We have all by now heard the various media luminaries of the western world utter phrases like the following about the treatment of women in Islam
a) They are like cattle, hidden in floor length burkhas and forced to work all day long in their households.
b) They have no rights at all, and are forced to suffer the humiliation of polygamy, domestic abuse etc etc etc
Some of this is true, but today’s news should serve to break a few myths about islamic law and its treatment of women. In Iran today a court has ordered a Muslim man to pay his wife her due share of dowry/Mahr promised to her at the time of marriage. Now here i feel it is important for me to define to my non Muslim readers what mahr means. In Muslim culture “mahar” is an agreed upon sum in the Nikahnama “Marriage document” to the bride by the groom payable upon her demand. Usually in many cases this is only a symbolic sum and not our form of pre nups.
However a certain lady in Iran, having been promised a mahar of 124,000 roses in her “Nikah nama” has chosen to demand the said amount in full bloom as she thinks her husband has been very stingy with her throughout their ten years of marriage.
The humorous part is that the courts have upon her complaint seized the flat worth Usd 66000 belonging to her husband, until he pay her this sum in roses.
Typically a long stemmed rose costs bout USD 2 in Iran per rose. Thus we can all arrive at the end result that the groom in question is in deep shit, err petals i mean.
So what do we get from this bit of news?
“Even in Shariah law and under Islamic governments, women are protected and well aware of their rights”
“Never ever marry an Iranian women without having a trimvarte of lawyers read your Nikah Nama”
“Pray to Allah that our womenfolk here in Pakistan do not catch whiff of this”
In Islam a Woman only has the right to talk about her rights with either his father, brother and her husband. She isnt allowed to run away lke an alien to every other man to ask them to help her get her rights from her family. Its a matter of a family remained in a family. And just because some nifty women have made such issues that has marked to the outter world that Muslim women are supressed and that they are always beaten upon by their fathers brothers or husbands. And all know that at all isnt true. The western activists have taken great care of such issues… How ironic what about there own women like residing in the trailer parks who are always beaten upon at night by there husbands and that ends up killing there husbands.. What about the rights of their own women? Is it the problem with Christianity or the Western Laws?
OK – speaking as a western feminist woman – not too sure the story about the Iranian woman with the roses is going to help us sort out our misimpressions of Islam. Fascinating legal story though it may be.
As for the western women in trailer parks – this – sadly – is an awful stereotype largely grounded in western class prejudice. Women of all classes in the west are potential victims of abuse – not just the women of trailer parks. And YES – gender oppression in the west is very real – in the US – it seems to be on the rise in conservative, evangelical christian groups. Sadly so. We are also battling religious extremism in this sense – though they would be furious at me for so characterizing it!
@nikki & anna: sadly wife abuse seems to be common (to a lesser or greater degree) in most cultures. : ( it might even qualify as human (or just man’s) nature.
@faisal: having been to iran three times over the past few years (most recently a couple of weeks ago) my impression of that country is quite positive. yes women MUST cover their hair and wear at least what they call a “manto” (sort of like a black lab coat), if not a “chador”. but i saw women active in both the private and public sectors. there seems to be mandatory schooling for all citizens, and a significant number (by regional standards) go on to study in universities, colleges and vocatioanal institutes.
apart from the issue of women’s rights, what i saw there gives me the impression that, whatever other agendas the government and/or revolutionary council pursue, one objective of “government” in iran definitely seems to be the welfare of the people (something which, sad to say, could never be said of our own land of the puritanical).
i’m not trying to say that there are no human rights abuses in that country, or that all segments of society have it hunky dory, or even that there is no poverty. but i would have to say that among all the countries in the area bordered by burma and iran to the east and west and the central asian republics to the north, the people of iran are best off (with perhaps the exception of india) (then again perhaps not) (of course having huge oil reserves does help).
granted this potted analysis is based on observation of tehran, with short trips to mashhad and the small town of kashan, and may be seriously flawed, but i think not. for one thing, i noticed the irani people smile a lot more than people in pakistan. and they are a lot more (a lot more) polite in general human interactions too.
and, before you ask — no, i have no shia antecedents.
ty for yr insight nikki and kinky… it does seem like a nice place to visit 🙂 i wanna go check out all the religious sites as well…though are sunnis allowed in karbala? (i seriously do not know) hehe
ive seen the mecca sites now i wanna see the other sites as well… ziarat can be fun if u view it from a historical point as well!!!
Is not Hazrat Aishas tomb also there?
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