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Islamic Ethics Dr. Marzia Bt. Mustapha
Zayan Yassin Abdul Aziz 0731169 Hussain Raafiu 0816161 Leela Maryam 0810418 Nawar Selah Nur 0192865
Contents • • • • • • • Introduction Definition Case Studies Causes Implications and Effects Ethical Arguments Conclusion
When God decided to create a creature, He had intended so that it would come in pairs so that they may complement each other. The beauty of dual creations that is unique on its own yet undeniably irrelevant with the absence of the other reflects that not only did God wants to create man and women out of independent distinctions but so that they could only live together as one. This notion is the root of how the intricate design of the two human sexes shaped a social relationship that has been around since the dawn of creation of men itself. The two advocates their life differently and it is precisely why there are biological and psychological as well as spiritual differences between man and women. These differences are so overwhelmingly powerful in their own influences that they each create an invisible form of barrier so that there are none of the influence would overlap each other. This is to say that no man aspects a women to grow a beard just like no woman aspects men to bear a child. So it is understood through and beginning of time that they both would respect their differences without assigning a predominant authority that would threaten each others positions as being the two most intelligent creatures of God’s creation. The problem is it isn’t always simply clear like dividing the green apples and red apples aside in a basket when it comes to man and women. It is definitely inconveniently impractical when human population are not as easy as counting the grain of sand in the
desert. Human had developed through time into a more complex and large society. This complexity had led to the fuse of different spheres of influences and ideologies of man about how society should work. Unfortunately, the word ‘man’ therefore sticks quite permanently as the prevalent species that would later decide on how the world works. This is why, from the earliest of the civilizations, thinkers and rulers were accredited to man and the social significance of women were subject to depletion through time. From being the greatest partner to an individual organism of the world ( as Eve to Adam ), to a mere subject of man’s dismays, women’s role in the society had been radically dismantled and her importance were reduced to dusts. This is a form of sex segregation of the earliest forms and definitely not to be mistaken to have the similarities of the sex segregation as imposed to be discussed in this assignment. The sex segregation of the earlier times of man’s dominance was a product of men’s sets of thoughts and ethics that would form the fundamental basis of social rulings. The segregation was mentally architected by man to fulfill their needs over power and not by biological laws and Divine guidance from God. It is not until the time of the arrival of Islam did this idea becomes irrelevant so as to compare man’s law to that of God’s law who is all Knowing of His own Creations. Islam meant here were accredited to the teachings of all the prophets of mankind through time who had continually and consistently revolted against the oppressions of sexes that were practiced unjustly through vile kings and promiscuous societies. This leads to the modern implication of gender segregation when Religion as well as civic societal conduct ( which would have
originally formed from ideas brought by the virtues laid by religions ) that it would bring more meaning and justice towards the separation of both man and woman. It is only then that the modern contemporary society would acknowledge the importance of sex segregation in some if not all aspect of life without advocating too much into feminism or social constructivism. Although, the topic of feminism would be lightly touched in this assignment, it did not though meant to see the sex segregation as solely beneficial to the female gender but it also has to some extend beneficial to man as well as we would later see. Thus, it is important for us to focus on the application of the sex segregation on society from such as the perspective of public services usage as well as workplace because these are the places where both sexes greatly use for productivity of a society.
The word sex here implies the attributes of men and women created by their biological characteristics. Whereas the second term, segregation means the action or state of setting someone or something apart from other people or things or being set apart. Though the term segregation may have been commonly used in the context of racism in the early 1950’s, the word itself should not be seen as a negative connotation as it is as act of merely dividing two entities apart. The question here is the moral behind which the act of segregation has its implications whether it constitutes to the act of discrimination or simply separation.
Thus it is important to identify the meaning and the idea brought by the term sex segregation. When the two words met, it brings in a whole different meaning. Sex segregation therefore is the act of setting man and women apart specifically in a given space and time where the two sexes are present. It is also the question of women’s and men’s equal access to opportunity and equal position in society.
