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Saturday, August 29, 2015
Prophet Muhammad and Women: the man and his wife and his other wives. A view that highlights the challenge to Muslim fundamentalists from within Islam.
Prophet Muhammad and Women is an educational and revelatory documentary that aims to shatter preconceived notions about gender relations in Islamic faith. This intimate look at Muhammad's historical relationships with women contradicts the attitude of misogyny that is prevalent in radical Islam even to this day.
Theological and historical experts provide an oral history of Muhammad's life, a narrative that begins in 7th century Mecca and focuses largely on Muhammad's two great loves, Khadija and Aisha. Muhammad's relationship with Khadija defied many societal norms of the time. Not only was Khadija a successful merchant as well as Muhammad's employer, she was fifteen years his senior and the one to propose marriage. It is Khadija that taught Muhammad how to pray and is historically known as the first Muslim, although fundamentalists often ignore this fact due to her gender.
Upon Khadija's death at the age of 65 Muhammad moved to Medina. After twenty-five years in a monogamous marriage, he began practicing polygamy which was common at the time. As his harem grew he remained most passionate about the first of his new wives, Aisha. In this segment of the film we learn how his relationship with his wives, but especially with Aisha, furthered his belief in just and fair treatment towards women and ultimately led him back to a belief in monogamy.
Muhammad was revered by his peers, with men and women alike flocking to him for advice in love and relationships. Contrary to the prudent image most Muslims carry, female pleasure was emphasized in the prophet's writings. He wrote that the only difference between man and animal is man's ability to give women pleasure. According to the film's interpretation of Muhammad, refusing bodily pleasure was seen as the same as refusing God.
The scholars interviewed here inform viewers of the many ways in which Muhammad fought for women, but note he was met with significant push-back, a resistance that is ongoing in certain sects of contemporary Islam. Described as a "modern man of his time" the film asks what Muhammad would think of today's fundamentalists who impose an inaccurate interpretation of his seemingly feminist legacy.
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