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Yaya
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Post by Yaya » Mon Nov 01, 2010 9:35 pm

Karl wrote:Very interesting Yaya.

It leads me to ask: do you think the West (whatever we define that to be) is right to fear Islam, as practiced incorrectly by certain ******* and lunatics, rather than Islam as the concept you describe?

I may have worded that badly so please ask if it makes no sense :)

I think the West has very little to fear from even the improper application of Sharia law because it pertains to Muslims in Muslim lands. On the other hand, the Muslims who live under such a situation where Sharia law is improperly applied by ignorant people do have something to fear because they will be recipients of such a broken justice system.

What about fearing the proper application of Sharia law, as revealed to the Prophet (peace be upon him), should the West fear that? For the same reason, no, because it does not apply to them, not even to the Muslims who are living under the rule of Western governments.

The West is what it is. It is a conglomeration of different peoples based on the separation of church and state (at least, most of the West anyway). Trying to concieve of a situation where Islamic Sharia law would apply to that sort of population would be like trying to fit a square peg into a round role.

What should the West fear then? I think the people of the West should fear unjust retaliation for unjust wars. They should fear the man who lost his wife and child for oil. They should fear the man who is tortured in the confines of Guantanemo Bay and yet is innocent of any crime. Because in these circumstances, irrational thought will breed unjust and ill-thought out behavior. Actions have as their basis emotions in these instances, not justice, with terrible consequences for all. I don't think religion plays much of a role in these sort of events at all. Anger, certainly. Grief, for sure.

What should the Muslims fear? They should fear the lack of knowledge of their own faith amongst their people, corrupt scholars and jurists paid off by their government to rule in the favor of the wealthy. Take, for example, Saudi Arabia. Many outsiders hail it as the prototype Muslim nation that has as it's basis Sharia law. And yet, amongst it's princes and sheiks you find some of the most corrupt people in the world, a group of people who work with the likes of the Bushes to steal the wealth of other peoples, to become wealthier at the expense of the poor whom become poorer. How can a Muslim look to the Saudis as examples of Muslim behavior and as a Muslim nation founded on noble principles when their government is rotten to the core?

In my experience, living in the West, and travelling the East, there are far more signs that Western culture is having more of an influence over Muslim nations than Islam having an influence over Western people.

That's my feeling, anyway. I think those here who are anti-religion in general would view Islam as a threat to their liberties, regardless of where it's taking place. To which I would say, don't fall into the Bush "they hate our freedom" trap. Only idiots go for that. :)
"But the Costa story featuring Starscream? Fantastic! This guy is "The One", I just know it, just from these few pages. "--Yaya, who is never wrong.

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Post by Warcry » Tue Nov 02, 2010 6:59 am

Yaya wrote:I think the West has very little to fear from even the improper application of Sharia law because it pertains to Muslims in Muslim lands.
Not all Muslims agree with that, though. For example, Muslim groups in Canada have tried (unsuccessfully, so far) to impose Sharia law on family-court cases that involve Muslims. And Canada is about as far away as you can get from being a Muslim country.

There are large groups of Muslims who do try to do all of the things that you've denounced in this thread, and the vast majority of those Muslims honestly believe that their faith requires (or at least permits) atrocities like routine stoning, refusing to allow women to be educated, forcing them to wear burqas or flying airplanes into office buildings. The people that do this, for the most part, aren't cackling supervillains out to tarnish the name of Islam -- they're just regular folk doing what they think is the right thing. Dismissing them by saying that that's not real Islam doesn't address the core of the problem, because unfortunately for far too many Muslims that is real Islam and Yaya is the one who is deluded.

IMO those extremists are dangerous, but not because they kill people. We're more likely to be struck by lightning than killed by a Muslim fundamentalist. The real danger isn't in the people that they kill, but in the people that they convert -- normal, everyday Muslims who see extremism as a way to better their lives.

For a similar example, think about the Tea Party movement that's getting so much attention in the States right now. It's only about a year old, and when it started it was all about protesting against ballooning government spending (a completely reasonable cause in my books, even if I don't necessarily agree with them). But now? Now it's become little more than a vehicle for the personal ambitions of talking heads like Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck, a grotesque mockery of what it once was but a mockery that grows more and more powerful every day as more and more people tune in to listen to them.

Islam is much older, with far deeper roots and far more adherents...but at its' heart, Islam is still only as strong as the people who follow it. And just like every other group of people, there are a good number of Muslims who are happy to blindly follow whoever is shouting the loudest. And right now there are a lot of very angry voices shouting "Death to America".

This sort of thing happens all the time, not just in religious or political circles but in any group with a large enough membership. And all too often the extremists win out, not because they're smarter or because they're right but because the moderates don't even realize that there's a fight going on until they've already lost.

Moderates pretty much by definition don't want to impose their world-view on others. They just want to be left alone to follow their beliefs in peace. But if they don't stand up and shout loudly enough to drown out the crazies, they run the risk of waking up fifty years down the road to find that the crazies were the ones who got to define Islam for the generations who followed (isn't this more or less what happened in Afghanistan, leading to the Taliban taking power?). It's not fair, but life seldom is.

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Post by Best First » Tue Nov 02, 2010 8:14 am

Warcry wrote:
There are large groups of Muslims who do try to do all of the things that you've denounced in this thread, and the vast majority of those Muslims honestly believe that their faith requires (or at least permits) atrocities like routine stoning, refusing to allow women to be educated, forcing them to wear burqas or flying airplanes into office buildings.
Dude, watch yourself - you have just equated people who believe in the burqa with suicide bombers.

While i don't agree with either equating the two is like equating the averge Tea Partier with Tim McVeigh.

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Post by Warcry » Tue Nov 02, 2010 2:48 pm

Best First wrote:Dude, watch yourself - you have just equated people who believe in the burqa with suicide bombers.
Not quite what I intended to say. Women who choose to wear the burqa to protect their modesty or because of tradition have every right to do so. And men have every right to think that a woman should cover up as long as they leave it up to the women in their lives to choose for themselves.

But I said "forcing them [women] to wear burqas" and I stand by that. Forcing women to wear the burqa, as happened in Afghanistan under the Taliban and still happens in some parts of the country to this day, absolutely is an atrocity. I can understand why you might not want to put it on the same level as suicide bombings, but in my books it's just as bad because it has hurt so many more people. Women have been attacked and killed for not wearing the burqa, and millions of women are oppressed and dehumanized every day by men who think they have the right to force the burqa on them. It's an evil practice and should be called out as such.

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Post by Best First » Tue Nov 02, 2010 3:18 pm

You are missing my point, which is simply that someone who condones or particpates in one does not neccessarily condone or participate in the other.

As soon as you start conpounding things in such a fashion you are on very shakey ground.
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Post by Yaya » Tue Nov 02, 2010 5:53 pm

Warcry wrote:
Yaya wrote:I think the West has very little to fear from even the improper application of Sharia law because it pertains to Muslims in Muslim lands.
Not all Muslims agree with that, though. For example, Muslim groups in Canada have tried (unsuccessfully, so far) to impose Sharia law on family-court cases that involve Muslims. And Canada is about as far away as you can get from being a Muslim country.
Even if they somehow miraculously did manage to enact this, which they won't, it still wouldn't apply to non-Muslims. And if they applied Sharia law to Muslims, it would still be solely by the permission of their Western legal system, which would not doubt oversee it.
There are large groups of Muslims who do try to do all of the things that you've denounced in this thread, and the vast majority of those Muslims honestly believe that their faith requires (or at least permits) atrocities like routine stoning, refusing to allow women to be educated, forcing them to wear burqas or flying airplanes into office buildings.
Vast majority? I've been a Muslim most of my life, been to numerous Muslim countries, spoken to thousands of Muslims from all walks of life. And I have never met a Muslim that condones this sort of thing. Not a one. Out of the thousands I've met. Are they out there? I'm sure they are. But the number of Muslims who you say believe in these things is grossly exaggerated.

