By Abdelaziz Elhammouchi
By Abdelaziz Elhammouchi
Morocco World News
Meknes, Morocco, August 2, 2012
Feminists have struggled to stop patriarchal ideologies that undervalue women. Most religions in the world are patriarchal and male-centered. Feminists critique religious figures prominently in three main issues: masculine God-language, sexism in religious texts and their interpretation, and sex-segregated worship and leadership practices. Feminists contend that God is all the time referred to as “He” and not “She”, religious scripts are mainly concerned with male’s issues, and texts segregate the spheres of men and women. Men occupy public sphere and women are coercively given the role of bearing and rearing children.
Since religion is manipulated by males, reformist efforts in feminist theology (woman theology) tend to re-interpret religious texts through a female perspective. These theologians stipulate that the main problem in religions is the way people interpret their texts. Muiz Masud contended, in this concern, that the world’s pivotal problem lies in semantics; or how people associate concepts to things. This is what hinders communication and creates conflict though these concepts may stand for the same idea.
Hinduism’s main legislative texts are VEDAS. These are written in a language that is not understood by everybody–Sanskrit. One of the principles of Hinduism is that women are prohibited to access public sphere because it is believed that they pollute society. Women can only have a respectful status, if they are reincarnated to be like males. Upanishads, new written scripts, however, stress that women have the right to have education.
Buddhism, which stands for Buddha’s ideologies in life, is worshiped in various countries all over the world (Europe, US and Asia). This religion is about devotion of the self and getting rid of desire to seek for spiritual depth and moral behaviors- innocuousness. Like Hinduism, Buddhism regards women as a sinful creature by nature. ‘Dharma’ is cultural practice which emphasizes central truthfulness and spirituality fights patriarchy. It belongs to no one but thinkers, enlightened and awakened people.
Islam is considered the fastest growing religion in the world. It is the first religion that granted women various rights: inheritance, emancipation from slavery and levirate, to mention a few. Muhammad (Peace and Blessing be Upon Him) said that “women and men are equal as two teeth on a comb.” This means that there is no space for segregation and sexism in Islam. Only extremists who judge people by standing on the two extremes: either for or against some religious texts. One of the big mistakes westerners fall prey to is generalization. In his book, “Covering Islam,” Edward Said tackles how Easterners and westerners look at each other. Both westerners and some extremists in Islam compare the incomparable. This means that they equate Islam to the West. These two concepts have two different significations: While Islam is a religion, the West is a geographical territory. From this basement, we can say that only through breaking stereotypes and prejudices, people would speak to each other standing on the same page.
Judaism is also a sexist religions. Jewish prayer in the morning shows how much Jewish people are sexists: “Blessed art thou, O lord our God, King of the Universe, who has not made me a woman.” The prayer excludes women from spiritual issues and related them only to men.
Christianity derived lots of ideas from Judaism. The interpretation of biblical texts has divided Christianity into Catholicism and Protestantism. While Catholicism does not ordain women to have a religious position, Protestantism grants women the right to preach Christianity.
To put it differently, revolutionary feminist theologists have fought to re-interpret religious texts from a female perspective. Women’s theology is about breaking the walls of patriarchy that prevent women from seeing the outside world. Shwan Meghan Trun, herein, contended that only through unfolding people’s consciousness would widen people perspectives towards religions.
Abdelaziz Elhammouchi obtained his BA in linguistic from Moulay Ismail University, Meknes. He is a master student of “Communication in Contexts,” at the same University.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy
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