Gender equality is not high on Qassim’s mind

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In actual fact, it’s not there at all. The equality question that is, not the mind:

Shaikh Isa Qassim

قال رئيس المجلس الإسلامي العلمائي الشيخ عيسى أحمد قاسم: «إذا كانت الحياة النيابية تجد صفوفاً رجالية كافية فالأولوية تفرض أن تجد المرأة شرف المكانة العالية في مجالات أخرى كالتخصصات الفقهية»، مشيرا إلى «أن تحقيق الاكتفاء داخل صفوف النساء في التعليم الديني وتخريج المبلغات من المستوى المتقدم والكتابة والبحث هو مطلب نسعى لتحقيقه».

جاء ذلك خلال كلمة ألقاها قاسم في مهرجان الولاء الزينبي بصالة شهرزاد مساء الأحد الماضي. وكان الأمين العام لجمعية الوفاق الوطني الإسلامية الشيخ علي سلمان ترك أمر مشاركة المرأة في الانتخابات النيابية المقبلة إلى ظروف الدوائر وكفاءة المرشحات والمرشحين فيها. ونقل عن قاسم في وقت سابق معارضته مشاركة المرأة في الانتخابات البلدية بسبب طبيعة العمل البلدي.

وتناول قاسم قضية دخول المرأة الحياة السياسية موضحا «أن المرأة صارت تبحث عن مواقع جديدة في الحياة»، مستغربا «ربط النساء الرساليات بين المعنوية وبين تقلد المواقع السياسية وشعورها بأنها إن احتلت موقعاً سياسياً فستشعر بالسعادة»، متسائلا «هل للمرأة المسلمة في ظروف الحشمة والتعامل الإسلامي مع الرجل أن تشعر بالنقص والتخلف إذا لم تتقلد منصباً سياسياً؟».
Al-Wasat

What the esteamed “Ayatollah” Shaikh Isa Ahmed Qassim is asserting here is the substandard role women should play in society, according to him and Islam. He specifically forbids women from entering parliamentary politics (he’s already categorically forbade them entering municipal elections because municipality work is not appropriate for women, he thinks) because it is his position that if men are available, women are required to “take the high road and work in positions more commendable to their nature.”

What are those, dare one ask?

Well specialisations in religious studies of course! Not that they could ever become imams in their own right of course, but maybe he’ll teach them subservience and being third-class citizens as portrayed in the Quran, Sunna and of course being a Shi’a leader, the sayings of the 12 apostles. One of whom (Imam Ali (AS)) has already described women in his Nahj Al-Balaghah (Path of Eloquence) as half-brained creatures not worthy of much consideration:

O’ ye peoples! Women are deficient in Faith, deficient in shares and deficient in intelligence. As regards the deficiency in their Faith, it is their abstention from prayers and fasting during their menstrual period. As regards deficiency in their intelligence it is because the evidence of two women is equal to that of one man.

So is it any wonder that this guy, and his “Ulama Council”, are vehemently against the proposed Family Law?

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67 Comments
  • Anonymous
    10 March 2006

    http://www.danieldrezner.com/blog/

    Mahmood look at this blog.

  • Safwan
    10 March 2006

    What is wrong with today’s Mullaz, bringing bad image and de-promoting Islam. I consider his kind of people are deficient in their intelligence and two people like him should be equal to one intelligent man. Also, people like him think that they have in depth knowledge about religion, well, may be they do, but they lack a great knowledge of modren and changing life. So, majority of the people will take him as a threat to the freedom. Islam is a ver simple religion and people like him are making it more complicated and people like him are great threat to Islam.

  • Jared in NYC
    10 March 2006

    Mahmood,

    This isn’t somehtnig I know a great deal about, so I’m looking for a little education, and I guess I’m throwing you a softball here, but… wasn’t Mohammeds first wife a wealthy, powerful woman with considerable economic and political power in her own right?

    Jared in NYC

  • HMD
    10 March 2006

    «هل للمرأة المسلمة في ظروف الحشمة والتعامل الإسلامي مع الرجل أن تشعر بالنقص والتخلف إذا لم تتقلد منصباً سياسياً؟».

    Is he saying that men who are doing politics are not situated within decent and islamic interaction circumstances?!

    So much inconsistency in religion is only a big head in front of us when watching a movie.

  • Salman Al-Rahma
    11 March 2006

    Mahmood, again, you are reading only half the line and not looking into the whole picture.
    First of all, I am not defending his views but just explaining them as my understanding.
    what he is saying is that, there is a need for parliamentary members, that need if it can be fulfilled by men women can focus more on other places where there is a shortage, like specialisations in religious studies, wherer very few women are already ther, and while women may not be imams to men in prayer, they can be for women, and women lecturing women will be easier and more influential.
    Regarding the say about womens brain: first of all you know better that not every thing people say about Imam Ali or the prophet is true, but assuming it is true, there are many resonable explaination for it. The same can be said about many phrases in Quran, which can have 2 meanings, one very unlogical, which people might understand from reading it, and a deeper meaning which need study to get into it, and this is another reason why some people spent years in religious studies.
    As for his speaches and statements, better check -and quote from- them directly from http://albayan.org/

  • tooners
    11 March 2006

    To Jared in NYC – yes, Mohammed’s (PBUH) first wife was, indeed, very successful. She had her own business and was one of the first pioneering women in Islam – in business, and was older than the Prophet by like 15 years, I believe (could be off a few yrs though).

    I wonder what these Imams are SO afraid of… w/ women taking on powerful roles in society. I think they’re afraid of being seen as the idiots that they are.

  • mahmood
    11 March 2006

    Salman, apart from being condescending, you also sound like an apologist. Quit being both and you might get somewhere.

