Women and Islam – Parvin Darabi

http://www.homa.org/Details.asp?ContentID=2137352779&TOCID=2083225414

“I was standing at the edge of the fire (hell) and the majority of the people going in were women.”  – Prophet Mohammed

Ever since I began my activities in exposing Islam and it’s oppression of women, I have been attacked by Muslims, mostly men, about my misconception and misinterpretation of Islamic laws regarding women. I have been told that Islam has placed a high regards for women and that Islamic laws have given women quite a bit of power.

In the back of the Koran translated into English by M.H. Shakir is stated that, “the Koran is a complete and original compilation of the Final Revelation from God to mankind through the last prophet of Islam, Mohammed. The Koran has essentially three qualities that make it universal. Firstly, in its original Arabic form, it is a masterpiece of immense literary value – fusing the style of presentation with the substance being presented in a blend of unique proportions. Secondly, though its message is a continuation of that contained in the earlier Revelations made to Abraham, David, Moses and Jesus, yet this message has a sense of fulfillment and originality that attracts toward it Jews, Christians and Muslims alike. Finally, it has a wealth information – which provides the code of life for mankind generally and Muslims in particular. Indeed, the Koran’s miracle lies in its ability to offer at least something to non-believers and everything to believers.”

In this article I would like to analyze some of these “immense literary values” presented in Koran regarding women and my understanding of them to perhaps find out where is it that Islam has placed women on a pedestal for men to worship? And how is it that if we, women were given so many rights by this book, then why we are not able to assert ourselves as human beings?

According to Islam, “a woman is the ward of her father as long as she is in his care and then becomes the ward of her husband when she marries and when her husband dies she becomes the ward of her son, grand son, and so on and if she has no male relatives she becomes the ward of her community.”

The Webster’s New Word Dictionary defines “ward” as a person under the care of a guardian or court. Therefore, according to Islam a woman never matures, and she must always be under the care of a male relative, a guardian or Islamic court. I don’t consider this respect for women but an insult to womanhood.

Once a Muslim explained to me that this is because women get pregnant and take care of their children therefore their men should take care of them. This is a wonderful idea for men to take care of their women while they are pregnant or have small children. However, why should a child girl, an unmarried woman or a woman who is not pregnant, a grandmother or an elderly woman be under the care of a guardian? In addition only people with mental disorder or the crazy ones are placed under the care of a court. Women are not crazy and immature therefore, they don’t need to be under court or guardian supervision.

Recently an Italian-woman’s request for visitation rights from her Saudi Arabian husband to see her little girl was denied by an Islamic court in Saudi Arabia. When the woman stated that, “when my daughter reaches the age of majority she will come to Italy to be with me.” The Islamic court responded, that “women never reach the age of majority, so she will never see her daughter.

That is why in Saudi Arabia women are not given a birth certificate or an identification card. Just recently the Islamic government of Saudi Arabia allowed women to carry an identification card only if their guardian would allow. Just the fact that women need guardians is an insult to motherhood and womanhood.

According to Ayatollah Khomeini, the leader of the Iranian Islamic revolution and the past leader of the Shiite Muslims, the Islamic requirement for a judge is that “the person have reached puberty, know Koranic laws, be just, not have amnesia, not be a bastard and not be of a female sex.”

Therefore, women are not considered mature enough to be able to judge others. This is the reason for not giving women the right to vote in many of the so-called Islamic democracies. What an oxymoron statement, half the population or perhaps in many of these countries more than half the population cannot get involved in the destiny of their nations and they consider themselves a democracy. As an example in Kuwait women are not allowed to participate in their democratic process and vote in their elections. However, a member of their parliament stated that women should be able to vote after they reach the age of menopause. His assertion was that only after menopause women will be mature enough to vote.

Koran 2:222. “And they ask you about menstruation. Say: It is a discomfort; therefore keep aloof from the women during the menstrual discharge and do not go near them until they have become clean; then when they have cleansed themselves, go in to them as Allah has commanded you; surely Allah loves those who turn much (to Him), and He loves those who purify themselves.”

