Thursday, December 22, 2011

Women in Islam

The corresponding video can be viewed at:

12/22/2011 12:40 pm (et) Moderator: logs in on 12/22/2011 12:40 pm (et).
12/22/2011 12:52 pm (et) Susan: private message to Moderator: logs in on 12/22/2011 12:52 pm (et).
12/22/2011 12:55 pm (et) Farhanahz Ellis: logs in on 12/22/2011 12:55 pm (et).
12/22/2011 1:00 pm (et) Moderator: Welcome! This is Rebecca from the InterFaith Conference (IFC) and I will be your moderator. Let me explain how this will work. On the right, you will see a video playing of our current topic to get the conversation going. If you have a comment and/or question send it along to me, the moderator. As long as I deem it appropriate, the comment will be posted to everyone and the speaker will have the opportunity to answer your question.
12/22/2011 1:01 pm (et) Moderator: Today, our topic is ‘Women in Islam’ with Ms. Farhanahz Ellis, Interfaith and Outreach Director at All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) and Chaplain at George Mason University
12/22/2011 1:01 pm (et) Moderator: As always, I would like to remind you of the rules of our engagement. This is a respectful place where we come together to learn more about the religions of the world. Whether you agree or disagree, we welcome your comments and questions that are posed in a respectful manner. Please no profane or offensive remarks, they will not be posted. Also, this is a place of learning, so please refrain from ‘soapboxing.’ If there are any issues or questions about this, they can be submitted along with the comments pertaining to our topic. I am here to make this a pleasant and educational experience for all, so enjoy and remember there are no stupid questions, just hostile ones!
12/22/2011 1:02 pm (et) Moderator: You can now view the beginning comments on the right. As you listen, please feel free to start sending questions or comments (YES, we want your comments). Also, the video will remain within the sidebar, so feel free to return to it as you wish. Our chat window automatically refreshes to keep the flow going, but if you wish to view the whole of the conversation, just hit the archive button. And lastly, PLEASE do not use double quotes as it leads to some issues.
12/22/2011 1:04 pm (et) ELYAA: private message to Moderator: logs in on 12/22/2011 1:04 pm (et).
12/22/2011 1:05 pm (et) Clark Lobenstine: logs in on 12/22/2011 1:05 pm (et).
12/22/2011 1:11 pm (et) Moderator: Susan said: Muslims believe the story of Adam and Eve too, correct? It is a large part of Catholic thinking on women, and anthropology in general, is there the same interest in that story as a basis?
12/22/2011 1:12 pm (et) Farhanahz Ellis: Yes, the story of Father Adam and Mother Eve are part of Islam.
12/22/2011 1:13 pm (et) Farhanahz Ellis: The main difference is that in the Islamic narrative, there's no original sin.
12/22/2011 1:14 pm (et) Farhanahz Ellis: And it is the basis of the creation of humanity.
12/22/2011 1:17 pm (et) Moderator: Susan said: So Catholic thought, especially since John Paul II, has looked to the creation as a source of man and woman's complementarity, is there some similar scholarship in Islam?
12/22/2011 1:17 pm (et) Clark Lobenstine: Good job, Farhanahz!
12/22/2011 1:18 pm (et) Farhanahz Ellis: Yes, Susan. In Islam male and female are not superior or inferior one to the other. We are not even the same. We're complimentary.
12/22/2011 1:18 pm (et) Clark Lobenstine: Why do you thinkn that so many of us have views of women in Islam?
12/22/2011 1:19 pm (et) Clark Lobenstine: that is negative views!
12/22/2011 1:20 pm (et) Moderator: ELYAA said: Men are protectors and maintainers of women because Allah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend to support them from their means.)
12/22/2011 1:20 pm (et) Farhanahz Ellis: Perhaps those views come from assumptions that have a possible base in culture, but not in the religion itself.
12/22/2011 1:20 pm (et) Moderator: Susan said: Well, why hijab? I have always wondered why that is a sign of modesty
12/22/2011 1:21 pm (et) Clark Lobenstine: logs in on 12/22/2011 1:21 pm (et).
12/22/2011 1:21 pm (et) Farhanahz Ellis: With that quote, I have always wondered why it says "one of them to excel the other" and is not more especific.
12/22/2011 1:23 pm (et) Farhanahz Ellis: People forget the culture at the time of the revelation. Perhaps we can get together in another occassion and talk about it a little bit more.
12/22/2011 1:23 pm (et) Clark Lobenstine: I'd say it is because we have the human tendency to choose the worst examples when we want to put down someone or some thing and the best examples when we want to lift somebody or something up!
