The Literary and Debating society of the National University of Ireland (Galway) organised a debate on Islam and Feminism.
Shaykh Dr. Umar Al-Qadri was invited to participate in this debate as an Islamic Theologian. Prior to the debate the Literart and Debating Society had arranged dinner with the Shaykh in the local Moroccon Restaurant “High Cafe”.
Shaykh Dr. Umar Al-Qadri said in his opening statement of the debate that Islam is the most misunderstood religion today. Many western people have a narrative of Islam that is established through the biased Media. This narrative is that Islam oppresses woman and woman have no rights in Islam.
Shaykh Umar said that he challenges this narrative by now mentioning the actual facts about Feminism and Woman rights in Islam. Feminism is a movement that campaigned for the rights of woman in Western Countries from the 18th century. Some of the rights that feminists campaigned for was the right to vote, right to initiate divorce, right to earn property and the right to attend university.
Islam had given these rights to woman more than 1000 years prior to the first phase of feminism in the West. The Prophet of Islam, Prophet Muhammad (SAW) had laid down the foundations of Islam in which woman had the right to vote, woman had the right to choose a partner, right to initiate divorce, right to ear property and inheritance and not only did woman had the right to education in fact woman were along men obliged to acquire education.
Shaykh Umar Al-Qadri also highlighted that indeed in certain Muslim countries woman are being oppressed but this is due to culture and not religion. Any society that oppresses woman and limits the role of woman to domestic level can never be a true Islamic society.
The Shaykh gave various examples from the life of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) that woman were not confined to their homes, in fact they contributed to the society in social, political, cultural, economical and academic affairs.
The Shaykh also answered many questions from the floor on the role of woman in Islam.