Memperingati Ulang Tahun yang Kedelapan, The Center for Gender Studies (CGS) Gelar International Lecture

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Belum dapat mendatangi pembicara asal United Kingdom ini ke Indonesia sejak beberapa tahun lalu, alhamdulillah CGS berhasil menyelenggarakan kuliah online internasional bersama Zara Faris, aktivis Muslimah asal UK yang dengan konsisten secara vokal mengkritik faham feminisme. Mengambil tema “Muslim Feminist: False Hope or Obsolete Utopia” dengan dipandu oleh moderator dari CADIK Indonesia, Zakiyus Shadicky, acara yang diselenggarakan via Webinar Zoom ini menarik perhatian sampai dengan 500 peserta hanya dalam waktu 2 hari. Boleh jadi ini menandakan bahwa isu gender dan feminisme masih memiliki daya tarik masyarakat lintas negara. Selain Indonesia, acara ini juga diikuti oleh masyarakat di negara-negara lainnya seperti Pakistan, Inggris, Malaysia dan Mesir.

Pada saat pembukaan,  Dr. Dinar Kania selaku direktur CGS menyampaikan dipilihnya tema ini adalah karena masih ramainya umat Muslim khususnya di Indonesia yang dengan bangga menyatakan dirinya feminis-Muslim secara bersamaan. Bahkan upaya-upaya untuk ‘menyatukan’ kedua pandangan (feminisme dan Islam) yang sejatinya bertolak belakang ini masih terus dilakukan secara militan. Meski singkat, dalam kuliah online yang diselenggarakan di malam ke 17 Ramadhan ini, Dr. Dinar yang mengusung tema “Muslim Feminist in Indonesia: Call to Islam or Secular Agenda?” mengingatkan kembali poin-poin krusial dan penting mengenai faham feminisme yang dengan atau tanpa disadari telah merasuki pandangan hidup (worldview) sebagian masyarakat Muslim sehingga mempengaruhi mereka dalam melihat realitas dan kebenaran.

Cara pandang yang dikotomis didasarkan perbedaan gender perempuan – laki-laki  ini telah membuat kaum feminis tidak seimbang dalam melihat realitas. Ketimpangan cara pandang itu justru terus dipelihara dalam tubuh beragam disiplin ilmu dan diperjuangkan melalui segala sektor dan bidang agar nampak semakin natural dan mapan, tidak terkecuali bidang keagamaan. Feminis yang tergolong akademis, bahkan melalui dalil-dalil agama terus berupaya mencari jalan untuk melegitimasi produk-produk dan juga praktek-praktek yang lahir dari paham feminisme. Golongan inilah yang sebagaimana disampaikan Dr. Dinar, masuk ke dalam Tipe A feminis-muslim. Berdasarkan pengalaman CGS dan juga riset yang dilakukan para penelitinya, gradasi pemikiran feminisme yang menjangkiti umat Muslim dapat dibagi menjadi 3 kategori besar, yaitu: A (Obsolete Utopia), B (Half Blood Feminist), dan C (False Hope Follower). Sejatinya ketiga kategori tersebut telah terpengaruh agenda sekular dengan membiarkan worldview sekularisme ikut mewarnai pandangan hidup mereka sebagai seorang muslim.

Zara Faris membuka sesi kedua yang berjudul “Do Women Need Feminism?” dengan menerangkan keadaan masyarakat di UK dalam beberapa tahun terakhir. Menurutnya, bahkan bagi masyarakat sekuler-liberal Barat (western secular liberal) sendiri istilah feminism secara terminologi sudah mengandung masalah. Jika feminism diartikan sebagai “equal rights and opportunities for women and men”, maka tidak perlu lagi ada feminisme, aktivis perempuan dan kemanusiaan atas nama social justice activist seharusnya bersatu untuk menjadikan ini isu bersama di bawah egalitarianism. Inilah yang membuat masyarakat UK tidak banyak melirik feminisme, di tahun 2015-2016 berdasarkan hasil observasi yang dilakukan, kaum wanita yang mengidentifikasi dirinya sebagai feminis hanya berkisar 7% saja. Karena definisi yang tidak jelas ini, feminisme akhirnya terbiarkan menjadi istilah yang terbuka oleh berbagai macam interpretasi.

