Feminism and Islam

May 22nd, 2007, in Society, by

Feminism is not suitable for Indonesian women.

Eny Dwiningsih, a professor at the Islam State University in Jakarta (UIJ), said in a seminar called "Developing Intellectual Interest in Womens' Issues" at the North Sumatra University in Medan on 18th May that Islam rejected feminism.

Feminism was dangerous to Islam because it was infused with the spirit of secularism, opposed to sharia law, and based on false assumptions, she said.

The secularised capitalist nations of the world had for a long time been attempting to force feminism on Muslims, in the name of womens' freedom, and they suggested that personal freedom generally was the answer to many problems, and that Islam was the source of the Islamic world's backwardness.

Faithful Muslim women were confused today and had lost their self-confidence and belief in their special roles in the family and society, and this showed that the secular capitalists had partly succeeded in their mission: republika

This is the target of the movement, that is, to cause Muslims to lose faith in the ability of Islam to answer the problems that women face.


163 Comments on “Feminism and Islam”

  1. avatar Colson says:

    I guess the professor is right about the spirit of secularism and shariah. If he thinks shariah is right and secularism is wrong, I strongly disagree, but I at least can understand his position. But what on earth does he mean with “false assumptions”?

    The assumption that man and woman are equal in value?
    The assumption that women just as men have a right to make the existential decicions themselves?
    The assumption that discrimination against women is outright injustice ?
    The assumption that gender can not be decisive for any social or economical position?
    The assumption that men have no right, under any circumstance, to exploit women, to bully or to beat their wives, to have sexual intercourse without their consent ? Etc, etc.

    I would like to challenge the professor to make clear what he means exactly and “develop an intellectual” and open discussion on these issues.

  2. avatar Teng says:

    This is the target of the movement, that is, to cause Muslims to lose faith in the ability of Islam to answer the problems that women face.

    aaaah, now I finally know what feminism is about, stupid me, I always thought it was about equality of the sexes, but apparently it’s another conspiracy against Muslims.

  3. avatar Tomaculum says:

    And she is a professor? And a woman?
    My god!

  4. avatar Sputjam says:

    Fact No 1 : Koran warns submitters (Muslims) concerning priest/religious scholars etc. (verse 9:31 onwards)

    Fact No 2: There is no such thing as syariah law in the koran. It is not mentioned at all.

    Fact No 3: The words in the koran is complete. No requirement for hadith or sunnah. You do not need priest or scholars to teach you the meanings, if you bother to study it. God will guide you to the true path for the sincere. There are numerous versions of the koran translations out there in cyberspace.
    Instead of wasting your time in mosque and doing five daily prayers, I suggest you put that to better use by studying the koran say 20 minutes a day.

    Fact 4: there is no dress code in the koran except to dress decently (for men and women).

  5. avatar Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Friend,

    Ibu Eny speaks the Truth. Only yesterday did I make these comments on another Blog in Indonesia, maintained by an about-the-town young Jakarta woman:

    “But I fear your comments lurch dangerously towards the ‘feminist’, which, in my pesantren, we describe as ‘kebarat-baratan’ (over westernized). Out of friendship, I suggest you to adopt a more Indonesian attitude, perhaps stopping in at the Dharma Wanita, which can instruct you in our Indonesian ways.

    I think the True Indonesian woman is full of virtue. But the one who is smoking, going to Nightclub, or even worse – drinking, neglecting her duties as Ibu and Istri, is the one who comes under foreign influence. (I’m not saying you are).”

    Friend, it seems like Colson swallowed a college gender studies handbook and is spewing out the answers robotically. Either than or it was implanted in a brain-chip. Friend: Islam is complete. It’s a total solution. We don’t need isms.

  6. avatar Arema says:

    Feminism: a doctrine advocating social and political rights for women equal to those of men.

    My stand: I fully agree that women have the same right as men, stand to the same degree and status as men. But despite the same right and status, women and men are different, not the same. They are created different and meant to complement and support one another, not to be the same with the other. Men are good at one thing, women are better at another thing. They can exchange roles, but most likely won’t do as good as their counterpart. Men can become secretaries, women can become mechanical engineers, they have the right to be what they want to be, but most of the time they will perform below average, not optimized to their own unique traits.

