29 Mei 2007

Gender And Islamic Teaching

Gender issue has been perceived by (ordinary) people as the western ideology that opposes Islamic teaching in one side, and God statement in the holy Quran, or the prophet traditions have not been interpreted contextually on the other. Quran and the prophet traditions have been perceived to be revealed and stated in a vacuum situation and condition so that they are textually interpreted. There is also a notion that the more textually and strictly interpreted the quran and hadist the closer they are to the willing of the God.
If the quran states that “ar rijaalu qowaamuna ‘alan nisaa” means that women should not and could not be appointed to be a leader, and only men should lead women, not the other way around, they are not aware also 1that the God statement is not in the form of instruction (amar) but in the form of telling (khobar) that during early (or jahiliyah) period of arab lives, men were leading and women were subordinated, and that God statement should be interpreted with it context to the subsequent God statement “bima fadldlolallaahu wabima anfaqu min amwalihim. So there are social conditions where men could be the leader. From there we understand also that social condition is about human interaction (muamalah), not about ritual thing (taabbudy).
Islam came for the sake of justice for all (men and women), Islam frees women from subordination by men, from slavery, and other inhuman or degrading treatment. Men and women are equal before God. God Says “lir rijali nashiibum mimma kasabu, walinnisaai nashiibun mima iktasabna” means for men is according to their performances and for women is also according to their performances. We can see also in surah al hujurat in which God says that “oh mankind we indeed create you all, of men and women, and have you belong to different nationalities, and tribes, in order that you acknowledge each other. Indeed the very prestigious individuals to Allah are those who are very obedient to Him”. God won’t discriminate individual on the basis of sex, nationality, color, race or any kind of individual identity.
Those who always positions women in domestic sphere always argue that women are supposed to be protected from unwanted negative situation that often occurred in public sphere such as sexual assault, rape, etc. in this context God also equally orders both men and women in the following statement “qul lil muminiina yaghudlu min abshorihim wyahfadlu furujahum, wa qul lilmuminaati yaghdludlna min abshorihinna wa yahfadzna furuujahunna …” to curb their sight to their opposite sex as the preemptive and preventive endeavors. Not only women should curb their sight but men should also curb their sight, both men and women should be obedient to the God instructions.
If the idea is to establish a safe condition in society where women are in secure, there should be initiatives developed and approaches chosen using all available resources and means such as system of transport, lighting, life guards, surveillance by police, strong punishment for criminals, etc. Islamic teaching was revealed to people with patriarchal culture to do some corrections to that existing social system. Islam eliminate slavery by imposing punishment to free a slave to people committed homicide or other wrong doing such as having sexual intercourse during daylight in ramadhan month. Islam also raises the status of slaves by allowing Moslem to marry them.
If the concept of gender has some thing to do with societal construction, it is in the area of social interaction (mu’amalah) and not in the area of ritual (ta’abbudy), it is up to people to find a better way and to establish appropriate setting in the community. In the context of non taabbudy areas, Rasulullah SAW. Had once said that “antum a’alamu bi umuuri dunyaakum” meaning that you all know what is the best for your existence on the earth. - Jakarta 25 Mei 2007 -
Ditulis oleh : Farid Ma'ruf
dari Kementrian Pemberdayaan Perempuan RI

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