Let's start 2018 with some girl power and a little sizzle. But before that! I believe a disclaimer would be beneficial here:
Dear haram police: This post does not discuss the technical/scriptural aspects concerning the permissibility of female clerics.
I am NOT an expert in jurisprudence.
Phew... Now that's out of the way, we can get into the juicy part.
1-The social status of women has changed
Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and cavemen banged at their hairy chests, women were viewed as inferior to men. So if a 'lowly' woman decided to lead a social or religious movement, no one would've followed her- including other women. The world back then was far more hostile towards women and therefore, it made sense for men to be in charge of religious institutions. People would never listen to a woman back then. But things have changed now. These days, educated societies view women as equal to men. Women are teachers, doctors and world leaders, yet we are still excluded from attaining leadership positions within religious institutions. Does this sound logical? I think not.
2- We are just as able and intelligent
Women can change the world. In fact, women have changed the world. We have proven our worth time and time again. Men don't have some innate ability to understand religion, theology and scripture. Testosterone does not make a man smarter than a woman. So why aren't we allowed to issue fatwas? Wait! I know why...it's because we're 'delicate'.
Which brings me to the next point.
3-Female stereotypes are so freaking outdated
Let's examine a couple:
a) Women have a role to play inside the home. Involvement in politics and religion takes them away from their natural habitat.
First of all, I'm not a bear and I don't belong inside a cave. I am a human and a contributing member of society.
Secondly, hello? We are the queens of multitasking.
b) Women would be unreliable judges and clerics because they are controlled by their emotions.
Exhibit A- The most unreliable/volatile human in the world:
But really this point needs a little more examination...Which brings me to:
4- There is no difference between a horny man and hormonal woman
If we play the stereotype game, this is where it will lead us:
a) Men are sexual creatures. They are constantly horny and always think about sex. They are like wild animals with no self-control. This is the reason women must dress and behave modestly in front of them.
b) Male horniness is also linked to testosterone, which is a hormone. So if men are horny all the time, then that means men are hormonal all the time. Whereas women are hormonal in cycles.
c) Therefore, men are more hormonal than women.
d) If hormones make us unreliable, why are men in control of religious institutions?
e) Therefore, women should be clerics.
We can play the game in another way:
a) Men are reasonable and mature humans. They can control themselves; because come on, even wild dogs can be trained. And men are not wild dogs.
b) Therefore, men have the ability to avert their gaze and behave respectfully.
c) Therefore, conservative Muslims should not reprimand women over petty things like: laughing out loud, not wearing a headscarf, not wearing a headscarf the way they like it etc.
Each way you play the game, you can see the gaps in the logic of male traditionalists. Also, these 'traditional' perceptions of male sexuality are extremely disrespectful to men. Men are not animals and misogynistic behavior should not be indulged based on silly notions like 'boys will be boys' and 'this is the way men are'. These harm women and disrespect men.
But a female cleric would have already told you this.
5- Men are out of touch with female problems
Don't take it personally boys, but no man truly understands the struggles women face. So when an old, like oooold, male cleric discusses periods, hygiene, clothing, modesty, most of the time, it's just really annoying. If men had to go through half the things we go through, Islamic laws would be very different. We need female clerics to handle female related issues. Someone who understands our struggles- thank you very much.
6- Men haven't done a great job developing our religious institutions
Well, how could they? As a community, we are functioning with half our mental capacity. How much growth, development, modernization can you expect from an institution controlled by old men and excludes 50 percent of the population? I'm not talking about giving women minor roles. We need them up there with big boys reigning the men in when they become too 'hormonal' and start to issue shameful fatwas that do not fit with the 21st century.
Let's play the stereotype game one last time:
a) Men are hard and women soft.
b) Therefore, we need to work together to achieve balance.
This is the only way forward I can see. And in 2018, forward is the only direction we should be moving in.