Prior to beginning my lecture, I would like to propose some practical
suggestions. Speaking about women's rights, women's personality and
Islam's view of women differs a great deal from the realization of the
actual value which Islam gives to human beings, and to women, in
particular. Most often we are satisfied by pointing out that Islam gives
great value to science or establishes progressive rights for women.
Unfortunately we never actually use or benefit from these values or
rights. We could benefit from these if we were to act according to the
understanding which we acquire from them.
A great many people are acquainted with Islamic views of society, social
relations, women's rights, children's rights and family rights, but
these same people then actually follow non-Islamic, ancient cultural
traditions and do not dare to base their lives upon Islamic values. That
is, they do not practice what they preach. Thus we always remain at the
level of talking.
We must complete Islamic views and intellectual discussions with
practical solutions. We must find a way whereby we reach these values
and rights in practice. After proposing my views, the question should be
asked as to how we can actually put them into practice?
Throughout history the problem of women's rights and their role has
always been considered to be an intellectual problem. Thus, various
religious, philosophical and social systems have reached varying views
in this respect.
From the 18th through the 20th centuries (particularly after W.W.II) any
attempt to address the special problem of the social rights of women and
their specific characteristics has been seen as a mere by-product of a
spiritual or psychic shock or the result of a revolutionary crisis in
centers of learning or as a response to political currents and
international movements. Thus, traditional societies, historical
societies, religious societies, either in the East or in the West (be
they tribal, Bedouin civilized Muslim or non-Muslim societies in
whatever social or cultural stage of civilization they may be) have all
been directly or indirectly influenced by these thoughts, intellectual
currents and even new social realities.
Unfortunately the crisis of the problem of women and their liberation
which began in the West and has been strengthened by the ruling
superpowers in the 20th century has influenced all human societies, even
closed traditional and religious societies. There are only a few
cultural, traditional and even religious societies which have been
able to properly stand against this flood.
Such societies have frequently been confronted by a peculiar modernism
which they have adopted, under the guise of liberation of women, either
by rejecting old traditions or by under-taking blind struggles. None of
them have succeeded in standing against this attack.
In such societies the newly educated class, the pseudo-intellectuals,
who are in the majority, strongly and vigorously welcome this crisis.
They themselves even act as one of the forces that strengthens this
corrupting and destructive transformation.
In traditional religious societies, including Islamic communities,
neither group could stand against the attack of the modern view of the
liberation of women as announced by the West. The pseudo-intellectual
and modern class of Islamic and non-Islamic societies in the East
considered the modest dress to be the symbol of modern civilization,
progress and awareness. The old, traditional group passed through and
confronted this crisis with non-scientific and illogical tactics due to
their lack of experience. It is a general law that when there is a fire
resulting from a spill of oil, if someone tries to hurriedly and
unskillfully put the fire out, it only spreads more rapidly and more
Thus such unskilled struggles against the West have frequently been
performed in a manner that has created complexes and various reactions
inside such societies. In this way they have paved the way for
acceptance of Western ideas and innovations. There are very few
societies who have been able to stand against, to adequately resist, and
to show an effective reaction to the modern West by consciously
selecting their manner and form of lifestyle.
One of the most important factors that can assist Eastern societies in
confronting and standing against the intellectual and cultural attack of
the West (as it relates to the view of modern woman) is to have a rich
culture and history full of experiences, values and ideas. It is
important to have progressive human rights and, in particular, to have
perfect and complete human models in the religious history of those
societies and communities.
Fortunately from this point of view (although they have not been able to
consciously stand against the colonial attack of the West), Islamic
societies have cultural power and possibilities, have a very progressive
history, value system and religion and are in this way very rich. Thus
they can, by relying on these values and sources and by reviving and
progressing towards the high humanitarian values existing in their
culture and their past history encourage their new, young generation to
stand and resist the West's attack.
The most effective weapon to confront Western values and the most
important factor for creating a conscious struggle within the new
generation of our Islamic societies against the West's seduction is to
hold up very high, distinguished and characteristic symbols, real
personalities of Islamic history. If the lives of such personalities are
known in detail, are shown precisely, are revived and introduced
properly, scientifically, consciously, are scholastically recognized
and presented to our societies, the young generation will sense that
there is no need to accept the seductions of the West, no need to
decline in the guise of modernism. Rather, they will sense that there
are very high, elevated symbols in their own history and religion to be
followed and to be considered as models for self-reconstruction.
It must be taken into consideration that all matters related to women,
to science, to life-style, to class relationships, to scholastic
understanding, to one's world view all have been designed, described and
discussed in Islam. We have only to solve our present difficulties, to
answer the intellectual challenges, and to reduce our sensual needs.
How can we understand our values? How can we use and obtain actual
results from them? Our essential aim must be to solve the problem of
proper understanding and recognition.
The members of the Prophet's family, in the view of all of the
intellectuals of Islamic countries (who possess a more distinguished
image of them) have always been the manifestation of the most elevating
and liberating humanitarian and Islamic values. These values are not
limited to a particular tribe or even to all Muslims. Thus, all of the
people of the world can easily see and understand these symbols and
examples which have come out of a small house which is greater than the
whole of history.
Anyone who believes in the values and virtues of humanity will admit
that the symbolic role of the members of this family in various
dimensions and fields is beyond historical values of class or tribe.
They are rather the highest, meta-historical, meta-tribal values. They
are permanent symbols and examples of humanity.
Thus, anyone who is a human being respects them. Anyone who is aware of
the values of humanity, any committed intellectual in the world, will
admit the values and virtues which this small house created within the
arena of human history.
Therefore, when we describe the biography of Fatima, as one of the
members of the Prophet's family, we must learn lessons from her
personality, her role, her social, mental, and political status and use
them to guide our lives in our groups and in our societies.
