AndFarAway

A Blog from Amman, Jordan, Online Since 2004.

Am I a good driver?

My favorite quote in a while is courtsey of some brainwashed soul who goes by the name of Fatima Al-Sahimi:
وأتحدى أي امرأة في العالم أن تقول أنها تفضل النجاح في مجالها كعالمة ذرة أو رائدة فضاء أو رئيسة وزراء أو لاعبة كرة على تمتعها بمشاعر الأموم ، وقبل ذلك مشاعر المودة والرحمة المتبادلة مع الزوج

“… And I dare any woman in the world to claim that she prefers success in being a nuclear physicist, astronomer, prime minister, or soccer player over the pleasure of motherly feelings, and more importantly, the pleasure of a mutual liking and mercy between her and her husband.”

يلعن عمري انا بس

No, seriously, how come they’re always doing such questionaires and dares around “kol il 3alam” and skipping me? BLEH!

Knowing the Arabian readership, and to cut myself some slack, let me say this: I would NOT have stuck religion into this if the article this excerpt is from isn’t accounting for the debate USING religion. When I refer to an entity as “we”, I am NOT refering to all Arabs, and neither do I mean only Muslims (I’ve gotten into arguments where the Arabs of other religions were the ones worthy of quoting as “brainwashed souls”). Some would jump and say that the Islam Fatima is using to account for ill logic isn’t real Islam, and perhaps it’s not, but regardless, it’s really not about which religion; faith is universal, but understanding is arbitrary, and there has to be a revolution in the way we understand.
Having said that, you know what they should start teaching at schools in our wonderfully backward Arab world? Philosophy. LOGIC. Not mathematical logic mind you, I know that’s already being taught, rather, philosophical logic. Stop accounting for everything with religion! Teach the kids to think for themselves! Teach the kids to look at life through experience, relativity and science rather than through blind creed. Reason, rather than revelation or tradition, should be the basis of belief in God.
The rest of the article is just as filled with hilariously sad ideas, reading it makes me feel like I’m reading a Wahabist version of The Stepford Wives. The below sentence refers to women and their rights:
إنها ملتزمة بمنطقة محددة تمارس فيها من الصلاحيات مالا يمكن لمخلوق غيرها أن يمارسه في جو من الحرية الشرعية لكنها تفقد هذه الصلاحيات بمجرد استسلامها لإغراءات الخروج ورغبتها في مزاحمة الرجال في تحقيق أمجاد وإنجازات غير مطلوبة منها في الأصل

She is restricted to a certain area where she can practice her rights like any other human in an atmosphere of holiness. She loses these rights as soon as she succumbs to the temptations of leaving her home and succumbs to her urges to interact with men in order to maintain glory, although it is not required of her to accomplish anything anyway.

It would have been amusing, except this is actually written by a woman. “Succumbs to temptations”? “Urges to interact”?

AHHHHHHHHH! I WANT TO SHOOT MYSELF! Especially as I still haven’t come to the best part. The sentences above are excerpts from the introduction, where our dear Fatima is skillfully making way for the grand unveiling of the topic she wants to discuss. Fatima is actually offended as to why men are the ones talking about the logic the sinfullness of women driving.

نقاشات الحارة تدور هذه الأيام حول المرأة والمعركة تستمد وقودها من حطب كشف الوجه وقيادة السيارة والمرأة ــ كعادتها ــ ترقب الوضع عن بعد دون أن تعبر عن رأيها الفصيح ،تاركة الأمر برمته للرجل ليؤيد ،ويعارض. والآن يا سادة بصفتي امرأة فسوف أطرح رأيي

“Many hot debates are taking place these days about women, and these debates are fueled by discussions about uncovering the face and women driving. Meanwhile, the woman- as is her usual stance- sits from afar and watches unexpresssively as men agree and disagree. Now, gentlemen, as a woman, I will give you my opinion.”

After which Fatima blabbers on for a while about how the fact that she doesn’t drive and covers her face haven’t been a boulder in her life and that she is educated and so on and so forth, which is cool and all, then she says my favorite sentence of all:
فإن المنطق والعقل على الأقل يقولون إن قيادة المرأة للسيارة قد يكون له بعض الإيجابيات لكن مصائبه وسلبياته ستكون أكبر من أن تحصى

Logic and intellect at least dictate that women driving a car will have some positive aspects to it but its traumas and negativities will be too great to even account for.”

Logic and intellect indeed.

I personally believe that intellect and logic are achieved through knowledge, which can be obtained from many sources including past and contemporary readings of the varied fields of science, art, humanities, and philosophy. Rationality should be the means to establish an authoritative system of knowledge, ethics, and aesthetics.

Let me end this post with the much-cited opening paragraph of Kant’s essay on enlightenment:

“Enlightenment is man’s leaving his self-caused immaturity. Immaturity is the incapacity to use one’s own understanding without the guidance of another. Such immaturity is self-caused if its cause is not lack of intelligence, but by lack of determination and courage to use one’s intelligence without being guided by another. The motto of enlightenment is therefore: Sapere aude! Have courage to use your own intelligence!”

Oh, yeah, much thanks to Jameed for sharing this article with me.

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35 Comments

  1. what do aesthetics have to do with what you’re talking about??

  2. O.A.

    you ignored everything in the text and concentrated on aethetics… boy read the whole text

  3. Yeslam timmek ! Thank you ! what was al Sahimi on when she wrote that ? Thanks for sharing…

  4. Anonymous

    i know this lady.. it’s the dumb ass that strapped explosives to herself and followed her husband to blow herself up! LOL. well she should. Rola, the men of the lower class, they have self esteem problems because they cant find jobs to feed their families. so if they lack respect for themselves, how can they respect their wives? poverty brings misery to all. we need to educate, but also, to eliveate the poverty. This is done by electing officials that are liberal. improving the healthcare and expanding trade schools so that all can learn to make a living (including the women) the grandparents can take care of the kids (heck, since they are living in the same one room appartment anyway!!!!) the money should not come out of the ‘rich’ because sad to say, jordan has never even SEEN a rich person. they are at best middle class compared to world standards. the money should come out of AID. AID we can get with better publicity. Also money should come from a complete change in the goverment budgets. (Do we really need million dollar hanging bridges when we have il we7dat?)

  5. Anonymous

    I applaud you for this post.
    This woman is clearly the product of an Islamist upbringing.

  6. Hi, I’ve been reading Jordan Planet for a while, but have only recently been compelled to begin commenting.

    The revelations of this particular post have greatly saddened me. This woman is essentially degrading her entire gender. If she wants to cover her face and be driven everywhere, that’s her choice. But don’t shove your bloody ideology down everyone else’s throat, and don’t accuse other women of “succumbing to temptation” if they desire to take on an active role in society.

    It’s interesting that when it comes to gender-oppressive systems, women often become the oppressors themselves.

  7. walking, going ahead can be traumatic. so just remain seated.
    oh ya right, that a great approach. pst.

  8. You are all blasphamous and are going to hell. Women belong at home and that’s where they should stay. Be driven around? That implies they should leave their houses.

    Hell I tell you.

    iMalhas

  9. Ya..Ameen,what’s she doing outside the kitchen in the first place.?we are pathetic,and still we wonder why are we labelled as ignorants?

  10. Jameel

    You can disagree with Fatima as much as you want; I disagree totally with what she said and find it offensive. Or you can agree with her! But, what you cannot do is confuse what she has said with what Islam teaches. She does not speak for Islam or Muslims, and I believe that what she is saying contradicts Islam teachings and what we know about women in Islam.
    I believe what is happening here is that some women and men are misinterpreting Islam teachings to justify local traditions and practices that they know themselves are difficult to justify and totally out of place in today’s world.

  11. Fadi, what? First off, that is way beside the point. Second off, in the paragraph in which I mentioned aesthetics, I was talking about knowledge, of which I believe aesthetics is an essential part of- more precisely, I was refering to the fact that we as Arabs should establish a system of rationality over all endeavours of life including aesthetics. Do you underestimate the importance of aesthetics in the contemporary life? With the advent of advertising, entertainment, a more aware consumership, etc., awareness of aesthetics is essential.

    Anonymous, this lady isn’t Jordanian, and I’m quite sure from the way she wrote the article that she’s probably middle class or above.
    What you said about money and socialism could be right when we are discussing Jordan, the case with this lady and this mentality is on a whole different level though.

    Natalia, good point.. we’re all for tolerance and stuff, just let people believe in whatever they want to believe!

    Prithi, lol.. yup! It’s sad isn’t it?

    iMalhas, haha, btw, when I was refering to “not all Arabs”, I was mostly thinking of you and Iyas ;)

    Salam, we are ignorant. It will take a lot of education to unignorify Arabs.

    Jameel, I had a whole paragraph in the post to ward off comments about the teachings of Islam-
    “Knowing the Arabian readership, and to cut myself some slack, let me say this: I would NOT have stuck religion into this if the article this excerpt is from isn’t accounting for the debate USING religion. When I refer to an entity as “we”, I am NOT refering to all Arabs, and neither do I mean only Muslims (I’ve gotten into arguments where the Arabs of other religions were the ones worthy of quoting as “brainwashed souls”). Some would jump and say that the Islam Fatima is using to account for ill logic isn’t real Islam, and perhaps it’s not, but regardless, it’s really not about which religion; faith is universal, but understanding is arbitrary, and there has to be a revolution in the way we understand.”

  12. Women are different from men and you don’t need a scientist to say that.. whether they drive a car , get a job or do whatever.

    O.E: Rationality means that things are subject to what’s going on around, and that things don’t look the same from all angles, I totally agree with this but i am totally against what Roba said about having rationality as means to establish a system of knowledge, ETHICS and aesthetics. Ethics are ethics unless you feel comfortable questioning them, knowledge is subjective and aesthetics are rational . so I think roba etfalsafat here putting aesthetics in the middle.. but it’s ok knowing that she revolves about colors and arts ..

    What about ergonomics and ID Roba? Rational bardo?

  13. She

    I’m not a Muslim, so I can’t comment from an Islamic point of view. I see the inequalities between the genders in Judaism, the inequality is one of my main reasons for choosing to be secular. If a man has problems “controlling his urges”, why must I be the one to pay the price? Why must I cover my hair, dress modestly, not allow men to hear me sing (actually, I don’t let anyone hear me sing, but that has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with the “quality” of my singing voice)? Why must I stand on a bus if the only available seat is next to an ultra-orthodox man, as sitting next to him would offend his sensibilities? This is just the tip of the iceberg (when I think of what happens to Jewish women with regard to issues of divorce, death of a spouse, women’s reproductive issues, etc., I can actually feel myself tense up with anger), and the levels of inequality are staggering.

    Any religion whose traditions allow for women to be eternally subjugated is fundamentally problematic, and I am automatically suspicious of both men and women who choose to hide behind religion in order to perpetuate these gender-based injustices.

  14. roba… ok… my comment might be seem beside ur basic point…
    one thing i think u always keep on doing which i think might mislead u -not necessarily in this case- u always take a higher stand… u labeled the woman as brainwashed… some as ignorant and others as [islamist] -which i wonder what it means-… because her logic doesn’t seem to go with ur own logic…
    can’t u see that u r doing exactly what u said [others] do… which is saying u got the right logic and anything that contradict with it is illogical!!!
    Obviously all of us who read ur post disagreed with this woman… but if there is some where else others who agree with her… we should respect that… I don’t presume u want everyone in the [arab] world to have the same mentalities u have? Cuz that is what I see as [brainwashing]…
    U say we should have the chance to choose what we want… so let her alone…
    One of the mistakes many [arabs] fall into is when arguing… they start arguing the personality of the man instead of his opinions… beware that honey…
    Am not gonna say anything about Islam and how it fits here… cuz… of wot u said at the beginning of ur post… besides I think u know what I might say!! =)
    Though I gotta say… I disagree with what u said [[Reason, rather than revelation or tradition, should be the basis of belief in God.]] have u read the story of “hai ibn yaqthan”? reason is the way to know God… but worshipping God… should be as God pleases… and that is where revelation step into the scene… as for tradition… the only tradition that I allow myself to follow is the tradition of the prophets as finalized by the Prophet Mohammed PBUH… I wonder what u meant by tradition!

