Separating Religion From Culture As A Large Failing At Understanding The Cultural Perspective Of Gender

Separating Religion From Culture As A Large Failing At Understanding The Cultural Perspective Of Gender

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Separating religion from culture would be a large failing at understanding the cultural perspective of gender. It is impossible to clearly comprehend why gender roles exist without understanding one of society 's largest influences; that being religion. Religion both shapes and is shaped by culture and has everything to do with the roles, rules and place women take in society. To illustrate this point, this paper will examine two of the most influential/largest religions in the world; that of the Islamic faith and the Christian faith, and look at how these religions shaped the status of women within the respective cultures depending on the culture of the time.
In order to examine the Islamic religion and how women’s roles have been shaped over time, we must examine the time before the prophet Mohammed became the prophet and started one of the most followed religions in the world. “According to Jane Smith, several centuries before the prophet Mohammed there developed in the Arabian Peninsula a patrilineal and patrilocal family structure, which viewed women as property and restricted their sphere of activity to the home.” (Sharma 22) This is important to highlight, as there tends to be a cultural influence in the development and practise of religion. This is even more true in Islam, as “Islam is an all-encompassing world-view that does not separate religion from law and society, faith from power, its study requires us to look at the intersections between religion, history, politics and culture.” (Course Manual 149)
So, we understand the pre-Islamic state of the Arabian Peninsula, now we must look at how the prophet Muhammed viewed the status and role of women based on this cultural influence. What becomes immediately apparent...


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...ances for women, and in some countries, such as Egypt, Iraq and Kuwait, women constitute very significant numbers of the university population.” (Sharma 246) Another area is which women are regaining their rights, has to do with marriage rights. “Today the right of a male member of the family to contract an engagement for a girl against her wishes has been legally revoked in most places, although it is still a common practise, especially in rural areas.” (Sharma 237) Again, we are seeing a shift back to the true religious text and the intended meaning behind it. As much as change is taking place in Islamic faith based cultures, this change is reflective of the cultural values that are held. Islamic women do not want to see women’s liberation in the Western sense. They want to see change in their own terms, still holding true to the fundamental beliefs of the Qur’an.

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