Jika bagi masyarakat sekular Barat term feminisme sudah bermasalah, seharusnya bagi kaum muslimin kesalahan itu nampak lebih nyata lagi. Sebab permasalahan ini bukan hanya menyangkut aspek fisik semata, tetapi lebih dalam daripada itu ia menyentuh sampai ke tataran metafisik. Sis Zara memandang, feminisme bukan hanya sebagai salah satu pendekatan yang digunakan untuk menghadapi isu hak-hak perempuan, feminisme adalah sebuah pendekatan idelogis (ideological approach) yang berakar dari pandangan hidup sekular-liberal (secular-liberal worldview) dan dikemas seindah dan semulia mungkin seakan-akan merepresentasikan perjuangan kemanusiaan melalui term-term equality, freedom dan empowernment. Padahal mereka menggunakan istilah-istilah ini sebagaimana bahasa kaum liberalis yang penuh dengan kontradiksi. Sis Zara menggunakan analogi permainan Rock Paper Scissors sebagai simbol-simbol yang saling berbenturan satu sama lain layaknya konsep equality, freedom dan empowernment, karena itu ia disebut erroneous rational.

Rights and Justice

Paham individualisme sebagai pondasi dari sekularisme menjadi tujuan besar feminisme yang tercermin melalui ambisi bahwa tidak ada kekuatan dan kekuasaan yang lebih besar dari diri sendiri. Individualisme inilah yang menurut Zara Faris sangat berbahaya bagi seorang muslim karena menempatkan ketidaktergantungan pada apapun (absolute independent) sebagai kebebasan manusia yang paling tinggi (liberation). Bagi feminisme segala bentuk aturan dan pengontrolan selalu bersumber dari problem of gender yakni patriarki, itu sebabnya kaum feminis memiliki agenda lain dalam memperjuangkan individualismenya, yaitu: maximizing the autonomy of the feminist female. Konsep ini yang nantinya menjadi landasan sekaligus pembeda kaum feminis dan Muslim dalam memandang body ownership, yang mana dalam Islam ia bukanlah kepemilikan mutlak melainkan sebuah amanah.

Zara Faris menyatakan bahwa paham individualisme pada hakikatnya adalah the biggest delusion karena akan memutus manusia dari tujuan tertingginya. Dalam worldview Islam, manusia dan alam adalah bukti adanya the higher truth (the metaphysical reality) yang mana kita menjadi bagian di dalamnya, “we didn’t create our nature, we did not create our own genetics…naturally humans are mostly passive recipients …..”, jelas Sis Zara.  Karena itu manusia sebenarnya adalah makhluk yang sangat bergantung kepada Tuhan dan juga saling bergantung dengan manusia lainnya. Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala sebagai Penciptalah yang memiliki Hak paling besar dan utama dalam mengatur diri manusia, mengatur hubungan laki-laki dan perempuan, dan menentukan benar dan salah. Melalui ini Islam memberikan makna yang paling jelas mengenai keadilan (justice). Bukan hanya sebagai sebuah konsep, Islam juga memberikan metode paling detail dan holistik untuk mencapai keadilan itu dengan cara terbaik yang bisa dicapai seluruh manusia tanpa memandang ras, gender dan golongan masyarakat tertentu.

Sis Zara juga menjelaskan tentang makna equality yang kononnya menjadi kendaraan Barat untuk mencapai quality of life. Sebaliknya, jika ditinjau secara kritis terdapat beberapa hal pokok yang mengungkap bahwa kesetaraan yang dituntut pada akhirnya menuju kepada cara pandang kebendaan yang menghadirkan injustice pada sisi yang lain, karena itu ia tidak lepas dari liberal conception of equality. “Our concept is totally different, we use the term balance instead of equality” Ujar sis Zara dengan mengingatkan keseimbangan hak dan kewajiban yang diterima oleh masing-masing individu muslim.

“Islamic Feminism”

Sebagaimana disampaikan Dr. Dinar dalam pembukaan, Sis Zara juga memberikan ulasan khusus mengenai ‘Islamic Feminism’ yang ‘diperjuangan’ golongan akademisi merujuk kepada tulisan dalam artikel beliau berjudul Do Women Need Feminist Theology?. Menurut  Zara, memaksakan ideologi feminisme pada tataran teologi Islam sebenarnya adalah usaha untuk menggantinya dengan teologi feminis melalui metodologi mereka. “Yang mereka lakukan bukan untuk memahami (comprehending) dan memaknai (understanding), tetapi untuk menginterpretasi ulang al-Qur’an dan Sunnah dalam timbangan nilai-nilai liberal atau feminis”, ujarnya. Menanggapi hal ini Sis Zara mengeluarkan statemen-statemen yang cukup keras untuk memperlihatkan tidak adanya celah sama sekali (mutlak) untuk mentolerir hal itu, seperti pernyataan beliau “what Islamic feminist trying to do is not acting in objective to Allah’s Revelation but to liberal-feminist reconcile.” Sehingga apa yang mereka lakukan sebenarnya bukan calling to reviving Islam as it is melainkan to reforming it.

