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The Islamic faith is a representative of one of the acknowledged and widely spread religions of the world. It is often exploited and misunderstood since it is portrayed as one of the religions that discriminate women though this is not the case. The issue of covering up on women has been immensely discussed by the media and critics to show that women are inferior to men. This lifestyle where the women hide their skins and beauty is always looked upon as being suppression by most communities and the media. (Celeste, 2010). However, according to the Islam religion it is meant to uplift the status of the women offering them protection against harm. Some verses in the Quran when read in English are misinterpreted as they are depicted to give men the autonomy to use their power to manipulate women whereas this is not so. Such verses are like Sura al – Nisa, 4:34 that is always misinterpreted to mean that men are at liberty to beat their wives (Hamdun, 1995). Some of these teachings have been wrongly interpreted by the media and will need to be redefined and interpreted in a way that favors the Islam religion and women in particular. There is loss of meaning in the interpretation of some verses and scriptures by critics and the media. Otherwise if the media and other tools of communication continue to misinterpret these verses there will be grave consequences. Interpretation of these verses will involve a lot of polishing and patching to favor the Islam religion and Islamic women in particular. The media ought to know that Hijab and Islamic religion does not manipulate or degrade women but rather it uplifts them and protects their chastity and modesty.
This paper is meant to bring to limelight some of the interpretations of the media regarding Islam and their women. The media has depicted the Islam women to be inferior to men though this is a fallacy. The paper will address the dressing code of Islam women and how it uplifts them and some verses and their meaning to reveal how the media has misinterpreted them.
Most critics have argued that the female species have an inferior status in the Islamic religion basing on some of the verses that are found in Hadith and Quran. Muslim religion is one of the religions that has uplifted the status of women and protected them from oppression and harm though the media does not think this is so. The media is a powerful tool that has led most people to believe that the Islamic religion is against the rights of women. The interpretation of Quran is meant to protect women but when interpreted by the media and the critics it reads otherwise. In fact, Islam religion uplifts women status on the grounds that women are inherently divergent from men and their true position is to be guarded, protected and hidden (Agniveer, 2010).
Some of the verses that have been wrongly misinterpreted are Sura al Nisa, 4:34 ((Laury, 2008, 134-136) that states that women can be beaten incase they are disobedient and hence has led to immense levels of abuse on women. However this text does not necessarily mean to hit, beat or strike women but rather to separate from their women until they are obedient (Faith freedom, n.d). The Quranic meanings are quite different when interpreted in English (Faith freedom, n.d.).
The Islamic women’s dress code has always been one of the most focused subjects and the most misunderstood and distorted subject by the media. The Quran does instruct that Muslim women to dress modestly. In verse 24:30-31 it asserts that women should make sure that they lower the gaze and should never display their ornaments and beauty. They should draw their ‘khirmar’ over their entire bosom (Shamaghsoudi, 2010).
The major misconceptions of this verse is that by covering up, men hence become guardians of women and this is usually depicted as denial of rights. However, according to Islamic translation, the veiling up according to verse 33:59 is used to protect women from harm, annoyance and for them to be recognized. So, what is so wrong with that? The media and other critics have done more harm that good in depicting the Islamic religion as a source of discrimination. The Islamic women are seen to be inferior with no freedom and this is all thanks to the critics and the media. The Islamic religion is one of the best religions that have recognized women and uplifted their status with immense morality and ethics but it will take more interpretation and explanation from the Muslim leaders to the media and critics to get this point across.