    Possible consequences for Islam if they stubbornly reject feminism:
    1) More and more women thinks: “Hey, in Islam, I’m treated as second-grade human, bounded by a lot of “ridiculous” restrictions, etc. Islam is unable to provide satisfactory answer as to why it reject feminism. Let’s embrace feminism and discard Islam, enough is enough”.
    2) Lesser and lesser Muslim woman.
    3) Extinction of Islam in 3-5 generations time because there’s simply no women giving birth to new offsprings. And I don’t think at the current situation, conversion to Islam will make up for the losses. Terrorism, regardless whether it’s true Islam or not, have put a seemingly unerasable stain on the name of Islam, and has indirectly asking everyone, even peaceful guys like the Thais, to oppose, and even hate, Islam.

    Feminism was dangerous to Islam because it was infused with the spirit of secularism, opposed to sharia law, and based on false assumptions, she said.

    “But I fear your comments lurch dangerously towards the ‘feminist’, which, in my pesantren, we describe as ‘kebarat-baratan’ (over westernized). Out of friendship, I suggest you to adopt a more Indonesian attitude, perhaps stopping in at the Dharma Wanita, which can instruct you in our Indonesian ways.

    I think the True Indonesian woman is full of virtue. But the one who is smoking, going to Nightclub, or even worse – drinking, neglecting her duties as Ibu and Istri, is the one who comes under foreign influence. (I’m not saying you are).”

    These two quotes are simply blatant example of mixing of feminism with secularism and bad nightlife habit. They are not the same, or can be mixed seenaknya saja like that!

    Feminism is just plainly recognizing that women have the same right as men, and should be treated as respectfully as men, full stop. I can’t see why women who embrace feminism will be then unable to fulfill her devotion or duty to God (read: definition of ‘Islam’).

    Secularism: the belief that life can be best lived by applying ethics, and the universe best understood, by processes of reasoning, without reference to a god or gods or other supernatural concepts

    You see, it’s two distinctly different things. And bad nightlife habit is also another obviously different thing.

    If a simple, stupid, and plain engineer like me able to refute this argument so easily and effortlessly, I wonder whether that professor is really a professor. And as Tomaculum said, Eny Dwiningsih has just said that she is of a lower degree than men, it’s like slapping her own face!

  7. avatar Sylvester says:

    Agree with Arema.
    There is a lot of misunderstanding. I imagine it will be difficult to see the beauty if the mind is dirty.
    I live in western country and definitely nightclubs have nothing to do with feminism or egalitarism. Actually, treat all human the same (egalitarism) is a fruit of Christianity. It does not mean men and women are totally the same but they all have the same basic rights.

  8. avatar Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Arema,

    Friend, I think the only place you refute the argument is in your own Jilbab-adorned head.

    1. If you want to do the feminisms, it’s ok, but Islam says that a woman must choose a man for a mate, not a woman. It’s ok to do the feminism, but not for a Muslim. In Amsterdam, feminists can even get married ! Sometimes, in Western colleges, women try feminisms for a while and then go back to men.

    2. Friend, Islam is already complete. Why do we need any of these Isms ? Besides, I think you confuse the meaning of secularism, which comes from ‘sek’, meaning the ‘following of the way of sek.’ Islam is not such a way !

    3. Finally, as mentioned before, the Dharma Wanita and Pancasila are an effective way to bridge spiritual and material life. I recommend you attend some classes at the DW for further instruction in being not just a Muslim, but an Indonesian.

    I thank you, Friend.

  9. avatar Grace and Mercy says:

    The professor is a she my dear Colson and I think, like me, you would find this fact even more mind boggling. 🙂

  10. avatar Achmad Sudarsono says:

    There are some who tend to deny what’s in front of them if it clashes with their preconceived notions. ‘Twas ever thus and ever thus will be.