Ini sebabnya seorang muslim harus mengenali otoritas dalam Islam, dan kualifikasi yang harus dipenuhi jika seseorang ingin melakukan ijtihad atau legal reasoning terhadap hukum-hukum Islam. Islam membuka peluang itu bagi siapa saja tanpa dibatasi oleh gender selama ia memiliki kualifikasi tersebut. Kualifikasi yang tidak mumpuni dalam melakukan ijtihad dan menafsiran ayat Qur’an dan hadits berpotensi merusaknya seperti yang dilakukan beberapa golongan akademisi feminis yang menghakimi Qur’an berdasarkan egalitarianism-liberal framework.

Keindahan Islam

Dalam penyampaiannya yang berdurasi lebih kurang 60 menit, Sis Zara banyak mengingatkan kembali mengenai keindahan ajaran Islam. “Implementing Islam secured women’s rights to Muslim women”. Hal ini terutama berguna bagi muslim yang menerima feminisme disebabkan ketidaktahuan atau kelupaan mereka dari kesempurnaan ajaran Islam. Bagaimana Islam mengatur relasi suami-istri dimana keduanya memiliki hak dan kewajiban masing-masing. Seorang istri punya hak terhadap suaminya sebagaimana juga suaminya, hak untuk mendapatkan penghormatan, kasih sayang dan waktu, hak untuk mendapatkan kepuasan, terpenuhinya kebutuhan makanan dan pakaian dan juga hak untuk memperoleh perlindungan fisik. Pemenuhan akan hak dan kewajiban masing-masing akan melahirkan hubungan yang seimbang antar sepasang suami-istri. Sungguh ironi, katanya, jika seorang muslimah harus menggunakan istilah-istilah asing seperti patriarki, misogini,dsb. dengan alasan untuk membuat laki-laki lebih berdaya. Istilah-istilah tersebut nyatanya malah akan mengasingkan atau memojokkan (alienate) mereka.

Pandangan yang memisahkan secara dikotomis intelek perempuan dan laki-laki (sexist differentiation between male & female intellect) juga tidak pernah dikenal dalam Islam. Sister Zara mengutip buku Syaikh Akram Nadwi sebagai bukti sejarah bahwa peradaban Islam pernah memiliki 8000 muslimah yang melakukan pengembaraan untuk menekuni ilmu hadits. Ia juga mengingatkan kembali bahwa sekitar 300 tahun yang lalu (abad ke-18 M), seorang travel writer wanita berkebangsaan Inggris menulis surat di era Kekhalifahan Utsmaniyah (Ottoman Caliphate) yang menyatakan bahwa ia belum pernah melihat wanita  bisa sangat menikmati kebebasannya sebagaimana yang dirasakan wanita muslim di Turki. Tidak hanya di ranah keilmuwan, para muslimah bahkan dari berbagai strata ekonomi memainkan peranan penting dalam lembaga-lembaga amal (charity foundation) dan juga pendistribusian kekayaan, kontribusi mereka hingga mencapai 20-30% dalam instrumen wakaf untuk pembangunan sekolah, rumah sakit, masjid, dll.

Kenyataan-kenyataan ini bukanlah sesuatu yang mengherankan dalam peradaban Islam, sebab Islam tidak pernah ‘mengasingkan’ dan juga ‘mempersaingkan’ perempuan dan laki-laki apalagi dalam kuantitas, “Gender was not really a question in this thing which Allah has permitted both genders to engage”, ungkap Zara Faris. Pada akhirnya, ukuran terletak pada kualitas pribadi masing-masing seorang muslim. Setiap manusia diciptakan Allah dengan kelebihannya masing-masing, kelebihan inilah yang akan menjadi penentu kualitas dirinya apabila dapat ia gunakan untuk kebaikan dan kemaslahatan. Dan kelebihan ini kelak akan dimintai pertanggung jawaban di yaumil akhir.

