largest Sufi orders in Egypt, has said. He accused “radical Salafists” of attacking Sufi shrines and festivals. “If any Sufi shrine is demolished, all of Egypt will not be silenced whether Sufi or not,” he added.
A fire ripped through the Sheikh Fouad shrine and mosque in Tala, to the north of Cairo, for almost two hours on Sunday, destroying the contents of the mosque but leaving the structure of the shrine intact.
In April 2011 fire erupted at Sidi Ezzeddin mosque and shrine in the same city. Nobody was charged over the incident, but locals blamed radical Islamist groups.
Salafists condemn Sufism and consider Sufi shrines a form of idolatry. There are estimated to be at least six million Sufis in Egypt.
Contested Sufi Electoral Parties: The Voice of Freedom Party and The Liberation of Egypt Party, ca. 2012
Egyptian Muslims are frequently devotees of Sufism, a mystical interpretation of Islam generally catering to shrine veneration, popular cultic rituals, and close ties between a Sufi master (shaykh) and disciple (murid) There is some 77 Sufi orders (tarikas) throughout the country, involving some 10 million followers. These trends are similar in terms of the requirements to join and to become a Sheikh of a tarika.
Sufist [tariqas] in Egypt are governed by Law 118/1976… Given their commitment to non-interference in politics, Sufi orders enjoyed freedom during the Mubarak regime, and they regularly expressed their support of Mubarak…
The egalitarian, charitable, peaceful, and friendly ethos of Sufism encouraged some in the U.S. foreign policy establishment to think about encouraging Sufism as a counterweight to the violent ethos of such radical and Salafi groups as Al-Qaeda which adopt varying forms of Takfiri and Jihadi interpretations of Islam. A 2007 report by the Rand Corporation advised Western governments to “harness” Sufism, saying its adherents were “natural allies of the West”.
[This is of course the greatest danger: the West influencing or manipulating different spiritual groups, on top of what they are already doing with political parties. This cannot be accepted!]
Sheikh Kassaby mentioned two reasons for (his) rejection [of participating in the political process]. First, establishing a Sufi political party is currently illegal. Second, Sufis should not be political leaders, but rather should be leaders of religious thought. He also warned that involvement in party politics by religious groups could lead to contestations that in turn could lead to major societal problems.
He argued that if there is a role for Sufi orders in political activism, it should be focused on awakening the consciousness of the people to work hard and excel in moments of crisis through promoting the ethical codes and the application of Quran and Shari’ah. At the same time, Al-Kassaby noted that the general coalition of Sufi orders would not object to individual members of Sufi orders running for offices. However, Sufi orders should remain religious bodies that have no role in political parties.
The Sufis’ Choice: Egypt’s Political Wild Card, Kristin Deasy, September/October 2012
(Azayem) launched a vitriolic attack on the powerful Muslim Brotherhood…
After shrine violence last March, Azayem recalled, he thought to himself, “we need some kind of protection against the stupid ones who have taken control of the country,” referring to the Muslim Brotherhood.
“We do not mind if people involve themselves in political parties or political experiences, as long as they do so privately and do not attribute it to Sufism,” Sheikh Abdel Hady el-Kassaby told me from his more formal downtown office, from which he issues directives as the head of the Supreme Council of Egyptian Sufi Orders.
“The Egyptian state is secular,” Kassaby said sternly. Azayem, by contrast, believes Shari’ah, or Islamic law, has a place in Egypt’s yet-to-be-defined political life. “It’s not as scary as people think,” he said, comparing its tenets to those of the Ten Commandments and taking care to distance himself from extreme interpretations such as those of supporters of the radical Wahhabi movement, for example, whom he called “idiots in their translations of the Koran, requiring a woman to cover everything but her eyes.”
May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon Sayyiduna Muhammad,
his family and his companions.