بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Women under Capitalism: Freedom and Empowerment or Obscene and Degrading Exploitation?
Allah (swt) says:
(وَمَنْ أَعْرَضَ عَن ذِكْرِي فَإِنَّ لَهُ مَعِيشَةً ضَنكاً وَنَحْشُرُهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ أَعْمَى)
“But whoever turns away from My Reminder will certainly have a miserable life, then We will raise them up blind on the Day of Judgment.” In his interpretation of the verse, Ibn Katheer says:
“But whoever turns away from My Reminder” Meaning: He went against my command, and what I revealed to My Messenger (saw); he turned away from him and forgot him and took his guidance from others. And “will certainly have a miserable life” That is: in this world, there is no peace for him, nor is his heart expanded, rather his chest is tight and constricted due to his misguidance, even if he appeared to be blessed, and he wears what he wants, eats what he wants, and resides where he wants, as his heart has not reached to certainty and guidance, he is in anxiety, confusion and doubt, continuously in suspicion and hesitation. This is part of living a miserable life.”
And here is humanity today, with neither peace nor tranquility, but everyone is in a state of confusion and is not satisfied with their lives. Those who live in developed or underdeveloped countries are equal in it. The whole world is suffocating from the evils and corruption of the capitalist system. It has become black and dark, wars and epidemics have multiplied, the rate of poverty and unemployment has increased, and the rate of poverty has increased. They live in poverty and complain about the difficult life.
This system - which leads the world today - raised the slogan of freedoms and unleashed on man to get rid of all restrictions in order to achieve his needs and desires and made the realization of the greatest life pleasures (material value) the main value in life, neglecting all other values (spiritual - humanitarian - moral). In order to focus its concepts and culture based on profit and benefit, humanity was returning to injustice and darkness and living under human judgments, thus departing from the guidance of its Creator and straying from the path of salvation.
A few days ago, the French President tweeted, "More and more women do not dare to ride public transportation for fear of assault." This is the situation of women in the country of "freedoms", and it is the situation of women in most countries of the world: There is no security or safety and her entire life is based on fear and insecurity. A situation that exposes the horror of what women experience under this man-made capitalist system, so that we realize that she did not gain rights and liberties, but was restricted by corrupt concepts that made her fall into mistakes and slips, and she became an easy prey to being scattered by corrupt concepts spread by governments and organizations.
One of the most prominent victims of this system is the woman, for it directed its arrows to her as gains in order to paint for her - within the framework of its material culture - a stereotyped image by which it serves its interests and makes it an example that should be followed by turning it into a tool that is consumed and employed according to what its market and needs dictate.
The media was its main tool in this through which it transmits its discourse and culture, and through it, it paints the image it wants for society and for women in particular, due to its certainty of her essential role in life, and for this it charted a path for her to follow according to its capitalist standards and concepts. It made her an image that would show her empowered and took her out to work to be an equal to the man and deluded her that by doing so she would achieve her personality and impose her presence, and in fact it was using this to be a cheap labor force through which it would achieve more profits: it used her in a humiliating way - it is the one who claims to give her, her rights and freedoms - employing her beauty and her body to promote its products, so she makes advertisements for goods and commodities to expand its free market, which is not regulated by any moral law; its goal in that justifies its means.
This corrupt utilitarian system tolerates the exploitation of any means that contribute to increasing its profit, and does not take any considerations for human, social and cultural needs as much as it takes its first and only consideration to achieve material profit and is clearly manifested in the media - of all kinds - exploiting women and transforming them into a commodity that is sold in these capitalist markets, and they return them to the cycle of slavery in which they lived before the rulings of their Lord who freed them from that.
According to a United Nations report, women contribute 66% of the working hours each day, yet they earn only 10% of the world's income and own only 1% of the world's property. According to the World Bank, women are the most vulnerable to risk and poverty, despite their large share in the labor market. They constitute about 40% of the labor force in the world in agriculture, and a quarter in industry. A third is in services, where women farmers in developing countries grow at least 50% of the world's food and up to 80% in some African countries, yet they represent about 70% of the world's poor! (Highlights: The Reserve Army: How did capitalism manipulate women and their dreams?).
So what are these gains that they claim to have been achieved? What rights did women obtain under this utilitarian system, which has nothing to do in pushing her to work but making her a model for all women to exploit and make money and profits? What kind of personalities will be achieved for working women when it has made them machines that work without taking into account their nature or their abilities, so they are panting inside and outside the house without taking a breath, so many of them became depressed and sad as a result of that?! What kind of empowerment is this that makes their standards of beauty defined by the concepts of this utilitarian system, which serves companies that manufacture cosmetics, clothes, shoes, or other major companies?!
It repeatedly broadcasts this image - and maliciously - to become an image of the exemplary woman that the women of the world should follow in her footsteps, broadcasting it over and over again to instill in the minds the ideal stereotyped image of the beautiful woman in an allusion to the meaning of “sexual” beauty, so that women race to be like her and be admired.
When work and financial gain for a woman becomes better than her home and raising her children; when her work outside her home becomes more important than her work inside it; we are fully aware that this capitalist system has managed to spread the poisons of its culture in her mind and stripped her of her femininity that Allah (swt) created in her. Our conversation does not mean that we are against a woman's work, but she should be aware that her home and her children are among the most difficult and noble work at the same time.
Capitalism has made women live in a conflict between their nature as a female and the misconceptions spread by this corrupt civilization that raises the status of women if they succeed in contributing to economic gains and degrades her if she clings to her innate nature and plays her role in procreation or upbringing the children, then she will be a burden on society. “The work of women inside the house is worthless work, because it is unproductive work,” Silvia Federici: Italian writer and university professor.
No one disagrees that Capitalism has failed to run the world and that it has plunged it into a whirlpool from which only a new world order will get it out of.
In complete contrast with it, Islam, which is the religion of Allah (swt), the All-Knowing, the All-Aware, was a treatment for all people’s needs, where they found radical solutions to their problems and issues that guarantee them the involvement of all values and was not limited to one value without the other, so life was a good and reassuring one that pleased women and men alike and made their relationship one of kindness and mercy, not one of conflict and misery. This relationship that Islam sought to make is a complementary relationship in which one of the two parties cannot do without the other and it is the one that will raise children in a sound and correct upbringing and educate them that Allah (swt) has laid down His rulings for the happiness of His creation. If they adhere to it, they will live a peaceful life under its shade, and will be pleased by the permission of Allah.
(وَلَا يَظْلِمُ رَبُّكَ أَحَداً) “And your Lord will never wrong anyone” [TMQ Al-Kahf: 49]
Islam saved the woman, honored her, and raised her status, whether she was working outside the home or not. The great status granted to her (a mother, sister, daughter, or wife) made her a high rank, raising generations and producing heroes.
Women in the pre-Islamic era were a commodity and Islam came to restore her stolen right to life and lifted injustice and oppression from her so that she might live in higher status and she will be honoured, and gave her great care and protection and organized her private and public life so it preserved her and dressed her with the crown of chastity and purity and made her a queen wherever she was and wherever she went.
Then, with the disappearance of Islam from life, the woman returned to the lowly status she lived in during the pre-Islamic era and became a commodity in which Capitalism traded and used her body for propaganda purposes under this capitalist system, which is only concerned with profit and the accumulation of large sums of money. Poverty spread, wars multiplied, and women paid the most share of pain, oppression and exploitation. A woman will not regain her stolen status except under the rulings of her Lord, and there is no happiness for her and for all of humanity except in living under it.
Written for the Central Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir by