Sociology: Muslim and Western Women

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Topic: Sociology
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Introduction

Globalization has had significant impacts on the lives of many people in different continents. However, the Muslim society has resisted various attempts to brainwash it with western ideologies. Most Islamic issues have not changed even though there has been an improvement in their lifestyle.

Women are very vulnerable to changes that occur in society because they are easily influenced to follow modern lifestyles and embrace issues that bring different fashions and trends in their life. Muslim women have a special place in society due to their unique personalities and lifestyles that continue to puzzle critics and cast doubts as to whether or not modernity will have a major impact on their lives.

On the other hand, western women are believed to be ready and set to go for any changes that will make them comfortable regardless of what other people will think about them. This discussion compares the lives of Muslim and western women in the social, political and economic scenes.

Social Issues

The position of a Muslim woman has never been challenged by any issue in her society and she has always accepted to play the fool in all matters. The lives of Muslim women are dictated by the Islamic culture that has norms which direct their behavior. These women are not supposed to challenge men in any issue and thus they are very loyal and submissive to their husbands.

The decisions made by their husbands are final whether they are right or wrong. Women have been oppressed by this religion and that is why men dominate all Islamic societies. The Islamic religion and culture form the basis of determining what women should do or not and this explains why most Islamic women have no say in their families. Western women are aggressive and can challenge men on various issues.

They are not less equal than their male counterparts and this means that they are not limited by their sexual orientation to be less equal to men. They demand respect and equality from social institutions so that they can do what men do and that is why they are considered to be free.

In addition, the western culture has granted them the liberty to do what they want regardless of what men will think about them and this explains why there are so many conflicts in western societies compared to Islamic ones.

Secondly, Muslim women have no say when it comes to marriage and men can decide to have a second, third or fourth wife provided they are able to take care of them. Islam allows men to marry more than one woman without having to seek consent from the first wife or give reasons for doing so. This explains why most Muslim women are in polygamous marriages.

On the other hand, western women believe that they have a right to decide what is good or bad for them and that their husbands cannot marry second wives without their consent. In addition, western culture does not recognize or support polygamy because women have fought to ensure that men marry only one wife. This culture dictates that a man must divorce his first wife before marrying another but this is not common in Islamic culture.

In addition, Muslims do not consider divorce a ticket for men to marry a second wife. Western women are very agile when it comes to issues about marriage and they are quick to seek legal interventions when their husbands think of marrying second wives.

Thirdly, Muslim women do not have choices when it comes to marriage and their traditions dictate that they should get married irrespective of their social, political or career aspects. The issue of celibacy is unheard of in Islamic societies and all women are supposed to get married and start their families. Muslims consider marriage a rite of passage and thus every person must pass through it.

The Quran advocates for all people to get married and have children and this is a requirement that no Muslim should violate. All Muslims are supposed to get married when they attain the age of 16 years and above and even though this is considered to be child abuse most of them do not get married at this age especially those living in non-Muslim countries.

However, women living in Islamic countries have no alternative and most of them get married when they are less than 20 years old. This means that Islam places a lot of emphasis on marriage and the establishment of families than on the rights of children to education and other privileges. Western women are very different when it comes to marriage. First, marriage is a personal choice and not a compulsory requirement.

This means that they are free to get married or remain single for the rest of their lives. The need to pursue their careers and live a single life has forced western women to seek legal protection from their parents and communities to ensure nobody forces them, to get married. Most western countries have strict laws that ensure women are not forced to get married.

In addition, they can decide to marry whoever they want without the interference of their parents or society. On the contrary, Muslim women do not have the right to choose their marriage partners.

Most of them are usually married to suitors that offer the best bride price and those that are in good terms with their parents. Celibacy is a common aspect in western cultures and most women pursue their careers and get married when they are aged above 35 years. In addition, some of them do not even bother about marriage and decide to live without getting into one.

Moreover, childbearing is considered a blessing in Islamic culture and thus women are supposed to bear as many children as possible. An average Muslim family has eight members (two parents and six children). Muslims consider children to be blessings and source of cheap labor for the family; therefore, they are usually motivated to have as many as possible to ensure their families are large.

The need to name all members of the family and meet customary requirements pushes men to marry more than one wife and thus women have no say when it comes to childbearing. They are supposed to give children without the use of any family planning methods because the Quran dictates that families should reproduce as much as possible.

Muslim women have no say when it comes to the number of children they can bear; therefore, their work is to give birth until when their bodies will no longer be able to conceive. However, medical conditions can exempt them from conceiving and this becomes a gateway for their husbands to marry other wives.

A woman who cannot conceive is considered cursed in the Islamic society and thus she must be prepared to suffer the humiliation associated with barrenness. Most western women use modern family planning methods to ensure they have very small families. An average western family consists of four people (two parents and two children).

Most women get married around the age of between 26-30 years and start to plan their families as soon as they get married then get two children and stop having more.

The issue of celibacy is a personal choice in the western world and women have the right to decide whether they want to get married and have children or not. Some women can decide to get married but this does not mean that they must get children. In addition, others may decide not to get married and nobody will force or ridicule them for making this decision.