The problem is that, with today's indiscriminate weaponry, one can induce massive death and destruction even if but in the hands of a few people.

That's the scary thing, to me.
IMO those extremists are dangerous, but not because they kill people. We're more likely to be struck by lightning than killed by a Muslim fundamentalist. The real danger isn't in the people that they kill, but in the people that they convert -- normal, everyday Muslims who see extremism as a way to better their lives.
I see far more 'conversion' to Western values amongst Muslims than to Islamic extremism. Like I said, I've never actually met a Muslim who 'went extreme', but I've met many Muslims that are fully Westernized, even in Pakistan.
For a similar example, think about the Tea Party movement that's getting so much attention in the States right now. It's only about a year old, and when it started it was all about protesting against ballooning government spending (a completely reasonable cause in my books, even if I don't necessarily agree with them). But now? Now it's become little more than a vehicle for the personal ambitions of talking heads like Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck, a grotesque mockery of what it once was but a mockery that grows more and more powerful every day as more and more people tune in to listen to them.
Maybe instead of focusing on Islamic extremism, attention should be drawn to this sort of extremism, as I would think it a bigger threat to the American people? But you know why it isn't? Because Fox News and the like want you to focus on Islamic extremism and not on them. Because when you don't focus on them, you won't know about their shenanigans to rob from the common populace.

Didn't you see Stewart's and Colbert's Keep Fear Alive rally? It's good to know many Americans know what's going on, they know the game that's being played in Washington and in the media.
And right now there are a lot of very angry voices shouting "Death to America".
Why are they shouting this, in your opinion?
Moderates pretty much by definition don't want to impose their world-view on others. They just want to be left alone to follow their beliefs in peace. But if they don't stand up and shout loudly enough to drown out the crazies, they run the risk of waking up fifty years down the road to find that the crazies were the ones who got to define Islam for the generations who followed (isn't this more or less what happened in Afghanistan, leading to the Taliban taking power?). It's not fair, but life seldom is.
I got news for you, the Taliban have existed for hundreds of years and were the allies of the West against the Soviets. Their form of religion existed then as well and was no different from what they practice today. They've had plenty opportunity for centuries to 'define Islam" for the world, but they haven't been able to, have they?

I think many people believe as you do, and you always here the question "Why don't the moderate Muslims speak out?" And the answer is, if you gave us a pulpit from which to speak, we would.

Why is it that here in the U.S., you never get a clear, educated English-speaking Muslim on Fox or CNN, representing the majority of Muslims, giving their side? Why is it always some very scary looking Arab guy who talks like this: "All zee beebles should not be afraid of zee Muzlims, we are nice beebles." That's no exaggeration. Almost every time.

I mean, how come BBC can find white clear English speaking Muslims who can acutally communicate effectively at the level of their audience, but here in the U.S. you never see that? BBC had Sheik Hamza Yusuf, one of America's foremost Muslim scholars, on their newscast, but I don't think he's even once appeared on the news in American television. And he's considered one of America's topmost Muslim scholars. Strange that merry old England would have him as guest, but not U.S. media? Why?
"But the Costa story featuring Starscream? Fantastic! This guy is "The One", I just know it, just from these few pages. "--Yaya, who is never wrong.

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Post by Warcry » Tue Nov 02, 2010 7:36 pm

Best First wrote:You are missing my point, which is simply that someone who condones or particpates in one does not neccessarily condone or participate in the other.
I get it now and I completely agree with you. Just because someone wants to, say, stone adulterers, it doesn't mean that they want to force women to wear burqas or kill people. If that's how I came across I apologize.

Also, I should probably clarify a bit. When I talk about extremists I don't just mean people who have unconventional ideas. An extremist, to me, is someone who goes out of their way to try and impose their beliefs on people who don't share them.
Yaya wrote:Even if they somehow miraculously did manage to enact this, which they won't, it still wouldn't apply to non-Muslims. And if they applied Sharia law to Muslims, it would still be solely by the permission of their Western legal system, which would not doubt oversee it.
No disagreements here. I just mean to point out that not all Muslims agree with your interpretation of when Sharia is appropriate.
Yaya wrote:Vast majority?
I think you've misunderstood what I've said. I'm not arguing that most Muslims do those things. I realize that only a small minority do. But that small minority seem to think Islam permits it. Am I wrong?
Yaya wrote:Maybe instead of focusing on Islamic extremism, attention should be drawn to this sort of extremism
Extremism should be opposed everywhere it turns up. And I completely agree with you -- Americans (and any other country, really) should be much less concerned with extremist Muslims half a world away and much more concerned with the extremists that are starting to rise up at home.
Yaya wrote:Why are they shouting this, in your opinion?
America's antics in the Middle East obviously contributes quite a bit. It can't be the only reason though, because America has done just as much damage to other parts of the globe without earning that same level of hatred. Beyond that I can't say, because I'm so far removed from the culture that's experiencing it.

Sadly though, I think the radicalization of Western Muslims is a lot more understandable. It's hardly the first time that young minorities have lashed out at society when it's made them feel like they don't belong. It's just what happens when people are treated like second-class citizens.
Yaya wrote:I think many people believe as you do, and you always here the question "Why don't the moderate Muslims speak out?" And the answer is, if you gave us a pulpit from which to speak, we would.
The general public aren't the people who you need to reach, though. The people who need to hear what you have to say aren't people like me. The people who need to hear what you have to say are the young Muslim men who feel marginalized and unwelcome in Western society, the same young men who are often targeted by radicals looking for new recruits.

I'm sure that you, and other people like you, are already doing that. And more than anything else that gives me hope that the level of animosity that has been growing between the West and Muslims for the last decade might only be a transient thing, and that one day things will get better.

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Post by Yaya » Thu Nov 04, 2010 1:40 am

Another timely article referencing what I've been saying about women in Islam. This one again from Tony Blair's sister-in-law. I would ask that you read it:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/no ... n-to-islam

I only post this because maybe it's more acceptable to some that a women speak about women in Islam than myself, though essentially I have been saying the same thing this sister has.
"But the Costa story featuring Starscream? Fantastic! This guy is "The One", I just know it, just from these few pages. "--Yaya, who is never wrong.

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Post by Shanti418 » Thu Nov 04, 2010 5:28 am

Yaya wrote:Another timely article referencing what I've been saying about women in Islam. This one again from Tony Blair's sister-in-law. I would ask that you read it:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/no ... n-to-islam

I only post this because maybe it's more acceptable to some that a women speak about women in Islam than myself, though essentially I have been saying the same thing this sister has.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/artic ... ds-newsxml

There's a bit more in depth article addressing this trend. (And yes, I realize this is Daily Mail against The Guardian, but I defy you to come out saying otherwise after looking at both of them) While I certainly don't want to take away from the spiritual aspect of all this, I DO view it in a macro cultural lens, seeing it as part of the popular (in some circles) embrace of traditional gender roles and embrace of rules/regulations borne out of the sludge of postmodernism and political correctness. Simply, there's a backlash against secularism, amorality, and/or materialism. Not a coincidence that many of the women in that article had life stories of "I was drinking and partying and trying to hang out with celebrities, and then I realized my life was vapid." Then you find religion, and it's got a list of do's and don'ts, and it's got a finely defined role you get to do, and in exchange you're honored by virtue of vaginal posession, and everyone's happy. Don't get me wrong, I understand that choice, I even empathize with it, but that doesn't mean that I think it's right. Like you've conceded before Yaya, Islam has pretty set gender roles, and that's where I part company.

