By Rashid Samnakay, New Age Islam
19 April 2018
Male chauvinism in exercising complete control over female's body, mind and life, in mankind transgresses well beyond human decencies in many world religious, traditions and cultural practices, going back aeons. To grant or not to grant the female its dignity is and has always been male prerogative. Hardly any religion, culture, country or peoples, including in the so called advanced civilisations, is free of that accusation. So to name any of them would be a futile exercise.
But times are changing and events are taking over for the better. It is not a storm by any means, not even in a teacup yet.
A young Indian lady Priyanka Tamaychekar is openly registering her protest in the media against the indignity of subjecting the first time Brides after their first wedding night, which involves inspection by family elders the blood stains on the white sheets from the bridal bed, in order to establish the bride's premarital virginity.
This young lady and others like her deserve our support in their efforts; for it is a brave female who dares challenge the long established religious and cultural tradition in a nation steeped in the ingrained practices established over the centuries and practised with pride in its ancient civilisation that spawned it.
In some countries these sheets are paraded through the streets to proclaim the 'honour' of the family. People watching the parade shower flowers on the folded sheet, stain up and visible, being paraded! Female virginity is a priced commodity of honour.
It is given that even Queen Elizabeth I of England had to suffer indignity of gynaecological examination by males, to establish her purity, to save England's honour in the eyes of royalty of continental Europe.
This is not the only example of inflicting indignity on the poor female. In many religions and cultures menstruating women are considered unclean to the extent that they have to sleep in a separate dwelling and are only allowed in the main house after they are rendered “clean”. A long held belief of uncleanliness in what is a biological process that is but a natural feature of female body and mankind's propagation. However there too are reported protests held against by women in a few places.
In the male chauvinistic world, not surprisingly the bridegrooms and men are not required to establish their sexual purity even if getting married for the first time. The burden of honour and morality of mankind rests heavy on the shoulders of the female. This burden is perhaps accepted by the females in lesser developed countries mainly because of lack of education, ingrained religious taboos and to a large extent their economic dependence on the male for survival.
There are other unmentionable and unjust practices too perpetrated in the name of men-made religions and customs. However the following must be aired in the open, though it is often done, as it is not only against the professed religious ordinances its practitioners call Islam, but is utterly inhuman and savage practice that defies description in any human language let alone natural civilised decencies!
The practice -in some Muslim countries -of Halala: In short is the gross distortion of the ordinance in Quran, the source book of Islam that stipulates that a married couple having attempted number of reconciliations, finally goes through the full process of separation we call divorce. The couple cannot come together again in marriage unless after the woman had married a new suitor AND then gets finally divorced from him, the same as per previous. All according to the set conditions given in the book as for all marriages. This long-winded process is ordained to prevent taking marriage and divorce as a trivial pursuit. BTW the word Halala is not given in Quran nor is it Arabic!
The Books stipulates that God's Laws are 'unchanging' and cannot be 'exchanged'.
17:77 This was Our way with the Apostles We sent before your time; you will not find any exchange in Our ways.
33:62 Such was the practice ordained by God among people before, You will find no change in the ordained practice. And many more verses in this vein establishing the fact that a law ordained in one context is not modified or exchanged for another in the same context. Yet the Halala practice unashamedly does so and with holy pride.
Marriage laws are marriage laws, whether first second or third. Whether with the 1st, 7th or the 9th husband. Ask Zsa Zsa Gabor and Elizabeth Taylor, who were experts in this business. All husbands had to cough up heaps of diamonds as Hadiya/Mehar the Bride gifts and none were ever given back to them after divorce. All husbands found out that marriage is not a joke!
In Muslim communities where Halala is practised goes like this: The poor woman, finally divorced by her first husband, in order to remarry him gets married in the evening to a complete stranger (on payment of dowry/fees?), is made to spend the night with him and get divorced in the morning; as a final divorce! This then renders her Halal – lawful for the first husband to remarry her. Just like that, no questions asked, no responsibility and just so easy.
To imagine the indignity and humiliation of the woman, who by now could be a mother of few children by her first husband being so insulted is a heart tearing trauma to any sane person. But the fear instilled in the hearts and mind of the ignorant couple by the religious brigade is such that prepares them to accept such degradation as being normal.
The 'castrated' Halala priest or the standby professional fornicator, for having manipulated the ordinance of the Quran for their one-night stand should be called Harami people, for the fees they so received for their service is not Tayeb at all' hence Haram! But can they be blamed for believing that what they do in fact earns them some Sawaab/holy reward in hereafter plus Halal income in this world?
The word 'castrated' is used above meaningfully. Having inseminated the poor woman during the night, the important question of any child issue is not addressed at all for the divorce next morning. What if the woman falls pregnant by him. Who is responsible for the child? Is contraception a compulsory requirement?
As marriage is a serious matter in the context of the Book and civilised societal norms, there are many other issues that are emphasised in the Book to establish this seriousness of marriage:
The waiting period/Iddat to establish the possibility of an “issue” from this marriage.
Mehar/Hadiya the Bridal gift to the woman to be given before marriage.
Requirement of witnesses as proof to the community, of marriage
The requirement of reconciliation and remarriage as ordained.
Final Divorce from the second husband.
Conditions of divorce and provision of sustenance provided by the second husband.
Modified remarriage conditions with the the first husband in order to make marriage work better this time.
And some more. After all marriage is a contract, commitment and promise made by two consenting adults to live together amicably, with dignity, respect and equity. In Halala- now here established as Harami business, because all these important matters are sacrificed at the altar of religion.
The commandment for mankind's – including woman kind for maintaining dignity as given in the Book, has no place in the religion and custom of Halala enacted by chauvinistic male, to instead humiliate and insult the female to make her prostitute herself for the sake of either her love of the first husband, her children or her economic considerations, and may be some others.
What a pitiful situation is a woman in such Muslim communities. Is this the same person it is said is given by the Apostle Muhammad the highest status, that under her feet lies the religious Jannah, the place where rivers of milk and honey flow and all necessities are abundantly available except perhaps male Hoors for her?
Many more Priyanka Tamaychekar braves are required to save female human species of this world and the male counterpart to support them in regaining the dignity and protection that was promised by all Apostles.
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