  11. avatar Abdul Khalid al Jumhuri says:

    The credentials. The original text at Republika even stated the credential of the so called Eny Dwiningsih: “Dosen Universitas Islam Negeri Jakarta (UIJ) Eny Dwiningsih STp Msi.” So she is a university graduate and even a Master’s degree holder. As to why Republika choose to put all her degrees is (I guess) to add credibility to the readership.
    The Facts. She believes that Islam is under attack by this “feminism” school of thought. She further maintained that feminism is anti sharia.
    Conclusion. You pick the call. But I am confused as to why people are so very much hung on the “sharia” thing while there are more questions to be answered in Islam besides the sharia. All of arguments still do not answer the question why the Libanese (who are Arabs) have to fight Palestine refugees (who are also Arabs) in their own country, while actually they are being so generous in affording them a place to live? Why were the Palestine refugees kicked-out of Egypt and put on ships bound to the Gaza?

    I am just so sad that folks still getting the share of print using “high level doctrines” that never solve the problems then, in the time of the khaliphate (remember Karbala?), since then and up to now. Gosh, wake up folks! We have lots of lots of questions to answer. I am sick of people and politicians peddling “sharia” and use it for their political jumping plank to elevate themselves to the podium.

  12. avatar Sylvester says:

    Yes, many people in Indonesia try to gain fame and money by saying sharia is the best, for example those HTI guys.
    May be better for us to discuss Feminism VS Borat, ha ha. That would be more fun!

  13. avatar Naga says:

    Again, Islam proves to be an out-dated, irrelevant form of mythology designed to repress the masses and keep the sheep in line.

  14. avatar Janma says:

    Dear Achmad.
    You seem to be confusing feminisim with lesbianism.
    I quote;

    “If you want to do the feminisms, it’s ok, but Islam says that a woman must choose a man for a mate, not a woman. It’s ok to do the feminism, but not for a Muslim. In Amsterdam, feminists can even get married ! Sometimes, in Western colleges, women try feminisms for a while and then go back to men.

    2. Friend, Islam is already complete. Why do we need any of these Isms ? Besides, I think you confuse the meaning of secularism, which comes from ‘sek’, meaning the ‘following of the way of sek.’ Islam is not such a way !”

    Actually in the Koran it is written that men and women are equal (it’s also written they are not, just to create conflict, but whatever.) There are places in the koran they are pronounced equal, so if you know your religion and you wish to follow your nabi, you better start sorting that out.
    Feminisim is just about respect and basic human rights, not sex.
    Feminisim is not the enemy of Islam, the West is not the enemy of Islam! Stupidity and Poverty are the enemies of Islam!

  15. avatar Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Dear Janma, my feelings are a bit hurt that you are calling me stupid and an enemy of Islam. I may not be perfect, but I, Achmad Sudarsono, try to be a poet of the people and offer tribute, however, small to Islam. Increase Da Peace, Sava da Fava, Achmad.

  16. avatar Mohammed Khafi says:

    I’m with Janma 100%

    Stupidity and Poverty are the enemies of Islam!

    Peace

  17. avatar Janma says:

    Something seems to be wrong with my computer or something today. my posts seem to disappear.
    I never said that Achmad is stupid or the enemy of Islam! I think what he said was stupid, to equate feminisim with lesbianism. I mean come on, that’s stupid. Even Ali G knew that. Find out before you go and state what is and isn’t islamic. Maybe lesbianism isn’t islamic, but respect and equality for women isn’t unislamic.

  18. avatar Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Friend, ha ha ha, you make a good joke ! Why then, all the hairy-arm-pitted, overalls and beards, and man hating if the feminismists aren’t lesbians ? To each their own: you like hamburger, I like empek-empek. You like Gloria Steinem, I like Zainuddin MZ. Friend, it is mean to call stupid, for slander is crueller than murder. I thank you, Friend.

    I leave you with a melayu pepatah, or saying: “Setinggi mana perempuan belajar, akhirnya dia kembali ke dapur juga! (However high a woman studies, she will, in the end, come back to the kitchen).

  19. avatar Cukurungan says:

    I’m with myself 100%.

    Stupidity and Poverty are a good friend for Islam.

  20. avatar Aluang Anak Bayang says:

    I agree with you 110%.

    Stupidity and Poverty are a good friend for Islam.

    Cuk, now that you see the light, you can be our saviour. You don’t need a mere book to dictate your life. Kejawen did not destroy our country, it is GREED of the power-that-was, and the credulity of our people. Neither is shariah the solution because not one Islamic countires is successful and can be examplary. Islam only make us petty minders, and let the big sharks away. Indonesia need a strong leader with integrity and with clear conscience, whether Kejawen believer, Moslem, Christian, Buddhist or Animist.