Anyway, there's no right answer. Western culture has its bad points and its good points. Secularism can been seen to go too far and to lead to vapidity sometimes, but in a multicultural society, it's the best way to organize things at the large level. Much like how I keep my complaints about capitalism to myself until I have an economic system that I think could do better, secularism is the only choice. Reading the link Yaya gave, I felt like you could have inserted Buddhism, Mormonism, Paganism, whatever, and the story would have basically been the same. Religion can act as an organizing agent or source of strength and confidence in people's lives, or as MV would say, "So you've got a boner for religion! Good for you!" (exclamatory tone added) That doesn't mean it's the only path or even the preferred path to personal happiness, pre or post death. That doesn't even mean that believing in Allah and Mohammad is better than believing in the ol' Flying Spaghetti Monster, provided FSM gives your life order and offers your a place to share some collective effervescence (RE: Durkheim).

That being said, Ms. Booth's point (echoed by a Muslim colleague of mine) that what many take as ISLAMIC cultured misogyny is actually ARAB cultured misogyny is a good one, and I am already in the process of marinating over it. Although sadly, her entire article is written in the tone of a San Franciscan Eco-Nut extolling the virtues of a raw diet to a crowd of carnivores. Smug, I say. Smug.
Best First wrote:I thought we could just meander between making well thought out points, being needlessly immature, provocative and generalist, then veer into caring about constructive debate and make a few valid points, act civil for a bit, then lower the tone again, then act offended when we get called on it, then dictate what it is and isn't worth debating, reinterpret a few of my own posts through a less offensive lens, then jaunt down whatever other path our seemingly volatile mood took us in.

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Post by Best First » Thu Nov 04, 2010 10:52 am

what i love about vocal converts to things, esepcially in this self congratulatory vain, is that essentially expect you to swallow the following logic;

"I have spent my whole life getting everything wrong but this time I am definitely correct and despite my dubious decision making process of the past you should definitely all copy me."

uh-huh.
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Post by Yaya » Thu Nov 04, 2010 12:48 pm

Actually, Shantz, I posted this same link a few posts up before I posted this newer one.
"But the Costa story featuring Starscream? Fantastic! This guy is "The One", I just know it, just from these few pages. "--Yaya, who is never wrong.

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Post by Shanti418 » Thu Nov 04, 2010 2:43 pm

Yaya wrote:
Actually, Shantz, I posted this same link a few posts up before I posted this newer one.
Ah, I KNEW I had gotten it from somewhere! *wipes egg from face*
Best First wrote:I thought we could just meander between making well thought out points, being needlessly immature, provocative and generalist, then veer into caring about constructive debate and make a few valid points, act civil for a bit, then lower the tone again, then act offended when we get called on it, then dictate what it is and isn't worth debating, reinterpret a few of my own posts through a less offensive lens, then jaunt down whatever other path our seemingly volatile mood took us in.

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Post by Jack Cade » Sun Nov 07, 2010 12:25 pm

Yaya - I posted these links onto my FB page to generate some discussion. A friend of mine who was brought up Muslim posted some interesting responses. I asked her if I could copy/paste them here to see what you thought:

"The quote from Ahmed is very interesting, and I do concede that my background means I will never view Islam in the way that they do, and the idea of Islam (or any of the Abrahamic religions, actually) being liberating for women or compatible with feminism just doesn't make sense for me. All of the major religions treat women as inferior to men, although some believers engage in sophistry and selective reading of scriptures to convince themselves and others that this isn't the case."

[I responded here, mentioning your views]

"Certainly some of the more repressive customs, such as face veiling, are cultural rather than scriptural, but the religion itself is, in my opinion at least, misogynistic. In Islam, for example, a woman's testimony in court is worth half of a man's, females inherit half as much as males, husbands are permitted to punish their wives with physical beatings, a man can be married to up to four women but a woman can marry one man. I would have to look this up to give specific details, but Mohammed was recorded as saying that most women will go to hell because they do not show enough gratitude to men. Access to divorce is far easier for men than for women.
I don't have a Quran to hand, so can't find all those bits I vaguely remember that used to incense me, but a quick google found this gem:

'Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart; and scourge (beat) them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them Lo! Allah is ever High Exalted, Great.' - Quran (4.34)

Of course, to return to your point about religion vs culture, Muslim-majority countries implement sharia law to varying degrees, cultural norms vary widely from country to country and a lot of muslims are very liberal and progressive. I'm not suggesting that all Muslim men beat their wives or treat women as second-class - I think it's precisely because they are uncomfortable with these ideas that many Muslims like to pretend they're not there in the scriptures."
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Post by Yaya » Sun Nov 07, 2010 5:55 pm

Yaya - I posted these links onto my FB page to generate some discussion. A friend of mine who was brought up Muslim posted some interesting responses. I asked her if I could copy/paste them here to see what you thought:

"The quote from Ahmed is very interesting, and I do concede that my background means I will never view Islam in the way that they do, and the idea of Islam (or any of the Abrahamic religions, actually) being liberating for women or compatible with feminism just doesn't make sense for me. All of the major religions treat women as inferior to men, although some believers engage in sophistry and selective reading of scriptures to convince themselves and others that this isn't the case."

[I responded here, mentioning your views]

"Certainly some of the more repressive customs, such as face veiling, are cultural rather than scriptural, but the religion itself is, in my opinion at least, misogynistic. In Islam, for example, a woman's testimony in court is worth half of a man's, females inherit half as much as males, husbands are permitted to punish their wives with physical beatings, a man can be married to up to four women but a woman can marry one man. I would have to look this up to give specific details, but Mohammed was recorded as saying that most women will go to hell because they do not show enough gratitude to men. Access to divorce is far easier for men than for women.
I don't have a Quran to hand, so can't find all those bits I vaguely remember that used to incense me, but a quick google found this gem:

'Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart; and scourge (beat) them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them Lo! Allah is ever High Exalted, Great.' - Quran (4.34)

Of course, to return to your point about religion vs culture, Muslim-majority countries implement sharia law to varying degrees, cultural norms vary widely from country to country and a lot of muslims are very liberal and progressive. I'm not suggesting that all Muslim men beat their wives or treat women as second-class - I think it's precisely because they are uncomfortable with these ideas that many Muslims like to pretend they're not there in the scriptures."
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As I have discussed many times before here on these message boards, Islam is a religion that goes beyond the spiritual health of the individual, and takes into consideration the well being of the society as a whole. The idea is that, what's best for one individual, or multiple individuals, may not be best for the society as a whole, and as such, restrictions and limitations are put into effect to achieve a balance. A balance which ultimately comes back to the individual and benefits everyone. Alcohol and free sex, for example, have restrictions that are intended to help both the individual and in the society both.

This again brings us to the concept of defined gender roles, a concept I know you and others here see as a restriction of rights and an imposition on individual freedoms. But in Islam, gender roles are assigned with the well being of the society as a whole in mind.

