Woman under different civilisations and religions


 Any animal didn’t do anything with its kindness, what the man has done with the woman. 

   Islam  has been accused of having degraded woman; it has attacked as having reduced her status- socially, morally and spiritually. It is criticised for not having given woman her rightful place as man’s comrade and companion in life. However, a comparative study about woman under different religious systems and civilizations will enable one to appreciate the great services rendered by Islam in raising her status, legally and socially. It is only Islam, a complete code of life, which has granted unprecedented rights to woman in all perspectives of life. 

  Roman history was totally based on the paternal power called patria potestas, in which the head of family, man, was its sole representative , and he alone has locus standi in the Councils of the state.  Under the Roman law, a daughter, when she is married to a person became subject to different authorities. Legally, she has no relationship with her grandfather’s family- once she entered into another household. Similarly, the relation between husband and wife was depended on the Roman’s manus formula which dealt with woman becoming uxor or matrona (wife or matron). In the same way, father was allowed to kill his daughter without any hesitation for any misconduct but, unfortunately, she was disallowed, even, for cry at the her father’s wrath to death. The same power was also given to a husband. 

  There is no denying fact that woman’s position, in the Greek Civilisation, was about the same , if not worse. The custom of selling daughters in marriages was common practice. The superiority of man over woman was vehemently asserted on all side, therefore, physical strength was the tool to complete dominance. In the historical age of Greece, the legal woman’s status has slightly improved, but their moral condition had undergone a marked deterioration. All virtuous women lived a life of perfect seclusion. Greek recognised two distinct orders of womanhood: first, the wife’s duty was fidelity to her husband and, second, there was the hetaera or mistress who subsisted by her fugitive attachments.Even Plato, renowned philosopher, classed woman together with children and servant, and stated that generally that in all the pursuits of mankind the female sex is inferior  to the male. 

In the same way, Buddhism has not assigned to woman any definite place.. Gautama Buddha’s life shows that he could not find in woman a helpmate, and could not attain Nirvana while in the company of his beautiful wife. It unequivocally indicates the woman’s inferiority. What a gulf yawns in this respect between the Lord Buddha and the Prophet! The orphan of Abdullah found solace in his wife, Khadijah, at the most critical situation of his life. Additionally, Buddhism also lays great stress on celibacy which leaves the relation of the sexes somewhat severely alone. 

Furthermore, woman under Hinduism is being treated as second class family member. The concept of remarriage of widows is nonexistent, as it is strictly prohibited especially among the Brahmins, on the other hand, among the lower castes i-e Dalits, widows are permitted to remarry. Brahmanical prohibition was once carried to such an extreme that a widow was enjoined and, sometimes, forcibly burnt alive on the funeral pyre along with her husband’s corpse ,or, if he is died at distance, she was being burnt on pyre of her own. 

Adding more to it, woman ,in Judaism, was being painted as the source of evil and death on the Earth- of the woman came in the beginning of sins, and through her we all die. By the Jewish law, as it still exists at the dawn of the present modern epoch, divorce was the one-sided privilege of man.

Turning attention to woman’s condition in Christianity deep injustice is prevailed under which she has been suffering since the time of Jesus. However, the present position of woman in Christian countries hasn’t been achieved by Christian reformers, but by social and political thinkers who have swept aside the Biblical notions of her inferiority to man. It is said in the Bible that Eve was the root cause of man’s drawing out from the heaven. Satan instigated her for eating forbidden fruit, and she instigated her husband. In this regards, woman is being considered criminal.

  “He has made for you your mates of your own kind”
                 - Al-Quran

  On contrary to all, Islam has given equal rights to woman which were never blessed to her by any religion. It has not only acknowledged complete personhood of woman but also protected her rights keeping in view  her weaknesses. It has assigned a position at a level according to her virtues. Being a unmarried, she has right to choose her life partner, even, after, she becomes widow or divorcee she has the right to remarry. Islam stresses a father to provide her healthy  nourishment and education. The value of paradise has been compared with a mother’s feet, keep in mind, here Islam talks about a woman not a man. Last but not least, being a wife, she is not only the master of her own property but she also has part in husband’s property.

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Asif Shar Written by:

Columnist, writer and blogger.