12/22/2011 1:24 pm (et) Moderator: Susan said: And what do you say to the people who do say that it is Islam? I mean it seems that those countries that do oppress women point to Islam, they say 'it's our religion'.
12/22/2011 1:24 pm (et) Moderator: ELYAA said: Suzan, Have you ever seen Virgin Mary in a movie without headscarf?
12/22/2011 1:24 pm (et) Clark Lobenstine: But that may be a chicken and egg issue, because it does not answer why so many want to see Islam in a negative light.
12/22/2011 1:24 pm (et) Farhanahz Ellis: There are quite a lot of Muslim women who don't wear the veil; but of course we'll never know because we can't identify them.
12/22/2011 1:25 pm (et) Moderator: ELYAA said: or any pictures for her
12/22/2011 1:25 pm (et) Moderator: Susan said: That is very true, and for a long period of history it was customary for women to cover their heads in Church as well, I believe that really changed with Vatican II....
12/22/2011 1:25 pm (et) Moderator: Susan said: I guess that is also a cultural misunderstanding.
12/22/2011 1:26 pm (et) Farhanahz Ellis: I wonder if the way people hold to that missunderstanding is becuase at some level is comfortable for them.
12/22/2011 1:27 pm (et) Farhanahz Ellis: Oops, I meant "because".
12/22/2011 1:27 pm (et) Moderator: Susan said: I think it is easier, it takes effort to put oneself in another's shoes.
12/22/2011 1:28 pm (et) Moderator: Susan said: But still, how do you suggest changing views of women in Islam?
12/22/2011 1:28 pm (et) Farhanahz Ellis: Knowledge can cure "almost" everything.
12/22/2011 1:29 pm (et) Moderator: Susan said: And I guess a ringing question in the back of my mind is have you seen the new TV show 'All-American Muslim'? And if so, what do think? Is that giving people knowledge?
12/22/2011 1:29 pm (et) Farhanahz Ellis: The people that yells and rants against Islam the most, surely are the ones that have never taken the time to really meet a Muslim.
12/22/2011 1:29 pm (et) Moderator: ELYAA said: yes i agree
12/22/2011 1:29 pm (et) Moderator: ELYAA said: yes i agree , we need knowledge
12/22/2011 1:30 pm (et) Farhanahz Ellis: First, a disclaimer: Watched the first episode and did not like it. With that been said. We Muslims run the whole gamuth and the show proves that to certain extent.
12/22/2011 1:31 pm (et) Moderator: Susan said: Elyaa, are you also a Muslim? What do you think?
12/22/2011 1:33 pm (et) Moderator: ELYAA said: Yes, i am, do you mean abut All American Muslim show?
12/22/2011 1:34 pm (et) Moderator: Susan said: Yes, they seem to address stereotypes, so I was wondering if you felt they did a good job of that?
12/22/2011 1:34 pm (et) Moderator: Susan said: Farhanahz, you seem to hold a convincing position both as a Director at ADAMS and a Chaplain at George Mason, are people surprised when they meet you?
12/22/2011 1:34 pm (et) Moderator: Susan said: Also, breaking down stereoypes.
12/22/2011 1:34 pm (et) Farhanahz Ellis: Oh God, yes they are, LOL
12/22/2011 1:35 pm (et) Farhanahz Ellis: The first comment I hear is "But you don't look like a Muslim"
12/22/2011 1:35 pm (et) Moderator: ELYAA said: I have some observations, but by the end, there is some Benefits
12/22/2011 1:36 pm (et) Farhanahz Ellis: Perhaps because a 6 feet, assertive, Black, Hispanic, educated, opinionated woman is not the "usual" figure,
12/22/2011 1:36 pm (et) Moderator: Susan said: I would love to them, Elyaa, we all think we are being so educated watching these shows, but it is great to hear an 'inside' perspective.
12/22/2011 1:37 pm (et) Moderator: ELYAA said: Oh , that was an ayah from the holy Quran
12/22/2011 1:38 pm (et) Moderator: ELYAA said: [4:34] from the Holy Quran
12/22/2011 1:39 pm (et) Moderator: Susan said: Ahhh, I am sorry, I have had some classes on Islam, but am no great scholar!
12/22/2011 1:39 pm (et) Farhanahz Ellis: Don't worry, Susan. Neither am I.
12/22/2011 1:40 pm (et) Moderator: ELYAA said: That's ok, ....This verse emphasizes that the financial and moral responsibilities of a household is the husband's responsibility
12/22/2011 1:41 pm (et) Moderator: ELYAA said: Many people missunderstand it
12/22/2011 1:41 pm (et) Moderator: Susan said: Do either of you ever feel somehow offended by those people who do use Islam as a reason to oppress women?