Islam has defined the man as the obligatory breadwinner for the family and the women as obligatory caretaker of the home. They are encouraged to participate in the other roles (for example, the Prophet peace be upon him helped his wives around the house and Muslim women have run businesses), but are not obligated to do so. An Islamic society is one where all men and women see these as their responsibility, for the good of their familes and for the good of the society.

The testimony of a women in affairs of, say, occupational disputes, therefore does not carry the weight of a man's due to the man's familiarity with such things. However, you will find the reverse is true. There are instances in Islam where the testimony of a women's is worth that of two men, when issues of the home are the subject in dispute. Therefore, it is not the gender, per se, that determines weight of testimony, but rather the matter at hand that determines it.

Regarding the oft-quoted Quranic verse that you sight above, it reinforces this concept that men are responsible for women. It establishes, without a doubt, the duty of the man to support the women, because "he excels her". Westeners like to take this verse in isolation to establish that Islam gives man the right to abuse his wife and to mistreat her due to his superiority over her. But the Prophet (peace be upon him) who is the sole interpreter of the Quran in it's intended meaning thereafter said "O People, it is true that you have certain rights over your women, but they also have rights over you. Remember that you have taken them as your wives only under God’s trust and with His permission. If they abide by your right then to them belongs the right to be fed and clothed in kindness. Treat your women well and be kind to them, for they are your partners and committed helpers…"

"For they are your partners and committed helpers". That pact under God, that trust that occurs between husband and wife, is that "I will take care of you, but you will be faithful and supporting of me". These are rights as established under God.

In another hadith, the Prophet (pbuh) in his Farewell Pilgrimage said: "Lo! My last recommendation to you is that you should treat women well. Truly they are your helpmates, and you have no right over them beyond that - EXCEPT IF THEY COMMIT A MANIFEST INDECENCY (fahisha mubina = adultery). If they do, then refuse to share their beds and beat them WITHOUT INDECENT VIOLENCE (fadribu hunna darban ghayra mubarrih*). Then, if they obey you, do not show them hostility any longer. Lo! you have a right over your women and they have a right over you. Your right over your women is that they not allow whom you hate to enter your bed nor your house. While their right over them is that you treat them excellently in their garb and provision."

The point? You can take any verse out of the Quran, but unless you have the context under which it was revealed and the meaning according to the Prophet peace be upon him (which is one of the purposes of the Prophet, that being not "what" but "how") then you will not gather the truth about it's verses.

What about unequal inheritance? This again stems from the nature of the duties that men and women are obligated to perform. Islamic scholars hold that the original reason for this difference is the responsibilities alloted to spouses, and women in general. A husband in Islam must use his inheritance to support his family while a wife has no support obligations. Also, men had to pay the dowry to women in marriage while women did not have to pay anything to men.

As divorce has been established in Islam as the "least liked of the permissible acts", measures, some seemingly harsh, are put into place to try and prevent it from happening.
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Post by Kaylee » Sun Nov 07, 2010 6:09 pm

I'd argue there is an inherent fallacy in assuming anyone has a 'natural role' based in their gender.

Gender is the junk between your legs, it doesn't mean you're meant to Hoover the livingroom, be a scientist, fight a battle, make a pancake, drive a car, run a business, be a Thundercat or own a Ferris wheel.

The only role it assigns to you, if you choose to exercise it, is your role in procreation.

Everything else is a baseless assumption since generalisations break down when transposed from large groups to individuals.

Ie

I do not best serve society by being cast according to my wang. I do it by doing what I'm best at as an individual.

I work well with computers and am an articulate communicator, therefore I work in software development. If I were a girl, other than being gorgeous, there would be no difference in my best role and therefore I should be treated equally in the eyes of the law and society.

Such is my view anyway :)

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Post by Shanti418 » Sun Nov 07, 2010 7:08 pm

And to bridge the gap between Karl and Yaya, there's no doubt that earlier in our history as a human civilization, sex WAS a good organizing principle, either for division of labor reasons or for procreation reasons. But sex and gender are not the same, and we've evolved socially and technologically out of the need to maintain those roles.
Best First wrote:I thought we could just meander between making well thought out points, being needlessly immature, provocative and generalist, then veer into caring about constructive debate and make a few valid points, act civil for a bit, then lower the tone again, then act offended when we get called on it, then dictate what it is and isn't worth debating, reinterpret a few of my own posts through a less offensive lens, then jaunt down whatever other path our seemingly volatile mood took us in.

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Post by Kaylee » Sun Nov 07, 2010 7:29 pm

Shanti418 wrote:And to bridge the gap between Karl and Yaya, there's no doubt that earlier in our history as a human civilization, sex WAS a good organizing principle, either for division of labor reasons or for procreation reasons. But sex and gender are not the same, and we've evolved socially and technologically out of the need to maintain those roles.
Yes, I think sex was a lot more important than it is now.

The human race isn't going to die out any time soon in a way that more children can fix. All we're doing is delaying the need to come up with new mechanisms for dealing with economic factors and care for the elderly, which currently we handle with a pyramid scheme involving always needing more people to fund pensions, work in care homes etc.

Our planet is finite and we can only feed, cloath and heal so many. We cannot base our society on the concept of an ever growing population IMO. Hence procreation is no longer a suitable concept to organise society, exactly as Shanti said :)

Or, to coin a Genesis lyric: there's too many men, too many people making too many problems... And not much love to go round.

That's what I think, anyhow :)

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Post by Yaya » Sun Nov 07, 2010 7:48 pm

Karl, I think it is more the interaction of the sexes rather than the inherent assessment of the two genders themselves that is the basis for the above Islamic principles. In other words, these gender roles have more to do with how men and women relate to each other in society in general than something intrinsic to the gender itself.

It is a socially determined fact that men and women behave differently around each other vs. being in groups with members of the same sex. There is a certain, shall I say, tension, that is not present when members of the opposite sex aren't around. Guy time. Gal time. There is certainly something there when it comes to behavior (and I don't mean this in a solely sexual sense).

As an example, my wedding, which was Islamic, the men and women were separated. 90% of the guests were Western, mostly non-Muslim. You would not believe the number of women who came to my wife and said it was the most fun wedding they had ever been to. And I found this to be the case with many of my Muslim friends who had similar weddings. My personal assessment, which admittedly could be wrong, was that both the women and men enjoyed themselves more when they didn't feel that certain natural pressure or tension that comes when in the presence of members of the opposite sex.

I was speaking to an atheist friend of mine last year, and we were discussing this very issue. And he made the statement, "I don't know, maybe men and women aren't equal, I mean, who is to say they are?" Which was an assessment I never really considered. How do you measure such a thing? After all, the equality that we often speak about when talking about men vs. women is based on an individual's or society's assessment, which may be inaccurate. Some scientists might come to the scientific conclusion that one gender is superior to the other. Again, I don't know.

I do know, regarding issues of status, the Quran states the following regarding men and women: "For Muslim men and women, for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for true men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in charity, for men and women who fast, for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in God's praise, for them has God prepared forgiveness and great reward. (33:35)

Here is a verse that, really, is unlike any that one could find for it's time or even for modern days. Even the U.S. Constitution's wording is "that all men are created equal", where one must extrapolate that women too are included in this assessment. This verse of the Quran, in an effort to erase any such confusion, doubts, or ambiguity, explicitly mentions men and women together ten separate times in this single verse.

