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Mernissi

analytical Essay
1382 words
1382 words
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Mernissi

Mernissi makes the claim that "Any man who believes that a Muslim woman who fights for her dignity and right to citizenship excludes herself necessarily from the umma...is a man who misunderstands his own religious heritage, his own cultural identity" (Mernissi

viii). She goes about supporting this claim by delving into the very detailed documentation of Islam history. She attributes misogyny in the past and present Muslim culture to the male elite. She gives many examples of how Muhammad and Islam have

only supported equality of the sexes and also how the male elite used false hadiths and very narrow interpretations of the Koran and true hadiths for their purpose.

She begins by describing how the male elite started running things right from the onset of Muhammad's death. When a successor to Muhammad was picked, it did not involve the people of the community at all or any women. It was done by a small group of followers which were very close to the prophet, a sort of elite group. This sort of leadership in Islam continued in the same manner as only the elite were involved. This helped preserve what they thought was essential and according to the interests of the participants the essentials varied.

The fabrication of false hadiths by the male elite was probably the first and most popular way for them to protect their interests. The people governing knew how important it was to "seek legitimacy in and through the sacred text" (Mernissi 43).

Mernissi talks about al-Bukhari, who methodically and systematically collected and verified true Hadiths. He was exiled from his native town because he refused to bring the knowledge of the Hadith to the governor of the town and have it corrupted. He knew that the invitation from the governor was made only for him to probably fabricate some Hadith which would benefit the politicians. Many did not follow al-Bukhari's example but allowed themselves to be bought for a price and fabricated Hadiths for the politicians.

Even Companions of the Prophet fabricated Hadiths in order to promote their own personal views.

In the case of the Hadith which states, "Those who entrust their affairs to a woman will never know prosperity", Mernissi argues that this Hadith was never uttered by the Prophet and probably made up for personal reasons of Abu Bakra, who claimed to have

heard the Hadith spoken by the...

... middle of paper ...

... as

instructing them not to give any wealth to women, the foolish.

This is quite obvious narrow interpretation of the text, which meant not to give your to any foolish person no matter the sex.

Mernissi goes on to give other texts which are harder to reject the sexist attitude in them, but goes on to give the example of Muhammad and his life as the ideal Islam or Muslim way of life.

She wraps up the book by saying that the Muslim man could not accept the change in the present time back in Muhammad's time and has not been able since then to let go of the past. She also started the book by describing how the Muslim nation has always

fled to the past to escape change in the present and future. I agree with Mernissi when she says, "The image of `his women' will change when he feels the pressing need to root his future in a liberating memory" (Mernissi 195). Until Muslim men let go of their past, things will never change, unfortunately, for the women in that society.

Mernissi got her point across really well in this book in a way which is simple for anybody to understand and I would like to know how the male elite handled and responded to this book when it came out.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes mernissi's claim that any man who believes that a muslim woman who fights for her dignity and right to citizenship excludes herself necessarily from the umma, misunderstands his own religious heritage and cultural identity.
  • Explains how the male elite used false hadiths and narrow interpretations of the koran for their purpose. when a successor to muhammad was picked, it didn't involve the community or any women.
  • Explains that the fabrication of false hadiths by the male elite was probably the first and most popular way for them to protect their interests.
  • Analyzes how mernissi talks about al-bukhari, who collected and verified true hadiths. he was exiled from his native town because he refused to bring the knowledge to the governor and have it corrupted.
  • Argues that even companions of the prophet fabricated hadiths in order to promote their own personal views.
  • Analyzes how mernissi wonders if abu bakra made up the hadith to give reason for not supporting a'isha in the fitna.
  • Analyzes how mernissi rejects abu bakra as a reliable source of hadith.
  • Analyzes how mernissi discounts another hadith made by abu hurayra, "the prophet said that the dog, the ass, and woman interrupt prayer if they pass in front of the believer."
  • Analyzes how history gives abu hurayra a very anti-feminine personality.
  • Explains that abu hurayra was disliked by the prophet because of the trace of femininity in it, which led him to say that the male is better than the female.
  • Analyzes how mernissi uses a'isha's refutings and the tainted personality of the individual claiming the hadith to reject it.
  • Analyzes how exposing a'isha's responses to the hadiths helps her drive her point home. no wonder she is hidden in history by the male elite.
  • Analyzes how mernissi ties together the hijab, or veil, as a division of public life and private life to the veiling of women in muslim society.
  • Analyzes how she makes a good point in how men were caught by surprise when it came to the dimension of equality of sexes that islam taught.
  • Explains that islam was asking for a change in the whole structure of the economy of capture. men could no longer take women as booty and treat them just as possession.
  • Analyzes how mernissi pointed out that women's right to refuse sex and marriage was distressing and upsetting to the men.
  • Analyzes how mernissi's narrow interpretation of the text instructs them not to give any wealth to women, the foolish. she gives the example of muhammad and his life as the ideal islam.
  • Agrees with mernissi when she says, "the image of his women' will change when he feels the pressing need to root his future in a liberating memory."
  • Opines that mernissi got her point across really well in this book in a way which is simple for anyone to understand.
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