While reading “Religion as Empowering to Women” (pg 600), a question begins to circulate my mind. Does religion empower women?
As I was reading “Women’s Voices/ Feminist visions” by Susan M. Shaw and Janet Lee, I noticed that in one of the readings it talked about how women employed in the U.S. army are not allowed to be generals or any other high positions. This reminds me of a real story in the Islamic world I would like to share. There was a battle that happened 1300 years ago in Islamic history. It is called “The Battle of Karbala.” The heroes of this battle were a man named Hussain and his sister named Zainab. After the martyrdom of Hussain, his sister Zainab took his place as the leader in the battle. She was a brave, patient, and wise woman that a famous poet in Arabic literature describes her as “if all women were like her, the women would be the dominants”. She stood against the most powerful oppressor tyrant named Yazeed and used her wise words by telling him that he is an oppressor, in the time that the bravest man couldn’t say that to Yazeed. In spite of seeing her brother killed in the most brutal way, she was strong and controlled her emotions by completing the triumph way in which her brother started. Although Hussain was martyred and Zainab was taken as a captive to the tyrant Yazeed, she was victorious in spreading her brother’s message of humanity. Her success is proven by the millions of Muslim people who celebrate The Battle of Karbala every year in the Islamic month of Ashura. Zainab is a great example of a woman who was a successful leader in the battlefield. On top of being a triumphant leader, she still sustained her role as a mother, wife, and sister. Women let us not underestimate ourselves regardless of the society’s perspectives on women. We could be anything in life if we have the will and power. We could be a leader like Zainab, a scientist like Madame Marie Curie, a poet like Leonie Adams and Fleur Adcock, and a writer like Eliza Acton and Sophie Dahl. Nothing will prohibit us from doing what we want to do, even religion. Zainab, the leader in the Battle of Karbala, was a very religious woman. Religion didn’t stop her from fulfilling her brother’s duties for humanity. Now back to the starting question which I asked in this blog, does religion empower women? I can definitely say, YES! Religion does empower women.