Therefore, in this assignment, not only are we going to project how
sex segregation had been beneficial to the society both men and women, but how it has been existing in the teaching of Islam towards mankind. We are going to see how a modern culture of the non-Muslim who boasts on carrying the principles of liberalism could not deny how sex segregation could have a better and productive effect to the society.
The concept of sex segregation can be said that it is universally understood by all kinds of societies, cultures and countries. To some extend, even the most liberal societies of the west had adopted the
Judith Worell, Encyclopedia of Women And Gender, Elsevier, 2001: Pg 983
concept of sex segregation either at the institutional level or the public services sector. Some have found that sex segregation could be rationally explained, implemented and modified to adapt to a certain society much easier than another society relatively. This is because some societies have a cultural background that had already shown traits of sex segregation thus easily accepted as part of a cultural norm. Whilst other societies which have a rather radical more extrovert culture may see this as a breach of human rights or they may simply accept it as a civilized notion ( product of constructivism idea ) as part of a societal development for the better. Therefore, it is vital that we would compare at least two relatively different sets of societies so that the factor of acceptance of the sex segregation could be understood and thoroughly explained. Thus, in this section of case study, we are going to compare the Japanese culture which was notable for the country’s technological advancement with a majority of non-Muslim population to the Arab culture who would represent a rather rigid society bound the the laws of Syariah with the majority of Muslim population.
One must understand the cultural background of the Japanese society so that the concept may fit in easily in the context of the society. The Japanese society in the earlier times were patriarchy in nature, where men found their dominance over economic, political and domestic realms. Even so, women were not treated unequally for they have many services and activities that catered to them. This was indeed the times when Geishas roamed the streets of Japan in the 19th century. It was seen as the first major occupational sex segregation where astounding amount of economic productions were seen
distinctively divided between the two sexes. When industrialization crashed on Japanese soil, most factories were dedicated to the heavy industry such as car production, tin mining and the such. Women and men were not expected to work in the same place let alone the same industry because of the difference of labour force needed. Whilst the heavy industry needed more men to maneuver such job that would require more force, the agricultural and textile industries were left to the women population. Yet in Japan it is generally believed that women could not possibly take on heavy physical jobs, and this bias is used as an obstacle in the employment of women. Both factors impede equal opportunities and create job segregation in Japan.2 This pattern may have been similar in application to other industrialized countries of the time, but Japan had significantly distribute the labour force exclusively to the women and man. This segregation led to a bigger movement and influenced how the society would work, and many new customs were picked up and labeled as Japanese. The Japanese employment model is based on precisely this division of labor. Indeed, occupational sex segregation is co-dependent with the Japanese model. While men are generally trained for a broader range of skills, women do mostly auxiliary work. Men generally commit themselves fully to the firm, while women are usually expected to make primary their domestic roles as “housewives.” Women were employed in the same jobs as those offered to men, but companies made special accommodations for women in terms of work schedule, job training, and promotion. New work shifts without night duty were
Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. 2002. Tairyoku Undo Nouryoku Chosa [Survey on physical strength and capabilities]. Tokyo: Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.
created and reserved for women, as it was thought that the rate of female employees was limited to approximately 10%. Women’s job duties were very restricted: their job training and skills were limited and new women employees had little experience in related fields.3 Man and women are no longer seen to have shared recreational activities since their colleagues and workmates are of the same sex. Many societal clubs and meeting place of the specific sex were rapidly sprouting that would contribute to the after working hours. Men would not mingle in a women dominated areas and vice versa, thus automatically creating an invisible sex segregation barrier. Except for the vice of the female Geishas, which work revolves around serving working men after working hours as entertainers and waitress as such, a normal Japanese women would not have thought of engaging such jobs. Moreover, this leads to the seclusion of the women society from men that would be the main factor of Japanese introvertish culture. Even so, the sex segregation was not seen as oppressive idea that would undermine the women nor man population. Both man and women have mutual understanding that they should not get involve in each other’s work because it may lead to a distractive and insecure working environment. Another factor is also the Japanese concern in productivity, where it should be maximize at all times thus if sex segregation would lead to more productive and beneficial to the institution therefore it should be implemented at all time. It was later seen beneficial too for the Government to impose sex segregations towards the conduct of public services and educational
Ministry of Labour. 1998. Josei Koyo Kanri Kihon Chosa [Basic survey on women’s employment management]. Tokyo: Ministry of Labour.
institution. One fine example is the sex segregation in public transportation system .In such bustling cities like Tokyo, working hours especially, millions of workers would have to go through the public transportation in order to go to work. Therefore both sexes would have to mix up together and rush towards their work places in time ( keeping in mind that Japanese people are very punctual especially when it comes to job related activities ). This would lead to unnecessary intermingling and touching of the different sex. This idea was not in favour by the woman population relatively more compared to the men population mainly because the sex offenders are of the men population. Thus it was inevitable for the Government to force the railway company to supply sufficient amount of carriages that are dedicated for the women. This was one of the rather concrete and physical form of sex segregation practiced by the Japanese as a tool of creating a smoother society yet respecting both sexes accordingly.
Women have faced a lot of problems when it comes to work environment. Especially in the Arab countries the women undergo a lot of problems. A research done in 1970 on women showed that a lot of work done by women is hidden or these women are “invisible”. Even though, if they do the similar work that men do or they put the same effort or more their work are not counted. This is because, they may be helping in a domestic family business or farming in agricultural fields of their own. So their work is not recognized in the society. The survey’s conveyed to see the participation of women in 1990 among 7 Arab countries showed that below 10 percent of the labor force is occupied by women. More than two-thirds of Arab states reports participation of women in the work force in their countries is
less than 20 percent. Arab women are facing greater cultural or social constraints as they seek to enter in to the modern workforce. The Arab world gives a great priority to their cultural identity, and therefore the role of women in the family is preserving this heritage. Furthermore, when it comes to women and works most of the Arabs refers to the Islamic identity of them. There are people from various ethnic backgrounds and religious groups who resist the process of modernization. More than any other part of the world, the Arab World gives more significance to preserving its cultural identity and the role of women in continuing this heritage. As the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) report on Women in Nairobi suggests the strategy for Arab Women in Western Asia is based heavily on the heritage of the Arab-Islamic civilization and the spiritual aspects and on man’s free though responsible role as ordained by God. Although the majority place their belief in a shared ethnicity, the presence of few but long-lasting other ethnic and religious minorities in the Arab World has added to the difficulty in defining what constitutes Arabness. Post-independent efforts to define Arab identities that would include all the different groups have mainly been a result of dictatorships and weak economic policies. However these same state systems have been endangered by Islamist forces trying to stamp their own definitions of identity. The effects are perhaps most visible in Algeria, where Islamists and non-Islamists have been carrying out attacks on women based on
their dress code. Patriarchy has been another factor in defining Islamic law (shari’a) in strict forms that limit the role of women. The family and community are held as the cornerstone of construction of identities. Family is considered the basic unit of community and women the basic foundation of the family. In addition to emotional support, the family also provides material support that can or never will be replaced by state institutions. The Arabs gain a lot of criticisms from the various foreign agencies like UN and other authorities and these criticisms are reflected in their lives. The people of the whole Arab world believe that there is a need for social change and feel threatened by it. For example Muammar Qaddafi of Libya promoted education and employment for women to use them in their workforce. However, when Qaddafi spoke at a conference on Arab and African family in Benghazi in 1990, he focused most part of his speech on the role of mothers and those family problems in the West. He assaulted the day-care centers and asked the Libyans to protest against day-care centers. However, as fundamentals of modern societies there are Libyan women who use these facilities. Socio-cultural factors like heritage, identity, religion, patriarchy the family and community and women’s central role within the family are the main factors which affect the entrance of Arab women in to the modern workforce. However, it has been shown from an examination these factors do not affect that much when the family and society thinks that there is a need for women to work. Previously, the work was done at home and now the Arab economy has shifted to a situation where they need skills and labor in the marketplace. This made both men and women from the rural areas
