There was an interesting point in class today when talking about women and childbirth in Islam during the precolonial period. According to the Islamist jurists, it was possible for a child to be ‘sleeping’ within the mother for an extended period of time after divorce. This then allowed a women to claim a child as belonging to the husband long after the divorce and forcing the husband to care for the women despite the past marriage. Understanding this, it gave women an immense power in society because it was incredibly expensive for a man to divorce a woman. It gave women a non traditional power in society that would be overlooked by westerners.
This ‘hidden’ power of women still exists today in Moroccan society in places you wouldn’t expect. Women are extremely attentive to the needs of their husbands and that is certainly not overlooked by the men of the household. Men treat their wives very well because the wives treat them well. There isn’t a suppression of women within the home and it is more of a partnership. Which is what marriage is supposed to be anyways. When I hear westerners say Islam suppresses women, I only hear a misunderstanding of Muslim culture. It is true that women are limited in traditional western power within society, but their power is often hidden and misunderstood by a western audience. I treat my lalla Dounia with respect because she treats me with respect. All the men in this household are reliant on her and they know that. There is power beyond the hijab.