*Diterjemahkan dan diulas kembali oleh Sakinah Fitriyah/CGS

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Celebrating its 8th anniversary, The Centre for Gender Studies (CGS) held an International Lecture event

Thanks to Allah, CGS was finally able to held an international online lecture with sister Zara Faris, a Muslim activist from the UK who has been consistently vocal in criticizing feminism. Themed “Muslim Feminist: False Hope or Obsolete Utopia”, the event that was held via Zoom Webinar and moderated by Zakiyus Shadicky from CADIK Indonesia, had attracted the attention of up to 500 participants that registered just within 2 days. Perhaps this indicates that the issues of gender and feminism do still have a cross-border community appeal. Besides Indonesia, this event was also attended by people in other countries such as Pakistan, the United Kingdom, Malaysia, and Egypt.

During the opening, Dr. Dinar Kania as the director of the CGS said that this theme was chosen because there were still a lot of Muslims, especially in Indonesia who proudly declared themselves feminists and Muslims simultaneously. Even efforts to ‘unite’ the two views (feminism and Islam) which are actually contradictory are still being carried out militantly. Although brief, in the online lecture held on the 17th night of Ramadan, Dr. Dinar which carries the theme “Muslim Feminists in Indonesia: Call to Islam or Secular Agenda?” recalls crucial and important points regarding feminism which has or unwittingly penetrated the worldview of some Muslim societies so that they influenced them in seeing reality and truth.

This dichotomous perspective based on gender differences between women and men has caused an imbalance in feminists when seeing realities. This skewed perspective is in fact maintained throughout diverse scientific disciplines and is fought through all sectors and areas to appear more natural and established, including in the religious discipline. Feminists who are classified as academics even use religious arguments to try to find a way to legitimize the products and practices that were born out of feminism. This group is as stated by Dr. Dinar, is categorized into the Type A Muslim-feminist. Based on the research and experience conducted by CGS researchers, the Muslims infected with the feminism worldview can be graded into 3 broad categories, namely: A (Obsolete Utopia), B (Half-Blood Feminist), and C (False Hope Follower). In truth, these three categories carry a secular agenda since it allows the worldview of secularism to stain their view of life as a Muslim.

Zara Faris opened the second session entitled “Do Women Need Feminism?”, by explaining the condition of UK societies in recent years. According to her, even for secular liberal western societies, the term feminism itself already contains problems. If feminism is interpreted as “equal rights and opportunities for women and men”, then according to her there is no need for feminism any longer, and women and human activists on behalf of social justice activity should unite to make this a joint issue under egalitarianism. This is why the UK society is rather indifferent towards feminism, where observation conducted in the year 2015-2016 shows that there are only 7% of women in the UK that would identify themselves as feminists. Because of this unclear definition, feminism has been left open to a variety of interpretations.

If for a western secular society the term feminism is already problematic, then this feminism flaw should appear even clearer to Muslims. This is because this problem does not only involve the physical aspects, but deeper than that it also touches the metaphysical aspects. Sister Zara views that feminism is not only used to deal with the issue of women’s right but further than that feminism is an ideological approach that is rooted in a secular-liberal worldview and is packaged to appear as beautiful and as noble as possible, as if it is representing the humanitarian struggles through the terms of equality, freedom, and empowerment. Yet, as a matter of fact, they shared the language of liberalism and its contradictions as well. Sister Zara uses the analogy of the Rock Scissors Paper game to illustrate the clash that exists within the concepts of equality, freedom and empowerment. Where like in the game, those three concepts similarly would cancel each other, hence it is called a erroneous rational.

Rights and Justice

Individualism as the foundation of secularism is a great goal of feminism which is reflected in the ambition that there is no strength and power greater than that of oneself. It is this individualism that according to sister Zara Faris is very dangerous for a Muslim since it places absolute independence as the highest form of human freedom (liberation). For feminism, all forms of regulation and control always perceived to arise from the problem of gender, namely patriarchy, and that is why feminists have another agenda in their fight for individualism, namely: to maximize the autonomy of female feminists. This concept will later become the basis and differentiator between feminists and Muslims in viewing the ownership of the body, where in Islam human is not given absolute ownership, but rather a mandate of it (amanah).