to move urban areas to seek work outside the home or neighborhood. Furthermore, due to the rapid increase in population and urbanization, government has faced difficulties in providing health, education and welfare services. The modernization of the economy has weakened the traditional productivity of women when the subsistence agriculture gives way to cash. The reports has said that the imports of food from other countries have tripled over the past decade .The per capita food imports have rise from $100 to $300 annually and instead of importing the foods they should have invested in their land which will provide the income for those women who were previously working in the field of agriculture. The few number of women’s participation of work is not only due to the socio-cultural factors, but it is also due to the lack of the opportunities for women in these areas. In 1970 Jordon, made considerable investment on the employment and education of women. When the country faced a shortage of laborers the women were used and the government promoted the participation of women in the modern workforce by conducting seminars and legislation. Although there is a considerable investment in education the women’s participation in labor force is low in the Arab Gulf states. This is because the need for the women to work is at the family level but still this is not pushing it as it does in other countries. The government uses the wealth from the oil to import foreign labor. Although, the education of women have been allowed and promoted in these countries there is a problem facing by both the women and men which is that the content of education is often unrelated to the needs of the labor market. As a result many of the families in the rural areas do not want their children to go to schools
where they will lose the useful skills like agriculture. The schools furthermore, foster dismissive attitudes toward manual labor which has worsened the productivity problems in the region. A survey conducted among 119 Syrian women who were working in the public sector by Anton Rameh showed that the public sector offers the most trouble free and respected employment for the Arab women. 45 percent of married women and 42 percent of single women were ready to welcome low-priced restaurants and ready-made foods due to the double work load and tiredness. 81 percent of married women and 88 percent of married women had the problem with the male members of the family because they do not help them with the household tasks. Large number of women believed that the childcare condition as insufficient. As 51 percent of the women had to leave their children with the relatives and 18 percent leave their kids at nurseries and there was other 18 percent of women had no fixed place to keep their children. However, 75 percent of the women support women’s work outside the house.
Feminism According to dictionary.com feminism is the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men. Feminist movement is also known as the drive for Women’s Liberation.
contemporary social disintegration, which in turn is the inevitable result of the rejection of all transcendental, absolute moral and spiritual values.
Western perspective Marry Wollstonecraft is perhaps the first known feminist in
history In her A Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792) she challenged the conventions of the day that the sole purposes of women were to bear and raise children and to please men. She was highly critical of the practice of socio-economic subordination of women in society. She demanded equal rights for women in education, employment and in administration.4 In the writing of Harriet Taylor, she argued strongly in favour of married women having a life and career of their own. She contended that it would be preferable “if women both earned and had a right to possess, a part of their income of their family.” 5 She even proposed once women were given full civil and political rights, there would be no necessity of marriage. Today’s Feminists are implacably opposed to any social roles being determined by sex. They deny that there is any inherent biological distinction between men and women on the basis of sex which determines that the wife should be the housewife and mother and the husband the breadwinner and authoritarian head of the family. They demand the abolition of institutional marriage. They
Palo Alto freeman, edited. Women-A feminist Perspective, (California: Mayfield Publishing Co., 1984) Ibid. p.41
