Welcome to or continuing series about the treatment of women under sharia. While ‘elevating women’ in Iran means they are hanged from cranes if they happen to be raped, in other countries women don’t do that well either, especially when the husband had enough and kicks them out on the street. Â Well, I guess its whatever it takes to break that glass ceiling, isn’t it?
Nepal: Muslims disregard state divorce laws in favor of sharia; women wind up in the street
“Elevating” women under sharia, in the way “below sea level” is referred to as a level of “elevation.”
Of course, apologists will always label practices that result in bad publicity for Islam as “cultural,” discounting the fact that “culture” is a projection of a population’s values, and interestingly, the religious fervor of Muslim societies manages to stamp out all manner of “cultural” practices, but never the supposedly “cultural” subjugation of women.
As was the case with communism, we’re told the system will bring about heaven on Earth, except for the fact that no one ever seems to be doing it “right” (because the lack of real accountability to the people removes the most practical motivation to govern well, even if the mode of government were actually a decent one). But, hey, let’s allow sharia to take root in, say,Britain, or some other Western country, and, seriously,Â this timeÂ things will be different. Honest.
“Muslim women in the streets against ‘talak’ or Islamic divorce,” by Kalpit Parajuli forÂ Asia News via DW
Kathmandu (AsiaNews) â€“ Hundreds of Muslim women along with their supporters took to the streets of Nepalgunj, a town in western Nepal, to protest against ‘Talak’ or Islamic divorce. The demonstrators, including 465 divorced Muslim women, human rights activists and about 100 Muslim men, marched on 26 and 27 November to demand immediate compensation from the women’s former husbands as well as equal division of assets after divorce.
Many Muslim women said that after divorce they were left with no support. Some said that they had to go back to their original families or find shelter at human rights organisations.
“Muslim men release (talak) their wives from the marriage, i.e. divorce them, but then no one thinks about them,” said Sima Khan, president of the Muslim Awareness Federation, one of the protest groups that organised the demonstration. “Women don’t get any of their husbands’ assets, or any support. This has increased the incidence of divorce in the Muslim community. We must achieve equal rights for these women,” she added.
“My husband divorced me five years ago. Now all my children are with him and I live with my parents,” said Roni Ansari, 39, who marched in the front of the demonstration. “I don’t have anything except a small job for my basic needs. Where will I be if my parents did not allow me to stay with them in my old age?”
Homelessness is in fact a problem for many Muslim women. Some are driven out of their parents’ home once the latter pass away.
“I escaped when my husband and mother-in-law tried to burn me with kerosene,” said Shano Khan, 17, who divorced three months ago. “Now I am staying with my parents who are not that happy for me to live with them. I don’t have a job. What can I do?”
“Many women go hungry or get into prostitution to make ends meet after divorce,” explains Nitu Haluwai, a Muslim human rights activist.
The situation is due to the fact thatÂ Nepali Muslims do not adhere to the country’s divorce law which requires both parties’ consent. Instead, under talak if a woman wants to divorce she must ask for her husband’s permission, and then pay him a certain sum.
“The existing divorce law does not respect our religious precepts,” said Nazrul Hassen, president of Nepal’s Muslim National Federation.Â “We have a different system and therefore do not consider it [the national law] as binding on us.”
As reported by the Nepali Times the situation is dramatic in Nepalganj where 236, mostly rural Muslim women have been divorced by their husbands on the basis of talak.
However, Muslim leader Maulana Abdul Jabbar said that talak, which is based on the Qur’an, has been badly interpreted over the years.
“Divorce proceedings ought to take place in accordance with the law but without transgressing religious values,” he said.
Video debate: Saudi cleric v. women’s rights activist on marriage in the Arab world
Following are excerpts from a TV debate on types of marriage in the Arab world which aired on Abu Dhabi TV on October 27, 2008.
TV host: Common-law marriage, misyar marriage, misfar marriage, “friend” marriage, marriage… marriage… and More.. more types of marriage… If in science, necessity is the mother of invention, what led to the invention of all these marriage formulas?
Saudi cleric Ahmad Al-‘Omari: Allah guaranteed women their rights from the cradle to the grave.
Hostess: And along come men to deny them these rights.
Ahmad Al-‘Omari: Who stands by the woman and grants her these rights? Her guardian. Who is a woman’s guardian? First, it is her father, then her husband, and later her son. They are all her guardians. Do you want to give up guardianship altogether?
Saudi women’s rights activist Suad Al-Shumari: Yes. According to the shari’a, a woman has the right to do so.
Ahmad Al-‘Omari: No, she doesn’t. Allah bound you to this guardianship.
Suad Al-Shumari: No, according to the shari’a, a guardian is needed only for when a virgin girl of a young age gets married. That’s it. It’s inconceivable that my son should be my guardian when I am 60. It’s inconceivable that my brother should be my guardian when I am 40 â€“ allowing or forbidding me to go out, telling me what I can or cannot do, and we would have to negotiate over this.