I challenge anyone to produce either a religious verse or any such statement from any Western constitution or political doctrine that is as explicit in it's mentioning of men and women together to stress their equality.

But going back to your question, Karl, why a man or a women must restrict themselves to playing a certain role in society, ultimately, the answer in Islam is always "Because God says so". I can rationalize in my mind or find reasons for what' right and what's not, one can argue one way or the other, but ultimately, I believe true Wisdom rests with God and He knows what's best for His creation. That's pretty much the bottom line for anything in Islam, but I do know for a fact that He does not command us to do things that are harmful to us or to others, and so at times I like to discover the benefits that come from such commandments.
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Post by Yaya » Sun Nov 07, 2010 7:58 pm

Shanti418 wrote:And to bridge the gap between Karl and Yaya, there's no doubt that earlier in our history as a human civilization, sex WAS a good organizing principle, either for division of labor reasons or for procreation reasons. But sex and gender are not the same, and we've evolved socially and technologically out of the need to maintain those roles.
Shantz, I might disagree with you here, at the risk of being labelled old fashioned or out of touch with reality.

One of the greatest misconceptions, in my opinion, is the belief that, because of technological advances, we have somehow advanced overall as a race, that we are somehow better off than we were before simply because we are later in time. I don't subscribe to this notion. In fact, I feel quite the opposite. I see more unhappiness borne from modern day 'progression'. I see more frustration amongst youth, not relief.

After all, have we somehow 'evolved' to the stage where we feel no grief? No pain? No sadness? No disappointment? There will always be elements of our constitution that make us human, elements that will always exist regardless of social or technological trends.

In the end, we are as human and vulnerable as early man.

Interestingly, there are verses in the Quran where prophets come to their people with what one would consider 'old-fashioned' advice, and the response of those people? When Our revelations are recited unto him, he saith: Mere fables of the men of old. 68:15 In other words, these are just anecdotal stories that are irrelevant to our generation.

They said this 1400 years ago. The same thing is being said now.
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Post by Kaylee » Sun Nov 07, 2010 8:17 pm

But going back to your question, Karl, why a man or a women must restrict themselves to playing a certain role in society, ultimately, the answer in Islam is always "Because God says so". I can rationalize in my mind or find reasons for what' right and what's not, one can argue one way or the other, but ultimately, I believe true Wisdom rests with God and He knows what's best for His creation. That's pretty much the bottom line for anything in Islam, but I do know for a fact that He does not command us to do things that are harmful to us or to others, and so at times I like to discover the benefits that come from such commandments.
That's fair enough, I can't really argue with that. It does without saying I disagree with it, but the world would be boring if we all thought the same thing. :)

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Post by Jack Cade » Sun Nov 07, 2010 10:26 pm

Thanks for your response, Yaya.
Yaya wrote:Islam has defined the man as the obligatory breadwinner for the family and the women as obligatory caretaker of the home.
This comes back to what I was saying before - these are not balanced roles. There is so much more choice as to how to define yourself and your life's path when taking the responsibility of 'bread winner' than 'caretaker of the home'.

Not to mention I have no idea where this leaves same sex relationships - you can't *both* avoid responsibility for the upkeep of the home.

"That pact under God, that trust that occurs between husband and wife, is that "I will take care of you, but you will be faithful and supporting of me". These are rights as established under God."

But this - again, I guess, taken out of context - sounds like guidelines as to how to properly treat slaves, not people who are your equals. You have no right over them beyond the fact that they are your 'helpmates' - that they're there to help you out and not vice versa? You'll make sure they're not ill-treated so long as they are 'faithful and supporting' of you? Honestly, do you not see the analogy?
Yaya wrote:As divorce has been established in Islam as the "least liked of the permissible acts", measures, some seemingly harsh, are put into place to try and prevent it from happening.
But is it more accessible to men, as she says?
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Post by Yaya » Mon Nov 08, 2010 12:37 am

But this - again, I guess, taken out of context - sounds like guidelines as to how to properly treat slaves, not people who are your equals. You have no right over them beyond the fact that they are your 'helpmates' - that they're there to help you out and not vice versa? You'll make sure they're not ill-treated so long as they are 'faithful and supporting' of you? Honestly, do you not see the analogy?
I don't see the analogy, because there is a whole other set of rights and responsibilities and rules regarding the treatment of slaves in Islam, and they are not similar to those rights due to a wife.

If I gave the impression that wives are there to help husbands out, but not vice versa, then I have done a poor job of making a very important point. This is simply the basic framework upon which an Islamic marriage is built. From there, the marriage with time takes on a life of it's own with each marriage having it's own individual dynamics (like any marriage anywhere). But this framework is the foundation of the Islamic marriage, and it is based on mutual benefit for both parties. But they benefit in different ways.

I think you must step out of the Western frame of mind to understand this concept, step away from the notion that breadwinning is superior to caretaking or homemaking, to understand the Islamic marriage contract. Islam does not place separate values on these roles. The 'new' West, however, does. Hence, the reason in the past ten years that women feel an impetus to take on breadwinning. Some women do it because they have to, and in periods of necessity, things that are considered impermissible become permissible. But then there are hosts of women who take on breadwinning roles simply because if they don't, they feel inferior. And who can blame them for feeling this way when 'being a professional' means more in a society? If I were a women, I would feel a similar way, I think.

The need to take on breadwinning roles to garner some semblence of equality is strictly a Western phenomenon, and a relatively recent one. Twenty years ago in the States, women felt no such obligation. They were happy to be homemakers, and neither man nor women felt this made them lesser human beings.

Perhaps this approach to marriage bothers you because it seems restrictive or unfair to women, but favors the man. Ironic then, that women have been the heads of state in three Islamic nations, whilst the U.S., the standard of Western society and thought, has yet to see one. This is further evidence that though Islam proposes the best way to live, the imposition of said gender roles isn't really done.

No doubt, the Islamic concept of marriage is in many ways different from that of the West (modern day West, anyway). Mainly because the foundation is not love, per se, but fulfilling the rights and responsibilities due to the other. It is very much like a business contract. Why is this given such import? Because love is the natural reaction to looking out for each others rights.

Why do arranged marriages 'work' more than traditional Western marriages? Because even when a marriage begins without a deep love, the result of fulfilling one's duties and rights as spouses induces true love to develop. Out of fulfillment of these rights, a natural love and respect is garnered. That's why Westerners have a hard time understanding how two people who barely know each other can live happy lives together. The reason is the love that stems from fulfilling the rights and responsibilities of the other under God. This is not to say that a marriage that begins with two people who deeply love each other doesn't work. But there is something to be said about a man who knows he will come home to a faithful wife who has made the home a place of solace and comfort, and a women who knows that she doesn't have to worry about having to work to buy food and clothes and that she will be taken care of in this regard. Call me old fashioned, but this would be a dream marriage for me, personally. I was married to a professional women, and it was hard to make things work. Suddenly, we were trampling on each other without even realizing it. It just didn't jive.

