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Mernissi makes the claim that "Any man who believes that a Muslim woman who fights for her dignity and right to citizenship excludes herself necessarily from the umma...is a man who misunderstands his own religious heritage, his own cultural identity" (Mernissi viii). She goes about supporting this claim by delving into the very detailed documentation of Islam history. She attributes misogyny in the past and present Muslim culture to the male elite. She gives many examples of how Muhammad and Islam have only supported equality of the sexes and also how the male elite used false hadiths and very narrow interpretations of the Koran and true hadiths for their purpose.
She begins by describing how the male elite started running things right from the onset of Muhammad's death. When a successor to Muhammad was picked, it did not involve the people of the community at all or any women. It was done by a small group of followers which were very close to the prophet, a sort of elite group. This sort of leadership in Islam continued in the same manner as only the elite were involved. This helped preserve what they thought was essential and according to the interests of the participants the essentials varied.
The fabrication of false hadiths by the male elite was probably the first and most popular way for them to protect their interests. The people governing knew how important it was to "seek legitimacy in and through the sacred text" (Mernissi 43). Mernissi talks...