  15. hey sorry i didn’t imagine my reply will look that long! =)

  16. Dear Fadi, first off, of course women and men are different- I have no idea why you stuck that in- they are psychologically and physiologically different. But this difference doesn’t dictate what a woman is to do and not to do, and it certainly doesn’t delineate the intelligence of women. This post had absolutely no comparison about the genders, its sole purpose is to lash at the regional habit of teach people to place more importance on culture, religion, and tradition rather than logic and knowledge. Although I personally tend to lean towards giving a stronger importance to the latter group, all I ask for is a balance. Or at least a start. Some countries in the Arab world still prosecute those who have anything to do with philosophy.

    Before I continue, let me make clear that yes, I am admittedly imphalsapheh. This is who I am, this is what this blog is about, and you are free to either like or dislike my opinions. You are also free to discuss them and debate them, I greatly enjoy intellectual discussions.

    Back to the point. You say, “Rationality means that things are subject to what’s going on around, and that things don’t look the same from all angles”. That is not what “rationality” means, that’s what “relativity” means. The word ‘rationality’ means ” Consistent with or based on reason; logical: rational behavior”(Webster’s), and it has been used to describe “numerous religious and philosophical theories, especially those concerned with truth, reason, and knowledge. Rationalism is a school in which rationality and reason are the key methods by which we obtain knowledge.”(Wikipedia).

    “Ethics”, by definition, is “a branch of philosophy which attempts to understand the nature of morality; to define that which is right from that which is wrong. “Aesthetics”, by definition, is “the philosophical theory of a particular school of philosophy that attempts to understand beauty and art”. In philosophy, “ethics” and “aesthetics” are often paired up as “ethics and aesthetics” to represent opposite sides of the same coin, which is why “ethics and aesthetics” was so comfortable for me to use.

    And how can you claim that the study of ergonomics isn’t rational? In order to understand the interactions among humans and other elements of a system, and in order to optimize human well-being and overall system performance, you must use logic and rationale. And how is ID not rational? Companies spend millions of dollars studying the psychology of design, markets, and trends in order to create a successful brand.

  17. Good thing you highlighted the article, but the point here is not highlighting it and bashing the writter but rather forming a counter argument to what she said.

    The sad thing about these people is they really do believe that they are representing Islam, and that should be corrected. For example do I need to remind this Fatima lady that Khadijeh the wife of Mohammad was a successful businesswoman handeling her buissness all by her own where ther where only caravans and no cars?

    And regarding equality of women and men and regarding women work, here are some Verses and comment to deny all what she has said:

    1- Woman is recognized by Islam as a full and equal partner of man in the procreation of humankind. He is the father; she is the mother, and both are essential for life. Her role is not less vital than his. By this partnership she has an equal share in every aspect; she is entitled to equal rights; she undertakes equal responsibilities, and in her there are as many qualities and as much humanity as there are in her partner.

    To this equal partnership in the reproduction of human kind Allah says:

    (O mankind! Lo! We have created you male and female, and have made `you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. Lo! the noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Lo! Allah is Knower, Aware.) (Al-Hujurat 49: 13)

    2- She is equal to man in bearing personal and common responsibilities and in receiving rewards for her deeds. She is acknowledged as an independent personality, in possession of human qualities and worthy of spiritual aspirations. Her human nature is neither inferior to nor deviant from that of man. Both are members of one another. Allah Almighty says:

    (And their Lord hath heard them (and He saith): Lo! I suffer not the work of any worker, male or female, to be lost. Ye proceed one from another…) (Aal `Imran 3: 195)

    3- She is equal to man in the pursuit of education and knowledge. When Islam enjoins the seeking of knowledge upon Muslims, it makes no distinction between man and woman. Almost fourteen centuries ago, Muhammad declared that the pursuit of knowledge is incumbent on every Muslim male and female. This declaration was very clear and was implemented by Muslims throughout history.