  21. avatar Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Aluang Anak Bayang,

    Why don’t you fire up the bong and have a big, long, toke. Comments could be more coherent that way. ‘Not one Islamic countries is successful’. No, because ‘one’ is singular and ‘countries’ is plural. Syntax aside, the Islamic countries were successful once upon a time, albeit 800 years ago.

    I think it was actually the Greek philosopher Anarchus who said that laws were like a spider web – strong enough only to catch the weak, but to let the strong through. So ‘petty minders’ versus ‘big sharks’ is a problem older than Islam.

    Indonesia needs a ‘strong leader’ what like, um, Suharto ? He was both Animist and Kejawen, and hey, two out of five ain’t bad. Besides, he had plenty of Buddhist and Christian friends, with all those fotos from Tapos to prove it.

  22. avatar Aluang Anak Bayang says:

    Why don’t you fire up the bong and have a big, long, toke. Comments could be more coherent that way.

    I did, Acchh Mad. Was it Accchhk Mad? That is why I stutter. Everytime I pronounce ya name, I sound like some Chinese brother spluttering sputa.

    ‘Not one Islamic countries is successful’. No, because ‘one’ is singular and ‘countries’ is plural. Syntax aside, the Islamic countries were successful once upon a time, albeit 800 years ago.

    Take it as poetry prose. I am trying to be a poet. Only petty minder cares about syntax. oopsey, youse a moslem? ‘once upon a time, albeit 800 years ago’ … oh once upon a time, what happened since?

    Indonesia needs a ‘strong leader’ what like, um, Suharto ? He was both Animist and Kejawen, and hey, two out of five ain’t bad. Besides, he had plenty of Buddhist and Christian friends, with all those fotos from Tapos to prove it.

    As long as they don’t ride on buraq and hump little gals and screw adopted dotter, who cares.

  23. avatar Tomaculum says:

    A. Sudarsono ( hei this is from Tomaculum and not Tomalcum. So T O M A C U L U M. OK, friend?!).

    I leave you with a melayu pepatah, or saying: “Setinggi mana perempuan belajar, akhirnya dia kembali ke dapur juga! (However high a woman studies, she will, in the end, come back to the kitchen).

    Poor Melayu women, letting themselves humiliated by such men only able to think with stomach and…. 🙁 They, the Melayu women, should better marry europeans (“bules”)). I wonder where the women are in this blog!

    What do Melayu men need?
    Wifey to cook and to go with to bed or the other half of their life with ability to think (and maybe to earn money? I know many Melayu men do not able and don’t want to work). And who wou may orks in such families? You may guess 3 times.

    Btw: I’m sure that these Eny Dwiningsih doesn’t even really know the meaning of feminism.

    Peace! (waiting for correction from Achmad).

  24. avatar Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Friend, sorry about that, Tomaculum. Can I call you Tompel? But if the Melayu woman follow Islam and her culture, god will surely send her happiness.

  25. avatar Cukurungan says:

    God many thank for Your blessing into my life, you made everything surrender on me even the big boss Aluang already acknowledged by himself that I am his savior.

    My sheep Aluang trust me, I won’t let you left behind, please open your heart and grab my hand, throw away your hatred feeling to anything then you will be able to see which the real path will lead you toward an immortal happiness and don’t let your heart blinded by your un-reasonable hatred toward Islam. Because, it is only the Total Islamic System will become a good friend to lift-up the stupidity and poverty of our Javanese toward “Great Javanese”. Please don’t blame on Wali Songo because they were only able to insert a half Islamic Tenets in our Javanese System. It is younger Moslem duties to complete those un-finished mission. “Great Javanese” won’t use “Jubah and Gamis” because we have our own dress “sarung and peci” which specific identity of us that we are Javanese Moslem but we don’t embrace an Arabic Culture.

    Regards,
    Your Savior

  26. avatar Aluang Anak Bayang says:

    Hi Shepard,

    Good evening! Can sheep eat roasted dog, and sacrifice babe bakar as offering to your great master, while wearing sarung and peci? If so, baaa .. baaaaa. That is ‘thank you’ in sheep language. I see that shepard is leading us to the right direction. Sooner younger sheep will complete their mission and lead us away from immoral ideology.