    I can understand Arabic just as well as you do, so when you have something real to debate, I’ll be more than happy to engage you.

  • Citizen Quasar
    11 March 2006

    Dr. Sanity, for March 9, 2006 says:

    “…are incredibly threatening to the artificially propped-up manhood of Arab males; since that manhood is entirely based on the domination/subjugation of their women. When one escapes their domination and actually stands up to them it invokes shame.”

    I agree with her. THIS is the mentality of most Islamic males.

    THAT’S a FREE WOMAN for you!

    Hey, I did not even bother to read your most recent article because it is in Arabic and you have an English language blog.

    What’s going on here Mahmood? Are you speaking in tongues for Allah?…or coding words for your racial brethren?

    Why not just make the whole thing in Arabic, since you don’t have two different language mirroring sites, and cut me out?

    ??????????

  • Citizen Quasar
    11 March 2006

    Oops! ‘Sorry, Mahmood! I still need to get a grip on coming home from the bar, firing up my computer, getting on the Internet, and commenting on blogs.

    MY BAD! You explained the whole thing. ‘My apologies. I have defects of character.

    Later.

    –CQ

  • mahmood
    11 March 2006

    Dan, with all due respect: piss off.

    This is my blog and I choose to write in whatever language, and whatever topics I choose. It is not up to you nor anyone else to dictate to me what I should and should not do in my own domain.

    If you are deficient in the languages department and can only speak English, well that is your sole deficiency, not mine.

    Is this clear enough for you?

    As to your sweeping judgment of how “most Islamic males” think of women, well, I’m sure you’ve done your thorough research and arrived at this stupendous discovery. But maybe within your research you missed the fact that they are “Muslim males” rather than “Islamic” ones. That not only demonstrates your deficiency in intellect, but compounds it with the deficiency in your own mother’s tongue!

    Now do you “get it”?

  • Citizen Quasar
    11 March 2006

    “And the wiiiiiiind cried back!”

  • Citizen Quasar
    11 March 2006

    Mahmood:

    OK. Does this mean that I should not comment on your blog anymore? Please re-affirm this for me ONE MORE time as we are online at, approximately, the same time.

    Also, please re-read the entry from Dr. Sanity.

    I certainly like your blog. I certainly am NOT religious. I offend Christians, Jews, Muslims, etc., etc. to no end as I am NOT a “fathist.”

    However, if it is just a matter of my dissatisfaction with what language you choose to post in, I have already mentioned that I have consumed alcohol and that this has impaired my perception and my judgment. If THAT is all it is, then I certainly apologize.

    There are TWO issues here. Please clarify which one has offended you.

    I will surely “sod off” if you tell me to. I just want to be sure why.

    Thank you.

    —Dan

  • Citizen Quasar
    11 March 2006

    “Did it make you think?”
    —Bob Goodman

  • Salman Al-Rahma
    11 March 2006

    Mahmood,
    * ‘He specifically forbids women from entering parliamentary politics’
    where did he say that?
    * ‘if men are available, women are required to’
    He was talking about priorities of women; what is more important for women. Alwasat said Isa Qasim said men have ‘priority in parlimant’, it is like war, women can difenetly fight, but is it their priority to fight? isn’t there a another place where they are more needed?
    * ‘work in positions more commendable to their nature.’
    while he didn’t say that here, but is this wrong? as a general it is good to have someone work in a position suitabel for his nature? women and men. I can not ask a old man to work as construction worker for instance. He didn’t say that politics is not suitable for women.
    * ‘What are those, dare one ask?
    Well specialisations in religious studies of course!’
    don’t you think that we need women there too?
    * ‘maybe he’ll teach them subservience and being third-class citizens as portrayed in the Quran, Sunna’
    Is this your opinion and understanding of Quran and Sunna? Quran and Sunna actaully put women in a high level, sometimes men envy them for it.
    * ‘and of course being a Shi’a leader, the sayings of the 12 apostles.’
    Again the 12 Imams value women very much, and so is shi’a in general. I googled about the same say and found it in Bukhari and others refrenced to the
    prophit, check it here: http://www.islamweb.net/ver2/archive/hadithsearch.php?lang=A&BkNo=000&Word=%E4%C7%DE%D5%C7%CA%20%DA%DE%E1%20%E6%CF%ED%E4&Scope=MainBook&StartNo=1
    and I am sure that if this is a true hadith then there is a good explanition for it if people really are intrested in knowing as the same with many ‘motashabihat’ of the Quran aayat.
    * ‘vehemently against the proposed Family Law?’
    again Mahmood, you are assuming that they actually opposing the law because they are against woment right, which is very untrue. They are NOT against codifying the ‘family law’, it is just that they don’t think that such a ‘law’ should be approved and rejected by the votes of majority. Laws related to marriage and divorce and such are goverend by islamic laws, and as such should be written and revised by people with such qualifications the same as any other speciality, and I think this is true in all religions. They don’t want a time to come when the majority is pro homosexuality and a vote is casted to revised the ‘family law’ to allow such a same-sex marriage, the same that happened in California.

    I am not trying to force my views on anybody, and I respect all views, and expect the same from others.
    I hope I cleared my position.

  • Salman Al-Rahma
    11 March 2006

    Mahmood,
    by the way, I am not very good in english and you had me search until I found http://dictionary.sakhr.com to understand what you said. please be easy on me next time 🙂

  • mahmood
    11 March 2006

    Salman, thanks for the input. I’m afraid that we will have to agree to differ this time as our interpretation of the situation at hand is somewhat contradictory.

  • Salman Al-Rahma
    11 March 2006

    Mahmood, I just replied to your request: ‘when you have something real to debate, I’ll be more than happy to engage you.’ so I presented my case, but I do agree to disagree, but I request you to remember that people with different opinions do not necessarly have bad intentions.

