Friday, 24 August 2007

God, Masculinity and Islam

Thought for the Day Amanullah de Sondy
Thurs 17th August 2006

God is male because He wrote the Qur’an. Jesus was a man and so was Muhammad. Well maybe there’s more to say than that to settle this age old question. That could be why the Festival of Spirituality and Peace, organised by St. Johns Episcopal Church in Edinburgh, invited me yesterday, to explore how a ‘male and female God made us’. I was asked to make a special reference to masculinity in Islam. Actually, sociologists argue that there’s no such thing as masculinity; every man is unique, they say, so what we have are lots of different masculinities.

Some religious traditions advocate norms and roles that men and women should adhere to. Certain rituals and practices are used to maintain the indoctrination of such male and female norms. I often wonder when a young Muslim girl visits a male centred Mosque five times a day, does she begin to question the role of women in Islamic society, or does she simply accept this practice as normal?

The issue spinning around in my head is how clever the religious male has been in promoting the male through the power of God. Are men truly created in the image of God or does man create God in his image? The Qur’an does not give free reign to the Muslim male, to the detriment of the female. The Qur’an does present male only prophets, but the prophetic role was not a gendered role and was most definitely not meant to show precedence of male over female. I worry, that aspects of my Islamic culture and identity today, have been obscured and damaged by testosterone-driven men. I believe that a society which fails to promote the female in all of us is a society lost to the female in God.

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