Understanding Islam in culture Women’s Rights and Culture Journal 3 What country/culture do you think the following statistics are from and why would you choose that country/culture? Wife Beating Statistics: • Every fifteen seconds, a woman is beaten by her partner. • Domestic Violence is this culture’s number one health problem • 4,000 women die from abuse each year. • Medical costs from domestic violence go over 5 billion dollars annually • Only one quarter of women who are beaten actually report the crime • Almost one-third of female homicide victims that are reported were killed by an intimate partner What is culture? The behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group http://www.bangkokpost.com/education/site2007/nfjn2607.htm What are three things you can learn about Islamic culture from the article “Yes, I Follow Islam, But I’m Not a Terrorist”? “Yes, I follow Islam, but I’m not a terrorist…” On October 15, 2001, Nada El Sawy, a Egyptian-American Muslim woman, was published in Newsweek in the “My Turn” essay section. She has since worked for Newsweek and the Associated Press as a journalist. http://www.hopstudios.com/dtli nk/listE.html Which of the following statements are true? All Muslims beat their wives because it is in The Koran. Muslim women have to wear the veil, according to The Koran According to The Koran, women can inherit as much if not more than males. A woman’s testimony carries the same importance as a man’s testimony in all situations. Muslim women are allowed to have jobs and work outside of the home. Having four wives is strongly recommended in The Koran. The status of the man is higher than that of the woman. Women are allowed to have any level of an education. The Koran gives women the right to vote, run for an office, or even be head of a state. If a woman commits adultery, she is stoned to death. Which of the following statements are true? Muslim women can marry Jewish or Christian men. Only husbands have the right to divorce their wives; women cannot divorce their husbands. The Koran says that in order for a woman to prove that she was raped, four adult males of good character must witness the incident. Girls can be married off at a very young age, according to The Koran. The Koran commands all females to be circumcised. Muslim women are allowed to drive. Women and men are segregated in public, work, and places of worship. Men are allowed to kill their wives that they suspect of disobeying them. All Muslims beat their wives because it is in The Koran. Not True “Men are the maintainers of women, with what Allah has made some of them to excel others and with what they spend out of their wealth. So the good women are obedient, guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded. As as to those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the beds and chastise them. So if they obey you, seek not a way against them.” (4:34, English translation by Maulana Muhammad Ali) “If you experience rebellion from the women, you shall first talk to them, then deserting them in bed, then you may beat them. If they obey you, you are not permitted to transgress against them. GOD is Most High, Supreme.” (4:34, conservative edition) Muslim women have to wear the veil, according to The Koran. Not True There are three rules for women’s dress: 1. The best garment (of righteousness) 7:26 2. Cover your bosoms (24:31) 3. Lengthen Your Garments (33:59) Women from other cultures and religions covered their heads for different reasons. According to The Koran, women can inherit as much if not more than males. True In Surah 2, Ayah 180, The Koran states that a woman can receive everything if she is poorer than her brother. If there is a will, then any sons receive twice as much because they take care of the families and the women typically have a husband taking care of them. A woman’s testimony carries the same importance as a man’s testimony in all situations. Not True It is not equal in financial transactions where a testimony is called for because women are more emotionally vulnerable. It is also to guard against the possibility that the man in question might marry one of the witnesses and so it takes two women to replace one man when talking about finances. See 2:282 Muslim women are allowed to have jobs and work outside of the home. True Muslim women are allowed to hold jobs and even own their own businesses. The Koran does not mention that they cannot. In most societies where Islam rules, however, women choose to stay at home and let the man work while she raises the family. Having four wives is strongly recommended in The Koran. Not True Polygamy is allowed up to four wives in The Koran, but usually under certain circumstances, such as taking in widows and orphaned children, and men have to be able to afford it. See 4:3 and 4:129 The status of the man is higher than that of the woman. Not True Men are appointed as heads of the families in order to make marriage work, but men and women are seen as spiritual equals. See 3:195 Most Muslim-ruled countries refer to the Hadith to look at the status of women, such as this Hadith: "Women are naturally, morally and religiously defective". (Bukhary). Women are allowed to have any level of an education. True Some of the first words of The Koran are to “read” and “recite” and talks about God giving the pen to mankind. Nowhere in The Koran is there a verse about the woman not being able to be educated at any level. See 96:1-6 The Koran gives women the right to vote, run for an office, or even be head of a state. True Women are allowed to vote and to run for office and to run a country if needed under The Koran. The example story in The Koran was the Queen of Sheba who became a Muslim and ruled her country. Corrupt Muslims consult the Hadith and say that no community ruled by a woman can prosper. See 60:12 and 27: 42-44 If a woman commits adultery, she is stoned to death. Not True There is no death penalty for adultery in Islam. It could be lashing, social alienation, divorce, etc. It takes multiple witnesses who actually saw the crime in order to even prove adultery. See 24: 1-2 Muslim women can marry Jewish or Christian men. True Yes, women are allowed to marry Christians and Jews because they are “people of the book.” See 5:5 and 2:221 Only husbands have the right to divorce their wives; women cannot divorce their husbands. Not True Women and men have the right to ask for a divorce, though there are many verses talking about how a divorce will be carried out. There is a certain amount of time a woman must wait after being divorced before she can re-marry. See 4: 35 and 2: 237 The woman also has the right to ask for a divorce if she marries an unbeliever or is the wife of a vicious enemy. (60:10) The Koran says that in order for a woman to prove that she was raped, four adult males of good character must witness the incident. True The Koran does state that four adult males of good character are required to have witnessed the crime of rape, but if other undeniable proof is given, such as DNA evidence, then the four men are not required. See 12:75 Girls can be married off at a very young age, according to The Koran. Not True The Koran does not ever give an age when it is okay to be married; it just states that it can occur when maturity is reached. That age differs from culture to culture. The Koran commands all females to be circumcised. Not True The Koran does not command that females be circumcised at all. This is a cultural practice and some put it in the Hadith. This practice pre-dates Islam and is still rampant today in some cultures. Muslim women are allowed to drive. True The Koran does not command that females are limited in using transportation. It also does not command that males must accompany females when they go out in public. These are all things that corrupt Muslims put in the Hadith to use as an excuse. Women and men are segregated in public, work, and places of worship. Not True The Koran does not command that females and males should not be allowed to work together or worship together, but many Muslims believe that segregation is commanded in The Koran. Men are allowed to kill their wives that they suspect of disobeying them. Not True The Koran does not allow men to kill their wives for any reason. Murder is condemned in the strongest language. Those who follow this practice are following tribal laws, not The Koran. See 5:32; 6:151; and 17:33 Final Thoughts: How has your perspective of women’s rights under the rules of The Koran changed from the beginning of our study? Give specific examples to support your answer. Copyright Notification: This multi-media presentation was created using the Fair Use Guidelines for Educational Multimedia. Certain materials are included under the Fair Use exemption of the U.S. Copyright Law. Further use of these materials and this presentation is restricted.