  • mahmood
    12 March 2006

    Salman come on, I never even implied that you had bad intentions. I didn’t and never will demonise you for disagreeing with my point of view, and I would appreciate it if you would do me the same honour.

    I’m fed up of people in Bahrain demonising others and calling them “unpatriotic” simply because they have a different opinion…

    I sincerely thank you for taking the time to enter a comment my friend, the more the better!

  • Citizen Quasar
    12 March 2006

    The next day…

    Mahmmood:
    Alcohol and computers DO NOT MIX! When will I ever learn this?

    Thank you for putting me in my place and directing me to an error in my ways. I offer my apologies.

    Thank you for hosting a most professional blog.

    ‘Nuff said!

    —Dan

  • mahmood
    12 March 2006

    No harm done Dan. No harm, no foul.

  • Ethan
    13 March 2006

    –As regards deficiency in their intelligence it is because the evidence of two women is equal to that of one man.

    Well, Ali does have a point. God did say to bring two men or a man and two women as witnesses to certain court cases (2:282)

    I do know that our esteemed scholar on the comments board has taken it upon himself to point out dual meanings – so I ask this:
    1) What is a secondary meaning for this verse that evidences the equality of men and women in all ways?
    2) If not in this verse, but another in
    the Koran, how are those two verses not in conflict?

    Thirdly, How does the verse
    “…And they (women) have rights similar to those (of men) over them in kindness, and men are a degree above them” (2:228)
    pronounce gender equality in line with the previous verses?

    –Ethan, provocateur

  • billT
    14 March 2006

    It’s too bad that these so called defenders of Islam can’t take a good honest look at how much women really strengthen them, their societies and their religion.

    I think the world is long over due for a fatal outbreak of the idiot flu. Of course that would leave Washington DC and other world capitals virtually empty.

    billT

  • jasra jedi
    17 March 2006

    maybe we can ask our buddy salman why inheritance laws also differ substantially for men and women? and divroce? and child custody? on what basis?

  • Anonymous
    18 March 2006

    mahmood, if you are interested so much in these things, why do you ask your self why even in UK, the minority of MPs are women. Shaikh Isa wanted to make a point here, that women should not feel inferior to men just because they are not MPs etc.

    being a women does not disqualify you from being a good and giving human. Youshould not jump on the streets and compete with men in order to prove your existance. Everyone has a role in this life to fill, different qualities makes good quantities. One needs to know their limits and should not be ashamed of them. Men and women.

    Nevertheless, he did not say NO. There are other fields that needs to be thought of.

    Having said that, you are a one who wants to show the bad image of Islamists anyway. that is why you are totally biased. this is my opinion in you.
    read this, this might help you,

    http://www.montadayat.org/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=11167

    and ask your self who is with and who is agaist democracy. Are You?!

  • mahmood
    18 March 2006

    Thanks for putting yourself squarely in an unenviable position. I am glad that at least some women do not share your low opinion of women in this country.

  • Anonymous
    18 March 2006

    Me! You have a very strange attitude! If you think that respecting women in Bahrain is by presenting them in the way you were so fascinated and excited about in the following address;

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/mahmood/sets/203128/

    You are totally wrong man! You only think of women as an object to fulfil your desires, calling them babes!

    The image of respect to women you have, is nothing but disintegration of any traditions and beliefs. I am not an Islamist my self, but at least I never think of women at the level you think of them…

    By the way, I should tell you that in the Bahraini law, it is illegal to take pictures without consenting, particularly of women. That is if you believe in the law!

  • mahmood
    18 March 2006

    Sue me!

    And don’t delude yourself, you sound like a class A Islamist.

  • Anonymous
    18 March 2006

    Classifications are nothing but rational.
    I do not want to go into any ideological debates here. However, you and the rest, please bear in mind that, being a person with good morals does not put me into, “Al-Saidi” category. Respecting people, regardless of their gender, religion, origin and color, is the key factor for prosperous and healthy relations and discussions.

    This applies to everything.

  • mahmood
    18 March 2006

    Yet, your comments betray complete prejudice and myopic vision, even going as far as practically labeling me as a philandering deviant because of the pictures you so graciously linked to (which I am quite proud of) rather than giving me the benefit of the doubt.

    All for what? Because you disagree with my position or analysis? So what? Do I have to concur with your interpretation before I am accepted by you?

    No, thanks very much.

    For someone who’s obviously privileged and undergoing a good education, it is sad for these prejudices to be augmented by a misplaced religiosity rather than championing those less fortunate and who have suffered and continue to suffer by outdated interpretation of religious text not unlike those conclusions arrived at by that brainiac Al-Saidi.

  • Anonymous
    18 March 2006

    Mahmood, never my intentions been to discuss your private life matters and your sexuality.

    Our discussion is based on Qassims speech in front of hundreds of women, who gathered to promote an Islamic figure, Zainab. I am sure you know more about her than I do. However, I should say, she is the one who stood against all odds to promote her brothers and her group ideology in front of the head of the government at her time. She was acting not only as the representative, but as the head of opposition, with men, women and children under her leadership.

    Such a person, whom Qassim was speaking about and encouraging all women to follow, was nurtured to be an excellent example for all women. She was an excellent mother, sister, wife and an excellent Moslem, before becoming an excellent leader. Hence, we should not forget important issues too. It is great that women are well educated in politics etc, but is more important, in my opinion, to be educated in other essential and critical issues. This applies to everyone and not only women..

    We should respect them and we should respect their ideology. We the outliers, could give our opinions, but should not think devious of them. At the end, what Shaikh Isa said, is something we hear even from western societies. Never let going of our ideals.

