Why Are Women Turning to Islam? [Electronic resources] نسخه متنی

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Why Are Women Turning to Islam

At a time when Islam is faced with hostile media
coverage particularly where the status of women in Islam is concerned, it may be
quite surprising to learn that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the
world, and even more ironic to discover that the majority of converts to Islam

The status of women is society is neither a new issue nor is
it a fully settled one, and where Islam is mentioned, for many the term 'Muslim
Women' prompts images of exhausted mothers chained to the stove, 'victims'
suppressed in a life of indoctrination, frantic to be westernised and so on.
Others will go to great lengths to explain how the hijaab is an obstacl,
clouding the mind, and comment that female converts are either brainwashed,
stupid or traitors to their sex. I reject such accusations and pose to them the
following question: why is it that so many women who have been born and brought
in the so called 'civilised' societies of Europe and America are willing to
reject their 'liberty' and 'independence' to embrace a relligion that supposedly
oppresses them and is widely assumed to be prejudicial to them?

As a Christian convert to Islam, I can only present my
personal experience and reasons for rejecting the 'freedom' that women claim to
have in this society in favour of the only Religion that truly liberates women
by giving us a staus and position which is completely unique when compared with
that of non-muslim counterparts.

Before coming to Islam, I had strong feminist
tendencies and recognised that where the women was concerned, a lot of shuffling
around had been going on, yet without being able to pin her on the social map.
The problem was ongoing: new 'women's issues' being raised without the previous
ones being satisfactorily resolved. Like the many women who shared my
background, I would accuse Islam of being a sexist religion, discriminating,
oppressing and giving men the greater priveleges. All this coming from a person
who did not even know Islam, one who had been blinded due to ignorance and had
accepted this deliberately distorted definition of Islam.

However, despite my criticisms of Islam, inwardly I
wasn't satisfied with my own status as a women in this society. It seemed to me
that society would define such terms as 'liberty' and 'freedom' and then these
definitions were accepted by women without us even attempting to question or
challenge them. There was clearly a great contradiction between what women were
told in theory and what actually happens in practice.

The more I pondered, the greater emptiness I felt
within. I was slowly beginning to reach a stage where my dissatisfaction with my
status as a women in this society, was really a reflection of my greater
dissatisfaction with society itself. Everything seemed to be degenerating
backwards, despite the claims that the 1990's was going to be the decade of
success and prosperity. Something vital seemed to be missing from my life and
nothing would fill this vaccuum. Being a Christian did not do anything for me,
and I began to question the validity of only remembering God one day a week -
Sundays! As with many other Christians too, I had become disillusioned with the
hypocrisy of the Church and was becoming increasingly unhappy with the concept
of Trinity and the deification of Jesus. Eventually, I began to look into Islam.
At first, I was only interested in looking at those issues which specifically
dealt with women. I was surprised. What I read and learned taught me a lot about
myself as a woman, and also about where the real oppression of women lies: in
every other system and way of life outside of Islaam. Muslim women have been
given their rights in every aspect of the religion with clear definitions of
their role in society - as had men - with no injustice against either of them.
As Allaah says:

Whoever does deeds of
righteousness, be they male or female, and have faith, they will enter paradise
and not the least injustice will be done to them [Nisaa

So having amended my misconceptions about the true
status of women in Islaam, I was now looking further. I wanted to find that
thing which was going to fill the vaccuum in my life. My attention was drawn
towards th beliefs and practices of Islaam. It was only through establishing the
fundmentals that I would understand where to turn and what to prioritise. These
are often the areas which receive little attention or controversy in society,
and when studying the Islamic Creed, it becomes clear why this is the case: such
concise, faultless and wholly comprehensive details cannot be found
By the University of Essex Islamic Society

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