How do I find Muslim women

The role of women in Islam

Equal before God, but the man inherits more

Men and women are both equal before God and therefore have equal rights, says the Koran. Islamic scholars agree on this.

But because men and women are physically different and therefore have different strengths and weaknesses, according to the Koran, God has assigned them different tasks. According to the teaching of the Koran, the rights of the one therefore also result in the duties of the other and vice versa.

In Islam, for example, a man is obliged to provide for his family by himself. He has to answer to God that his family is well. On the other hand, if a woman earns her own money through her work, she does not have to give any of it to the family.

That is why men and women are taken into account differently in terms of inheritance: women inherit only half of the property that a man would be entitled to because he also has to provide for his relatives from it.

The woman, on the other hand, has the main responsibility for the well-being of the children. In the first few years in particular, she is the most important person in her children's lives.

That a mother should breastfeed her baby if she is able to do so is expressly stated in the Koran - and also that she can even demand financial compensation from her ex-husband in the event of a divorce (Sura 65: 6).

Marriage and divorce are precisely regulated in the Koran

According to the Koran, a man can marry several women, but must then treat them equally financially and emotionally. Women are not allowed to have several husbands at the same time, but they can decide for themselves when and whom to marry. And they have the right to use a prenuptial agreement to prevent their husband from marrying other women.

This is in the traditions of the Prophet Mohammed. Divorce is also allowed and according to Sura 2: 227 it may come from both sides.

But there are also some passages in the Qur'an that are sometimes interpreted as evidence of the superiority of men over women. Sura 4, for example, speaks of the fact that men "stand above women", which many scholars understand to mean that men are allowed to rule over women. And in the same sura men are also allowed to admonish "unruly women" to avoid them in the marriage bed and also to beat them.

Often the decision is made by tradition, not the Koran

The everyday life of Muslim believers - like that of Christians too - is shaped not only by religious texts, but also by centuries-old traditions. That is why theory and practice differ in many areas of life, and many women are much more restricted in their everyday life by cultural traditions than the Koran foresees.

There is a big difference in school education. According to the Koran, God has commanded men and women alike to continue their education. "The pursuit of knowledge is a duty for every Muslim, man or woman," said the prophet Mohammed in the 7th century.

But in fact, many Muslim girls are still denied a comprehensive school education. "The costs and also the risk to their good reputation would simply be too great," says Christine Schirrmacher, Islamic scholar and professor at the University of Bonn.

After all, a longer school visit, especially in rural areas, often means that the girls have to move to another city and are therefore no longer in the care of the family.

Tradition also often dictates that girls can only be taught by women. That is why the girls in countries like Afghanistan or Pakistan usually only go to local school for a few years. After that, they stay home again to help the mother and learn everything they need to know about housekeeping and child-rearing until they are married at 16 to 20 years of age.

"House arrest from puberty"

The Qur'an requires the dignity of women to be valued just as highly as the dignity of men. The clothing regulations that are intended to protect this dignity also apply to both sexes. Muslim clothing should cover the believers in such a way that they do not attract the interests of the opposite sex. Women should also cover their hair with a "hijab" (translated roughly: veil or cloth) because this is considered to be particularly feminine and therefore seductive.

While many Muslim women in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan or Sudan, for example, are forced by their families to wear headscarves or full-body veils by their families at the latest from puberty, many women in Western countries in particular also voluntarily choose the headscarf as a symbol of their religion - sometimes even against the will of their liberal families.

There can therefore be no simple answer to the question of the meaning of the headscarf. The London journalist Nesrine Malik, who grew up in Sudan and had to wear the niqab veil against her will for years, writes: "Anyone who wants to allow Muslim women in the West to wear the headscarf for religious reasons forgets that this freedom is often determined by social pressure And whoever rejects it because it allegedly oppresses women is blaming them with their own views on their motivation. "

In many Muslim families it is still the ultimate goal that a woman be well married and marry as a virgin. To achieve this goal, many young girls in Muslim countries are still practically locked up today.

"House arrest from puberty - in order to guarantee their virginity, millions of Muslim women are sentenced to do domestic work and to eternal boredom," writes the Islamic critic and women's rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali in her book "I Accuse". For boys and men, however, such restrictions do not apply.

Some restrictions are "incompatible with Islam"

In some Muslim countries, women's rights are much more restricted than in others. "In many places there are conditions that are incompatible with Islam," says the Muslim author Emina Corbo-Mesic. "Worse still: In some countries human and women's rights have been restricted on the grounds of wanting to protect women" - in front of the intrusive looks, gestures or physical attacks of men.

In countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran or Afghanistan, particularly strict rules apply to women. Iran excludes women from many sporting events; one activist was sentenced to one year in prison for attending a men's volleyball game.

In Saudi Arabia women are under the tutelage of male relatives - father or brother, husband or son - for their entire life. Without their written permission, they are not allowed to undergo medical examinations or operations, nor are they allowed to travel.

Women in Saudi Arabia were also banned from driving a car until 2018. "These restrictions cannot be justified by the Koran or Islam - women used to ride camels on their own," says Şuayip Seven, research assistant at the Center for Islamic Theology at the University of Münster.

In more liberal Muslim societies like Turkey, on the other hand, state and religion are separated from one another in many areas. Until 2013, there was a ban on headscarves in public spaces: women were only allowed to enter universities, libraries or courtrooms without a headscarf. Women in Turkey and other countries like Morocco and Tunisia have long enjoyed the same rights - at least on paper.

And theoretically, they also have the same career opportunities as men. The politician Tansu Çiller became the first Turkish Prime Minister in 1993, long before a woman, Angela Merkel, was elected Chancellor in Germany for the first time in 2005. However, Çiller has so far remained the only woman at the top of Turkey.

WDR | Status: 06/26/2019, 10:45 am