Yes. Without a doubt. The evidence is overwhelming, as I have explained before.
It’s really not hard to understand why. Feminism is a liberal secular philosophy. In the same way that liberal secularism attacks traditional religion, feminism attacks traditional religion. Arguably, feminism is the main weapon in liberal secularism’s attack on traditional religion. So it’s no surprise that those Muslims who adopt feminist ideas will have deep problems with traditional religions like Islam.
To say that feminism has nothing to do with women leaving Islam is like saying the KKK has nothing to do with its members hating black people. I mean, c’mon. If someone were to deny that the KKK is tied with hating black people, that would mean that that person doesn’t understand what the KKK is.
And this is exactly the case with Muslims who defend feminism. Those Muslims who want to deny feminism’s corrosive effects on Muslim faith are simply ignorant of what feminism is and its real history. If you ask them what feminism is, they will give you a whitewashed history. And when you question them on this history, they will appeal to mainstream, pro-feminist academic works, e.g., schlock like No Turning Back: The History of Feminism and the Future of Women.
This is like trying to get an understanding of American history by reading some right-wing patriot’s history of the US that extols the “brave Founding Fathers” who fought for independence and inalienable rights while ignoring things like the Native American genocide, the Transatlantic slave trade, Jim Crow, etc.
The reality is, feminism has been instrumental in attacking religion in general and Islam in particular. For those who want a better understanding of the history of feminism and its danger to Muslim faith and the human race writ large, you can consult my Reading List and watch this lecture:
But I also want to take the opportunity to respond to some of the tired talking points we hear by feminists and white knights on this question.
The main claim that we hear nowadays is that “Muslim women are leaving Islam, not because of feminism but because they’re mistreated by Muslim men.” Those who make this claim usually cite three things:
- Anecdotes/personal experience with abusive Muslim men
- The lack of space/visibility of women at mosques
- The lack of women in leadership roles
What people fail to notice is that none of these things explain the overall trend of apostasy and increasing frustration of Muslim women with traditional Islam. Not even close.
What even Muslim feminists will acknowledge is that women’s apostasy from Islam is on the uptick. This is just a fact. And keep in mind that when we say apostasy is on the rise, we are not just talking about people no longer identifying as Muslim. Also included are Muslims who have severely damaged or completely compromised their faith because of adopting clear kufr, even though they may still consider themselves to be Muslims of good standing. When considering both categories, loss of faith is sadly but undeniably on the rise.
Now, if the pace of women leaving Islam is increasing, then, according to the feminist explanation, that means that there must be more of 1, 2, and/or 3. If more women are leaving, that must be because more Muslim men are abusive or women have decreasing space/visibility at mosques, or women have fewer and fewer leadership roles.
But none of this is true.
There is no evidence to suggest that Muslim men are more abusive now than they were, say, 5 years ago or 10, 20, 50, or 100 years ago. In fact, according to the feminist logic, Muslim men should overall be less abusive now than they were in the previous generation or two, since Muslim men now at least have the light of intersectional feminism to inform them of things like “toxic masculinity” and “mansplaining,” etc., i.e., things of which our fathers and grandfathers were blissfully ignorant. Do feminists think that our fathers, grandfathers, and great grandfathers were on average less abusive than the current generation of Muslim males? If the previous generation of men were more abusive, then shouldn’t there have been more apostasy in our mother’s, grandmother’s, and great grandmother’s generations than there is now? But there wasn’t more apostasy then. So this explanation makes no sense.
Similarly with the supposed lack of space/visibility and leaderships points. Women are more visible than ever at mosques (whether or not this is a good thing is a separate issue). They are in more positions of leadership as well. No one denies this. Yet the rate of Muslim women losing faith is not slowing or reversing. By all appearances, it is accelerating. So what gives?
Ironically, if space/visibility/leadership are in fact tied to the rate of Muslim women leaving Islam, as the feminists argue, then if we want to reverse the trend, basic logic would dictate that we had better reduce women’s space/visibility/leadership in mosques and roll things back to that Golden, pre-feminist era of Muslim history, i.e., the vast majority of Muslim history.
Be honest. How many Muslim women do you know — friends, family, classmates, co-workers, etc. — who have, in recent years, taken off their hijabs completely or have gone the way of the turban (garish and off-putting as feminized turbans are)?
Be honest. How many Muslim women do you know who were by all considerations “pretty religious” not more than two or three years ago but now are constantly kvetching about the patriarchy and the “gendered” nature of traditional Islam, Islamic law, Islamic scholarship, etc.?
Be honest. How many Muslim women do you know who were serious students of knowledge, merrily learning about Ibn Taymiyya or perhaps Imam Al-Shafi`i, perhaps wearing niqab and avoiding things like make-up and mixing, but now are cheap Linda Sarsour clones with pussy hats ranting about intersectionality and trans rights at the spoken word night at the local bar?
Let’s be honest.
Alhamdulillah, there are plenty of sisters who are holding things down and rejecting the feminist tide. But outside of them, things are getting worse and worse as far as some Western Muslim women are concerned. To insist that this has nothing to do with the adoption of feminist ideology is sheer delusion. Irresponsible delusion.
So if abuse, space/visibility, and leadership don’t explain the loss of faith, how exactly does adoption of feminism explain apostasy among Muslim women?
Well, call me crazy, but it seems obvious to me that if a Muslima adopts the feminist premise that genders must be treated equally, she is going to be disinclined towards a religion, like Islam, that specifies very different roles for each gender. If a Muslima adopts the feminist premise that modesty and dress codes are a way for men to manipulate women, she is going to be disinclined towards a religion that emphasizes modesty and strict female dress codes. If a Muslima adopts the feminist premise that historically men have subjugated women through an evil patriarchal cabal, she is going to be disinclined towards a religion where the vast majority of its scholars and religious authorities were and continue to be men. And so on. This is not a mystery, folks.
Let me also say that the majority of the blame for this crisis goes to white knights. White knights are those religious men who give currency to feminist ideas. These are the self-hating men who are constantly shouting about how much “Muslim men are trash!” and how “We do really have a problem with patriarchy.” These men are dangerous because they lend religious legitimacy to the feminist project. These are the men who allow the feminist virus to spread and to thrive. And whenever anyone points out the problems with the feminist project, these white knights are the loudest in shouting down objectors with red herrings and other fallacies.
So, white knights are the real problem here, especially the imams among them. The Muslim feminists would fizzle out very quickly were it not for religious leaders constantly pandering to them and legitimizing their garbage by pretending to be “good Muslim men.” The only thing more vapid and more dangerous than the Muslim feminist is the Muslim white knight.