The ‘that’s not REAL Feminism’ Defence


The ‘that’s not REAL Feminism’ defence


I often hear some Muslims who fall under the sway of Feminism, disagree with my critique of Feminism (and Liberalism too sometimes) by using a defence that ‘that’s not REAL Feminism’, or ‘not all people believe that about Feminism’. This argument is called the ‘no true scotsman fallacy’, where anyone can say ‘well, no true scotsman would be embarassed of a kilt’, or ‘no true scotsman runs away from a fight’. These arguments are obviously flawed, as anyone can, without any authority claim that any refutation of Feminism or Liberalism ‘didn’t refute what ACTUAL Feminism/Liberalism believes’.

Christians use the argument all the time, when Muslims press them on the issue of the Trinity, and ask them to explain how God can have three independent wills, and not be three gods? Christians retort that ‘that’s not what we believe about God, we only believe in one god’, In such a situation the Muslim would consider themself to be simply ‘calling a spade, a spade’, regardless of how the Christian chooses to ‘label’ his concept of God. So what about Muslims who are misled into thinking Liberalism and Feminism are compatible with Islam? (I won’t go into how could Islam require Feminism and Liberalism to be integrated with it! Suffice to say, I heard it on good authority that Islam is a ‘perfect’ way of life and worldview..).

Of course, could we say that this lack of any definite meaning is inevitable with any arguments around Feminism and Liberalism? Not exactly. Although, feminism (and Liberalism) is an intellectual tradition not based upon a book, or exemplar figure, it can still have a meaning, but this meaning can only come from what is ‘current’ and mainstream at any particular time. As such, Feminism and Liberalism are defined by the mainstream of its thinkers, advocates and widely acclaimed promoters. The current mainstream of Feminism and Liberalism predominantly consists of Western/European thinkers, advocates and promoters who generally agree on many of the core beliefs and doctrines associated with these terms, While it is possible for someone to call themself a ‘feminist’ and ‘Liberal’ and not adhere to the mainstream views – their views however would only be fringe, and therefore unrepresentative of the term.

However, if anyone wants to argue that numbers and popularity does not define terms based upon intellectual traditions, then these terms cease to hold any meaning. Using this logic, one could equally call North Korea Liberal, as one could UK. This then descends into farce.

As most linguists will acknowledge, terms, like words in a language, are defined by their mainstream uses. The mainstream of Liberalism and Feminism believe in concepts completely antithetical to Islam, like the primacy of the Individual above all other considerations (whether theological or social) – and it is upon that basis that I make such a case for the avoidance of such terms.

If however, some people reject my arguments against Feminism and Liberalism because although I engage the mainstream understandings, I argue against a definition they PERSONALLY don’t believe in, yet they are still adamant on using the term ‘feminism’ or ‘Liberalism’ to describe their views ‘as long as they get to define what it means’ – then sure go ahead! BUT just don’t tell me anything about it, what it means, or how you define it, – in fact don’t even advocate it to anyone or to me, because YOU TOO then cannot define it anymore than you allow me to.

However, I do have the weight of the mainstream on my side, where I quote popular thinkers, formative philosophers and widely acclaimed champions of their ideas, as well as looking at what is common in the views and beliefs between all these figures, and the leading discourses happening internally in their own ideological community. It is this corpus of anaylised discourse which gives me something to engage with, and upon which I basis my critiques upon.

The real question is, not what do I have, but what do the fringe ‘redefiners’ have?



Of course the fringe groups will complain that my discussion may ‘lack nuance’ as not all of the fringe factions agree with one of the criticisms of the mainstream I put forward. Or perhaps those following fringe interpretations will want us to include them in our discussions. To them we should say “Come back to us when you are the mainstream”. Of course, what authority these Fringe factions have to call themselves Feminists or Liberals, when even the mainstream may not consider them true Feminists and Liberals, is another matter! Perhaps they should spend more their time preaching to their fellow Liberals and Feminists before they come to the Muslim community. However that being said, there are NO forms of Feminism or Liberalism that are compatible with Islam, anymore then there are forms of Communism or Fascism compatible with Islam (and yes, Muslims in the past have tried with these things too).

Perhaps alternatively, we can respond “We haven’t ignored you, but we just prioritise the mainstream first, no point refuting ‘Communist Feminism’ when the vast majority of Feminists are Liberal. But that doesn’t mean that at some point, Muslim critical thinkers won’t eventually get around to critiquing these fringe factions too”.