I think it's more the almost contractually legal nature of such an arrangement that is the source of this feeling you have. It's very "you perform these rights for me and I perform these rights for you". In other words, when a Muslim man and a Muslim women marry, certain aspects of it are very cut and dried. "You will do this for me, I will do this for you."
Yaya wrote:As divorce has been established in Islam as the "least liked of the permissible acts", measures, some seemingly harsh, are put into place to try and prevent it from happening.
But is it more accessible to men?
Probably, but not because of Islam. Most obstacles to divorce in Muslim countries are for cultural, familial, or tribal reasons. The grounds for divorce are also quite clear in Islam. For example, if a women is not getting the sexual gratification from her husband that satisfies her by her standards, she is permitted to divorce him. She can simply state "I am not getting my sexual needs satisfied" and that will legally under Sharia be legitimate grounds for divorce. Along the same lines, if a women is not being provided for to the level that is due her previous social standing prior to marriage, she is permitted to divorce him. In other words, the grounds for divorce of both parties is the lack of fullfillment of the rights as due to them. In essence, a breaking of the contract that was willingly entered into by both persons. Again, pretty straightforward.

However, Islamic divorce does differ from Western divorce in a few ways. One is, just as you cannot break a binding contract that you entered legally into, you cannot get a divorce for no reason whatsoever. There has to be a legitimate reason in Islam, whereas in the West, divorce can be achieved 'without cause', as they say in the legal world.
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Post by bumblemusprime » Mon Nov 08, 2010 1:49 am

Couple of things--first of all, the court statement for what people sometimes refer to as a "frivolous" divorce is "irreconcilable differences." I have a hard time believing that there are no relationships out there that might break up because of irreconcilable differences.
JaJa wrote:I think you must step out of the Western frame of mind to understand this concept, step away from the notion that breadwinning is superior to caretaking or homemaking, to understand the Islamic marriage contract. Islam does not place separate values on these roles. The 'new' West, however, does. Hence, the reason in the past ten years that women feel an impetus to take on breadwinning.
Wait a minute--I'm married to a stay-at-home mom who was the breadwinner for most of the time I was in college. And this is a real simplification of the attitudes we have encountered as we weave in and out of being the breadwinner.

A lot of women take pride in their professional lives. That doesn't mean that they devalue stay-at-home moms, or recognize that those stay-at-home moms have any less a workload or an important job. There are good things about the shift to two-earner households, because if I lived in the 50s and I were working a mass of part-time jobs like I am now with no steady work, I would feel extremely emasculated. I would constantly be striving to get a better wage and more respectability. But now I know a bunch of stay-at-home dads, or two-earner households, and the issue isn't important anymore.

The missus has never been dissed for being a stay-at-home mom. Period. Not by working moms, not by men, not by the older generation, not by me. She is an awesome mom and people respect that. And we have never dissed people who choose to remain in a two-earner household. It is their choice. Having my missus be a stay-at-home mom was a difficult choice based entirely on our individual circumstances. I can't presume to lay such a complex decision on simple factors.

Granted that in the 50s my one-wage job would have supported my family much more easily than even a good one-wage job will today. But that is not the fault of women who wanted to enter the workforce; in fact it is counterproductive to the original intention.
Best First wrote:I didn't like it. They don't have mums, or dads, or children. And they turn into stuff. And they don't eat Monster Munch or watch Xena: Warrior Princess. Or do one big poo in the morning and another one in the afternoon. I bet they weren't even excited by and then subsequently disappointed by Star Wars Prequels. Or have a glass full of spare change near their beds. That they don't have.

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Post by Yaya » Mon Nov 08, 2010 3:20 am

Wait a minute--I'm married to a stay-at-home mom who was the breadwinner for most of the time I was in college. And this is a real simplification of the attitudes we have encountered as we weave in and out of being the breadwinner.
I'm not disagreeing with you on this, that circumstances often drive people into varying scenarios, and not necessarily by choice. The same goes for Muslim women. You gotta do what you gotta do. A starving Muslim can eat pork and drink beer. I get that. My response was an answer to Jack's question about the Islamic ideal.

I think you a lucky man to have a stay-at-home mom as a wife, as they become a rarity. As I stated above, I don't deny that sometimes both parents have to work to survive. I feel this is an unfortunate scenario that has come about as we have "evolved" as a society. As you correctly point out, things are different today. I'm glad you used the word "different" and not "better", because quite frankly, I don't believe we are better off today. Just my opinion.

I mean, is it not an odd thing that as we "advance" as a people, our earning power is less and less? Why do we find ourselves in such a scenario, despite being the wealthiest nation on Earth? Partly, it is because as a nation, we spend beyond our needs, and partly it is because big business and it's partners are unjust. And now the whole of America, save for the insanely wealthy, finds itself living in the red. Which has the undesired effect of creating a scenario where one parent, as you say above, is not enough to meet the basic needs of one's family, and so both parents must work.

I get all that. But I will not agree that the circumstances that we find ourselves in, that families find themselves in, are healthier or superior to the ideal that Islam proposes.

It's an interesting time in history. The next fifty or so years (barring nuclear war or some mega environmental disaster) will be very telling about whether the current Western approach to living will lead to a better world or will it phase out and die, only to be replaced by 'traditional' society that has been present for thousands of years, gender roles being a part of that ideology. After all, current Western thought really is in it's infancy, relatively speaking. What will society be like in fifty years? Some of us, God willing, will be alive to see it.
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Post by bumblemusprime » Mon Nov 08, 2010 3:02 pm

Yaya wrote:I mean, is it not an odd thing that as we "advance" as a people, our earning power is less and less? Why do we find ourselves in such a scenario, despite being the wealthiest nation on Earth? Partly, it is because as a nation, we spend beyond our needs, and partly it is because big business and it's partners are unjust. And now the whole of America, save for the insanely wealthy, finds itself living in the red. Which has the undesired effect of creating a scenario where one parent, as you say above, is not enough to meet the basic needs of one's family, and so both parents must work.
QFT. T enough that I didn't even use the silly nickname for your handle.

I heard a statistic recently that the very rich are something like four hundred times richer than the poor in America, as opposed to the fifties and sixties, when it was about forty times more wealthy for the very rich.

A one-earner household is a dangerous proposition these days, economically. And that is the only danger of having both parents in the workforce--that they might not recognize how the economic paradigm is ****** up enough that they have essentially become wage slaves.

Now I differ from you in saying that two-earner households are sometimes ideal, if that suits the temperament of both parents. People shouldn't take care of/have kids if they are going to resent those kids for taking them out of the world. The kids are really better off in daycare than home with a resentful parent.

The missus opened her graphic design business (and by the way, we need more clients something fierce) right around the time Little Sprunk #1 was born. The small amount of work she has done for the last few years has kept her resume healthy so that when the kids are in school, she might be able to do some work for a design firm, because she's been working in the field all this time. But a lot of stay-at-home moms/dads don't have that option, because of their particular work skills.
Best First wrote:I didn't like it. They don't have mums, or dads, or children. And they turn into stuff. And they don't eat Monster Munch or watch Xena: Warrior Princess. Or do one big poo in the morning and another one in the afternoon. I bet they weren't even excited by and then subsequently disappointed by Star Wars Prequels. Or have a glass full of spare change near their beds. That they don't have.

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Post by Jack Cade » Mon Nov 08, 2010 5:46 pm

Yaya, I'm not ignoring the rest of your post (I've read it and need to think about it) but I'm still absolutely stuck on this point:
Yaya wrote:I think you must step out of the Western frame of mind to understand this concept, step away from the notion that breadwinning is superior to caretaking or homemaking, to understand the Islamic marriage contract. Islam does not place separate values on these roles. The 'new' West, however, does. Hence, the reason in the past ten years that women feel an impetus to take on breadwinning.
I really don't see how it is 'the Western frame of mind' to realise that the concept of 'breadwinning' envisages a far greater degree of personal freedom (and thus individual development) than 'homemaking'. At the end of the day, all you've got to do in the former role is make money. There are innumerable ways of doing that, and of combining that activity with, say, one's passions, artistic inclinations, ethical concerns, political ambition, business acumen, outgoing personality, etc, etc, etc. Think of all that being a surgeon means to you outside of simply fulfilling a religious obligation (I'm assuming there's a reason you chose that path over others).

