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It indicates the ability to send an email. Twitter icon A stylized bird with an open mouth, tweeting. His first question after, "Where are you from? A tone? A manner? He asked with eagerness; he asked with pride, there was a confidence in his voice. He explained, straining for the English vocabulary that the regime had controlled how Egyptians thought about themselves. Now we think about ourselves differently. It became the title of his book, "Karama," dignity. What is the role of Islam in this new identity and what does Islam mean for Arab women?

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The new youth are not looking toward the West for answers. They imagine a distinctly Egyptian democracy rooted in Islamic values. More women are wearing the hijab, as more men are wearing the gallabiya the comfortable robe of traditional Egyptian outerwear. In fact, the young women are wearing the hijab quite fashionably, wearing it in multiple colors, along with stylish jeans, skirts and close fitting t-shirts, expressing a confidence in their sexual identity.

What are the current meanings of the hijab? What are the roots of this new self-confidence? Unnoticed by the Western press Muslim women are leading their own revival of Islam, a mix of social activism and Islamic values, nurtured by their own study of the Qur'an, the Sharia and the fiqh. Muslim feminists are proud of their Islamic heritage. Early Islam prohibited infanticide, provided women rights to inheritance and ownership of property; divorce and remarriage; to testify in court and polygamy limited to four wives.

During Islam's formative period women participated in religion and warfare; the wives of the Mohammed contributed narratives of the prophet's life and teachings, hadith, that became part of the authoritative tradition of Islam. Islamic feminist scholars like Riffat Hassan argue the practice of Islam is more patriarchal than the revealed text of the Qur'an, hence offering Muslim women greater opportunities to extend their fields of activity and take their place alongside men in reforming society.

Men and women are created equal, share equally in moral responsibility before God and have the same responsibility for keeping the precepts of Islam. In the Qura'nic suras 2, 7, 20 that deal with creation, Adam and his wife unnamed participate together in the rebellion that led to banishment.

The Social System and Morality of Islam

The rebellion itself is called an error zalla , not a fundamental change in human nature. The woman's consent was imperative, either by active consent or silence [32]. Furthermore, the offer and acceptance had to be made in the presence of at least two witnesses. If they do that, then abandon their beds and beat them with a beating that is not harmful.

And if they obey you then you have no cause against them. Indeed you have rights over your women, and your women have rights over you.


As for your rights over your women, then they must not allow anyone whom you dislike to treat on your bedding furniture , nor to admit anyone in your home that you dislike. And their rights over you are that you treat them well in clothing them and feeding them.

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John Esposito states that "women were given inheritance rights in a patriarchal society that had previously restricted inheritance to male relatives," [13] Similarly, Annemarie Schimmel wrote that "Compared to the pre-Islamic position of women, Islamic legislation meant an enormous progress; the woman has the right, at least according to the letter of the law, to administer the wealth she has brought into the family or has earned by her own work" [34] Leila Ahmed argues that examples of women inheriting from male relatives in pre-Islamic Mecca and other Arabian trade cities are recorded in Islamic sources [7].

She notes that the concept of women inheriting wealth may have been more notable in an agricultural communities like Medina. According to The Oxford Dictionary of Islam , women were also granted the right to live in the matrimonial home and receive financial maintenance during marriage and a waiting period following the death and divorce. Watt states that Islam is still, in many ways, a man's religion.

However, he states that Muhammad, in the historical context of his time, can be seen as a figure who testified on behalf of women's rights and improved things considerably. Watt explains the historical context surrounding women's rights at the time of Muhammad: "It appears that in some parts of Arabia , notably in Mecca, a matrilineal system was in the process of being replaced by a patrilineal one at the time of Muhammad. Growing prosperity caused by a shifting of trade routes was accompanied by a growth in individualism.

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Men were amassing considerable personal wealth and wanted to be sure that this would be inherited by their own actual sons, and not simply by an extended family of their sisters' sons. Haddad and Esposito state that "although Islam is often criticized for the low status it has ascribed to women, many scholars believe that it was primarily the interpretation of jurists, local traditions, and social trends which brought about a decline in the status of Muslim women. In this view Muhammad granted women rights and privileges in the sphere of family life, marriage, education, and economic endeavors, rights that help improve women's status in society.

The economics of these early Muslim societies were not favorable to comfortable life for women. More important, during Islam's second and third centuries the interpretation of the Qur'an was in the hands of deeply conservative scholars, whose decisions are not easy to challenge today. Others argue that this perspective is based solely on Islamic records of pre-Islamic Arabs, written centuries after Islam's emergence, and that pre-Islamic Arabs were less misogynistic than the above view gives them credit for. The Qur'an rejected the pre-Islamic idea of children as their fathers' property and abolished the pre-Islamic custom of adoption.