According to the shari’a, women are allowed to drive. Do we drive? I need a husband just to drive me to work.
Ahmad Al-‘Omari: By God, these things have nothing to do with me. You want to drive a car? It’s not right.
Suad Al-Shumari: Driving is permitted…
Ahmad Al-‘Omari: You would expose yourself to other problems.
If a woman were to drive, and her car were to break down â€“ whether she has a flat tire, or she crashes into someone â€“ what would she do?
TV host: But women in the Gulf drive cars and they don’t encounter any problems.
Ahmad Al-‘Omari: Do you drive?
TV host: Yes.
Ahmad Al-‘Omari: Don’t you encounter problems?
TV host: Absolutely not.
Ahmad Al-‘Omari: Never? I don’t believe you…
According to the shari’a, when a girl reaches maturity at the age of nine, and she is able to live a life of marriage, there is nothing in religious law to prevent her marriage.
TV host: Even though children are not yet able to comprehend the concept of marriage…
Suad Al-Shumari: We hear about cases of child rape and the sex trafficking of children. This is a sickness that is punishable by law all over the world. By the same token, an old man who marries a young girl is also sick. As for those who say that the Prophet Muhammad married ‘Aisha [at the age of 7] â€“ we must differentiate between what he did in his capacity as a state leader, who needed to forge a strong coalition by marrying the daughters of Abu Bakr and Omar ibn Al-Khattab, and between what he did from the perspective of religious law. The Prophet did not touch ‘Aisha for three years. I challenge any of those old men who marry a young girl not to harass her, when she enters a world completely unknown to her.
Polygamy is allowed. To be honest, I support this. But the clerics must accept religion in its entirety, not just the parts they like. I challenge any cleric to declare that men should marry women 25 years older than them, like the Prophet Muhammad did. Let them declare that men should marry women older than them â€“ the wives of prisoners and martyrs. No. All they look for are young girls. An older woman must be rich.
Ahmad Al-‘Omari: This happens. I know many men who married older women.
Suad Al-Shumari: Only rich women…
Ahmad Al-‘Omari: She doesn’t have to be rich.
TV host: What about the [platonic] wanasa marriage, which was permitted by Sheik Abd Al-Muhsen Al-Abikan. Is it not true that this kind of marriage is at the expense of the woman, who is expected to give up sex?
Ahmad Al-‘Omari: In this kind of marriage, the woman gives up some of her rights, and she can give up conjugal relations, just like Sauda, one of the Prophet’s wives, gave up her nights for ‘Aisha. In such a case, the woman gives up some of her rights, but maintains her other rights.
Suad Al-Shumari: Is there a married woman in the world who would agree to give up her right to conjugal relations? Impossible!
TV host: Some people compare this to employing a servant girl.
Ahmad Al-‘Omari: She’s not a servant girl. Due to the circumstances of the husband, she can agree to give this up. There is nothing to prevent this. She is allowed to demand her [other] rights.
Suad Al-Shumari: As far as the shari’a is concerned â€“ okay, this is permitted. Marriage is a partnership, and either one can give up certain things. But from the human and social perspectives, and from the perspective of our traditions and customs…
Ahmad Al-‘Omari: We care about the shari’a more than anything else.
Suad Al-Shumari: Of course, we are very good at exploiting the shari’a for our own interests.
Ahmad Al-‘Omari: This is not true. The shari’a serves the interests of both men and women.
The misyar marriage is the same as a type of marriage that was called “marriage of days and nights.” This type of marriage existed in the days of the Prophet Muhammad, and even before that, in pre-Islamic times. In this marriage, the husband allocates either the day or the night to his wife. This is permitted by the shari’a. There is nothing wrong with it.
Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, consummated his marriage with Aisha when she was nine. This fact is recorded several times in the hadith collection Muslims consider most reliable, Bukhari:Â 5.48.234;Â 5.58.236;Â 7.62.64;Â 7.62.65; and7.62.88. Because Muhammad is the excellent example of conduct for Muslims (cf. Qur’an 33:21), it is very hard to work against child marriage in Muslim-majority countries.
Yet when people raise this point inÂ AmericaÂ andÂ EuropeÂ today, they’re called “Islamophobes” and worse. The truth then comes out only in places such as the 18th paragraph of a Reuters story about a different topic, as is the case here.
From “Indonesia Islamic body to mull ban on smoking and yoga,” by Olivia Rondonuwu forÂ Reuters, January 23 (thanks to Jeffrey Imm):
Pakistan: Lahore High Court rules that honor killing is not a crime
More indication of the widespread acceptance of honor killing in Muslim countries — while the world continues to look the other way, and no one calls upon Islamic communities in the West to do anything about this, despite the fact that we have already seen honor killings in the U.S.