In the same way that hatred, suicide bombings, aggression, & enmity toward Jews & Christians have nothing to do with Islam, neither does this incorrect image of women that the world has accepted from the radicals.
By Aylin Kocaman
A man in a shabby robe with a furrowed brow and long beard was walking along the road, followed two steps behind by women bent forward and completely covered up. This picture has to date been portrayed as an image of Islam.
Because of this image, no value has been attached to some oppressed Islamic countries – nobody will attach any worth to a society that regards women as worthless.
But what has that image got to do with Islam? Nothing! In the same way that hatred, aggression, suicide bombings and enmity toward Jews and Christians have nothing to do with Islam, neither does this image. In the same way an image of anger, shabbiness and lack of culture is not a genuine reflection of Islam, neither is this image that seeks to portray them as second-class citizens. It is the work of radicals.
When I began talking about Islam and love on television, radicals were amazed to see a well-groomed and cultured Muslim woman. In the most peculiar interpretation of the religion they believe in, it is impossible for me to be both a Muslim and a joyful, self-confident, modern and well-dressed woman.
The strongest reaction was against my picking up the Qur’an and reading from its verses. They tried to ban me from mentioning God, reading His verses and talking about the love and affection He commands. They tried to ban me from my own religion. Simply because I am a woman and I am a Muslim.
I have spoken about God’s verses every day, and am still doing so. But I am trying to do away with the fanatical mindset that constantly belittles me for being a woman. As a modern woman I take the Qur’an in my hand and say that Islam is a religion of peace, love, affection, friendship and brotherhood.
I proudly and courageously set out the value the Qur’an places on me as a woman, because the world needs to know the truth about the situation of women in Islam.
What is the woman in the Qur’an like?
God compares woman to a flower and says he raised Mary like a flower. According to the Qur’an, woman is a rare bloom, lovely and delicate, needing careful attention and love. Women can govern states. God cites the example of the Queen of Sheba, who took decisions on behalf of her country.
Women in the Qur’an are a superior rank that makes decisions. Men and women are equal here in terms of actions and responsibilities. However, it says, woman is superior to man in terms of requiring protection and care. A woman is a queen. She must be protected in marriage, and if the marriage ends she must be financially protected – during and after divorce. The reason for this is the superior value placed on her. Woman in the Qur’an are worthy of blessings, respect and love.
Women may face difficulties in attaining their rights in countries trying to establish a new order – such as in Egypt. There may be upheavals because they are unaware that the true Shariah of the Qur’an attaches the greatest value to women and says that a woman can rule a country quite perfectly.
It is radicals who have done this terrible harm to Islamic communities. They need correct education. They need to learn Islam from the Qur’an.
I will continue, with my appearance, my modern stance, with love and affection and determination to maintain peace, to strive against the bigoted mindset and to eliminate the false beliefs that devalue Muslim communities. Those who espouse the truth will inevitably be victorious.
We will continue teaching the Islamic world – until it understands the verses of the Qur’an, and the fact that God places a superior value on women. They will learn that from us women, and will change.
Because it is destined.
View original Gulf Daily News publication at: http://www.gulf-daily-news.com/NewsDetails.aspx?storyid=347494
About the Author:
Aylin Kocaman graduated from Istanbul University, and is a commentator and religious & political analyst on Turkish TV. She is also a peace activist. She is a host on the Building Bridges Show (http://bit.ly/NYvG5V) Aylin writes as an op-ed columnist for the Jerusalem Post, the Washington Post and several online newspapers in Turkey.