Prostitution is considered a sin in Islamic societies and men are required to marry more than one wife to ensure the number of unmarried women is reduced. This society does not promote prostitution because it is a sin that should be eliminated by all members of society. Members found fornicating are punished severely depending on their Islamic beliefs.

Some may be stoned to death while others excommunicated and this means that Islam does not condone this practice. Muslims believe that all women should be married to ensure they are tied to families and avoid fornicating. This explains why polygamy is promoted in Islamic societies. A woman is not supposed to have an intimate affair with a man unless they are married.

Pre-marital sex is discouraged and punished by Islamic laws to ensure youths have high moral values. However, the western world is a care-free society where everybody does what they think is good for them. Prostitution is considered a way of earning income and there are bodies that protect the rights of prostitutes.

They are not exempted from taxation and they have registered designated places to conduct their businesses from without fear of interference from the public. Pre-marital sex is considered a rite of passage by youths whose parents do not bother about what they do. This means that fornication and pre-marital sex are just ordinary daily events in western societies.

Women live a care-free life even though there are religious and cultural issues that prohibit fornication and adultery in this society. The need to enjoy personal freedom and rights has abused the importance of abstinence, chastity, and faithfulness in families and marriages. Divorce cases are very high in western societies because women have a lot of unnecessary rights and freedoms that expose marriages to regular conflicts.

However, Islamic societies have very few divorce case because women place a lot of emphasis on protecting and building their marriages. The need to be responsible wives and prepare a bright future for children makes Islamic women focus on the importance of family virtues and not the need to fight for freedom and rights that will expose them to moral decadence.

In addition, the issue of single parenthood is unheard of in Islamic societies because women are not allowed to have children out of wedlock. Early pregnancies and those conceived out of marriage are considered to be curses and their victims face stiff penalties from societal and religious leaders. Therefore, Muslim women ensure they keep their bodies untouched until when they get married to avoid early pregnancies.

Older Muslim women are role models for young girls and they spend a lot of time advising them on how to be responsible wives in the future. The relationship between Muslim women is very strong because of the need to provide emotional and moral support to each other to ensure their families coexist and become successful.

Muslim ladies attend frequent counseling before they get married to ensure they are prepared for it and can manage various family challenges that usually affect marriages. This explains why the role of Muslim women in marriages cannot be underestimated and they are indispensable when it comes to laying the foundation of successful families. On the contrary, single parenthood appears to be the modern trend in western countries.

Women fear parental and marriage responsibilities and that is why most of them are divorced or get children before getting married. Women’s position in western societies has threatened men and most of them fear getting married to career women. In addition, family values have become a difficult test for western women and thus they are not willing to commit their time and energy to attend to their families or children.

Economic Issues

Muslim women were the first to have the right to own property in ancient traditional societies even though they were considered to be the most oppressed ones. Their society considered the role they played in establishing strong family values and protecting the rights of their members and that is why it was necessary to enable them to own property to ensure they performed their duties properly.

Muslim women were regarded as the pillars of their families and it was important to ensure they had adequate resources to ensure the needs of their husbands and children were attended to properly.

Western women were granted the right o own property after intensive lobbying and activism by human right groups and other organizations. This means that the western society was coerced to allow women to own property and that is why there are still conflicts over property ownership in these societies.

Very few Muslim women participate in business activities because of the nature of their families and their responsibilities to their husbands and children. Most Muslim families have businesses that are operated by all mature members and this gives women opportunities to participate in running their family investments.

Very few Muslim women have independent investments because of their strict religious teachings that do not allow them to interact freely with men. However, western women are risk takers and do not hesitate to invest their income in profitable businesses.

They are free to invest in local or foreign countries provided they can monitor and manage their investments. They can travel for business trips for days or weeks without worrying about their families, and nobody will question them about their long absence from home. Commercial institutions give loans to independent women in western societies, but this is not possible in Islamic regions because no financial institution is ready to risk giving loans to them.

Public Issues

Western women can contest for different positions (presidency, senator, governor or Member of Parliament) without restrictions from men or the state. This means that they are free to compete with men in similar positions and campaign for political support from all quarters. These societies have granted women permission to vie for different political offices and offer the public their services.

Affirmative actions have ensured that women are given equal opportunities to compete for the limited public positions available in governments. These women have been brought up in families that recognize and promote the girl child to ensure she attains the highest level of education. Career advancements and civic space have opened room for women to head government institutions and businesses because of their leadership skills.

Also, they participate in sports and games without discrimination to ensure they use their talents wisely. Muslim women have limited space when it comes to participation in public activities. First, they are not allowed to interact freely with men, and this is the source of their predicaments.

Their societies do not consider them fit to hold public offices because this will expose them to issues that may affect their religious beliefs and customs. Also, they are not allowed to participate or contest for political positions because of the evils associated with politics.

Muslims do not allow women to be above them because this violates their religious teachings; therefore, they do not hold leadership positions in politics or economy. Lastly, Muslim women are not allowed to compete with men because this is perceived to be a lack of respect for their heads.