WHY MUSLIMS LAG BEHIND
Mike Ghouse, November 1, 2007
The provision is not a free ticket to marry four women; it was made with a social purpose to keep the society in a balance. Rather than be at the mercy of lustful men who want to keep a woman as their concubine, the woman may feel a sense of dignity even if she is playing the 2nd, 3rd or 4th fiddle by marrying to the man. However, the first wife has to see it as a social need, rather than a man-woman relationship, she may not feel the un-justness in it and may actually willfully authorize to save a woman from being on the street. It takes a lot of generosity on the part of the first wife to do that.
What will you do with 300,000 + women left alone in the savage war in Iraq by the death of their husband, son, brother or father? What are the choices to rehabilitate them? Let them become carriers of Aids? Find sustenance through the only thing they can trade, given the job market, their flesh? It is a tough question and answers are not easy, the provision was made for dire situations like that. However, some people will always abuse the system, no matter what system they follow.
Personally I am against polygamy, but the provision must be guarded from being abused. Dr. Naik's example that more Hindus are polygamist is not a good reason or logic to support one's case. Even if men keep several women as their secret girl friends, it won't justify one to marry more than one woman.
Dr. Naik could have simply said, that the form of Burqa that is currently in practice was not the prescription of Qur'an, rather it was the modesty clause interpreted to mean Burqa. The current form of Burqa has become a cultural symbol in the guise of religious identity, and the culture sits deeply in one's psyche than religion, and it is not easy to drop it at one's command.
Dr. Singh’s scope is narrow for him to call Burqa as a sign of backwardness, wearing a Shalwar Kameez or Saree seems backward to the westerners. I don't believe most Indian women (except the college going girls and a few westernized ones) would give up the Saree or Shalwar Kameez for a Skirt on husband or brothers call, she just won't do it, and why should she, what is the need?
Being civilized is being able to understand free choices and let people have the freedom to wear what is comfortable to them? Who sets the standards that a woman should wear bikini, mini-skirt, Saree, Abaya, or Shalwar Kameez? Why should it bother me what a woman wears, how is it coming in my way? How would it affect her ability to do the work in an office? Let it be a free choice what the woman wants to wear, what she is comfortable with. Each society has its own threshold and it lives with its own equilibrium. Each system works where it is in vogue.
Dr. Singh is a Sikh. Is keeping the hair on his face and head uncivilized, jahiliya or backwardness? Absolutely not, it is a religious requirement and there is nothing wrong adhering to one’s belief and practices, it is not hurting any one nor is it hurting the keeper.
Dr. Naik is again trying to justify what the western societies do, he imagines them to be failures, they are not, indeed, they are as much a failure as any society is. Wearing Burqa was not in response to what they do, neither is it the 100% prescription of Qur’aan, he could have done well saying that the format is rather cultural than religious. Muslim women have been wearing it for centuries, has any one lost anything with that?
Oppression of women is bad, and it has absolutely nothing to do with any religion, it is the insecure men, who seek their security by oppressing women and unjustly using their religion, culture or some other excuse.
In terms of percentage, as a standard to equalize the different sizes of populations, I believe a similar percent of American women are victims of domestic violence as Indian, Muslim or Hindu women. Abuse is a man thing and not the religion. Indeed religion continues to civilize the beast and succeeds with many but fails with some.
Pork / Alcohol
Dr. Naik should just stay with the rules of the religion, all people follow the rules of their religion whether it makes sense or not. The Hindus don’t eat beef, Muslims don’t eat the pork and oops, also prohibit alcohol, Sikhs do not cut their hair, Buddhist don’t eat meat on certain days, and same goes to catholic. It is all traditions and nothing is lost following it. It gives them a sense of belonging, which in turn gives them a sense of being complete.
One should constantly search for the wisdom of why we do things? We will always find ourselves justifying it.
Dr. Naik will lose out his argument on Pork, if he bases it on health issues alone, as that is not the issue with the western societies, Pigs are farm raised, corn raised and are usually as clean as any other animal. Kids pet them too.
There is nothing wrong subscribing to certain rituals; social or religious, following which does not make one backward or forward.
It is always the freedom of choice, live and let live that is the hall mark of civil societies. Muslims do not lag behind because of Burqa, Pork, Alcohol or polygamy. They lag behind because of the education and denied opportunities.
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