Feminism in the Islamic Community Essay

Feminism in the Islamic Community Essay

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Very frequently Islam is portrayed as a male centered, patriarchal faith. This has led to many outside of Sufism, even within the Islamic community, to be completely unaware of the importance of the feminine in Islam. Perhaps it is due in part to the interiority of the Feminine presence in Islam, this aspect of the culture and religion is widely unknown, though extremely important (Schimmel, “My Soul Is a Woman”). In recent years there has been much discussion and controversy over the role of women in Islam, however when looking at the most viewed and valued poetry of Majnun and Layla the role of the Feminine becomes fairly clear. As seen with how Layla responds to Majnun, the role of the Feminine in Islam is to be the counter balance to the Masculine. In short, just as Layla acts as both the spiritual reminder and voice of reason to Majnun, so too is the role of the Feminine in general (Galian, “The Centrality of the Devine Feminine in Sufism”).
Although according to Islam both masculine and feminine equally have their origin in the Divine, it does well to take a look at the feminine in Islam and remember that the feminine is not to be viewed as weaker than the masculine. In fact, in sources of Islam and in the Sufi tradition growing said sources, there is a strong preference for the feminine aspect of Allah, and often women are portrayed of being most accepting of the truth that the Devine is the only thing of true importance in the world (Galian, “The Centrality of the Devine Feminine in Sufism”).
“Allah is Creator.” This divine function is on the masculine side, representing the aspects of action, force, movement, rigor; Allah is the lawgiver. But then there is also the opposite of this, a sort of undoing or unmaking aspect of...

... middle of paper ...

...n manifestations of Allah’s jalâl (masculine) attributes. The deeper side of Islam, which can be more difficult to appreciate, is kept within the Allah’s feminine attributes, that is the loving, forgiving, merciful Divine Presence that draws hearts closer. This is the unending jamâl (female) aspects of Allah's Beauty (Galian, “The Centrality of the Devine Feminine in Sufism”). The prevalence of Allah's feminine nature is established in a hadith qudsi: “rahmatî sabaqat ghadabî” (My mercy precedes My wrath).

Works Cited

Galian, Laurence. "THE CENTRALITY OF THE DIVINE FEMININE IN SUFISM." 2nd Annual Hawaii International Conference on Arts & Humanities. N.p., 2004. Web. 4 Feb. 2014.
Rūmī, Jalāl Al-Dīn, and J. A. Mojaddedi. The Masnavi. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2007. Print.
Schimmel, Annemarie. My Soul Is a Woman: The Feminine in Islam. New York: Continuum, 1997. Print.

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