    The problem with Bahrain at the moment is that, a lot are thinking about politics and only politics. I think we should widen our thoughts and think of other arenas to develop and flourish, economically morally as well as mentally.

  • mahmood
    19 March 2006

    Fair enough. However, allow me to respectfully disagree with you; the intention of every Muslim cleric is to do their utmost of subjugating women under the guise of Islam and that they should be subservient to men. That is a problem to me that I cannot and will not comprehend. Regardless of oddities of history as in Sayyida Zainab and others, those unfortunately are not the rule, but the extreme exception.

    Unfortunately as women themselves continue to accept these interpretations they will never rise to a position even close to demanding, and deserving, equality.

    Sure there are jobs more suitable to women – in our culture – however, if women do not rise to the occasion and grab the rope of power to pull themselves up, then no one will help them do so and they will remain subservient until they do.

    If all they can think of is acquiesce to the likes of Shaikh Isa Qassim’s interpretation of events and refuse to think things through themselves… they’re lost.

  • Salman Al-Rahma
    19 March 2006

    ‘The intention of EVERY Muslim cleric is to do their utmost of subjugating women under the guise of Islam and that they should be subservient to men.’
    It is always bad to generalize.

  • mahmood
    19 March 2006

    Well Salman, if they didn’t, then they would contravene the Quran and the Sunna wouldn’t they?

  • Salman Al-Rahma
    20 March 2006

    Mahmood, so you think that Quran’s teachings are to ‘subjugating women under the guise of Islam and that they should be subservient to men.’
    or is it just the ‘interpretation’ of ‘some’/’ALL’ clerics of Quran?
    If it is the first, then Isa and the others are not doing anything wrong. If it is the Quran teachings then it is part of Islam, which evertybody who claims he/she is a muslim -including you- must obey.
    If it is the ‘interpretation’ of the clerics, then there are many other ‘interpretation’, thus you can not generalize.

  • mahmood
    20 March 2006

    Then maybe the interpretation should be codified in such a way that does not leave these wide open gaps, as in, how should the following ayah be interpreted?

    الرِّجَالُ قَوَّامُونَ عَلَى النِّسَاء بِمَا فَضَّلَ اللّهُ بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَى بَعْضٍ وَبِمَا أَنفَقُواْ مِنْ أَمْوَالِهِمْ فَالصَّالِحَاتُ قَانِتَاتٌ حَافِظَاتٌ لِّلْغَيْبِ بِمَا حَفِظَ اللّهُ وَاللاَّتِي تَخَافُونَ نُشُوزَهُنَّ فَعِظُوهُنَّ وَاهْجُرُوهُنَّ فِي الْمَضَاجِعِ وَاضْرِبُوهُنَّ فَإِنْ أَطَعْنَكُمْ فَلاَ تَبْغُواْ عَلَيْهِنَّ سَبِيلاً إِنَّ اللّهَ كَانَ عَلِيّاً كَبِيراً
    ( سورة النساء , An-Nisa, Chapter #4, Verse #34)

    Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in (the husband’s) absence what Allah would have them guard. As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (Next), refuse to share their beds, (And last) beat them (lightly); but if they return to obedience, seek not against them Means (of annoyance): For Allah is Most High, great (above you all).
    An-Nisa, Chapter #4, Verse #34

    I’m sure if I had time I could dig up a lot more from the Holy Book.

  • Anonymous
    20 March 2006

    Dear Mahmood,

    At last we came to a common stage! If what you are saying is the case. I strongly appose anyone who wants to undermine anyone men women and children. However, I should emphasise one thing, we should NOT judge intensions but actions. That is the way to go forward.
    The problem in the Arabic nation in general, is that they think that everything is controlled and ran by conspiracies. This attitude is the norm in most speeches you hear from intellectuals and Shaikhs. It is time to wake up, and start collecting ones act together and move forward. Such theories would not change a single thing apart from sedating us. This applies to you mahmood, as you think that what Qassim said, is nothing but a conspiracy against woman’s rights. Remember Actions and not Intensions..
    You in Bahrain are facing one thing now, not woman’s rights, but the entire nations rights. When you get some power in your hand, instead of this useless and pathetic Constitution and parliament, it will be the right time to ask for more. Bahrainian women are well known to be highly motivated and active, better than Kuwaitis perhaps, and will not stop until getting what they deserve, and never let going of their ideals.

  • Salman Al-Rahma
    20 March 2006

    1) you didn’t answer my question. Ok.. you choosed this ayah from Quran, do you believe in it? or do you believe in some of Quran only?
    Believing in Quran means believing that it came from God and therefore this ayah is an instruction(s) from God.
    2) believing in quaran doesn’t mean to follow the textual script superficial. This is what led to people to believ that God has hand and legs and he puts his leg in the Hell and stuff like that. They also back thier claims with ayat from Quran. Ben Laden and his followers do the same.
    3) Quran’s ayat have deep meanings. and they shall be read in whole. otherwise it is the same as telling ‘Waylun lel musaleen’ and stop. Further more, one needs to study the time and events that led to the nozool of an ayah. actually to be qualified as a ‘mofaser’ you need to study alot of things, and it takes people years to do that.

    4) A translation of a poem can never ‘translate’ the poem, and I am sure Quaran is more difficult to translate. who did the translation of that ayah? I don’t know of an english translation I can refer you to, and unfortunately the http://www.almizan.org/ seems uncomplete. but you can always refer to the arabic version at http://www.holyquran.net/tafseer/almizan/index.html

  • mahmood
    20 March 2006

    so Salman, after all of that… are men more important than women? In the Quran, Sunna or whichever interpretation you choose to believe in as the most complete?

