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Bulletins Bulletin : Published and Discussed
Date: Sunday, March 03, 2002
From: shubachon
Subject:
Woman in other civilisations:
Description:


Woman has been discriminated since time immemorial. A brief historical survey would help us chart its course and within the context it will be easier to appreciate Islam's tremendous contribution towards the restoration of woman's dignity and rights.

In ancient INDIA, according to Encyclopaedia Britannica, woman's: "Subjection was a cardinal principle. Day and night must woman be held by their protectors in a state of dependence, says 'Manu', The rule of inheritance exclouded females. (Ref.: The Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th edition,vol.28, p 782)
A Good wife in the hindu scriptures is "a woman whose mind, body, speech are kept in subjection. (Ref.:Devid and Vera Mace: Marriage East and West, New York, 1960,p-201)
An Indian wife used to address her husband as "My Lord" and My God" in that he was held to be her earthly god. She could not eat or walk with him. Throughout her life she was dependent on and subservient to her father, husband and son.
Not only this , in many cases when the husband died his wife was burnt alive on his pyre, a practice which is not uncommon even in modern India.
At the time of marriage, she is given in charity by her father to her husband who obliges her father by accepting her along with a huge dowry in cash and kind. This is very much in practice even now.
In the most sacred Hindu scripture, RAMAYANA (not really ancient, composed in the late sixteenth century), recommend in unequivocal terms:
"Drum, rustic, untouchables, animal, woman
Deserve they all a through thrashing;
(Ref.:Tulsi Das;Rama Charitra Manasa, ayodhaya (India)
***Woman has been categorised with animals and untouchables and it is regarded necessary to beat her hard if you want something good out of her***

In Greece, the lot of the woman was no better:
Athenian woman was always subject to some male. Her consent in marriage was not generally thought to be necessary.(Ref.: E.A.Allen; A History of civilization, vol. 3, p. 444)
As to her legal status in Roman civilization, the following account is worth reading:
In Roman Law a woman was even in historic times completely dependant. If married she and her property passed into the power of her husband…………the wife was the purchased property of her husband. A woman could not exercise any civil or public office…… could not be a witness, surety, tutor or curator, she could not adopt or be adapted, or make will or contact. Afet her husband’s death, her sons or in-laws, especially brother-in-law had the legal right over her.
(Ref.: The Encyclopaedia Britannica , p. 443)

The Slavonic society woman used to kill their baby daughters for the fear of sexual exploitation. It is reported by Thietnar, a German chronicler, that Slavonic wives were killed after their husband’s funeral in order to share his fate.

The Scandinavian woman were :
Under perpetual tutelage, whether married or unmarried. As late as the code of Christian V, at the end of the seventeenth century, it was enacted that if a woman married without the consent of her tutor, he might have, if he wished, administration of her goods during her life.
(Ref.: Ibid. p. 783)

The status of woman in CHINA was no better:
On marriage a woman was afterwards subject to the authority of her husband’s parents and seniors. Her property was transferred to the ownership of her husband’s family.
(Ref.: Ibid. vol. 4, p. 409)

Woman in Judaism and Christianity:
Let us now turn to the Bible in order to find out the status of woman in two hajor religions-----Judaism and Christianity:
In the MOSAIC LAW, the wife is betrothed. The Encyclopaedia Biblica explains this concept and its ramifications:
**To betroth a wife to oneself ment simple to acuire possenssion of her by payment of the purchase money; the betrothed is a girl for whom the purchase money is paid.
Tgirl’s consent is unnecessary and the need for it is nowhere suggested in the Law.**
(Ref.: The Encyclopaedia Biblica, vol. 3, p. 2942)
The following passage from the bible, relating the story of the fall od Adam and Eve, explains, to some extent, the negative image of woman in the Biblical traditions:
** Now the snake was the most cunning animal that the Lord God had made. The snake asked the woman, ‘did God really tell you not to eat the fruit from any tree in the garden’ the woman answered, ‘except the tree in the middle of it……, if we do, we will die’. The snake replied, that is not true, you will not die….when you eat it you will be like God and know what is good and what is bad.’ So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband and he also ate it….. God asked, did you eat the fruit that I told you not to eat?’ the man answered , the woman you put here with me gave me the fruit and I ate it. …… And He said to the woman, I will increase trouble in pregnancy and your pain in giving birth. In spite of this , you will still have desire for your husband, yet you will be subject to him.**
(Ref.: Genesis 3:1-7,12 and 16)
The Christian council in the fifth century concluded that woman had no soul and her abode was hell. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was, however, considered as an exception. A century later Christian Council debated whether woman was human or not.

