Women's Roles In The Postclassical Period By Religion

1228 words - 5 pages

Throughout most of documented history women of all cultures and civilizations have lived under patriarchal circumstances. In almost every religion and civilization women's status was not equal to that of a man's. Women in most cultures are looked at as subservient, obedient creatures that were put on this world for very few reasons, mainly to bear children and do what their husbands require of them. In fact, religions are a big part of the reason of this oppression due to the religion's reinforcement and justification of patriarchal conditions. In this week's selected readings from different aspects of Islamic, Byzantine Christian, and Western Christian cultures, it is very apparent as to how these three religions did reinforce and justify the patriarchal conditions in which women were struggling to live in. Also, by reading the selections one can see how different religions could make a difference for women and how they lived their lives.

The first religion and its views on women that will be discussed in this essay is Islam. Islam is a religions founded in Saudi Arabia almost two thousand years ago, by the prophet Muhammad. In fact, Muhammad dedicated much attention towards women in the Koran, the holy book of Islam. However, even though much was dedicated to women in the Koran, it was not dedicated to them in the sense of equality. Women in Islamic culture were apparently much lower on the totem pole than men, "The men are made responsible for the women, since God endowed them with certain qualities, and made them the bread earners...If you experience opposition from the women, you shall first talk to them, then [you may use such negative incentives as] deserting them in bed, then you may beat them (129)." Excerpts like this from the Koran can only lead one to believe that women were considered almost like property of men and they must do as they are told. But, with every bad there must be a good and the Koran does have some excerpts from it that do protect women, this is apparent in the text on page 130 when it states, "If you wish to marry another wife, in place of your present wife, and you have given the latter a great deal, you shall not take back anything you had given her." This selection deals with polygamy, because Muslim men are allowed to take on more than one wife if they are able to provide for them; however the Koran states that the husband can not take anything back that he has given his previous wife. There are also some strange rules from Muslim Law that degrade women as well as some legends that add to the negative attitude towards women, The Hadith states, "To look at a woman is forbidden, even if it is a look without desire, so how much the more is touching her (130)." Also in The Hadith there is an account of Muhammad's viewing on hell, where the prophet states, "and I had a look into Hell and saw that most of its inhabitants were women (130)." With religious views such as this it is easy to see how...

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