    Regards,
    God’s Brother

  27. avatar Cukurungan says:

    Beloved Aluang,

    Remember that we are great descendants of “trahing kusumo trembesing madu” we don’t need to eat a disgusting foods like pork, dog and rat, even in Japan, pork meats is only for poor and low community people. God already blessed our land with so many kind of a good foods why you’re still interesting with those disgusting foods see how in animal world’s a pig will eat anything they found whereas a bee only take a food from a flowers. We aren’t pig that only produce a pigshiit but we are a bee that produce a honey for mankind.

    Regard,
    Your Savior

  28. avatar Janma says:

    Really? I thought you meant good Muslims should eat bees.
    Nasi Tawon, hee heee.
    And Achmad, how many feminists do you know? Unbelievable what you write! Overalls and hairy armpits, feminisim has many faces, a lot of men are feminists too you dolt! And most feminists do not hate men, they simply would like to have their basic rights recognized. they are also mothers, wives and breadwinners, they can put the bread on the table and also cook. Just a little respect would be great thank you!

    Janma.
    *behind every great man is a surprised woman*

  29. avatar Tomaculum says:

    A. Sudarsono,

    Can I call you Tompel?

    Yes, if I can call you Ampel. 🙂

    But if the Melayu woman follow Islam and her culture, god will surely send her happiness.

    1. Do you mean also javanese or sundanese women?
    2. Don’t you know, that to follow Islam means to abandon their own culture (beginning with the way to dress? 🙂 )

    Cukurungan,

    we don’t need to eat a disgusting foods like pork, dog and rat, even in Japan.

    Why are pork, dog and rat disgusting? The japanese eat btw uncooked fish. Formerly it was “disgusting” for us, but now we eat it too (sushi). The vietnamese and thais enjoy rat and dog (and insects incl. cockroach).
    And I know moslems eating dog flesh.
    Save us. 🙂

  30. avatar Mohammed Khafi says:

    Folks,

    Aluang Anak Bayang, and Cukurungan are prime examples of why this country will never be great, both blinded to the views of others and cannot or will not accept that there is a place where mutual respect and tolerance will allow them both to live their lives as they wish.

    Tomaculum,

    Please don’t spread lies about Islam, you would be lowering yourself to the level of Aluang Anak Bayang and Cukurungan. Islam does not require anybody to abandon their own culture, and certainly does not tell people how to dress other than modestly, but modest is relative after all. There is certainly no injuction on women to wear jilbab or any of the other Arab cultural clothing. A quick visit to Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, and even many of the Gulf States would soon dissavow that idea. Please do not allow Wahabbism to win, by promoting their understanding of Islam.

    And one last thing, Cukurungan, why do you consider Pigs or Pork disgusting? Allah does not say that they are, he just tells us not to eat the flesh of pigs because it is contaminated, nowhere does it say that pigs, dogs or even rats are disgusting does it? Following your misguided teachers again without thought or reason are you?

    He has only forbidden you carrion and blood and the flesh of swine and any over which the name of other than Allah has been invoked. But if one is forced by necessity without willful disobedience nor transgressing due limits then Allah is Oft-Forgiving Most Merciful. 16: 115

    Just remember Cuk:

    O mankind! Eat of that which is lawful and wholesome in the earth, and follow not the footsteps of the Satan. Lo! he is an open enemy for you. He enjoins upon you only the evil and the foul, and that you should tell concerning Allah that which you know not. And when it is said unto them: Follow that which Allah hath revealed, they say: We follow that wherein we found our fathers. What! Even though their fathers were wholly unintelligent and had no guidance? The likeness of those who disbelieve is as the likeness of one who calls unto that which hears naught except a shout and cry. Deaf, Dumb, Blind, therefore they have no sense. 2: 168-171

    But say not for any false thing that your tongues may put forth “This is lawful and this is forbidden” so as to ascribe false things to Allah. For those who ascribe false things to Allah will never prosper. (In such falsehood) is but a paltry profit; but they will have a most grievous Penalty. 16: 116 – 117

    Peace

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