Giladi holds that Quran's rejection of the idea of children as their fathers' property was a Judeo-Christian influence and was a response to the challenge of structural changes in tribal society. The Quran also replaced the pre-Islamic custom of adoption assimilation of an adopted child into another family in a legal sense by the recommendation that believers treat children of unknown origin as "their brothers in the faith and clients" [43].

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Adoption was viewed "as a lie, as an artificial tie between adults and children, devoid of any real emotional relationship, as a cause of confusion where lineage was concerned and thus a possible source of problems regarding marriage between members of the same family and regarding inheritance.

But a child that was not born into a family can still be raised by a foster family but the child must retain his identity, such as his last name and lineage. The prophet has stated that a person who assists and aids an orphan, is on the same footing in heaven to the prophet himself.

Sociologist Robert N. Bellah Beyond Belief argues that Islam in its 7th-century origins was, for its time and place, "remarkably modern This because, he argues, that Islam emphasized on the equality of all Muslims. Leadership positions were open to all. However, there were restraints on the early Muslim community that kept it from exemplifying these principles, primarily from the "stagnant localisms" of tribe and kinship.

Dale Eickelman writes that Bellah suggests "the early Islamic community placed a particular value on individuals, as opposed to collective or group responsibility".

The Islamic idea of community that of ummah , established by Muhammad, is flexible in social, religious, and political terms and includes a diversity of Muslims who share a general sense of common cause and consensus concerning beliefs and individual and communal actions. Muslims believe that Muhammad, like other prophets in Islam , was sent by God to remind human beings of their moral responsibility , and challenge those ideas in society which opposed submission to God.

According to Kelsay, this challenge was directed against these main characteristics of pre-Islamic Arabia: [46]. These changes lay in the reorientation of society as regards to identity, world view, and the hierarchy of values. From the viewpoint of subsequent generations, this caused a great transformation in the society and moral order of life in the Arabian Peninsula. For Muhammad, although pre-Islamic Arabia exemplified "heedlessness", it was not entirely without merit.

Muhammad approved and exhorted certain aspects of the Arab pre-Islamic tradition, such as the care for one's near kin, for widows, orphans, and others in need and for the establishment of justice. However, these values would be re-ordered in importance and placed in the context of strict monotheism.

Although Muhammad's preaching produced a "radical change in moral values based on the sanctions of the new religion, and fear of God and of the Last Judgment", the pre-Islamic tribal practices of the Arabs by no means completely died out. Michael Bonner writes on poverty and economics in the Qur'an that the Qur'an provided a blueprint for a new order in society, in which the poor would be treated more fairly than before. This "economy of poverty" prevailed in Islamic theory and practice up until the 13th and 14th centuries.

At its heart was a notion of property circulated and purified, in part, through charity, which illustrates a distinctively Islamic way of conceptualizing charity , generosity, and poverty markedly different from "the Christian notion of perennial reciprocity between rich and poor and the ideal of charity as an expression of community love.

Some of the recipients of charity appear only once in the Qur'an, and others—such as orphans, parents, and beggars—reappear constantly. Most common is the triad of kinsfolk, poor, and travelers. Unlike pre-Islamic Arabian society, the Qur'anic idea of economic circulation as a return of goods and obligations was for everyone, whether donors and recipients know each other or not, in which goods move, and society does what it is supposed to do.

The Qur'an's distinctive set of economic and social arrangements, in which poverty and the poor have important roles, show signs of newness. The Qur'an told that the guidance comes to a community that regulates its flow of money and goods in the right direction from top down and practices generosity as reciprocation for God's bounty.

In a broad sense, the narrative underlying the Qur'an is that of a tribal society becoming urbanized.

Many scholars, such as Charles C. Torrey and Andrew Rippin , have characterized both the Qur'an and Islam as highly favorable to commerce and to the highly mobile type of society that emerged in the medieval Near East. Muslim tradition both hadith and historiography maintains that Muhammad did not permit the construction of any buildings in the market of Medina other than mere tents; nor did he permit any tax or rent to be taken there.

This expression of a " free market "—involving the circulation of goods within a single space without payment of fees, taxes, or rent, without the construction of permanent buildings, and without any profiting on the part of the caliphal authority indeed, of the Caliph himself —was rooted in the term sadaqa , "voluntary alms". This coherent and highly appealing view of the economic universe had much to do with Islam's early and lasting success.

Since the poor were at the heart of this economic universe, the teachings of the Qur'an on poverty had a considerable, even a transforming effect in Arabia, the Near East, and beyond. Social welfare in Islam started in the form of the construction and purchase of wells. Upon his hijra to Medina, Muhammad found only one well to be used. The Muslims bought that well, and consequently it was used by the general public. After Muhammad's declaration that "water" was a better form of sadaqah charity , many of his companions sponsored the digging of new wells.