Categories: ARTICLES, Feminism, WRITINGS

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8 replies

  1. Umm Muslims also use the ‘Thats not the true Islam ” debate. Why do the taliban kill people in the name of Islam? Because thats not what the true Islam is about. It gives Christians and Feminists as much right to use this defence


    • You should re-read the article. While the Quran and traditions of the Prophet (saaw) ultimately decide what is, and what is not, Islam. Feminism has no such basis upon which we can decide what is ‘true’ Feminism, and what is not.


    • Really? Why did the Sahaba RA kill people in the way of Allah aza wa jal?

      In any case, Christians and feminists don’t have the right to use such a defense because they don’t have the right to be Christians and feminists in the first place. Allah aza wa jal explicitly promised all disbelievers the fire of hell forever-their disbelief invalidates all their deeds so disbelievers don’t have the right to be disbelievers let alone use such a defense. Just because you can’t understand why Allah aza wa jal created such diverse humans and condemned so many to Jahannam in the Quran doesn’t mean you are excused from believing in Him and His Messenger.


      • @Mahmud,your problem is you are afraid to think. What do you mean christians don’t have a right to be christians? O_o they were born christians. And God chooses what we were born into, we don’t have that ability to choose. We can change it later, and not everyone is able to change their religion doesn’t mean they go straight to hell. So god gave them the right to be christians.

        Secondly, define disbeliever. If you think disbelievers are Non muslims, youre mistaken.

        And yes, because i cant understand why he created a diverse universe and is going to chuck humans in hell I am excused from believing because that sounds like tyranny and i demand good reasons.


      • You are wrong Anosh. Nobody is born a Christian, all are born on fitrah.

        Narrated Abu Huraira:
        Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Every child is born with a true faith of Islam (i.e. to worship none but Allah Alone) but his parents convert him to Judaism, Christianity or Magainism, as an animal delivers a perfect baby animal. Do you find it mutilated?” Then Abu Huraira recited the holy verses: “The pure Allah’s Islamic nature (true faith of Islam) (i.e. worshipping none but Allah) with which He has created human beings. No change let there be in the religion of Allah (i.e. joining none in worship with Allah). That is the straight religion (Islam) but most of men know, not.” (30.30)
        حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدَانُ، أَخْبَرَنَا عَبْدُ اللَّهِ، أَخْبَرَنَا يُونُسُ، عَنِ الزُّهْرِيِّ، أَخْبَرَنِي أَبُو سَلَمَةَ بْنُ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ، أَنَّ أَبَا هُرَيْرَةَ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏”‏ مَا مِنْ مَوْلُودٍ إِلاَّ يُولَدُ عَلَى الْفِطْرَةِ، فَأَبَوَاهُ يُهَوِّدَانِهِ أَوْ يُنَصِّرَانِهِ أَوْ يُمَجِّسَانِهِ، كَمَا تُنْتَجُ الْبَهِيمَةُ بَهِيمَةً جَمْعَاءَ، هَلْ تُحِسُّونَ فِيهَا مِنْ جَدْعَاءَ ‏”‏‏.‏ ثُمَّ يَقُولُ أَبُو هُرَيْرَةَ ـ رضى الله عنه ‏{‏فِطْرَةَ اللَّهِ الَّتِي فَطَرَ النَّاسَ عَلَيْهَا لاَ تَبْدِيلَ لِخَلْقِ اللَّهِ ذَلِكَ الدِّينُ الْقَيِّمُ‏}‏
        Reference : Sahih al-Bukhari 1359
        In-book reference : Book 23, Hadith 113
        USC-MSA web (English) reference : Vol. 2, Book 23, Hadith 441
        (deprecated numbering scheme)

        Secondly, disbeliever doesn’t mean ALL non-Muslims, it means non-Muslims who were exposed to Islam and failed to enter it. As for the rest, we have narrations dealing with them and I can provide them to you if you ask me for them.

        However, yes, ANY non-Muslim who is exposed to Islam has no right to be a non Muslim any more.


        وَمَن يَبْتَغِ غَيْرَ الْإِسْلَامِ دِينًا فَلَن يُقْبَلَ مِنْهُ وَهُوَ فِي الْآخِرَةِ مِنَ الْخَاسِرِينَ
        And whoever desires other than Islam as religion – never will it be accepted from him, and he, in the Hereafter, will be among the losers.

        Anosh, if you fail to accept that Allah made Islam the ONLY acceptable religion to him and will punish those who reject it, then you are YOURSELF a disbeliever and you have exited the religion of Islam. Allah aza wa jal NEVER breaks his promise.