    4- She is entitled to freedom of expression as much as man is. Her sound opinions are taken into consideration and cannot be disregarded just because she happen to belong to the female sex. It is reported in the Qur’an and history that woman not only expressed her opinion freely but also argued and participated in serious discussions with the Prophet himself as well as with other Muslim leaders. Allah Almighty says:

    (Allah hath heard the saying of her that disputeth with thee (Muhammad) concerning her husband, and complaineth unto Allah. And Allah heareth your colloquy. Lo! Allah is Nearer, Knower. Such of you as put away your wives (by saying they are as their mothers) They are not their mothers; none are their mothers except those who gave them birth they indeed utter an ill word and a lie. And lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. Those who put away their wives (by saying they are as their mothers) and afterward would go back on that which they have said; (the penalty) in that case (is) the freeing of a slave before they touch one another. Unto this ye are exhorted; and Allah is informed of what ye do.) (Al-Mujadalah 58: 1-4)

    And this only part of it, you can read the rest here: http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?cid=1119503544308&pagename=IslamOnline-English-Ask_Scholar%2FFatwaE%2FFatwaE

  18. She, your comment made me grin. Well said, and I completely agree with all of your points. I can also never understand how men are alright with being labelled as “horny animals”.

    Super Devoika, you are right. I may have come off as condescending, thank you for pointing that out, I will try my best to maintain a more balanced outlook next time.
    Now, what I meant when I said “reason rather than revelation and tradition should be the basis of belief” is that people shouldn’t worship God because society and scriptures tells them to, they should deduct the omnipotence and presence of God through his creation. I just don’t feel like it is as impactful to believe in something out of understand rather than out of blind acceptance.

    Ohoud, this post really had nothing to do with Islam. Or with forming a counter argument. Or with bashing. I wanted to emphasize the importance of equipping people to think for themselves, but I couldn’t help but add stuff along the way.

  19. Jameel

    Excellent point super.devoika, I guess we all fall in this trap sometimes, not only Roba! Although, Fatima is entitled to her opinion, which should be respected, what is not acceptable nor respectable is when she – or anyone else – disguises her personal views as religious doctrine – Islamic or otherwise – and hence judge all others improper since she is arguing on behalf of god.
    Roba, sorry if I did not express myself correctly, what I meant is “ One cannot confuse” not you personally.

  20. “I just don’t feel like it is as impactful to believe in something out of understand rather than out of blind acceptance.”–> correction–> “I just don’t feel like it is as impactful to believe in something out of blind acceptance rather than by understanding”.

    Jameel, :)

  21. “Pity the nation that acclaims the bull as hero.”

    I’m amazed how many women in the arab world enjoys being persecuted..I guess it’s a form of “masochism”.
    remember that 85% of jordanian women approved to be beaten by their husbands.

  22. Jameel

    Fadi, where the F*#k did you get this number from, doesn’t matter! It cannot be right.
    And you say, “remember…” as if it is a known fact. Could this be wishful thinking by you! I wonder

  23. Fadi, nice quote.

    Fadi and Jameel, as for the numbers, they were released by Jordan’s National Family Council last year based upon a survey supposedly conducted in 2001. This summer though, I had the pleasure of meeting Leila Hamarneh, the projects director of the Arab Women Organization, who told me herself that they had traced the report back to a survey not done properly, so these statistics are actually not true.

  24. Jameel

    85% wow, I guess this means I know all the other 15% who do not accept to be beaten.
    This is not a poorly done survey, this is BS. You’d be hard pressed to come up with this figure if you have done it in Fatima’s Advanced “How to be a Good Fourth Wife ” Class.

  25. of course I’m not proud of this number jameel..
    In fact I dont believe that this survey is 100% accurate but it surely gives a dangerous indication that has to be considered..

  26. Roba,

    Interesting post and discussion following. I think to some extent our society needs to take a close look at our value system and in a very public way reaffirm that which is right and that which is not. Religion is all about interpretation. I have a hard time with someone saying this is not the true “religion” because religion has a lot to do with application, not just theology. For example look at what Pat Robertson says in the name of Christianity. It is pure evil in my opinion, yet many in the US believe it and as a result, their actions are dictated by it rather than “true christianity”.