12/22/2011 1:42 pm (et) Farhanahz Ellis: I don't know if offended is the word I would use.
12/22/2011 1:43 pm (et) Farhanahz Ellis: I feel sorry if they use that excuse out of ignorance. and scared if out of trickery. Scared because when their moment to pay for it comes, and it will surely come, it won't be pretty!
12/22/2011 1:44 pm (et) Farhanahz Ellis: No human being has the right to abuse any creation of God. And that's enough for me!
12/22/2011 1:44 pm (et) Moderator: ELYAA said: I feel sorry for them, because they did not follow the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him did not learn anything from it
12/22/2011 1:44 pm (et) Moderator: Susan said: Or if someone insinuates that Islam is an oppressive force? I mean, there are plenty of people who think the Catholic Church is unfair to women because of pro-life issues and that they can't be priests, and sometimes it is just exhausting trying to really figure it all out.
12/22/2011 1:46 pm (et) Farhanahz Ellis: The people that presents those arguments to me, are bound to have a heck of a time. I know what I talk about and on top of that I'm a lawyer.
12/22/2011 1:46 pm (et) Moderator: Susan said: And not only that, but it takes a strong viewpoint to be able to resist those arguments, what about children who have to hear these things?
12/22/2011 1:46 pm (et) Farhanahz Ellis: So if you are not more than well prepare for the argument, I rather you sit down!
12/22/2011 1:46 pm (et) Moderator: Susan said: Noted: don't argue with Farhanahz
12/22/2011 1:47 pm (et) Farhanahz Ellis: ROTFLMHO
12/22/2011 1:48 pm (et) Farhanahz Ellis: If you want to oppress somebody, even the phone book will help if you twist it.
12/22/2011 1:50 pm (et) Moderator: Susan said: Why do think it has fallen on women, though? You mention cultural reasons, but are there places in scripture or in the oral tradition that contribute if read in a specific light
12/22/2011 1:51 pm (et) Farhanahz Ellis: And that's the problem. When we use the scripture isolated of the rest of the revelation and without the history surrounding it.
12/22/2011 1:52 pm (et) Moderator: Susan said: Like the portion Elyaa mentioned, is that misunderstood as a tool to oppress women?
12/22/2011 1:52 pm (et) Farhanahz Ellis: One of few.
12/22/2011 1:53 pm (et) Clark Lobenstine: Sorry its so slow today! Usually its busier than this. And its a 'hot' topic, too! Too close to Christmas and other winter holidays, I think.
12/22/2011 1:53 pm (et) Farhanahz Ellis: Actually, I've like the "cozy" environment just the few of us.
12/22/2011 1:53 pm (et) Moderator: Susan said: Well, I got my questions answered and enjoyed it, so thank you for having it!
12/22/2011 1:54 pm (et) Farhanahz Ellis: Thank you for participating and thank you Elyaa too.
12/22/2011 1:54 pm (et) Farhanahz Ellis: And to the IFC and Rebecca and Clark.
12/22/2011 1:55 pm (et) Moderator: ELYAA said: Yes i agree, The Holy Quran come to support women in many many ayah
12/22/2011 1:55 pm (et) Moderator: ELYAA said: Thank for you too
12/22/2011 1:55 pm (et) Moderator: Susan said: I have one last question, you mentioned that education of children is a woman's place, how do you go about ensuring that children are well aware of the true place of women in Islam?
12/22/2011 1:56 pm (et) Farhanahz Ellis: By educating our Sisters first. You can't demand your rights if you don't know them. You can't share knowledge if you don't have it.
12/22/2011 1:57 pm (et) Moderator: We have just a couple of minutes remaining, so please finish any last comments.
12/22/2011 1:58 pm (et) Moderator: Susan said: Perhaps, Farhanahz and Elyaa, you could point us to a specific ayah supporting women to end this chat on a wonderful note.
12/22/2011 2:00 pm (et) Farhanahz Ellis: I love the saying of Prophet Muhammed where he says that "Paradise is at the feet of the mother". Perhaps because I'm a Mum?
12/22/2011 2:00 pm (et) Moderator: ELYAA said: Qur'an 3:195 I shall not lose sight of the labor of any of you who labors in My way, be it man or woman; each of you is equal to the other.
12/22/2011 2:00 pm (et) Moderator: Susan said: Those are beautiful, thank you.
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12/22/2011 2:01 pm (et) Moderator: After this chat, the chatroom will be on hiatus until the first week in February, when a new moderator will be taking over. Keep your eyes on IFC’s website,, for more information on the return. Happy Holidays!
12/22/2011 2:01 pm (et) Moderator: ELYAA said: Qur'an 2:226 And for women are rights over men similar to those of men over women.

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