    Stop hiding behind that “the Quran is too difficult for normal people to understand” and give me an answer. Not a question of MY faith, but an answer to my question.

  • Salman Al-Rahma
    21 March 2006

    Islam belives in Justice, and in Islam God created men and women each with certain abilities. Is the adult more important than the child? is the healthy more important than the handicapped? is man more important that woman?
    In islam, the answer to all of the above is NO. In Islam every humanbeing has riights and responsibilities. the greater the rights you have the greater responsibilites required from you.
    When you read Quran, when Allah talks to people he says, people, believers, muslims and such, not men, women. Further more, Quarn sometimes emphisizes this by saying men muslims AND women muslims and such, addressing both at the same time. As this issue is a long one I would like to refer you to some other places to check, sorry. they are all in arabic.
    1) http://arabic.bayynat.org.lb/ousra/womanquran.htm and click ‘Woman’s image in Quran’
    2) a woman’s opinion: http://www.albayan.co.ae/albayan/2002/11/20/mnw/3.htm
    3) http://www.al-shia.com/html/ara/seyedat/?mod=okhra&id=36
    4) http://www.al-shia.com/html/ara/books/tfsir/amsal3/am300009.htm
    I am not hiding or finding execuses, and the question is clear to whoever seeks the answer.
    I was not questioning your faith. But my understanding, that people believing in a certain idea, or religion, follow its rules and instructions to be called followers of that idea/religion. If you are bashing people for telling what is in Quran, this means you do not believe/agree with what is in Quran itself.

  • Salman Al-Rahma
    21 March 2006

    Oh.. and here is a link from your friend Yousif Qardawi http://qaradawi.net/site/topics/article.asp?cu_no=2&item_no=3970&version=1&template_id=105&parent_id=16
    sorry I coudn’t resist 🙂

  • mahmood
    21 March 2006

    You still did’t answer the question though.

  • Salman Al-Rahma
    21 March 2006

    a link of discussion about the same isuue

  • Salman Al-Rahma
    21 March 2006

    I didn’t? I thought I did!
    your question was: ‘are men more important than women?’
    my answer was: ‘In islam, the answer to all of the above is NO.’

    ps. could you please enable the post preview option if it is there in wordpress, It gives me a second chance to check my post before submitting

  • mahmood
    21 March 2006

    don’t know how to do the preview thing, but will look into it.

    If men = women, then how come we can’t get women to lead prayers (leading men, or mixed congregations.)

    And how come does it take 2 women as witnesses to a single man?

    And how come a woman’s life is worth half of that as man’s?

    I don’t need huge books and essays excusing and “explaining” that these difference are put in place to “protect” women, or any essentially marketing speils defending this inequality, all I need is a clear passage that in Islam, yes both are equal.

    Good luck in finding the proper reference because I looked and all I could find is contradictory information.

  • Salman Al-Rahma
    21 March 2006

    Frankly, I don’t think you read any of the sites I showed you. They are not execusing at all. Sadly, my command of english doesn’t help me to translate them, and I hope some one will do.
    But back to your math, it is wrong.
    on eath, men women, it wrong in all the sciences. What I am talkng about is Justice and not equality. men ~ women (Takafo’a). There are things where men can do and women can not. and there are things women can do and men can not. I don’t see you asking for the right of men to bear childern for instance.. that is physical. and it has consequesces. but in Allah’s eyes, they are equal. Some women will have higher places in heaven and the closeness from God than many men.
    They are equal as human beings, but have different abilities and responsibilties.

  • mahmood
    21 March 2006

    I have. And you’re not making sense. We’re not talking about biological differences, just justice and equality.

    But I don’t see us going anywhere with this topic any time soon…

  • jasra jedi
    21 March 2006

    what an exciting debate .. mahmood, kudos to you for holding the fort.

    to both anon and salman .. i have to agree with mahmood. the qoran has very very mixed messages regarding women and how they are to be dealt with. i personally have dealt with the mixed messages by fully accepting the historcial context in which islam came out. and i agree that the prophet mohammed tried to instititutionalize and codify these rights in the qoran, thereby giving more protection, at the time, by removing the discriminatory nature of the law and codifying into something solid.

    however, these regulations are not enough today. we have FUNDAMENTAL problems in our society that the current sharia law does not really address, but compounds. so, either the legislation gets rewritten to reflect the fundamentally different societites and realities that exist today, or the rules in the qoran will just become defunct over time. and this is the battle of personal effects law.

    do the turbanned people care about islam? yes. do they give a damn about women in islam? no. because – fundamentally, they are more concerned with battling the state for jurisdiction and power than they care about the real victims .. which is the women who fall through the cracks. the amount of women who want out of their marriages because of abuse, emotional, financial or physical, is huge. and they are scared to go to the courts because there are no gurarantees of what they will get out of it….

    so, as far as i am concerned – let the turbanned ones go to hell. let then bring in islamic scholars who are qualified, have them seated next to solid lawyers, and let them draft one single piece of legislation that gives fundamental answers to today’s problems.

    and – anon – what is wrong with being a pit babe?? nothing. absolutely nothing. let me tell you something, i would rather look at a pit babe than i would at sexually fruatrated men with scraggly unkempt beards that are dying to get laid.

  • X-Factor
    21 March 2006

    One of the biggest problems intellectuals and those who are “intellectual-ing”, is that people tend to dissociate them selves from reality. Similarly, we should not dissociate the circumstances, background, perspective and context from the text.
    To clear my point, I am not interested in interpretations, I am interested in examples, give me an example of any woman who has been mistreated by the Prophet, or by any one who is a true follower. Give me an example.

    The problem I cannot understand, is that your government who is “promoting Womans rights” is in fact involved in prostitution, smuggling them and treating them like objects, not humans. Let them stop such behaviour and then come to discuss RIGHTS.

    When someone speaks about the inheritance, the man gettting twice as much as the woman, this is not the full picture. Why don’t you mention that the man is the one responsible for everything in our culture and “Sharia” too! the man in fact gets the money and spends it on his family, while the woman is not obligated to spend a single penny. All the money she gets belongs to her and no one has the right to touch it. If someone wants to judge anything, he/she should judge the system as a whole, not some particulates.

    Another example, a friend of mine sent me this link,
    http://s18.yousendit.com/d.aspx?id=1…21TRB56ZH03K1D

    what a stupid woman! I am sure, without a single doubt and without thinking to read anything that such things do not exist, only in her sick mind. Shiats as I know them closely, disgrace any such thing. Is this illusion? NO. Is this delusion? Not at all, this is nothing but confabulation and falsification of reality. Again dissociation from reality. Sunnis also have similar “sexual consents”, but with different names, but again not to the extend she puts it.

  • mahmood
    21 March 2006

    Salman, sorry one of your comments was held in moderation as it contained more than 4 2 links and I just realised the fact. I have now released it from moderation and shall have a look at the links it contains.

  • mahmood
    21 March 2006

    X-Factor: how many wives did the Prophet (pbuh) have?

    Your link doesn’t work by the way, can you resubmit it?

  • jasra jedi
    22 March 2006

    X- Factor:

    You state ‘Why don’t you mention that the man is the one responsible for everything in our culture and “Sharia” too! the man in fact gets the money and spends it on his family, while the woman is not obligated to spend a single penny. ‘

    For someone who claims to be interested in reality, have you actually looked at the real issues of finances and how many women actually support their family? Please …

    Also, why does every discusson on Islam and women end up by discussing prostitution? Why doesnt it end up discussing the fact that most moslem men are obsessed with sex? and if they werent concerned with getting laid all the time then perhaps we would have effective leadership? And, beleive me, by clergy, I am also discussing the religious fools. How come we see some innovative and creative laws and debates surrounding zawaj mit’ah and zawaj misyar .. but we dont see innovative and creative debates about inhertiance laws?

    Please … X Factor … do not insult the intelligence of moslem women by telling me that Islam as it is currently applied safeguard’s women’s rights. And dont tell me that the historical, cultural context of the 6th centry applies today.

    I think Shaira is sexist and highly discrimanatory against women. And I also think that these defunct laws of male to female ratios in witnesses also suck.

  • Y-Factor
    22 March 2006

    First of all, I am pleased that you are speaking about numbers and not merits. Prophet Mohd, was allowed to marry his 7 wives, and no more, for different reasons, you could find a lot of discussion on the web. They have been honoured during the marriage and until this day. All of them were married before andhave children except, our mother Aysha.
    Here brings us to discuss certain issue regarding the polygamy (Plural Marriage, as some may like it to be called). Me personally, I feel it is not the norm, and it should not be. This, in REALITY, is supported by the Holy Book, when speaking about plural marriage, being unjust to women.

    Again let us go back to REALITY, It could be easy for any law to give a blind eye to all what is happening, assuming things are right andin fact they are not. It is unfortunate that there are some men out there that misbehave, before and after getting married. It is unfortunate but it exists, and there are women who are giving the chance for such misbehaviour, if not encouraging. There are two options, one is to allow them to do whatever they want to do in the light, but with limits, and the other way is to let them do it in the dark, and with no limits. To me, I think the first choice is the right and less harmful to the individuals committing it, and to the society as a whole. Again this is based on REALITY,, and not on IDEALS.

    I personally, support the rights of every person, including foreign women living in the Gulf region. I will not swallow the bite put by your stupid government that claims to support womans rights. Your primer minister, particularly, is a figure that belongs to the mid evil era with all his hotels that support the humiliation of humanity, let a side woman. If he is so concerned about womans rights, let him firstly clean all his shit and wrong doings in his private businesses, in Bahrain and Thailand.

    Flight of thoughts would not help in any discussion, generalisations and non-specific examples are nt the way to go forward.

  • Z-Factor
    22 March 2006

    Getting back to the topic… how old was Aysha when your blessed prophet married her, and how long before that marriage was consumated?

    Is this “getting back to REALITY” enough for you?

  • Last-Factor
    22 March 2006

    “Similarly, we should not dissociate the circumstances, background, perspective and context from the text.” That is how an intellectual should think. It was the norm at that era, regardless of the age. The Prophets first marriage was from Sayda Khadeeja, who was more than 20 years older than him. The most important thing at that era was they man/woman reach the puberty, that is all. Hence it was not abnormal at all for such marriage and no one opposed that. READ the history, before judging.

  • Max-Factor
    22 March 2006

    Intellectually very weak argument… but let’s carry on…

    So tell me, how old was the prophet when he became a paedophile?

  • mahmood
    22 March 2006

    Guys, settle down please. Let’s have an open discussion away from extreme views.

    Max-Factor, that was bad form.
    *-Factor, stop being so het up about issues, remember that not everyone shares your opinion no matter how right you think they or you are. In some of your answers you’re not making any cohesive sense and just returning back to dogma rather than logical thought.

    Move on.. both of you. The topic is women in Islam in the modern day and their misfortune under the application of draconian laws which are mostly wrongly interpreted at best or individually interpreted and applied without recourse to modern, clear, written set of rules and regulations.

  • Max-Factor
    22 March 2006

    yeah well… whatever, if you don’t want to hear the truth

  • Last-Factor
    22 March 2006

    “No great religious leader has been so maligned as Prophet Mohammed. Attacked in the past as a heretic, an impostor, or a sensualist, it is still possible to find him referred to as “the false prophet.” A modern German writer accuses Prophet Mohammed of sensuality, surrounding himself with young women. This man was not married until he was twenty-five years of age, then he and his wife lived in happiness and fidelity for twenty-four years, until her death when he was fourty-nine. Only between the age of fifty and his death at sixty-two did Prophet Mohammed take other wives, only one of whom was a virgin, and most of them were taken for dynastic and political reasons. Certainly the Prophet’s record was better than the head of the Church of England, Henry VIII.”

    Geoffrey Parrinder, Mysticism in the World’s Religions (New York: Oxford University Press, 1976, pg. 121)

    + Ayesha(ra) was engaged to someone else before she got engaged to Muhammad(saw)

    Surprisingly, some will go ahead and defend their Shaikhs regardless of the cost!

    Anyway, I still think in order to improve the situation in Bahrain, Al-Khaleefa, and sp. your prime minister needs to end all his non-ethical activities that is bringing all the Saudis every week to Bahrain,

    One other thing, I should say,
    Alhamed le Allah, with our IDEALS our woman hold the highest record in purity, honesty and fidelity. Yet I will share with them the fight to promote more rights.

    They have two enemies,

    1. Who wants them to be with no ideals and follow the Hollywood style of life. i.e. to be their for adverts, as not thing but babes,

    2. Who wants them to regress in another way, staying at home as a piece of furniture with no development at all.

    What I think is not important, they are free to choose, as I am free to choose.

  • mahmood
    23 March 2006

    I guess you are a woman, *-factor, I know too that you are at university in the UK and that you are an Arab, most probably Bahraini.

    Are my assumptions correct?

    If they are, please:

    1. don’t talk about Bahrain in the third person, WE have problems and they are being solved, much slower than I would like, but they are being treated.

    2. our discussion here is about Islam’s view – in general – about women, to which you have not contributed anything other than platitudes and dogmatic utterances worthy of a die-hard bin Ladenite.

    3. you continue to want us to believe that YOU believe in freedoms of choice, when from your comments it is easy to deduce your real position, which is confused and intellectually bankrupt.

    4. you were asked direct questions that we had hoped that YOU would answer, rather than let Google do the answering for you. When you have formed an opinion that is yourselve’s, please let us know. I am just dying to understand your point of view.

    5. Muslim women are not the purist there are in the world, nor are they the best, nor are they the sexiest, nor are they the prettiest, and all the other “ests” there are in the world. They are human beings first and foremost looking to live their lives (or should) as honourable and honoured humans, regardless of religion. Some are better when compared to specific instances, and some are much much worst. Like this mother dumping her newborn IN a rubbish bag and left to die next to a rubbish skip who is most probably Bahraini, if not then she might be a Muslim. And here’s news for you, this mother is not the first, and she won’t be the last, as long as WE Muslims/Arabs prefer to place a woman’s honour in her genitals, rather than respect and adore life.

    So do wake up. Please. For your sake. And smell the roses.

    Now that we have cleared things, please stick to the topic at hand and let us know your personal opinions rather than hairing off at a tangent.

  • jasra jedi
    23 March 2006

    u go mahmood … tell it how it is!

    by the way … anyone who thinks that arabs and moslems are all held to a higher standard of morality and behavior should pay a visit to the orphanage. if they ever got a doctor in there to check dna, i am sure that there will be some, if not significant, evidence of incest ..

    so .. please don’t tell me that the prime minister is responsible for that as well? we are just a society in evolution from a tribal patriarchy to …. i dont know really .. but we are in transition. and where we go will depend on x factor, y factor, z factor and max factor …

    start with reality, with what exists, and work from there to where we want to be. and lets make sure that where we want to be is somewhere realistic. where does one draw the line? at the way saudi arabia treats its women? or the taleban? or iran ?

  • Salman Al-Rahma
    29 March 2006

    Mahmood, and everybody else,
    I hope you got time to read the links in my previous comment, but if not, please read this:
    http://www.islamology.org/Overview/Women/WomanRights/index.html
    This is a translated version of the book which is also avaiable in arabic in Bahrain AFAIK.

  • jasra jedi
    30 March 2006

    Salman ..

    I went to the first page of this site and I was completely surprised by what I saw on the first page!! When comparing the White Islamic revolution vs the dark western revolution???

    1. ‘ It did not provide any opportunity to the unmarried men who are always after enticing women.’

    Why is there a judgement on the women and not the men?

    2. ‘It did not snatch away the wives from their husbands and the daughters from their parents and did not hand them over to the sensual executives and the moneyed magnates.’

    Oh please…. are you telling me that people aren’t attratced to power or money? Do you think its coincidence that the Prophet’s first wife was a rich older woman?

    3. ‘No one knows what to do with all the corruption that is rampant, with the ever-growing cases of infanticide and abortion, with 40 per cent illegitimate children and with those new-born infants whose fathers are not known and whose mothers do not want to have anything to do with them, because they were not born in lawful wedlock. The mothers of such children simply hand them over to some social organisations and then never come back to inquire about them.

    Habibi .. have you gone to our orphanages? Have you gone to the counselling centers? Have you gone to see the abuse cases? Sometimes men against women. Sometimes women against children. Sometimes women against the elderly? What makes you think that Moslems are any different than any other human being? Do you really think that we are being held to a higher standard because Islam is a ‘loftier religion’?????

    4. ‘Man is after sex and woman is after love. Man is overpowered by his sexual urge, whereas, woman, according to the psychologists, has a greater capacity of controlling and concealing her desires. It is the melody of love, sincerity and faithfulness which subdues woman and brings her to her knees. That is what we mean by credulity of woman. As long as the woman is a maiden and has had no experience of men, she can easily be lured by his love songs. ‘

    I am flabbergasted. Salman … I think that this site was written by a man in order ti make himself feel better about his own sexuality as a man. I dont understand how women can be enticing in one sentence, and then innocent/naive in another. But – most fundamentally, I think that you and whoever wrote this site is in serious denial about the male/female dymanics in the Moslem world today. If Islam cannot take a position on what to do if the father doesnt consent, and if it is left to a tribal patriarchial system to do that, then there is something missing in this so called ‘perfect’ religion of ours.

    As for west vs moslem treatment of women .. most of my moslem friends who are married to expats have more faith in the civil ceremony that the ‘western’ courts offer in terms of protection than they have in the sharia courts.

    something is wrong. and as a moslem woman, i am sick and tired of hearing about how much ‘better’ we are supposed to be than everyone else. i dont see it. i dont like the violence. i dont like the control. i dont like the oppression. and i dont like some straggly beared dunce telling me that i should be grateful for being part of a ‘white’ revolution because he said so.

  • mahmood
    30 March 2006

    I increasingly feel that Islam is a square peg trying very hard (by you so eloquently labelled straggly bearded dunces mainly and other ‘saviours of Islam’) to be rammed into a round hole.

    The sooner that we wake up to this the better we will be. Taking a humanist and logical approach to life, or at least marrying these principles to Islam, would probably be a good option.

  • Salman Al-Rahma
    30 March 2006

    Again, Mahmood I don’t think you looked into the book.
    Mahmood and specially jasra jedi, please just give it some time, as you both are arabs -I think- you can even grab the arabic version of the book from bookstores, try Fakhrawi. Try to hold your judgments untill you get the complete picture of how Islam looks at women, and don’t just jump at the first disagreement.
    One think to keep in mind, Muslims do not equal Islam, the same as I can not say that Jews do not represent Jewish relegion. I can not blame Moses for Sharon’s action, the same is with any other relegion.
    In Islam in particular, there is a big divide between the teachings and the appications since the early days of Islam’s history. Moawiya and Yazeed among other caliphs were as far as islam as Saddam and Taliban , although all claimed they were muslems and were head of ‘islamic’ government.
    We, in Bahrain and all other muslim countries, have people claiming they are applying sharia laws but they are actually not, and people judge true sharia based on these people’s action. Men hit women and humilate them and they claim it is their right to do so ‘as per sharia law’ and people criticize true Islam based on these people’s action.
    Please take a deep breath, and try to understand what true Islam is really about, and you will -hopefully- understand that by applying the true spirit of Islam, these problems will never be there in the first place.
    I don’t want to go OT but look and the cutting thief’s hand. It is in Quran, and people say it barbarian and should be erased forever. It simply doen’t fit in the 21 century. They based their judgment on many things and among that how Saudi and others are applying this, and creating ‘handicapped’ people depending on the government for living, creating another serious problem.
    Removing parts of Quran or Islam is just asking for Islam 2.0, a modified and specially tailored version of Islam, that soon will have more flavours than the new Windows Vista 🙂
    Instead, go and read history, and see how many hands were actually cut or people beheaded -as a punishment- in days of the prophet, and read the actual strict requirement for a case to be sent to the executioner and the headsman, and the requirment for the execution 🙂 of the penalty. Don’t blame Islam for what -some or all- muslims do.
    back to the topic, I again request every body either to get the arabic version or read the english version -unless you know persian which you can check the original version of the back. But please, read it fully before you make a judgment.
    Thank you
    Woman And Her Rights

  • mahmood
    31 March 2006

    Salman, I’m not as blind as you are, and I can read believe it or not. And if you wish to ascertain the fact that I can and I did puruse your link, you’re more than welcome to come with a couple of your brown-shirts for me to prove the fact.

    You cannot blame me for a completely flawed concept nor can you justify it by obfuscating facts and useless, unthought out defence which uses the downgrading of others to prove your lofty “truth”.

    Nor do we “need to give it time” and “get a complete picture of how Islam looks at women” or even tax our intellect for “understanding” that in Islam a woman is half that of a man, and sometimes not worth as much as a camel, nor that she cannot bear witness by herself nor that she is described as half-witted, half-faithful and half-worthy if it stares you right in the face every time you either open a book, or speak to an apologist like yourself.

    Once you have “facts”, then please come and give me more links to peruse. Until that time, quit your mental masturbation, it’s not doing you any good and you are going blind.

  • jasra jedi
    31 March 2006

    Salman ..

    Lets assume that the ‘true’ spirit and ethos of Islam actually honors women. And lets assume, that you are open to Islam version 2.0.

    My point, very simply, is that one of the most fundamental develpoments from Islam 1.0 to Islam 2.0 is that it should recognize that in the 21st century, we have states, governments, and civil law. And that, the whole domain of personal legislation should be left to the State and not to the Islamic scholars.

    And, please do not come back and tell me that in Islam, we cannot sepaprate governance from religion because that is the way that it was in the 6th century. if you are open to the concept of evolution, then you must accept the premise that the place for evolution is in parliament/ in government and not in the hands of the straggly bearded ones who seems to be more obsessed with sex than Islam.

    In other words, the debate of how to deal with marriage, divorce, inheritance, child custody, etc should be centered on things like what education costs today, what health care costs today, what rent costs today .. and not really centered on what the prophet did centuries ago in order to establish some sort of social order. It may be very interesting from a historical perspective, or even to people with an interest in islamic jurisprudence. However, it is simply not relevant in today’s world. And, more worryingly, the debate then is limited to only those ‘scholars’. If these scholars aren’t doing a good job, then its time to change them or broaden the scope of debate. Irrespective of whether the intrinsic nature of Islam is pure or not.

    Just my humble opinion.

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