This entire Ayeh does not make sense and states that women are dirty for a natural occurrence. Menstruation is part of the female anatomy. This is an important function for women to bear children. How can such a natural event be dirty? Muslims like other religions believe that God created men and women. Therefore, why should God tell his prophet Mohammed that men should avoid women during their menstruation period? Why would anyone consider their own creation bad and dirty? Even humans do not do that. God told Mohammed that his own creation, women are filthy and most be avoided seven to ten days a month during a good portion of their life. Frankly, I don’t understand what does women’s menstruation have to do with the last sentence “surely Allah loves those who turn much (to Him), and He loves those who purify themselves.” Does this mean that God loves women who clean themselves or men that go into women after they are cleaned? It is not clear.

Koran 2:223. “Your wives are a tilth for you, so go into your tilth when you like, and do good beforehand for yourselves; and be careful (of your duty) to Allah, and know that you will meet Him, and give good news to the believers.”

What is the “good news” Allah has to give the believers? Could it be the clause that “your wives are a tilth for you.” so men can abuse women as they want?

Koran 2:226. “Those who swear that they will not go in to their wives should wait four months; so if they go back, then Allah is surely Forgiving, Merciful.”

Does this mean that if a man got mad at his wife he should not sleep with her for four months and if he does sleep with her in those months then Allah will forgive him? For what? Why is it the business of Allah if a man and a woman sleep with each other or not?

Koran 2:227. And if they have resolved on a divorce, then Allah is surely Hearing, Knowing.

This one says if husbands and wives divorce each other Allah will know. So what, everyone else will know about it too.

Koran 4:34. Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their property; the good women are therefore obedient, guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded; and (as to) those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them; then if they obey you, do not seek a way against them; surely Allah is High, Great.

This Ayeh means that God made men in charge of women because men spend their money on women. Does this mean that if a woman spends her money on her man then she is in charge of him? Why would anyone tell a man or a woman to beat the other person? I have heard all kinds of explanations for the Arabic word “zaraba” or to beat. In my Persian translation of Koran, the translator felt so bad about the Arabic word “zaraba” that he added the clause “not too hard” in parenthesis. Many Muslims have tried to expand on this issue and add such things as beat her with a stick not larger than ones thumb or feathers or beat in a way that it does not injure. However, these are all appendages added to the saying in Koran. Again at the end of this Ayeh it says Allah is “High and Great”. How many times should God tell us that he is high and almighty?

We have a saying in Persian “You said it once I believed you. You said it again I doubted you, you mentioned it for the third time I knew that you were telling a lie.”

Ayeh 19:65 says, “The Lord of the heavens and the earth and what is between them, so serve Him and be patient in his service. Do you know anyone equal to Him?” Yes. I know some one, the Devil.

In Sura Light, 24:2 it says “(As for) the fornicatress and the fornicator, flog each of them, (giving) a hundred stripes, and let not pity for them detain you in the matter of obedience to Allah, if you believe in Allah and the last day, and let a party of believers witness their chastisement.”

Is this Allah a Merciful one? Not in my book. Why should people be flogged for having a little sex? The advise gets better as we go forward in this Sura. In 24:6 it states that “And (as for) those who accuse their wives and have no witnesses except themselves, the evidence of one of these (should be taken) for times, bearing Allah to witness that he is most surely of the truthful ones.”

So if a man does not have four witnesses to prove his wife has committed adultery he can just accuse her four times and that is fine and accepted. Such a just law?

Ayeh 24:31 “And say to the believing women that they cast down their looks and guard their private parts and do not display their ornaments except what appears thereof, and let them wear their head covering over their bosoms, and not display their ornaments except to their husbands, or their sons, or the sons of their husbands, or their brothers, or their brother’s sons, or their sister’s sons, or their women, or whom their right hand possess (slaves), or the male servants not having need (of women), or the children who have not attained knowledge of what is hidden of women; and let them not strike their feet so that what they hide of their ornaments may be known; and turn to Allah all of you, O believers! So that you may be successful.”

Parvin Darabi

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