In the pre-Islamic Arabia, the plight of woman may be measured in the light of the then Arab custom of burying daughters alive. She was regarded as an inferior creature. She was inherited like chattel. When a man died, his son had every right upon the widow. He might marry her for himself, stop her from marrying another man and demand money in ransom if she wanted to do so.

STATUS AND ROLE OF WOMAN IN ISLAM
Towards Equality,Development and Peace

It was against this backdrop that Islam successfully brought about the liberation of woman from all the shackles. As mentioned earlier, Islam not only endorses the objectives of equality, development and peace for woman but strongly advocates and stands for this rights. However, its approach towards the achievements of these objectives is holistic, not fragmentary.
The Qur’an the final and eternal guide of the mankind, makes it very clear that man and are two physical forms of the same soul, hence no original difference between them. God declares in the very opening verse of the aptly entitled chapter Al-Nisa(Woman)
**O men Fear your Lords, Who created you from a single being and out of it created its mate; and out of the two spread many men and women. Fear ALLAH in Whose name you plead for rights, and heed the ties of kinship. Surely, Allah is ever watchful over you***
(Al-Nisa 4:1)

This divine declaration has spelled an end to the discrimination against woman in that the whole mankind is the offspring of a single human soul. Originally everyone-----man and woman------has the same descent and no one is nobler or meaner by birth. It has made it clear that all human beings, men or women, are servants of the One True God. They should therefore worship and serve Him. Islam thus dismissed the notion that man is more honoured for being a man and woman is inferior for being a woman.
The above Quranic words are the preamble of the universal declaration of human rights, revealed to humankind by its Creator, the Almighty God, Who alone possesses the absolute knowledge of the origin and nature of the creation of humankind. This verse is the divine declaration for all times to come that all the sex-related discriminatory practices prevalent in the human society are unnatural and therefore baseless, false and absurd. The whole mankind is the offspring of a single soul, and any kind of discrimination against either tantamount to the division of a single soul and therefore it is null and void. Upholding sex equality, the holy Qur’an has drawn our attention to a biological fact as well:

** And be heedful of the wombs that bore you; for God is ever watchful over you**
(Ref.: Al-Nisa 4:1)

It reminds us of the place of origin of our biological existence i.e. the mother’s womb. Human biological existence is another clear evidence of man-woman equality; both come to life in the womb and are given birth by a woman in exactly the same fashion; hence, ruling out the question of superiority between them.

**Asha korchi uopre bornito fact and factor theke amra sathik poth ti khuje nite parbo. Almighty Allah Subhanahu taala amader ke sathik gaan ahorone sahajjo korun.
Ameen.**


People Discussion
kuashaa
(Monday, March 04, 2002)

aameen

bd_KonkaBoti
(Monday, March 04, 2002)



kumropotash
(Monday, March 04, 2002)


You said, “islam thus dismissed the notion that man is more honoured for being a man and woman is inferior for being a woman.” Then why is “purush narir upor kortrittokari!”
In a previous discussion, I pointed out that women have been subjected to discrimination soon after the initiation of human civilization. All the religions (including islam) were used in varying degrees to do so as it was one of the reasons why they were created in the first place!



shubachon
(Monday, March 04, 2002)

kumropotash,
ami kichui bolini, jaha likhechi taha authentic document thekei compiled korechi matro.
purusera narir upor kotritto korena kakhono, islamic way of life based on mutual understanding and care for each other with regards and love.
persons away from religious bindings are always misinterprit the actual theame of religious value.


kumropotash
(Monday, March 04, 2002)

If islamic way of life is based on mutual understanding and care for each other with regards and love, why is “purush narir upor kortrittokari!”




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