The problem of proper understanding is the most important and essential
problem of our time. At the present time, the struggles of the committed
Muslim intellectuals should be directed to a proper understanding and
recognition of Islam's history and religion. This proper understanding,
including the proper understanding of Fatima, is the key to our
salvation. After W.W.II, the problem of woman was designated as being
the most important and sensitive problem in the West. The war itself was
the main cause for family relations to be split and destroyed.
Traditional religious values such as ethics, morals and spirituality
collapsed. Also, due to the war, crimes, cruelty, aggression and plunder
From the intellectual and ethical point of view, it had a very diverse
effect, causing decline upon the post war generation. Its inauspicious
effect after a quarter of a century [since W.W.II] can be seen in the
spirit, thought, philosophy and even the art of the present time.
Those who have seen France, Germany, England and even the USA [the last
of which was far from the actual field of battle], prior to the war
and visited those countries after the war, can clearly see that,
although it seems as if centuries have passed, actually the cultures
collapsed within one generation. Therefore, the fall of ethical values
was one of the natural results of the war, and woman was its bearer.
But the point must be noted that prior to the war, the West had already
started a multi-dimensional fight from the various philosophical,
mental, social, productive and cultural points of view with the Catholic
religion, the ruling religion in the Middle Ages, and thus had
unconsciously destroyed all of the ethical, intellectual and ideal
values, as well as the restrictions and limits which the church had
defended in the name of religion.
One of the values which the church defended in the name of religion was
women's rights women's values, both spiritual and social. This defense
combined with the declining, anti-female traditions, bonds and
But after the Renaissance and the development of the bourgeoisie, the
bourgeois revolution, the bourgeois culture which is the culture of
individual liberty defeated the church and consequently, with this
victory, the rule of the church over moral, spiritual, scholastic and
legal values was abolished. Thus, all of the restrictions and values
concerning women which the church had defended and supported in the name
of religion, succumbed to the rise of the bourgeoisie and its culture.
Then suddenly the problem of sexual liberation appeared. Women realized
that through the slogan of sexual liberation, all of the anti-human
limits, restrictions, and bonds which restrained them could be
destroyed. Women welcomed this change vigorously to the extent that
sexual liberation entered the arena of science!
What is normally designated as scientific understanding of religion is
not a pure scientific and scholastic understanding. It is rather a
bourgeois cognition. After the Middle Ages, science which had been in
the service of religion and the church, was made to serve the present
ruling bourgeois system. If nowadays science appears to oppose religion
and moral values, it is not really science that opposes these, but it is
the ruling bourgeois which does soy just as in the Middle Ages, it was
feudalism which defended aristocratic social-moral traditions in the
name of religion. It was Christianity which was, in fact, defending
feudalism, and now it is science which, in fact, defends the
bourgeoisie. It is intellectuals those who believe that economic and
materialistic social foundations are the basis of all social
transformations who will more easily accept my argument and logic.
Up to the appearance of Freud (who is one of the agents of the
bourgeoisie), it was through the liberal bourgeoisie spirit that
scientific sexualism was manifested. It must be taken into consideration
that the bourgeoisie is always an inferior class. Although feudalism was
an anti-human system, it, nevertheless, relied on an aristocratic elite
and their moral values even though these moral values led to a decline.
Bourgeoisie mentality negates all of the high, ascending human values
and believes in nothing except money.
Therefore, a scholar or scientist who lives, thinks and studies during
the bourgeois age, measures collective cultural and spiritual values
(the sacrifices of mankind, the martyrdoms, struggles, literature, art
etc.), with only the scale of naked economy, with production and
consumption and with nothing else. One who studies psychology or
anthropology, looking at all the dimensions and manifestations of the
mystic spirit of human beings that which religion believes to be the
spirit of God and the manifestation of metaphysical virtues sees only
unsatisfied sexual appetites. Belief, culture, mental illnesses all are
related to the struggle to release an imprisoned and condemned sexual complex. The bourgeois social scientist looks at all of the delicate
human sensations and feelings (even a mother caressing her child, the
worship of the beloved by the lover and all other issues) in
relationship to sex.
Freud, a modern bourgeoisie, armed himself against all moral and human
values, against all high and ascending manifestations of the human
soul and called it realism. Freud's "realism" was not that of the
bourgeoisie, but rather of the scientist, scholar, philosopher,
psychologist, and anthropologist who serve the bourgeoisie classy for all
of these bring the human being down to the level of a sexual and
economic animal! Thus, the bourgeoisie, by alienating all values and
virtues, made only one religion, one school, one temple and one
messenger for all miserable men of this age for whom all must be sacrificed.
This messenger was named Freud. His religion was sex. His temple was
Freudianism, and the first one who was sacrificed on the threshold of
this temple was woman and her human values.
We who live in the East always speak about Western colonialization,
but I would like to explain that this does not mean that Western
colonialization only colonizes or exploits the East. It is a world-wide
power and class that exploits and colonizes both the East and the West.
If I had the opportunity, I would explain that this power has alienated
the European masses even more than the Eastern masses. The European has
been captured by colonialization's legacy of unemployment and misery and
will continue to be so in the future. They will continue as victims of
anti-colonialism. This ruling colonial power influences Eastern people
in many ways such as, emphasis upon unimportant, sensational and
emotional matters; rumors, discrimination, and hypocrisy; and sowing
discord and pessimism to keep Easterners occupied with mundane and
unimportant issues. By these means Easterners are kept in a state
whereby they are unaware of what Western colonialization is doing to
them, unaware of their fate and destiny. These conspiracies, then cause
young Europeans, likewise, to become alienated and destructive, and
perform more tricks and crimes. All of these acts are performed in the
name of colonialization in Eastern countries without the Easterners