Compared to that, what freedoms are afforded to the homemaker? Whether to cook a roast dinner or order a take-out. Whether to clean the bathroom or do the laundry first. What to put on the shopping list. Whether to buy new curtains. It's an outrageously limiting role that is fitting only to someone with a particular kind of personality, whereas making money suits everyone, to some degree or other, down to the ground. I really don't see what it's got to do with the 'value' Westerners or Muslims place on it. I mean, sewage workers are absolutely invaluable in all modern society but that doesn't mean it's a job that befits half the population.

You say that someone is lucky if they have a 'stay-at-home' wife. If, say, by divine intervention, the roles were reverse - if God said, "OK, we're half way through humanity's course - switch around time" - would you think that man equally lucky? After all, the balance achieved is the same. Would you honestly say that if you understood your God to be asking that of you, you'd give up surgery with no regrets or feelings of emasculation, of having had something that defines you taken away?
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Post by bumblemusprime » Mon Nov 08, 2010 9:43 pm

I want to nitpick what Jack says without disagreeing with him. Staying at home with the kids and homemaking can be really liberating for a lot of people, because you put a lot of focus toward parenting.

Parenting is pretty damn cool. Kids surprise you, are fun to play with, rely on you to shape their moral compass, and create a sort of strange social life where you have an excuse to hang out with other cool parents. Kids are increasingly interested in things and want you to experience the things with them. I can't get into how much fun parenting is.

Granted, as Joey and Mark will no doubt validate, it's the biggest pain in the ass sometimes. They scream and cry and become fountains of snot. But staying home to take care of kids is really a full-time job and if you have the temperament for it, it's a rewarding one.

I really don't see why a woman or a man should stay home and keep the house in order if there are no kids involved, though--you want to explain your situation to me, Yaya? Always open to your ideas even if I disagree.
Best First wrote:I didn't like it. They don't have mums, or dads, or children. And they turn into stuff. And they don't eat Monster Munch or watch Xena: Warrior Princess. Or do one big poo in the morning and another one in the afternoon. I bet they weren't even excited by and then subsequently disappointed by Star Wars Prequels. Or have a glass full of spare change near their beds. That they don't have.

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Post by Yaya » Mon Nov 08, 2010 10:24 pm

Yaya wrote:I think you must step out of the Western frame of mind to understand this concept, step away from the notion that breadwinning is superior to caretaking or homemaking, to understand the Islamic marriage contract. Islam does not place separate values on these roles. The 'new' West, however, does. Hence, the reason in the past ten years that women feel an impetus to take on breadwinning.
I really don't see how it is 'the Western frame of mind' to realise that the concept of 'breadwinning' envisages a far greater degree of personal freedom (and thus individual development) than 'homemaking'. At the end of the day, all you've got to do in the former role is make money. There are innumerable ways of doing that, and of combining that activity with, say, one's passions, artistic inclinations, ethical concerns, political ambition, business acumen, outgoing personality, etc, etc, etc. Think of all that being a surgeon means to you outside of simply fulfilling a religious obligation (I'm assuming there's a reason you chose that path over others).
The flexibility or verstility of a role in society is not necessarily directly proportional to it's value or importance. Nor would I say that taking on tasks that fall under the category of "homemaking" or "child-rearing" restricts the development of a person. To define a person's worth by the role or job they play in society is shallow (not saying you do this). Rather, I find the worth of a person to reside in what kind of person he or she is, how that person treats others, are they selfish or selfless, etc. A role is simply that: a role. It's something you do, not something you are.

Stemming from the above logic, one could do the opposite and make the argument that the proper rearing of children, with compassion and attention, is more important than bringing home a pay check, as the former is laying the foundation for future generations so they might best be competent in bringing home the bacon, thereby producing a more stable and healthy society in general. If I had to choose, based on logic and reason, I might go with this logic instead.

But let me again stress here that in Islam, the women's role of being a mother and a wife are not intended to confine her to these things. There is no such stipulation that a women cannot move beyond these things, only a stipulation that she must do these things. Islam permits the women to vote, engage in politics, to take up employment and even run her own business. But not at the expense of those certain duties required of her.

One might say such an approach is restrictive of intellectual development, but it was Islam that freed the women from the clutches of mindless ignorance, for it became mandatory upon every Muslim, male and female, that they seek and acquire knowledge. In fact, it is considered the Islamic right of the individual, male and female both, that the state provide ample educational facilities and resources to it's citizens. Herein American, such a thing is considered a privilege, not a right.
Compared to that, what freedoms are afforded to the homemaker? Whether to cook a roast dinner or order a take-out. Whether to clean the bathroom or do the laundry first. What to put on the shopping list. Whether to buy new curtains. It's an outrageously limiting role"
Again, limiting only if one limit's themself to these things.

In reality, the Islamic wife has more time on her hands to pursue other endeavors and hobbies than the Muslim man. In Islam, for example, it is not the duty of the women to cook for the husband, and the women has the right to a servant or maid at the expense of the husband. Not really a right in the Western sense, is it? Not sure if cleaning falls into the designated responsibility of the wife in Islam, so I'd have to look that up.
You say that someone is lucky if they have a 'stay-at-home' wife. If, say, by divine intervention, the roles were reverse - if God said, "OK, we're half way through humanity's course - switch around time" - would you think that man equally lucky? After all, the balance achieved is the same. Would you honestly say that if you understood your God to be asking that of you, you'd give up surgery with no regrets or feelings of emasculation, of having had something that defines you taken away?
If I knew that God was asking this of me, I would do it. Regardless of my personal opinion on the matter, I would do it. Why? Because Jack, the impetus for doing what a Muslim does is not to satisfy one's own personal desires and fantasies based on one's own logic. Here is where I think the biggest misunderstanding resides between a Muslim who is living within Islam and the non-Muslim who is looking from the outside of it. And that is, all things done, all rights and responsibilities carried out, all laws that are followed, are a means to seek the favor and pleasure of our Creator. It is only through His Mercy that I am not being asked by Him to do something harmful to myself or others. I support my wife because that's what God wants me to do. I give her her rights (and I get screwed over by her for it) for the sake of God. There is something to be said of the contentment that comes from knowing you are doing something out of obedience to the Creator. This is why a Muslim man can so easily accept his role and a Muslim women can so easily accept hers, irrespective of one's personal desires and inclinations. Liberation comes for the pleasure of God and the recognition that, no matter how intelligent we think we are, we know close to nothing next to His knowledge.

Islam comes from the root word aslamah which, through the beauty of the Arabic language, has two meanings that are at first seemingly unrelated but in reality are fully intertwined. One meaning is "submission". Aslamah means "to submit". But if one studies the root word further, we see that from aslamah comes the word salaam, which means "peace". Therefore, what is Islam? It is but "peace through submission." That really is it in a nutshell. That is why we do what we do.

