Woman Can’t Drive In Islam? And other misconceptions..

Years ago, I watched an episode in a very famous talk show (I mean, very very famous :wink:), about how do women live around the world. It was years ago, but there was a saying that bothers me until now. Explaining how women live in Saudi Arabia, it was said on the show:

“Due to strict islamic laws, women are not allowed leaving their houses without a male guardian’s permission, they are not allowed to drive, they are wearing a cloth that covers up their entire body including their faces, until now the practise to marry under-aged woman is still exist.”

And after the line had been said, there was a profile of a very beautiful Saudi female newscaster, brutally beaten by her husband. Giving conclusion that due to strict islamic laws, it is okay for woman to be beaten badly by her husband. That is just… stupid.

So yes, I am not going to deny it. From many sources that I have read, women’s life in Saudi is very different. Yes, they are not allowed to drive for some reasons that I think ridiculous. They have a male guardian that has absolute power towards them. Many Saudi men, hit their wives badly. Women must cover their entire body including faces. Yes, yes those are all true.

But what people tend to forget is, Islam is not Saudi Arabia. Yes, Prophet Muhammad salallahu alaihi wasalam is an Arab, BUT the people who were trying to kill and abuse him are also Arabs! Islam is a religion, not a race, not a nation.

Before Islam, there was Arab already. And before Islam, Arab already had their own culture. And like many other nations in the world, long time ago, women were highly oppressed by the ancient culture. Even more barbaric. The ancient Arabs, would bury their daughters alive, would give their female relatives as gifts, ancient Arab men could have thousands of mistresses. Woman was nothing than a breeding machine, and a sexual object. And after Islam, men can only have 2, 3, 4, or 1 (highly recommended, if they are afraid to not be able to treat them fairly). They are not for sale anymore, and if a man gave a woman dowry for marriage, it belongs to the woman, not the father, EVEN when that man divorce her, the dowry will still be hers. And after Islam, woman can say NO for marriage proposals. After Islam, women are the object of love, and better, their voices are counted in politics. And also, Arab do not make up muslim population.

So, if Arab does not make up the muslim population, who does? According to the Pew Research Center’s informative report, Mapping the Muslim World, “more than 60% of the global Muslim population is in Asia and about 20% in the Middle East and Northern Africa.”  The ten largest Muslim populations by country are as follows:

  • Indonesia 202 million
  • Pakistan 174 million
  • India 160 million
  • Bangladesh 145 million
  • Egypt 78.5 million
  • Nigeria 78 million
  • Iran 74 million
  • Turkey 73 million
  • Algeria 34 million
  • Morocco 32 million

Once again, Islam is not a one race, it is a religion. You see, even Saudi Arabia does not in the top 10. And in fact, China has more Muslims than Syria; Russia is home to more Muslims than Jordan and Libya combined; and Germany has more Muslims than Lebanon.

But muslim women use headscarf! Yes, but those are just clothes. And of course there are islamic rules on how the clothes are acceptable in Islam, but not because it is cultural (well, face-cover is cultural according to most islamic scholars — but I highly respect the opinion that says it is obligatory eventhough I am not following it –) but merely for the symbol of obidience to God. And FYI, since thousands of years ago, covering heads ALREADY is a symbol of obidiende to God. And let’s look at the picture below 😀

The difference is, Islamic dress-code is not only for exclusive groups, they are for all muslims.

And then about marrying under-aged girls, because of the history of the Prophet. If you read history carefully, all nations at that time is doing the practise. Why? Because the level of mature-ness for old time people is not to be compared by modern people. At that time, in every nation, women were married in a very young age (compare to our age now). So, 10 years old girl fifteen centuries ago, is a lot more mature than 15 years old now. And besides, what are we debating anyway? Of course, I do not encourage woman to marry before getting enough education, but hello?? In western countries, we can find many 11 years old girl who are sexually active! So, why pointing fingers on a religion? Strange, huh? And do I have to also addressed all Christians by the practise of FLDS priests (where woman are treated worse than bad Arab men treat their wives)?? Who have over 40 wives and many of them are under-aged girls too? Be fair, will ya? 😉

I actually don’t care about people perception on me regarding my religion – -for people who knows me well, they know how grateful and proud I am to be a muslima –, but saying that I am an Arab-maniac is just not acceptable for me. Specially me, who grew-up with a mindset that Arab people are rude, harsh, racist, etc.  Well, by time I have found many many nice Arab people, but the news about how they treat housemaids from Indonesia… Hmmmmm -no comment-… I am not Arab, don’t want to be one, I have my own nationality. – Not a racist comment, I will always be an Indonesian 😀 – (Okay, I might marry people from another country but that’s a different story :wink:)

So, how woman live in Saudi Arabia is not because strict Islamic law, but because the acculturation of Arab tradition and Islam. Stop talking trash for things you know so little about. It disgusts me.

  1. #1 by janey on January 7, 2011 - 3:25 am

    loved your post….just posted something similar and was browsing the topic

  2. #2 by jnana on December 28, 2010 - 1:55 am

    Firstly, very pretty picture!
    And secondly, you’re right- Saudia Arabia is an islamic country in name, but it’s laws are based on the extreme interpretations of extreme people.
    And thirdly, people have to stop putting the spotlight on the middle east for any ‘wrong’ thing that happens in the world- there are many cruel and inhuman Arabs who would beat their own family, just as there are these SAME things in ALL cultures- including the land Oprah’s in (I remember seeing that episode and fuming). There is so much child abuse and worse that happens in the West- it is just when it is in the Middle East that they have to wrap it with the name of Islam and accuse our religion.

    • #3 by rialive on December 28, 2010 - 7:33 am

      Exactly, sister Jnana..
      I even read a brother burned his sister alive only because she has a picture showing her face!
      Can you imagine what will he do when he saw my picture up there?!
      he will chop me into pieces and feed me to dogs! *extreme!* Sooooo not Islamic!

      And in their lands, they forgot FLDS? Have they look at their daughters behaviour in such an early age? Double standards..
      When they know how Islam really is, they will be so surprised how it can be the solution for Arabs and them.

      Wallahu alam bishawab

  3. #4 by mona on December 27, 2010 - 10:20 pm

    Alhamdulillah I am living in Indonesia.
    Where Islamic values are respected not in wrong ways.
    But I do believe there are many good people in Saudi (probably need walls to fall on their heads), and also, there are bad people in Indonesia as well.
    Those people are just hating Islam, and stupid Saudis dont help either.

    • #5 by rialive on December 27, 2010 - 10:28 pm

      Yes kak Mona..
      In fact, female abuse and oppression are happening around the world, even in western side of the planet, not only Arabs.
      Rape, domestic violence, sexual exploitation, under-aged sexual activities, slavery…
      But we have to admit, we have highly expectations on Arabs because Rasulullah salallhu alaihi wasalam was from it.
      I guess that is even their reason to justify their behaviour..

  4. #6 by Farsilla Khan on December 27, 2010 - 4:00 pm

    indeed you are right. most western wrongly judge ISLAM n the said unreal things while they never try to know more about islam. n also i can say most western are busy body. they like to judge other people countries n try to fix them by war meanwhile why dont they just fix their own country. mind their own business


    • #7 by rialive on December 27, 2010 - 4:04 pm

      yes, exactly, Silla..
      And also not to generalized all muslims only because they had seen some bad muslims..
      Right? 😉

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