“Don’t disgrace our family name!”
“A daughter is her family’s dignity.”
“You must marry him because we believe he is the right man for you.”
“You can’t choose this career pathway because it will impact on your personal life, you will lose your reputation within the society.”
“Your job is to cook and take care of your home.”
Above are some of the common statements used against women in some countries of the world such as Afghanistan. Afghanistan is an Islamic country, but cultural practices are used against women, simply to serve the pleasures of men in power. Why? because they believe men are superior than women.
Before the terrorist regimes placed their own interpretations of women in Islam in Afghanistan, women were able to choose any job force and had enough rights to do and wear anything. But everything changed when the new man made sharia laws were placed. Injustice was done against women, their rights were violated. Women were asked to cover up from head to toe and they could only leave the house with a male companion.
Yes Women’s rights in Afghanistan have gradually improved in the last decade which has enabled women to progress. But women are still looked upon with a guarded heart because the same mentalities that existed during the terrorist ruling still exist. There are TV programs where Islamic leaders promote strict laws against women and majority of men unfortunately do practice these laws and because of this, there have been cases where young women have been forced into marriage, stoned to death for being accused of eloping with their lover, lashed for refusing to obey their family’s decision of marriage, death threats and there are many more stories that are known within the country.
Women’s safety is still a concern and this can only be resolved if women are given the freedom to contribute to the society. God clearly states that all humans are equal In the Quran, God declares,
“…Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you…” (49:13)
At another place in the Quran,:
“To whoever, male or female, does good deeds and has faith, We shall give a good life and reward them according to the best of their actions.” (16:97)
It is unfortunate that regardless of women’s equal rights given by God in Islam, women are still victimized and classified as weak human beings. Oppressed, inferior, and unequal – for many people, these are the first words that come to mind which include both Muslims and non-Muslims when thinking about women in Islam.
These stereotypes confuse Islam with cultural practices and fail to recognize that Islam confirms that both men and women are equal in the sight of God. If the country practiced the religion more than the culture, women wouldn’t face such challenges. But on the other hand it is everyone’s job to educate one another particularly women.
Their voices need to be heard and this can be achieved if they are not penalized for speaking up. .