        “And yes, because i cant understand why he created a diverse universe and is going to chuck humans in hell I am excused from believing because that sounds like tyranny and i demand good reasons.”

        You aren’t excused from believing. Either you accept it as the truth or you have disbelieved after your faith.

        However-you asked for reasons.

        Here is the reason-Allah aza wa jal alone has the right to be worshiped in the manner HE chooses. He has the right to punish those who fail to worship and obey Him. He is our MASTER. We are his SLAVES. He sent His final Messenger with complete guidance and the true deen (Islam) and invited everyone to Paradise.

        The Messenger is his inviter. Whoever responded to the invitation was saved.

        And whoever didn’t is damned.


      • Dear Anosh Ashfaq,

        === On the right to believe or disbelieve ===

        About the unknown realm of the hereafter
        and Allah’s Judgement.
        We cannot say anything, except what Allah revealed to us through His Prophets.

        Allah, The Creator and Sustainer of all creation, has
        created the worlds with universal natural, physical and moral laws
        [essentially physical and moral/spiritual causality]
        and given us humans freewill choice.

        ***Thus we control our choices
        but not their consequences.
        Physical and spiritual.

        Allah’s Destiny does not “fatalize” our choice (see fatalism).
        Nor does our choice contradict Allah’s Will, Destiny.
        Without the existence, possibility and opportunity of evil
        choice the inclination of our hearts between right or wrong
        would be meaningless.
        “Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and the earth
        and the alternation of the night and the day
        are signs for those of understanding.” [3:190]

        We cannot ignore the effects of evil deeds upon our soul
        just as we cannot ignore the effects of gravity upon our body.
        Jumping of a cliff
        Gravity does not care what you believe.
        The laws of causality cannot be broken.
        We can only break ourselves upon them.

        The ignorant cannot judge the wisdom of the wise.
        As humans cannot judge the Creator.
        Desiring understanding is however admirable.

        We cannot be judged for our inability.
        We are only judged for our choices.
        Actions are judged upon their intentions.
        Choice is intention in action.
        Responsibility depends upon ability.
        Physical and mental.
        Allah does not burden a soul beyond it’s ability.

        None can earn Paradise. Even Prophets.
        Our deeds cannot even earn back the blessing we receive on earth!
        Thus Paradise is a gift, through Allah’s forgiveness.
        However we must still purify our souls with good life choices.

        Humans are created weak.

        ***Thus do the best you can, with the little you have,
        then by Allah’s Mercy you will (hopefully) enter paradise.
        Only you and Allah know what is truly in your heart.
        But only Allah can Judge it as “The (only) Owner of Judgment Day”.

        Gifts can only be demanded from those you ask.
        Paradise can only be received from the one you worship.
        If you worship yourself,
        go give yourself Paradise in the hereafter.
        If you worship a human, your spouse, your children…
        go ask them for Paradise on Judgment day.
        If you worship wealth,
        go buy yourself Paradise if you can.
        If you worship the Sun or Moon or “the majority”
        or even choice (freedom) itself…
        If you worship anything or anyone else besides Allah,
        go ask them for Paradise.

        No one will or can stop you from worshiping
        who or what you wish.

        But no one can also break causality for you.
        And you must accept the consequences of your choices…
        Except when they are forgiven.

        Forgiveness can only be asked from the one against you transgressed.
        If you steal from person A.
        You cannot pay it back to person B.
        If you transgress against a person,
        ask forgiveness to that same person.

        If you transgress against Allah,
        The Most Compassionate, The Most Merciful,
        then ask forgiveness from Allah.

        And Allah will not punish you
        for what you could not have known
        nor could not have done.

        However… realize that
        life is
        assessment – preparation – action.

        So you believe
        so you perceive
        so you think
        so you feel
        so you speak
        so you act.

        Your small actions shape your big actions.
        Your actions shape your habits.
        your habits become your character traits.
        Your character aligns with your soul.

        Small continuous deviations may lead to huge deviations.
        Until it becomes very difficult
        for the utterly corrupt
        to distinguish
        truth from falsehood.
        During the turning points of life.
        And death.

        This is probably not enough to answer your question completely.
        But I have done the best I can
        with the little I have.

        You are not responsible for the beautifully diverse universe.
        Let Allah take the responsibility for that.

        You are not responsible for the choices of others
        making this universe as diverse as it is
        beyond your ability to influence or compel them.
        Let them take responsibility for their own actions.

        But be responsible for what you are responsible for.

        May Allah the Most Forgiving and Most Merciful
        bless you and make you successful
        in this life and the hereafter~


      • Thank you Saif for your nice answer. I appreciate it.



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