insist that all women should be given the right to complete control over their reproductive lives. They are demanding that all restrictions must be lifted from laws governing contraception so that devices can be publicly advertised and available over the druggist counter to any women regardless of her age and marital status and purchasable without a doctor’s prescription. All laws restricting abortion should be removed and that women have a legal right to abortion at any stage of pregnancy. In the largest most enthusiastic Feminist demonstration ever held, on August 26, 1970, hundreds of women marched down Fifth Avenue, New York City carrying placards which read: HOUSEWIVES ARE UNPAID SLAVES! STATE PAY FOR HOUSEWORK! OPPRESSED WOMEN! DON’T COOK DINNER! STARVE YOUR HUSBAND TONIGHT! END HUMAN SACRIFICE! DON’T GET MARRIED! WASHING DIAPERS IS NOT FULFILLING! LEGALISE ABORTION! DEPENDENCY IS NOT HEALTHY STATE OF BEING!6 Never has moral corruption and social self-indulgence
threatened mankind on such a universal scale as is this case now. The adoption of feminist ideals degrades humans lower than the animals. For animals live by their instincts and cannot do anything opposed to their nature. Among animals, homosexuality is unknown. The male is only attracted to the female of its own species. Among animals, the maternal relationship is completely severed as soon as the young are able to look after themselves. There is no such thing as modesty, chastity, marriage or filial ties among beasts but there is these concept for human beings. They are found in every culture at every stage of civilization and history. But the feminists wish to abolish these very characteristics, which
make man human and undermine the foundation of all his relationships and social ties. Islamic perspective In Muslim countries, fortunately, the Feminist movement has not yet touched such extremes as the westerns but there is no doubt that in a small significant segment of Muslim society today, there is a revolt of women against traditional Islamic society. From the Islamic point of view, the question of the equality of men and women is meaningless. It is like discussing the equality of a rose and a jasmine. Each has its own perfume, colour, shape and beauty. Men and women are created as equal human beings though obviously not identical. In Quran it is repeated several times that men and women are created as companions to complement and comfort each other. Each has certain duties and functions in accordance with his or her nature and constitution. Islam specifies a differentiation of male and female role and responsibilities in society. As Islam intends to maintain the role of providing financial support, of success in career, and decision making and those dealing with domestic matters, with childcare, aesthetic and psychological refreshment, social interrelationships, valued equally deserving of respect and that when accompanied by the equity demanded by the religion, division of labour along sex lines is beneficial to all the members of society. The Islamic school of thought argues that women could benefit by returning to the original source of Islam. Haleh Afshar, a prominent Muslim feminist summarized their arguments in the following ways;
“Islamic dictum bestows complementarities of women, as a human beings, as partners to men and as mothers and daughters. They argue that Islam respects for women and offers them opportunities to be learned, educated and trained, while at the same time providing an honoured space for them to become mothers, wives, and homemakers. They argue that unlike capitalism, and much of feminist discourse, Islam recognises the importance of women’s life cycle: they have been given different roles and responsibilities at different times of their lives and at each ad every stage they are honoured and respected for that which they do. They argued that Islam at its inception has provided them with exemplary female role models and has delineated a path that can be honourably followed at each stage. For all Muslims, Khadija is a powerful representative of independence as well as being a supportive wife. Muhammad’s daughter Fatima, for the Shiias in particular, provides an idealised and idolised role model as a daughter to the Prophet (s.a.w) and wife to the imam, Ali. The Sunnis admire Aishah for her powerful intellect as well as her political leadership. Thus, the revivalists contend that Muslim women have no need of western examples, which they wish to pursue.”7 In the Quran, no difference whatever is made between the sexes in relation to God. In Surah Al Nahl verse 97, Allah said, “Whoever works righteousness, man or woman, and has Faith, verily, to him will We give a new Life, a life that is good and pure and We will bestow on such their reward according to the best of their actions.”8 Every Muslim individual, whether male or female, retains a separate identity frem cradle to grave.
