Islam and Women

Dr. Younus Shaikh

Dr. Younus Shaikh, Pakistani Rationalist and founder President of the Rationalist organization of Pakistan, "The Enlightenment", who was once sentenced to death for blasphemy in Pakistan, writes on Islam and Women.

I

Dr. Younus Shaikh
Dr. Younus Shaikh

Before the advent of Islam, the pagan Arab women generally enjoyed a respectable status in society; many of them including Khadija - the first wife of the prophet of Islam, had the right to engage in business and choose or dismiss their husbands in a matrilineal fashion; they took part in most activities of war and peace including public worship. In female oriented Arab paganism, goddesses had special status; in Mecca, the female goddess Al-Uzza, in Taif the goddess Al-Lat and in Medina the goddess Manat were the most popular deities, and their statues were most revered while the statue of the stern Allah was almost neglected.

Arab pagan poetry was mostly concerned with the beauty and grace of their women, and the glory of their tribal values in peace and war. And it was only in one predator tribe of Mecca that the evil custom of burying alive of the daughters prevailed. It was highly unusual for a man of pre-Islamic Arab society to have more than one wife in his house; and it is quite certain that polygamy was introduced and encouraged by the prophet after the revelation of Islam. Women were to produce as many Muslims as possible. This ultimately resulted in the degradation in the status of the married woman in the Islamic society. Whereas the pre-Islamic Arab custom allowed many looser forms of marriage on the matrilineal and matri-local tradition that gave the woman freedom and liberty as full human being, however the artificial rules of Islamic nikah reduced marriage to mere sexual and social slavery.

The prophet of Islam, before prophethood, opposed the burying alive of the newborn daughters; he was eager to work for a woman and gladly married a divorced woman. The early Islam continued with most of the pre-Islam tribal traditions; there were no hijabs or veils for women of Madina; and at a later date only the nine wives of prophets were restricted in their social intercourse as their home was constantly full of visitors. However the prophet's women sex-slaves were not restricted in any such manners.

Indeed, the semi-transparent half-face- veil (hijab) was actually a very old custom originating in the Assyrian times, a status symbol and a mark of social distinction for the free women. The pre-Islamic pagan Arab woman of the cities often wore the fashionable semi-transparent half-face veil but the tribal women never did.

Later, Islam added measures for "the preservation of modesty for women" -like casting down their eyes in public, concealing their breasts and jewellery and the likes. However, these restrictions were later extended by the followers of the prophet far beyond his original intentions as expressed in Koran, and remained more or less a permanent fixture of Muslim life thereafter.

Later on, however, the insecurity of early Islam gradually added to the exclusion of women, and 100 years later, by the reign of the Abbasid Caliph Haroon ur Rashid, women became merely sexual toys and breeding machines; and as married women they were merely maid servants- mere man's social appendages. Moreover, as female sex-slaves, women were freely bought and sold in open markets of all Islamic countries, and loaned, rented or bestowed as gifts to friends. The prophet himself bestowed women sex-slaves to his favourites. There was no limit to the number of slaves one could own; one of the companions of prophet Hazrat Zubair Ibn ul Arvan, for example, had 1000 men-slaves and 1000 women sex-slaves. Islam took the woman as the land tilled by the man where he spilled his seeds.

The prophet himself took part or guided nearly 100 wars or raids or attacks for plunder. After him, his followers continued the offence. The fierce Islamic tribal Bedouins with centuries long experience of ruthless and cruel tribal warfare proved to be the worthwhile shock troops of Islam. After Iraq, Syria fell to the Islamic Empire in 634 CE. Despite surrenders, great massacres took place at many places; thousands of men were slaughtered and women and children sold into slavery; monasteries were ransacked, monks and villagers were slain and nuns were raped. After the conquest of Egypt, many of its towns were put to sword and their entire population wiped out. Great massacres also occurred in Cyprus and North Africa. The Roman province of Iraq, the Syrian province of Iran, and the conquered Iran brought hundreds of thousands of men-slaves, women sex-slaves, and the vast fertile lands of these once mighty and civilized countries where the women had been held in high respect e.g. the Manichaecian Iraq, the Pharonic Egypt and North African Civilizations.