Zara Faris stated that the view of individualism is essentially the biggest delusion because it will cut people off from their highest purpose. In the worldview of Islam, humans and nature are evidence of the higher truth (the metaphysical reality) of which we are a part of, “we didn’t create our nature, we didn’t create our own genetics … naturally humans are mostly passive recipients … “, explained sister Zara. Therefore humans are actually creatures that are very dependent on God and are also interdependent with other humans. Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala as the Creator who has the greatest and foremost rights in regulating human beings, regulates relationships between men and women, and determine rights and wrongs. Through this Islam gives the clearest meaning regarding justice. Not only as a concept, Islam also provides the most detailed and holistic method to achieve justice in the best way that can be achieved by all human beings regardless of race, gender, and certain groups of society.

Sister Zara also explained about the meaning of equality which supposedly became a Western vehicle in achieving the quality of life. Conversely, if critically reviewed, there are a number of main points that reveal that the equality demanded ultimately leads to a material perspective that presents injustice on the other side, hence it cannot be separated from the liberal conception of equality. “Our concept is totally different, we use the term balance instead of equality,” said sister Zara while reminding the balance of rights and obligations received by each individual Muslim.

“Islamic Feminism”

As similarly stated by Dr. Dinar in the opening of the talk, sister Zara also gave a special commentary on ‘Islamic Feminism’ that is ‘fought’ by academics by referring her article entitled ‘Do Women Need Feminist Theology?’. According to Zara, imposing an ideology of feminism on the level of Islamic theology is actually an attempt to replace it with feminist theology through their methodology. “What they do is not to comprehend and understand, but to reinterpret the Qur’an and the Sunnah in light of the liberal or feminist values,” she said. Responding to this, sister Zara had issued strong statements to show that there is no chance whatsoever in tolerating such action, for example in her statement “what the Islamic feminist is trying to do is not acting in objective to Allah’s Revelation but to liberal-feminist reconcile. So what they do is not actually calling to revive Islam as it is, but to reform it”.

This is why a Muslim must recognize authority in Islam, and qualifications that must be met if someone wants to perform ijtihad or legal reasoning against Islamic laws. Islam opens such opportunities for anyone unlimited by gender, as long as he/she has such proper qualifications. Lack of qualifications in performing ijtihad and in interpreting the Qur’anic verses and hadith have damaging potential as what has been done by some feminist academics who judge the Qur’an based on the egalitarianism-liberal framework.

The Beauty of Islam

In her delivery which lasted approximately 60 minutes, sister Zara gave a lot of reminders about the beauty of Islamic teachings. “Implementing Islam secured women’s rights to Muslim women”. This reminder is especially important for Muslims who accept feminism due to their lack of knowledge or obliviousness regarding the perfection of Islamic teachings. Islam regulates marital relations where both husband and wife have their respective rights and obligations. A wife has the right to her husband and vice versa, such as the right of respect, affection and time, the right to satisfaction, the fulfillment of the need for food and clothing, and also the right of physical protection. The fulfillment of these rights and obligations for each other will give birth to a balanced relationship between a husband and a wife. It is indeed an irony, she said, if a Muslim woman has to use foreign terms such as patriarchy, misogyny, etcetera, with an excuse to make men feel more empowered. In fact, these terms will actually alienate them (the men).

The dichotomous view that separates the female and male intellect (sexist differentiation between male & female intellect) is also never known in Islam. Sister Zara quoted Shaykh Akram Nadwi’s book as the historical evidence that Islamic civilization once had 8,000 Muslim women who took a journey to pursue the science of hadith. He also recalled that around 300 years ago (18th century CE), a British female travel writer wrote a letter in the era of the Ottoman Caliphate (Ottoman Caliphate) stating that she had never seen women who could enjoy freedom as much as Muslim women in Turkey. Not only in the realm of knowledge, but Muslim women from various economic levels also play important roles in charity institutions and also in the distribution of wealth, where their contributions even reached a 20-30% amount of waqf instruments used for building schools, hospitals, mosques, etc.

These facts are not something that is surprising in Islam, since Islam has never ‘alienate’ nor ‘compete’ women against men, especially in quantity. “Gender was not really a question in this thing, which Allah has permitted both genders to engage “, said Zara Faris. In the end, the measure lies in the personal qualities of each Muslim. Every human being created by God with their respective strengths, and it is these strengths that will be the determinant of the quality of him/herself if he/she could utilize it for good and kindness. It is these strengths that will be held accountable in the day of judgment.

*English version translated by Ariesa Ulfa/CGS

 

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