Does “Islamic religious fundamentalism” force women into their homes!? What is the historical narrative?
One might argue to look at history, how Islam is a 7th century barbarian ideology that keeps women locked up in houses. Why look at history, just look at the misogynist Allama Shafi, who’s tamarind paradigm was held as an example of how Islam is barbaric contrasted to modern, “secular ethos.”
When people point at “Islamic fundamentalism”, they do not fail to mention the historical roots; how Muhammad was a mass murderer, how Islam subjugated other religions and women by force. Yet history shows that women in Islam, have historically held high position, socially and legally.
Shaykh Mohammad Akram Nadwi’s seminal work al- Muhaddithat (the women hadith scholars) brings to light the lives and works of 8000 (!) women who devoted their lives to the study of Hadith only. Relegating the Muslim woman only to the role of a mother and housewife (please Allama Shafi) is a relatively modern phenomenon (didn’t Ayesha lead an army and didn’t Umm Salama avert a crisis at Hudaybiyyah?). Shaykh Nadwi shows that the definitive cause to this complex and multi-faceted problem is hotly debated but he point out several reasons:
1. The theological precedent of Judeo- Christian tradition, that Eve is only to be blamed for the fall of man.
2. The internationalization of misogynism, by western colonial authorities who excluded women from teaching in mosques and assuming political roles in the Muslim societies they colonised, as was as Aisha Bewley, writer and translator of the Qur’an describes.
3. The cultural taboos of Muslim lands.
This list is small, but worth a try: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_female_Muslim_scholars
The Historical Scholarly standing of women in Islam: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwihHlqqvqI