Shahid Khan

Gender Discrimination: Society, Religion, and Manhood

Gender Discrimination: Society, Religion, and Manhood
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Human society, regardless of modern of primitive, always remained male dominated where women had secondary or even less stature. Why human society was male dominated? As per women psyche, woman wanted to be caressed, loved, and protected, thus, majority of women believed that men were strong, brave, and more intelligent that women, therefore, men had ample capacities to entertain women needs. The very self-surrendering attitude then propelled women to secondary place whilst directly creating a male dominated society. Many men do not marry a woman who was much educated than a man or was older than him, since both things challenged manhood (not biological one but mental one i.e. I am the man, therefore, I rule, I prevail, I am superior, and I needed to marry a younger female).

In addition, every religion was introduced by a male i.e. Vishnu, Buddha, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Ahmed….and as a result male dominated society was born. Why religion wasn’t introduced by a woman, does it mean that God’s gender was male and He wanted to keep male domination—does it mean that woman weren’t capable enough to lead alike man—does it mean that God wanted male dominated society—does it mean that introduction of religion by man was an effort to limitise woman to just a commodity or secondary and unimportant object—or  does it mean that male from primitive times wanted to dominate and prevail that denoted his psyche and inferiority complex. If woman had introduced some religion, then it could have created female dominated society that could have challenged manhood.

Furthermore, advent of religion played a very impressive role in establishing male domination that resulted into gender discrimination, which treated women as commodity rather than a sensitive (having feelings, emotions, thoughts) biological living being. As per Islamic beliefs, in heaven, a man will get 72 heaven girls, including his worldly wife or wives. On contrary, such promise did not exist in Islam for women. Moving ahead, according to Jewish folklores, Lillith, the first wife of Adam, turned into a demon on God’s curse as she disobeyed Adam, thus, through the story of Lillith, women were enslaved by the concept that obey husband (no matter what) or be prepare for dire consequences. Indian women called their husbands “pati” that meant owner, for example “lakh pati” someone who possessed 100,000 India rupee. Now even if there was some Hindu goddess, then she used word “pati dev” for her husband. The concept that husband is owner of wife or wife is a personal property of husband also contributed in gender discrimination.

The Manusmriti, also known as Manav Dharam Shastra, is the earliest metrical work on Brahminical Dharma in Hinduism. According to Hindu mythology, the Manusmriti is the word of Brahma, god of creation and member of Trimurti alongside Vishnu and Shiva, and it is classified as the most authoritative statement on Dharma, right way of living. The very word of Brahma egged immense gender discrimination among Hindus, for example

 

“It is the nature of women to seduce men in this (world); for that reason       the wise are never unguarded in (the company of) females. For women      are able to lead astray in (this) world not only a fool, but even a learned man, and (to make) him a slave of desire and anger.” Manusmriti: 2.213-   214

      “He who is famous for (the strict performance of) his duties and has     received his heritage, the Veda, from his father, shall be honoured, sitting       on a couch and adorned with a garland, with (the present of) a cow (and the honey-mixture).” Manusmriti: 3.3

 

Now Manusmriti in its chapter: 3. 8-12 & 14-15 & 17-18 would dictate, whom a “famous man” must marry,

 

  1. A women with reddish hair, redundant  parts of the body [such as six fingers], who is often sick, one without hair or having excessive hair, and one who has red eyes must not be married.
  2. A woman with having name of trees, rivers, those from a low caste, mountains, birds, snakes, slaves etc must not be married.
  3. A woman without brother or without having good social stature must not be married.
  4. A beautiful woman with good name, soft limbs and small teeth could only be married.
  5. Brahman can marry Brahman, Kshatriya, Vaish and even Shudra women but Shudra men can marry only Shudra women. In addition, if a Brahman will marry a Shudra woman then he will degrade hisself by losing his Brahman-hood and he will go to hell.

 

Manusmriti goes on about women whilst not making them merely a commodity but also declaring them as abhorring as dog, pig etc, for example

 

Food offered and served to Brahman after Shradh ritual should not be seen by a chandal, a pig, a cock, a dog, and a menstruating woman.” Manusmriti: 3. 240

      “A man, aged thirty years, shall marry a maiden of twelve who pleases   him, or a man of twenty-four a girl eight years of age” Manusmriti: 9.94

 

Other derogatory passages against women could also be found in Manusmriti 4.43-44, 4.217, 5.150-151 &  157-158 & 160 & 167, 8.364-365 & 369-370, 9.3 & 6 & 8 & 13 & 15 & 18 & 58 & 60 & 70 & 77 & 80 & 177

Furthermore, Hindu widow faced great discrimination in Indian society where she was forced to wear white saree, she cann’t wear colourful dresses or jewelry, her presence in religious ceremony was considered inauspicious even she wasn’t welcomed in parties, she wasn’t allowed to remarry, higher caste Hindu widow was supposed to dedicate the rest of her life for religion and hence her head was shaved. In addition, Sati ritual existed in Hindu society where widow was burnt along with her dead husband on his funeral pyre.

Apart from paganism, gender discrimination was also borrowed from Abrahamic religions for example,

 

      “Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over      the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So       righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband's]   absence what Allah would have them guard.” Quran: 4.34

      “In my opinion it is right for a woman not to be a teacher, or to have   rule over a man, but she must be silent. For Adam was first formed, then      Eve; And Adam was not taken by deceit, but the woman, being tricked,   became a wrongdoer.” 1 Timothy 2:12-14

An Argentinean catholic woman, Jacqui Lisbona, was banned from getting married in a local church as she wanted to marry a divorced man; furthermore, the local pope told her that she is living in sin [1]. Later, Pope Francis told her that nothing was wrong in taking Holy Communion. Hindus believe that a widow cannot be married since she has transformed into a curse or she is not less than an evil, but Catholic Church wasn’t different from such kinds of irrationalities too as a couple could not get married in church since woman wanted to marry a divorced man, how ridiculous it is? If religion was to ease up things, then why it had made things too complicated especially in regard of gender discrimination? But gender discrimination does not involve only religion since our society is also responsible for the very evil e.g. the US Senator Elizabeth Warren had publicly admitted that women are treated differently than men in Washington [2]. Thus, neither religion nor third-world was responsible alone over the issue of discriminative attitude towards women because it also involved our society as well. In conclusion it can be said that man is man no matter which region he belonged or a woman is woman regardless which world she dwelled in. Men and women were actually equal in discipline of human beings, therefore, there must not exist any gender discrimination. As every man is not as talented as other man, similarly, man and woman can vary in their talents but having less or much talent does not make someone secondary or superior as a living being.

 

Writer: Shahid Mehmood Khan

 

Foot notes:
1: Pope Francis ‘tells sinner she should be allowed Communion’. The Telegraph, 23 Apr 2014.
2:  Elizabeth Warren On Whether Women Are Treated Differently Than Men In Washington: ‘Yep.’ Huffington Post, 23 Apr 2014.

Note: Al-Rasub is not responsible for writer personal opinion

34 Responses to Gender Discrimination: Society, Religion, and Manhood

  1. Waleed April 26, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    Although discrimination is a fact and its existing globally, but in this article writer I feel trying to prove that only religion is the reason of discrimination against women, which is not true, we can see dozens of countries where there is no practical religion but discrimination is still existing in many shapes.

    Plus being a muslim I have firm belief that in my religion (Islam) men and women are equal. In one of verse Quran says that translation “ every one is equal but only among you those are most best who has best deeds “

    And let me say .. a woman cannot become a prophet but she can give birth to a prophet…

    Wish you more wisdom..

    Reply
  2. Shahid April 27, 2014 at 10:02 am

    Respected Mr. Waleed, pls allow me to differ…ur observation i.e.

    ***writer I feel trying to prove that only religion is the reason of discrimination against women,***

    well, i guess u are seeing things with one eye i.e. of religion in particular as a Muslim. Well, if u had read the article carefully, then you would have known that i did not say that religion alone is responsible for gender discrimination. My observations suggest that apart from religion our society (regardless of primitive or contemporary) is responsible for this evil, this was the reason that I asserted in my article that “gender discrimination does not involve only religion since our society is also responsible for the very evil”.

    Moreover, the very Quranic verse u have quoted is about over all social equality but it is certainly not about gender equality, therefore, we must not mix apple and bananas together here.

    ur logic that ” woman cannot become a prophet but she can give birth to a prophet”, well if this was the case then every such society or community, which had followed some particular religion, must have been Woman Dominated since women provided prophets. But on contrary, women (although they gave birth to prophets) remained secondary or less influential than men. Thus, one can not reject this fact that world is man dominated and a woman, regardless what region she belonged to, was living in a man dominated society where she was treated as merely a commodity or was treated differently than men.

    Thanks for wishing me more wisdom.

    Reply
  3. zafar April 27, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    Dear shahid, to start with i must say that its a well researched article on proving gender discrimination to be the product of religion and social practice; however, I strongly feel that many a counter-argument with support from quran (sorry, about other religions I dun know enough knowledge) can be given to prove that islam doesn’t preach it. Just one example, the difference between pre-islam state of the arab society and post-muhammad’s introduction of islam there will tell us that islam protects the rights of men and women…But, present day saudi arab policy of not allowing women to drive is of course gender discrimination… it is not religious…. it is social, cultural or a royal decree that is behind it…. I hope u agree.

    Reply
  4. Wasif April 27, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    Dear Shahid………… I would say that the whole article has been produced seeing things with one eye………… you just presented the examples of religion and tried to make it understand that this is the religion which discriminates the women……. but i would ask you one thing…….. before islam, what was the worth of a woman in the society, was it not an element of trade? was it not sold in the markets like grocery? the women were used for sexual satisfaction and were brought into the markets for selling like animals…… but let me clear the thing that Islam gave them the Highest rank in the society. if you would say that all the prophets were men and we cant find a single woman, sent to the society by the Almighty, i would say that is it not a glory for the women that all prophets were born by the women, how glorious and great those women were?????? islam declared that the heaven is beneath the feet of mother (who is woman)….. islam said, Adam was given satisfaction by creating of Eve (Hawwa)… Islam said .. the best of you is the person who is best with his woman… islam said, we have to give the share of the property to the women of our family , not only from father, but also from husbands.. and we often see that the share of woman (if it is given to the woman properly) increases from the share of man in property……… this is the religion which pay respect to a lady, without having concern, which religion or sect she belongs to………

    At the end i would love to quote the example of the wives of Holy Prophet Muhammad Alehissalam……….. What we call them????? We call them Mothers of our Ummah………

    Stay blessed…

    Reply
  5. Shahid April 27, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    Dear Wasif Sahib,,, ur conclusion i.e.

    ***I would say that the whole article has been produced seeing things with one eye****

    well, would u pls prove ur claim in anyway or u just ignored that I had mentioned that religion is not alone responsible for gender discrimination since it has involved our overall society as well as psyche of men and women.

    And one can not deny that religion has nothing to do in causing discriminating attitude towards women. Whereas i have mentioned other examples, i also have quoted ref from Hinduism and Abrahamic Religions. Pls tell me if my quotations are wrong and pls also tell me what they really suggest?

    thus, i would feel sorry by saying that my sincere analysis, study, & observations were mis-judged by u as u in an indirect way labeled me somehow a partial or unjust or enemy of religion. Moreover, u stated that “Adam was given satisfaction by creating of Eve” well what kind of “Satisfaction” we are talking about i.e. companionship against loneliness, bodily satisfaction or something else?
    moreover, i would also like to request u that since u have mentioned that “we have to give the share of the property to the women of our family”, therefore, what percentage of “Share of the property” is given to sister, wife, and mother? Pls be specific in this regard and i am afraid u will not be able to prove it that an equal share (as given to brother, son, father) from property is given to a Muslim woman by her Muslim Family? I hope i will get answers from such a learned Islamist.

    Regards.

    Reply
  6. Elena Alexandra May 9, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    This is an amazing piece of information and the article is very much helpful in understanding the problem of gender discrimination.If men would understand that women are living being then many of our problems will easily get resolved.

    Reply
  7. Liiliana May 9, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    I wonder when we know about problems then why we do not streamline ourselves? The article is wonderful and it appears that writer belongs to no religion as his viewpoint is so much impartial.

    Reply
  8. Dragenfly Ups May 9, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    Thanks a lot to all those who either liked or commented on my article. Regards

    Reply
  9. Asim Nabeel May 9, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    East or West— Islam is the best

    Reply
  10. Shahid May 9, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    @Liiliana, thanks a lot for ur appreciation and yes when we want solution of some problem, we have to think rationally and without any partiality or affinity. Gender discrimination is a prominent problem of entire world and we will have to correct ourselves for futuristic betterment. Thanks again and regards.

    Reply
  11. Shahid May 9, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    @Elena Alexandra, men and women both are required to resolve problems of this world and gender discrimination is one of those problems as well, therefore, i hope that men will correct theirselves where they are wrong and will behave like gentleman who knew how to treat a woman. Thanks for ur appreciation, regards

    Reply
  12. Liiliana May 9, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    I am an European working women and when I read about the observation of the US Sen. Elazibeth Warren about gender discrimination, I could not stop thinking that no matter how advance West is, gender discrimination exist there. I have seen how men pressurize those women who are of lower cadre.

    Reply
  13. Farhat Saleem May 9, 2014 at 7:22 pm

    God created Eve from Adams ribs. Ribs are the most delicate bones of human body. This very fact reflects that a woman is supposed to be delicate. Why prophets were not women is because Prophethood required an arduous life where they had to undergo many difficulties only to be borne by men. As we all know, primitive society lived by hunting which was carried out by men because men are physically stronger. That man is physically stronger does not mean that he is superior. Soul has so physical entity but it the most superior. In fact, man has exploited his physical might in the most selfish manner. Religion Islam has nothing to do with it. Molvis have again exploited religion to try to establish mans superiority. In fact, for the reason that a woman is finer, delicate, refined in taste and possesses subtle beauty, man felt insecure in front of her; the wilder of them propagated and tried to establish the wrong idea that man is superior to woman. A home is the mini world which is only governed by a woman, as we can see. Man is responsible for doing outside work and bringing in money. That it’s a male dominated society is also correct. As I said from the very beginning man has been subduing woman out of a sense of insecurity. Besides, as the proverb goes, might is right, physical might, I mean. Here, I just said right, not rational. Had man been patient, considerate, logical and rational, it would have been a different world completely where lamb could play with the lion, poor would dine with the rich, and all would drink from the same source of life.

    Reply
  14. Farhan May 10, 2014 at 5:14 am

    I will take discrimination in a way that both male and female are part of society. In Islam both have equal rights. They are discriminated on the basis of their roles in the society. As males are dominant bcaz of their leading capabilities which are given by Allah. From Adam a.s to now males proved their selves good leaders, males have more risistive power than a female. Although in today’s society women are also seen as leaders and are also contributing their efforts making a successful, developed and civilized society. Beside all the superior capabilities we can not ignore the capabilities, efforts and contributions that a woman has to make a good civilzed society. Without women society can not a civilized. Both are integral part of society i think.

    Reply
  15. Shahid May 10, 2014 at 8:25 am

    @Liiliana, i have no reason to doubt ur observation as it is psyche of men that they thing theirselves superior and intelligent…This was the reason that i have written in my article that woman will remain woman no matter what region she may lived in. Men consider theirselves as an authority over women and majority of men consider women potatoes.

    Reply
  16. Shahid May 10, 2014 at 8:34 am

    Farhat Saleem, thanks a lot for a ur excellent treatise….Might is Right is the law of the jungle and the very jungle has been sitting in men’s hearts and minds from the very start i.e. stone age when men used to hunt, thus, from that moment on till the day we are living in, our society is governed by MIGHT IS RIGHT…

    Reply
  17. Shahid May 10, 2014 at 8:42 am

    Farhan, u r right that both male and female are important part of our civilisation….U have mentioned that “males are dominant bcaz of their leading capabilities”, well i do not know whether it is true or not as i have seen many women far talented than me…Now ur view point is accepted for a moment, then having mighty capabilities do not make somebody superior…a talented being can not be called superior over anybody….regardless of talent or attributes, men and women are equal and none must forget this….

    Reply
  18. Shahid May 10, 2014 at 9:30 am

    @Asim Nabeel, well u r Muslim that is why u r saying that Islam is best. but a Hindu will defend his religion, a sikh will defend his religion, a Jew will defend his religion, a christian will defend his religion. Follower of any religion will advocate and prefer his particular religion.

    Reply
  19. Raja Zia May 10, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    This is a well-researched article and very much informative. very few people dare to write such kind of things especially when it is about religion.”

    Reply
  20. Shahid May 10, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    @Raja Zia, thanks a lot for ur appreciation. Our society needed light and i tried my best to bring a little ray. Regards

    Reply
  21. janjua Rajpoot May 11, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    well done shahid .you are doing so good .Keep it up.i am with u.

    Reply
  22. Shahid May 11, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    @Janjua Rajpoot, so many thanks bro for ur support and appreciation.

    Reply
  23. Asim Nabeel May 12, 2014 at 7:09 am

    1: Mr. Shahid i know everybody will defend his own religion that is why i defended my religion that is Islam.

    Reply
  24. Asim Nabeel May 12, 2014 at 7:12 am

    I have studied the article and it is appreciated that the writer did not attack on any religion. He just tried to find out roots of gender discrimination.

    Reply
  25. Asim Nabeel May 12, 2014 at 7:13 am

    This article is indeed a brave and bold writing.

    Reply
  26. Asim Nabeel May 12, 2014 at 7:13 am

    When writer mentioned Abrahamic religion then i remembered Leviticus: 12.1-5 that said

    “The LORD said to Moses, “Say to the Israelis: ‘A woman who becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son will be ceremonially unclean for seven days, just as she is unclean during her monthly period. On the 8th the boy is to be circumcised. Then the woman must wait thirty-three days to be purified from her bleeding. She must not touch anything sacred or go to the sanctuary until the days of her purification are over. If she gives birth to a daughter, for two weeks the woman will be unclean, as during her period. Then she must wait sixty-six days to be purified from her bleeding.”

    Reply
  27. USMAAN May 12, 2014 at 8:36 am

    Nice work

    Reply
  28. USMAAN SAITH May 12, 2014 at 8:38 am

    we need porgessive society and we can get it only by thinking rationally.

    Reply
  29. Dr Rubina Paracha May 12, 2014 at 8:43 am

    Gender discrimination is a fact and in conservative societies, it is in an uncontrollable and unbearable evil that is swallowing social harmony, security, and equal opportunities.

    Reply
  30. Dr Rubina Paracha May 12, 2014 at 8:46 am

    And sorry i forgot to pay thanks to the writer who wrote such an impressive article on such a difficult topic that is considered heretical to many people.

    Reply
  31. Shahid May 12, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    @Usmaan Saith, thanks a lot for appreciation…U just figured out a wonderful solution of many of our problems as u suggested that we need to be rational. Right on the mark. Regards

    Reply
  32. Shahid May 12, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    @U r right that gender discrimination evil is damaging our society, causing security problems as women get more insecure, and v often women are not given equal opportunities as they were women. We all are subject to understand that all are equal and all are special, thus, none is greater and none is smaller. Hail to awareness.

    Reply
  33. Shahid May 12, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    Dr Rubina Paracha. please forgive me as i too have forgotten to pay u thanks. so many thanks for commenting and appreciating my effort. Kind Regards.

    Reply
  34. Shahid May 12, 2014 at 7:17 pm

    @Asim Nabeel, so many thanks for once again sparing time for my article and so many thanks for ur appreciation. Ur knowledge of Abrahamic religion is also fantastic and urs Torah reference is also a proof that religion had contributed in egging gender discrimination. thanks a lot for shedding more light on my article. Hope to hear more from u. Kind regards and once again so many thanks.

    Reply

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