As in Egypt and Iran, wherever the conquering Islamic Bedouins armies went, they destroyed the local civilization's cultures, imposed their Islamic tribal medievalism recklessly murdering men and degrading women to perpetual sexual slavery. In short, the Islamic tribal Bedouins and barbarians did the same to the surrounding higher civilizations what the Roman barbarians did to the highly civilized ancient Greeks. Meanwhile the Islamic Bedouins continued to raid and abduct the European women for Islamic slave markets during all these Islamic centuries. The conquest of Syria forced the conversion of thousands of Christian priests to Islam, who changed their religion but not their profession: they became the stern anti-feminine Islamic mullahs and not only continued their religious magic and rituals but also continued the essentially Christian medievalism under Islam.

In short, as a result of these conquests, destructions and imposition of Islamic tribal medievalism, societies under the Islamic Empire went further than any other in their total exclusion of women from political power and social influence. Islamic legislation went far beyond anything the prophet had originally dreamed of in his tribal religiosity in cheating women of their rightful place in society and in matters of inheritance. Where originally the Koran gave women the right of inheritance, the Islamic mullah invented the legalized institution of Waqf- the religious foundation, to exclude the daughters and their descendents from inheritance. Though the Koran does give the right of inheritance to women, she continued to be a minor; usually uneducated needing a guardian in father, husband or the son. Indeed, the status of women in Islam is theoretically exalted but utterly deplorable in practice.

Multiplying number of harems (residing place for the female sex-slaves), finally institutionalised under Caliph Al-Walid II, emphasized the inevitable degradation of womanhood under Islam. Haroon ur Rashid, the Islamic Caliph (ruler) had 2000 female sex-slaves, Caliph Mutwakkal had 4000 female sex-slaves; and every mullah, official or soldier of Islamic state had some men-slaves and women sex-slaves belonging to the conquered civilization nations. Not being allowed to learn, experience or think for herself, it is no wonder that there are hardly very few outstanding women in 1600 years of Islamic history, and those who by chance or by the force of the ancient pre-Islamic customs came into light or in the corridors of power were sooner or later eliminated on the orders of some pious and religious Islamic mullah.. Indeed, Islam's violent anti-feminism have been as nefarious as Christianity's burning of hundreds of thousands European women as witches in 15th, 16th and 17th century. The female hating instruments of the Islamic Empire, the mullahs and the Caliphs, continued to promote degradation of women under the formal and sordid Islamic legal code of Shariah, the final seal on the complete subjection of the female element.. The modern history of Islam is merely the continuation of the Islamic tribal medievalism, only the technology , phraseology and the fašade is modern.

II

"Indian sub-continent suffered the humiliation and destruction under Islam, as did Africa. The Islamic General Mohammad Bin Qasim decimated great Buddhist and Hindu civilizations. Acting on the orders of a representative of the Islamic Caliph, Governor Hijaj Bin Yousaf (who was a deadly enemy of the Hazrat Ali and Hazrat Hussein's family-some of whom have taken refuge under the Buddhist monarch Raja Dahir in Sindh), Mohammad Bin Qasim conquered the kingdom in 712 CE. His Islamic plunderers and looters demolished temples, shattered sculptures, plundered palaces and killed thousands. It took his Islamic army three days to slaughter the inhabitants of Debal, their women and children were taken into slavery. Later on he pardoned many prisoners and tried to establish a just rule of law which enraged the very Islamic and murderous Governor Hijaj Bin Yousaf; therefore Qasim again reverted to the Islamic barbarity and massacred between 6-16 thousands in Brahiminabad, their women and children were sent to Arab Islamic slave markets.

