Muhammad was a feminist.
Believe it or not, not too long ago the Huffington Post published a column that made this patently laughable claim.
When I first heard that someone had the gall to write this, I was incredulous, swearing that either the source was mistaken or the article itself was satirical. My intuitions, as it turns out, were wrong on both counts.
The author of the piece, Jim Garrison, insists that Moses, Confucius, the Buddha, and Jesus have nothing on Muhammad as far as advancing women’s rights are concerned, for the founder of Islam “was easily the most radical and empowering in his treatment of women.” “Arguably,” Muhammad was “history’s first feminist.”
The first thing of which to take note here is that this is not history that Garrison presents to his readers. It is what the philosopher Michael Oakeshott calls “retrospective politics,” the enterprise of enlisting the past in the service of a present political agenda. Only this is the worst sort of retrospective politics, for the past that Garrison invokes isn’t even a real past. It is an invented past, a past made in the image of his leftist ideology.
Secondly, while Muhammad’s teachings on women may very well have marked an advance over those of his pagan contemporaries in the Arabic world, only someone who is as theologically as he is historically illiterate could think to rank Muhammad above all other religious founders on the question of sexual equality.
In reality, the Prophet belongs at the bottom of this scale.
As Robert Spencer has noted, the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book that Muslims regard as the incarnation of Allah, affirms the superiority of men over women and commands men “to beat those from whom they ‘fear disobedience.’” It as well likens women to commodities that can and should be used by men as the latter pleases; assigns only half of the value to the testimony of women that it assigns to that of men; and promotes polygamy, sex with slave girls, and marriage with pre-pubescent girls. The Quran as well stipulates that the inheritance for male heirs should be double that which it is for females.
And the bulk of those in Hell, Muhammad is said to have remarked, are women.
With the greatest of ease we could cite from the ample supply of Quranic passages and hadiths, to say nothing of Muhammad’s own personal life and the history and culture that it inspired, to expose Garrison’s scandalously absurd claim for what it is.
Of course, Garrison is hardly unique among those of his ideological ilk in affirming values that are radically incompatible with one another. Self-contradictions pervade the leftist consciousness.
On the one hand, leftists claim to value “gender equality” or “women’s rights.” Yet, on the other hand, they also decry “Islamophobia,” which they identify with any and every criticism of Islam, especially the objection that Islam is oppressive of women.
Those on the left are obsessed with combatting “racism”—but only when whites are alleged to be the perpetrators. However, when it comes to the enormous magnitude of black hostility toward non-blacks, they either remain silent or explain it away as an understandable, even justifiable, response to white racism or “white privilege.”
Leftist Social Justice crusaders wax indignant over a “rape culture”—but only when that rape culture is straight out of a Lifetime film, i.e. only when the perpetrators are affluent middle-class white males. When it comes to the astronomical rate of, say, black rape and domestic violence, or the rape crisis brought to European women courtesy of Islamic refugees fleeing North Africa and the Middle East, our self-avowed “feminists” say nothing.
We could continue endlessly in this same repetitive vein. While these patterns of thought reveal a glaring thoughtlessness, they may reflect more the leftist’s unwillingness to think rather than her inability to do so. In a future article, I will offer explanations as to how and why it is that otherwise ostensibly intelligent people routinely spout such self-evident foolishness.