I think, had I been an atheist, I would also have approached things from a perspective perhaps similar to your own. I mean, why follow rules that I don't, by my own logic and desire, want to?
Last edited by Yaya on Mon Nov 08, 2010 10:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Jack Cade » Mon Nov 08, 2010 10:29 pm

Bumblmus wrote:Staying at home with the kids and homemaking can be really liberating for a lot of people, because you put a lot of focus toward parenting.
Two different senses of 'liberating'. You're talking about the feeling of pressure lifting that happens when you enjoy something simple and fulfilling, like raising children. I'm talking about freedom of choice. I'm not for one second saying that staying home and raising kids is pure drudgery (although I can see how my sewage workers comparison suggests that) but it's not for everyone, and certainly not for all women.

You say parenting is a full-time job. Quite right, so let's think of it this way: that means essentially men get to choose their job, and women don't.
Yaya wrote:Rather, I find the worth of a person to reside in what kind of person he or she is, how that person treats others, are they selfish or selfless, etc. A role is simply that: a role. It's something you do, not something you are.
Not true. The roles we play do define us. They shape how we think of ourselves and how other people think of us. That in turn shapes our future actions. Confining groups of people to specific 'roles' is exactly how all systemic oppression works - stunting ambition and self-expression.
Yaya wrote:Nor would I say that taking on tasks that fall under the category of "homemaking" or "child-rearing" restricts the development of a person.
I just don't understand how you can believe that. Bumblemus is right - it's a full-time job. It leaves you little time to explore the *possibilities* of what you might be, what roles you might actually find more fulfilling. Jeez, Yaya, are you saying that if you'd been forced (or rather, religiously compelled) to become a clerk or a postman, that wouldn't have restricted your development into a doctor? How about if you felt strongly that you wanted to be a doctor, but were compelled to be a clerk or postman? Evening classes?
Yaya wrote:Stemming from the above logic, one could do the opposite and make the argument that the proper rearing of children, with compassion and attention, is more important than bringing home a pay check, as the former is laying the foundation for future generations so they might best be competent in bringing home the bacon, thereby producing a more stable and healthy society in general. If I had to choose, based on logic and reason, I might go with this logic instead.
Yes, and keeping the streets clean is more important than anything a vacuous pop star does, but who do you think enjoys the greater liberty - them or the street cleaner?
Yaya wrote:But let me again stress here that in Islam, the women's role of being a mother and a wife are not intended to confine her to these things.
Full-time job. Very confining, even if not intended as such. How about training to be a doctor on the side while also fulfilling your duties as a postman?
Yaya wrote:In reality, the Islamic wife has more time on her hands to pursue other endeavors and hobbies than the Muslim man.
Come on, you're being dishonest with yourself. You know full well that a career very often involves pursuing 'endeavours' or 'hobbies' or a combination of the two, and thus it's a false comparison. The Muslim man can devote his entire working life to pursuing what he wants to do, so long as he earns money. That's a lot of time - far more than the Muslim woman gets once she's done all the 'duties'.
Yaya wrote:If I knew that God was asking this of me, I would do it. Regardless of my personal opinion on the matter, I would do it. Why? Because Jack, the impetus for doing what a Muslim does is not to satisfy one's own personal desires and fantasies based on one's own logic.
I can't help thinking that you just wouldn't see it this way if it were the other way round. It's all very pleasant when what God is asking of you leaves flexibility to pursue your personal desires, based on your own logic, or when you believe (do you?) that in pursuing these you're actually doing what God designed you for - in your case, fixing people. Perhaps you even feel that God made this choice for you and you simply listened to him. If so, I'd suggest this is a dangerous illusion - erasing the reality of your own personal choices to justify the fact that other people don't have them.
Yaya wrote:I mean, why follow rules that I don't, by my own logic and desire, want to?
Yes, but what I don't understand - and what I find frightening about your faith as you describe it - as why this belief in God's will prevents you from recognising a basic and obvious inequality at the heart of it - that your God lets *you* choose how to spend a huge chunk of your life (as long as it makes money) and thus how to define and individualise yourself, while Muslim women are prevented from making this choice. It's frightening that you just seem to be saying, "Oh, that? The one third roughly of my life I spend working? Fiddlesticks - doesn't matter whether you choose it or not. Doesn't make any difference to a person's life or who they are."
Last edited by Jack Cade on Mon Nov 08, 2010 11:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by Yaya » Mon Nov 08, 2010 10:57 pm

bumblemusprime wrote: I really don't see why a woman or a man should stay home and keep the house in order if there are no kids involved, though--you want to explain your situation to me, Yaya? Always open to your ideas even if I disagree.
Are you asking about my marital situation? If so, the story was this. I married my Muslim wife under the mutual agreement that we would live Islamically. That when a circumstance arose, we would consult the Quran and Sunnah (ways of the Prophet, peace be upon him) if we had any questions. I would be responsible for supporting her fully, she would be responsible for, well, not much considering we had no children and I could afford a maid. She was a pharmacist working full time, because she wanted to. I agreed to this, with the corrollary that, when we had children, she would become a full time mother in helping raise the children. This was all discussed prior to marriage, and we were in agreement. She asked for the mandatory dowry before marriage in the amount of $30,000 which I agreed to. In Islam, this is the obligatory money given to the wife from the husband, an agreed upon sum by both parties. Should the marriage not work out, she would be due this amount from me and we would part ways in a friendly and understanding fashion.

As God would have it, children never came. She remained a full time pharmacist, I a full time eye surgeon. It worked out just fine. She amassed a fortune, as I was responsible for all the bills despite her six figure salary. Eventually, tensions arose in the marriage, the common Trouble in Paradise reared it's ugly head. I think a good deal of it was we were simply incompatible, not that there was something inherently wrong with either of us. Sometimes, things just don't work out. In this way, we were fortunate that the we didn't have children. It would have been very rough on them, as it is for most children.

But here's where it gets dicey. When we both agreed it wasn't going to work out, she suddenly changed her tune. She went 'Western' on me, demanding half of my estate per the marital laws of the state of Florida, instead of the agreed upon dowry. I was devestated. Here I was, doing my best to fulfull her rights as a good Muslim husband, never neglecting these things, never cheating on her, etc. whilst she kept every cent of what she earned. I didn't feel the least bit upset about her keeping what she earned. Under Islam, I had no right to it, and I agreed to this. But to go after my estate after this?

I was depressed. I was literally in tears and angry. But God never abandons those who turn to Him and are obedient to Him. As it turned out, when the estates were calculated and our 'worth' was determined, guess what? Because she had been keeping all her wealth not having to spendt it, whilst I was covering all the expenses, despite my making three times more than she did, she was worth more!! She had inadvertently opted for something where she would owe me.

I couldn't believe it. So I was given the choice. And I chose obedience to my Creator. Instead of taking from her estate, something God did not give me a right to, I turned over the $30,000 dowry to her. Just as obedience to my Lord was important to me in marriage, why should it change in divorce because of the selfish tendencies of an ingrate?

Despite all that, when I look back, I still don't believe her to be a bad person. Flawed, for sure, like us all, but I kind of feel there was pressure from her Indian family to "clean me out" and she went for the nuts. All she got was my undies. :)

So now, sprunkus, I am single and admittedly afraid to get married again. My loins are on the verge of explosion, and I fast a lot because that's what the Prophet, peace be upon him, said is good in the control of one's sexual urges. But I enjoy my indepedence, I enjoy taking care of my parents and my sister who is married to a severely disabled husband. I have no children of my own, but I have nephews who fill a void for me, give me the drive to keep on truckin.

That's my story, sprunkus.
"But the Costa story featuring Starscream? Fantastic! This guy is "The One", I just know it, just from these few pages. "--Yaya, who is never wrong.

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