This was the beginning of the destruction of the classical ancient Indian civilization, and start of the medieval age of Islamic darkness in India. The 11th century witnessed another Islamic murderer and plunderer, Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi an agent of Islamic Caliph, who utterly ruined the great Indian civilization and looted and plundered most of its wealth. Fifty thousand Hindus were massacred in just one of his attacks at Somnath; he invaded India more than 17 times. Thousands of Hindu men and women were sent to the Islamic Afghani slave markets. The highly cultured and civilized daughters of the noble Hindu families were sold to the illiterate, un-cultured and barbaric Afghanis for equivalent of just one Frank (Pound/Dollar) each. After every Afghani Muslim had four wives each, there were lots of surplus women left; to that the evil Islamic mullahs responded with an ingenious translation of Koranic verses proving that Allah allowed each Muslim to marry 18 women at a time along with an unlimited number of women as concubines. Soon the new military instruments of the Islamic Caliph, the Turks and the Moguls followed, decimated captured Delhi and turned whole of India into a grand open-air slave camp. Sultan Firoze Shah Tughlaq- an Islamic Turk ruler had 100,000 men-slaves and thousands of female sex-slaves in his harem; the pious Islamic Mongol (Mogul) Emperor Shahjehan had 15,000 female sex-slaves and concubines for his personal harem. Indeed, the Islamic Turk invaders and rulers did the same in India as they did in Armenia-the whole races of peoples were exterminated. (However, credit must be given here to the agnostic and secular-minded, humanist Mogul Emperor Akbar the Great who refused the title of "the King of Muslims" and preferred to be called "the shadow of God"- for his God, he declared (in accordance with the mind and language of his age), is the beneficial deity and protector of all-Hindus, Muslims and other races of humans and creatures alike. He gave up his faith in Islam and tried his genius in creating a pluralistic religion comprising traditions of all the prevalent religions and ideologies of India. He even invited the Christian Jesuits priests from Goa to his ideology-discussion-palace but could not swallow their childish Jesus-son-of-God myth).

The medieval Islamic Empire of the Turkish Osmania Caliphate disappeared after Axis defeat in the World War I and with the rise of the Turkish secular hero Mustafa Kemal Pasha. However, it soon metamorphosed into the modern Saudi Islamic spiritual Empire. It is noteworthy that while the very Christian Holy Roman British Empire of the West required standing armies to control the bodies of men in all its colonies, the theocratic Saudi Islamic spiritual Empire of the East depended on the standing army of clerics-Mullahs and Imams-stationed in mosques to control the minds of men-the social, cultural spiritual and psychological control. It is true that Islam dismantled the old Arab tribal loyalties and some of its taboos and traditions; however it created a new tribe in the name of Islam with prophet himself as its chieftain and his family and tribe-Hashmis and Quresh acquiring an elevated and sacred status- a replacement of old medieval tribe with a new theocratic tribe. However, it essentially continued many of the ancient pagan rituals of worship as well as many of its old taboos and traditions. The tribal blood loyalties were replaced with the new tribal religious loyalties. At intellectual level Islam is merely the continuation of the medieval Jahiliya (Ignorance) in the holy garb of Islam- the Islamic Jahilia (the Islamic Medieval Ignorance). Modern Islam is, indeed, merely a continuation of that medieval tribal ignorance and mental backwardness.

Since the advent of the Saudi oil, petrodollars started to support the Islamic extremist movements all over the world and continue to do so. The Saudi petrodollars have created thousands of Islamic centres for social and political control and propaganda- the mosques-all over the world; 1000 mosques were built in the USA only in just last few years. Islamic brainwashing and political propaganda continues in these mosques and madrassas-the religious schools, as well as through the Islamic newspapers, magazines, radios and televisions. All kind of extremist Islamic terrorism and fundamentalism emanates and flows from the " Kernel of Evil- the Epicentre of the ugly Islamism-the Saudis". For Allah of the Saudis makes submission to Islam obligatory for all humans. Those who refuse their submission to Allah or differ from the Saudi version of Islam are called the Satan's party, and must be eliminated by Saudis or their paid and brainwashed zombies-the Muslims- called the Allah's party. Saudi Arabia is in fact the worst example of Islamic medievalism, and mental, social backwardness. Slavery was legal in Saudi until 1960s when it was officially abolished on the personal request of the non-Muslim US President J F Kennedy! However, it continues in new names: the foreign female domestic servants-the private property of the Islamic Bedouin barbarians. Saudi petrodollars continue to support the extremist and fundamentalist mullahs, and continue to lure the Islamic states into the barbarity of the Islamic medieval Shariah laws, and the Saudis continue to spread Islamic mullah terrorism and Islamic theocratic totalitarianism all over the world."

