One of the few positive developments following the rise of the Islamists during the “Arab Spring” is that today many average and/or nominal Muslims are seeing the true face of Islam and its teachings. And many—as evinced by the June 30 Revolution of Egypt, which saw the ousting of the Muslim Brotherhood—don’t want to deal with it.
For example, during a recent episode of “With Dr. Islam Buhira” on Al Qahira Wa Al Nass TV station, Buhira explained how he had attended “a conference in Morocco on the status of women in society post Arab Spring,” and how at the conference, the following interpretation of the Koran by renowned Islamic exegete, al-Qurtubi (d.1273), was read: “Women are like cows, horses, and camels, for all are ridden.”
After quoting al-Qurtubi’s words, Dr. Buhira continued, in a disappointed tone: “This is how al-Qurtubi speaks about women, who include his mother, his daughters—basically all Muslim women. He says they are ‘all ridden.’ This is what makes them similar to animals.”
Hard to believe or not, the idea that “Women are like cows, horses, and camels, for all are ridden,” is in fact recorded in Tafsir al-Qurtubi (see vol. 17, p. 172), one of the Islamic world’s most authoritative exegeses, or commentary on the teachings of the Koran.
In fact, comparing women to beasts is not uncommon in Islam and traces back to Prophet Muhammad himself, who is recorded saying, “Women, dogs, and donkeys annul a man’s prayer” (Musnad Ibn Hanbal, vol. 2, p. 2992).
I first translated and discussed these texts likening women to animals in 2008, in the context of how female concubines in Islam are not deemed human, as the Arabic relative pronoun used in the Koran to indicate captive sex-slaves is “it”—as in an animal—not “she” (e.g., Koran 4:3).
Even so, many Muslims, including women, are only now learning about these texts and teachings. The fact is many Muslims really don’t know much about Islam beyond the Five Pillars. But they have been conditioned to believe that, whatever Sharia says must be laudable and judicious—Sharia being the law of their god as delivered by their beloved prophet. Moreover, in the last couple decades the slogan “Islam is the solution” became popular as a panacea to all of society’s ill.
That is, until it went from being theory to reality.
Put differently, now that the Arab Spring has brought Islamists to power—in Tunisia, in Egypt, in Libya, and currently trying (at the tip of the jihadi sword) in Syria—nominal and nonobservant “cultural” Muslims, and they are not a few, who for decades were ruled by Westernized autocrats and media, are finally seeing the true face of Islam and its teachings, in all their minutia, up close and personal. This new acquaintance with the truth is setting some of them free—even as it further enslaves those who like what they see.