    This is where religious leaders can come in to offer a clear counterpoint to the warped idiology.

    I think in the end what we will benefit from most is to secularize our society regarding politics, civics, and leadership.

  27. Roba and all, thats right, i was talking about relativity not rationality.

  28. These kinds of things happen when people choose to believe before understanding….following before discussing….attacking before listening.

  29. She’s entitled to what she believes in, and luckily she isn’t an important figure in her society (I do thank God for that). Having said that, I’m not going to waste any effort trying to offer a counter argument, because this is like me trying to explain to someone why Gilmore Girls suck, only this woman is making it sounds more serious.

    Honestly, some people should do humanity a favor and speak only for themselves.

  30. Since my ultimate educational mentors are cab drivers (respek!), they’ve taught me that all women are meant for recreational purposes only(the offer inludes house shores,making babies,practising some pro wrestling on them,etc)!

    راح أكتب بلعربي عشان ما ننفضح قدام الأجانب : نفسي أفهم ليش لما آجي أحكي مع بنت و خاصة محجبة (ملهاش دخل بلدين) إبترتبك و بقلب لونها زينون و بتصير بدها تهرب مني؟ هلا بعرف أنو شكلي شغل أفلام رعب بس مش هيك! ولا أكتر إشي بحبو لما إتخلص حكي مع وحدي و تمشي و تسمع صحباتها بضحكو من تحت لتحت!
    ولا ناس ما إبتعرفها أصلان بشوفوك ماشي مع بنت: مين إلي ماشي معها، شو كنت بدك منها؟

    يا زلمة وانت مال اهلك مع مين بحكي و لا مين مصاحب

    و أريد أن أسأل فضيلة الشيخ الدكتور” أي ملحس” أن يقول لنا ما حكم أن تطلب حرمتك موبايل؟وخاصة هذا أبو كمرا؟

    OHOUD:
    Now, is she equal to a man when it comes to inheritance?
    Is she equal to a man when a judge takes her account?
    I don’t think so!

    وعلا قولت شوفير تكسي : يعني كيف بنتي بدها تشتغل سكرتيرة في عيادة أسنان، ما هو راح يجي مرة مراجع شب و راح إيكونو إثنين لحالهم في الغرفة و ما إجتمع إثنين تحت سقف واحد إلا كان إبليس ثالثهما!!

  31. Firas, what you’ve said is quite offensive not to mention irrelevant to this woman and what she’s said.

    If it’s about the inheritance, heck I don’t mind if men take the full share not only two times what the girl takes, the problem is not in money or religions, the problem lies within us.

  32. Salaam,
    I don’t have anything to add…all I will say is that I love your post and I agree we need to highlight the important of intellect and logic within our own tradition. I also think we should be wary of those who would put forth religious justifications to strengthen their arguments.

  33. The author seems to suggest that you can either have the fulfillment of parenthood and a loving relationship with your spouse, OR a successful life. Why would anyone (female or male) have to give one up to achieve the other?

  34. what the damn matter with you people?? don’t you think yourselves talk too much…!!!!!! and attack others heavily, well, I’m sorry to say this, but, it seems that most of you agrees rationale, but does no action…

    anyways… the point is, that, life is just a combination of complex choices and, we can’t choose most of them, but, we have to deal with…..
    :)

  35. Salaam ‘Alaikum

    I agree with you, Roba, on the need for people to be taught logic. Actually, I once sat with an old school sheikh from Damascus who urged us all to do this, saying that the ability to think logically is something we have lost and need to reclaim.

    As for the “trauma” of driving, the lady should really try it out a few times before blathering. I’ve been driving for more than a decade, and have yet to be traumatized by it or led into a den of fitnah because of it (their other excuse for not letting women drive). I always wondered why their scholars or whoever say that women driving will lead to fitnah, but women being alone in the car with the chauffeur who is not related to them wouldn’t…

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