Iran basically an Islamic spiritual colony, is the godfather of the Shiite Islamic terrorism,( Saudi Sunnis are an Islamic sect like the Christian Catholics while Shiites are like the Protestant Christians). This Allah's government in Iran is the most evil religious state today. Torture, murder and Islamic absolutism- an Islamic version of Hitler's Nazism, Stalin's Communism and Mussolini's Fascism combined. There were 5,195 political and religious executions only in 1983 alone! Few years ago a bill was presented in Iranian Parliament asking that in according with the tradition of Islamic prophet, marriage should be allowed with 9 years old girl child! Human rights are definitely not allowed to exist in the Islamic Iran, where according to the English language Radio Iran, the Holy Spirit of imam Khomeni hovers over Iran all the times. Women have been hanged on suspicion of sexual crimes. Even proved virgins have been sent to gallows, however, they are hanged only after being raped, as Iranian Islam does not allow hanging of virgins. Iran had used its oil money in the interest of Islamic revolutions all over the world, and continues to do so.

Algeria, known for its Islamic civil war continues with its Islamic horrors. Islamic absolutism and totalitarianism is imposed with guns and slaughters in the interest of religion of Islam. Men are usually killed for their religio-political crimes while women are killed just for the crime of being a woman in an Islamic country. Thousands were islamically raped and more than 500 were killed only in 1993. Women have been killed for not wearing hijab (veil) or refusing to do so when imposed, for refusing to engage in Iranian-style temporary marriage, for being married to foreign men, and for working and living alone. The victims have been as young as 9 years and as old as 69 years. Women are often raped and tortured before being slaughtered. Thousands find themselves imprisoned in Islamic camps for no legitimate reasons. It is worth mentioning that women had a respectable status in society before the conquest of Algeria by Islam.

Egyptians, heir to the great Pharonic and Alexandrian civilizations continue to suffer the chronic evil of Islam. Known for the miseries of hijab and female genital mutilation, Egypt is also a centre of child prostitution for the wealthy Saudi Islamic Bedouins. In Egypt, four out of five women are forced to wear some kind of hijab. Female genital mutilation is very common; up to 73% in Cairo and 95% in rural areas. In 1995 a shaikh (religious dignity) of Al-Azhar University Cairo issued a fatwa (the religious decree or bill), which reportedly announced the procedure pf Female Genital Mutilation as "laudable practice that does honour to women"; and stating that it was, a religious duty as important as praying to Allah.

Sudan had a long history of Islamic conquest and repression. Islamic totalitarianism and barbarity continues to this day. Recently, Sudan was brutalized by the Saudi-backed Gen.Numeri's Islamic fascism. In 1992 a religious decree-fatwa-was issued that gave justification to the military onslaught against the non-Muslims. Islamic barbarism and genocide continues in Darfur to this day.

Indonesian Islamic army mass-murdered 200,000 East Timurian non-Muslims before East Timur got its independent. The country is known for its extreme religiosity, corruption, ethno-religious problems and Islamic extremism.

