01 January 2007

Men and Women

In the West there is frequent mention of the
status of women in the Islamic world, invariably
in a way which makes it clear that "we" are in no

doubt that "our" system is better and somehow
more civilised.

Is Islam hostile to women??
It is true that according to the Quran men have

a status above women, most famously expressed
in Surah 4 Verse 34:
"Men have authority over women because God

has made the one superior to the other..."
and later on in the same verse we read:
"Good women are obedient."
"As for those from whom you fear disobedience,

admonish them, forsake them in beds apart,
and beat them.".

So there, "we" are right, you may think.
Well, all Jews and Christians who live according

to their scriptures must agree with the above,
at least in principle. Why?

Because in the Bible we read, right up front in
the very first book, Genesis (2:18-20), that God,
having created Adam, realised that Adam was
unhappy being alone and was in need of
"a suitable companion to help him" so God
obligingly created Eve as "a suitable companion
to help him".
Twice in those three verses we read this
(or words to that effect, depending on which of
the many versions of the Bible you read), almost
as if to remove any doubt that men are superior
to women.
You will agree that there is no fundamental

difference here. Judaism and Christianity are
therefore in agreement with Islam on this point,
so why only criticise Islam?

I say Judaism and Christianity above.

Judaism, too, by implication because the holy
book of the Jews, the Torah (the Law), contains
the ancient Hebrew originals of the 5 first
books of the Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus,
Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, collectively
known as the Pentateuch, and traditionally
attributed to Moses.

Assuming that the Bible translations are just

reasonably close to the original in these few
verses, we may say that the 2 faiths agree
on this point.
It would interest me greatly what an exact

literal translation from the hebrew would show.

The reasons why Islam is being singled out

are twofold and obvious:

- Because Western society has separated state

from religion and there is generally a lack of
interest in and knowledge of even "your own"

religion in many Western countries today.

- Because of the general witchhunt against all

things Islamic which has so sadly been a major
force (but NOT for good!) in recent years.

It seems that anything goes if it helps to discredit
or ridicule or demonise Muslims and their faith.
It should surprise nobody that they react the
way they do.

In a wider context, what about the custom,

widespread even today in poor and rural India,
of simply throwing new-born baby girls away

or having them aborted if you can afford the scan
which reveals the bad news??

Burying unwanted new-born girls alive was
apparently a custom in pre-Islamic Arabia.
There are several clear references in the
Quran that to do this is a monstrous crime
and a grievous sin and no good Muslim
would ever do it.

There are numerous exhortations in the Quran
honour and respect women in general and your
mother in particular.

Islam recognises the fact that men and women

are totally different complementary creations
and it therefore follows that they have totally

different complementary functions to perform
in this world, whereas the West is not only
ignoring and denying it but actively repressing
and systematically outlawing it.

Having spent time in both societies, I know
which is the more contented and the happier...

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