Haleh Afshar, ed. Women and Politics in the Third World ( London: Routledge, 1998) http://www.muslimaccess.com/quraan/arabic/016.asp
However, the Muslim societies do not fulfil the Islamic ideals and traditions laid down in the Quran and reinforced by the examples and directives of the prophet Muhammad (s.a.w). Therefore, if Muslim women ever experience discrimination, the blame should not be on Islam, but on the un-Islamic nature of Muslim societies and the failure of Muslims to fulfil its directives. Sex Segregation in Islam Sex segregation is the separation of people according to their gender. Islam discourages social interaction between men and women when they are alone. According to Shariah, to look, speak, listen, etc. to any ghayr mahram (women you are not related to or married to) except at the time of extreme necessity is haraam and impermissible." The Quranic verse (24:30-31) Allah said about the interaction of men and women in the social context include: "Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and to be mindful of their chastity: this will be most conducive to their purity - (and,) verily, God is aware of all that they do. And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and to be mindful of their chastity, and not to display their charms (in public) beyond what may (decently) be apparent thereof; hence let them draw their head-coverings over their bosoms." And in verse (33:59), Allah said: "O Prophet! Tell thy wives and thy daughters, as well as all (other) believing women, that they should draw over themselves some of their outer garments (when in public): this will be more conducive to their being recognized (as decent women) and not annoyed.”
Implicit in these verses is the expectation that men and women will be interacting. Muslims are instructed to do so in such a way as to focus on attributes other than the physical, namely the spiritual and intellectual. This is shown in the example of Khadhija, who employed Muhammad and met with him to conduct trade before they were married, and in the example set by the other wives of Muhammad who taught and counselled the men and women of Medina. The emphasis in the Quran and the Sunnah is thus not on total segregation believers to: 1. Treat one another with respect at all times in all situations. 2. Behave modestly. 3. Avoid situations of seclusion (khalwa). 4. Dress modestly (by covering ones body).9 Implication of gender separation In the interest of modesty, public toilets, public showers, public saunas, swimming pools, gymnasiums, dormitories, changing rooms, prisons and other areas are usually sex segregated. In some countries, trains have designated women-only passenger cars. • • When Public toilets and public showers are sex segregated it helps to avoid stalkers from attacking their targets. Great Gallant (mostly verbal harassment involves excessive compliments and personal comments that focus on appearance and gender) can be kept away from their targets by segregating gender in public saunas, swimming pools and gymnasiums. •
attractiveness or may lead to the unlawful. Thus Islam requires
By not working late at office with opposite sex would reduce the risk of being harassed by a power player or third party sexual
harassment. • One-of-the-Gang (harassment occurs when groups of men or women embarrass others with lewd comments, physical evaluations, or other unwanted sexual attention) this kind of harassment can be avoided by separating the genders in dormitories, prisons and other areas. • There are women taxi drivers who take female passengers to the passenger’s wanted destination, by boarding such taxis female passengers will feel safe from being harassed, kidnapped and robbed. Sex segregation is not to discriminate sexes, but to reduce crimes, such as sexual harassment, robbery and murders. Islam encourages separation of people according to gender to avoid making of sins. The separation is mostly to protect females from being victimized by the male. Not to make women feel that male is superior to them. This is in order to save both the sexes from the hell fire. Qur'an considers extramarital sex as one of the major sins besides polytheism and murder: “And they who do not call upon another god with Allah and do not slay the soul, which Allah has forbidden except in the requirements of justice, and (who) do not commit fornication and he who does this shall find a requital of sin. The punishment shall be doubled to him on the day of resurrection, and he shall abide therein in abasement.” (Verse 25:68)
In the end, separation between genders brings many benefits for scocitiy as well as individuals. Separation have helped to control human desires along with maintaining level of modesty amongst the implemeting scociety. Many have considered it to be (Unessecary) but deemed to change that view after the outcomes which is present nowadays among them. Illegitimate children issue, HIV, spread of harrassment and rape have condemned those societies until they have began to implemetnt seperation paritaly. What is ironic is that we, as Muslims, have applied seperation in many countries but we could not prevent feminist movments, born from within and the spread of sin. Maybe it is because we have went extreme? It must be for that reason. As you can see, many seggregated scocieties have went overboard by forcing what is not from Islam into a wajib (Obligatory), custom and habits have influenced many Imams decisions to implement them as part of Islam, of course, I don't agree with that. If we would return back to the true teachings of Islam, we would be be off fine.
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