Pakistan, an experimental laboratory of Islam, had turned into a horror. Notwithstanding the hundreds of thousands of rapes, abductions and murders under the watchful eyes of the very Christian administration of the Holy Roman British Empire at the time of religious division of the Indian sub-continent in 1947 by the Christian British Empire, when half a million people were forced to migrate, Pakistan has never made any certain move towards civilization. Pakistan is a centre of Islamic fundamentalism, extremism and terrorism. Pakistan's very Islamic army invaded her province of East Pakistan in 1971, killing hundreds of thousands of Bengali Muslims and non-Muslims and raping half a million women ranging 9-69 years in age, in its attempt to create a half breed Pak-Bengal race which would be loyal to Islam and Pakistan. In 1974 Pakistan army invaded its province of Baluchistan resulting in similar calamities. In 1980 Islamist General Zia ul Haq introduced further islamization under the Saudi pressure for introduction of the medieval and tribal Islamic Shariah.. Along with the compulsory public prayers, there were brutal Islamic laws for the very natural sexual acts and for the presumed blasphemy: the repressive Hudood Ordinance and the infamous Blasphemy laws. Thousands of innocent women continue to suffer under these and other Islamic fascist laws for mere allegations. Raped women had been sent to gallows for the crime of being raped. (Islamic Shariah is the only system of law, which punishes the victims: Fatemollah). Pakistani state has proved to be a willing and sinister instrument of the evil Islamic mullah fascism and terrorism. Pakistan created the hated Afghan Taliban and many other such organizations in Afghanistan. Similar organizations continue to flourish in Pakistan and try to create a totalitarian and fascist Islamic state. Despite all tall claims of fight against Islamic terrorism, the evil continues to flourish. Pakistan is undoubtedly a major source of supply for the Iraqi terrorism. Illicit drug trade continues with the blessings of the Islamic mullahs and the ISI (the Islamic Military Intelligence). There are Islamic prostitution centres in every Islamic city of the Islamic Pakistan where abducted and non-Muslim women are forced to suffer. The secular, liberal and rationalist intellectuals continue to suffer in Pakistan like the victims of the infamous Christian inquisition of medieval Europe. While the Christian churches burnt the heretics, Islamic mullahs get them indicted for Blasphemy.

Eternal vigilance is the price of civilization.

III

While fundamentalism, superstition, ignorance, lack of human rights, female genital mutilations, forced seclusion of women within their houses and in their hijabs; religious extremism, fundamentalism, suicide-bombing and Islamic terrorism continue to be the hallmarks of the Muslim states and societies under the influence of the Saudi Islamic Spiritual Empire of the petro-dollars or Iranian Shiite area of influence under its Shiite oil-money; it is high time for the civilized world to wake-up from the stupor of multi-culturism and blind tolerance of the organized intolerance; for the disease is spilling herein already. Many of the acts of the Islamic states and societies, organizations and individuals are barbaric and medieval; the beheading of the innocent hostages, death penalties and murders for religious reasons; chopping of hands and feet; stoning to death of women for getting raped or on accusation of natural sexual intercourse; honor-killing on mere suspicion, suicide-bombings and acts of terrorism; these are indicative of a deep-seated disease. Murder on the name of a merciful Allah is mere hypocrisy.

The rise of Saudi-sponsored extremist Islam is a danger to civilization everywhere. All extremist Muslims are potential terrorists and Allah's soldiers. There should be no tolerance for this religiously organized intolerance against liberalism, human rights and women's equal status and other manifestations of our civilization. Muslims in civilized and democratic societies should be required to take the oath of loyalty to the state and democracy. Political right to vote to those whose political loyalties are located in some far off desert is not only harmful but also suicidal for the state as well as for the very ideology and system of democracy. Political right to vote for those who wish to destroy the very system of democracy? Think again, Ladies and gentlemen.

There is no place for optimism for a liberal Islam. Nearly all Islamic states and states have failed to appreciate the basic human rights of their people, their women and their minorities. Saudis and Emirates are the worst offenders; and are the financial godfathers of fundamentalism, extremism and Islamic backwardness everywhere.. Nearly every Islamic country is dangerous not only for itself but for the world as a whole. Pakistan, for example, after supplying Iran and with Korea with nuke-secrets continues to offer the dangerous technology; Vietnam and Brazil are the new customers. The nuke-terrorist Dr. Abdul Qadir Kahn is safe, well protected and facilitated by the State of Pakistan, with full impunity, of course.

You civilized people! Yesterday you refused to acknowledge the dangers inherent in the rise of the Christian Nazi and Communist ideologies. Yesterday you supported Islamic Taliban even when they trampled rights of their women under their feet. Your refusal to confront militant Islam today may cost us more dearly than our individual lives-our cherished achievement -our civilization. Beliefs have consequences-the centrality of Islam to mental, social, intellectual and cultural backwardness; organized offences against women and minorities; fundamentalism, extremism and modern terrorism are impossible to deny. "Religions of peace and tolerance" are mere empty words.

Islam is an organized crime against humanity!

(concluded)