Why are women oppressed in Islamic countries?
There is little point in discussing how well or badly so called ‘Islamic countries’ are living up to the teachings of Islam, or why. First it is necessary to clear up misunderstandings of what those teachings are.
Women are equal to men in the sight of God but they have in some respects different roles in life to men because of their different natures.
They differ psychologically, physiologically, and biologically from men. This makes them more suitable than men for certain responsibilities and less suitable than men for others.
Islam recognises these differences.
Oppression of women is the result of removing their rights. Islam gives men & women rights that are different in some aspects to those they have in the western world. The principle difference in the way these rights came about is also important. In the West rights became part of the law only after women had been through great political struggles and also partly due to the necessity of women working in factories during wars. It is possible that this will be reversed in the future. In Islam, rights were given ‘out of the blue’ by God through revelation. They cannot be reversed by anyone’s decision. Most Muslims recognise the purity and validity of the Qur’anic laws even if they are not following them, but it may be necessary to struggle for a return to them from time to time. It is quite commonly agreed that all things in life which are worthwhile require some struggle.
There is considerable overlap of rights that now exist in the Western world and those which Muslim women have always had (at least in principle if not in practice).