Reasons for opposing the equality of men and women in traditional Iranian society

Discussion in 'Baha'i' started by Ahanu, Jul 12, 2021.

  1. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    "Look at the calendar of the Baha'is two years ago or maybe three years ago; it is there recorded: The equality of the rights of men and women, [this] is the opinion of Abdu'l-Baha; the men [in charge in the government] are following him. The shah, utterly ignorant of this goes up there, and preaches the equality of the sexes. Man! You have been injected with this idea so that they can accuse you of being a Baha'i, so that I pronounce you an infidel; and that you may be dethroned. Don't do this, you wretched one! Don't do this! Universal compulsory education . . . it is Abdu'l-Baha's view."
    -Ayatollah Khomeini, 1963​

    In the above quote Khomeini denounces Muhammad Reza Shah Pahlavi for his progressive views, such as the equality of men and women. He even argues this is one reason why he deserves to be dethroned.

    So what had Iranian religious leaders so opposed to the equality of men and women? A historian explains that this "greater freedom given to Baha'i women . . . was interpreted as a sign of promiscuity." It was one reason for this opposition.

    "Reports on the Baha'i community written by foreign envoys who lived in Iran during the period call attention to the advancement achieved by women in this community and point out the significant differences between Baha'i and non-Baha'i women. The Baha'i concern for the equality of men and women was not limited to education, although education was strongly emphasized. In contrast to the prevailing sharia law and Shi'i custom, Baha'i teachings accepted men and women as legally equal, set the age of maturity for women at fifteen, and required the bride's consent as essential for marriage. Monogomy was universally prescribed, and temporary or short-term contractual marriage - known among Shi'i Iranians as sigheh or nikah al-mot'eh - was forbidden. Baha'i women were not required to wear hijab.

    It should not be imagined that these efforts yielded results easily. The surrounding traditional society extended intense pressure on the emerging Baha'i community, and the greater freedom given to Baha'i women by their own community was interpreted as a sign of promiscuity."
    -Fereydun Vahman, 175 Years of Persecution
    It would be interesting for further study to compile a list of remarks about this topic from the foremost religious leaders opposed to the Baha'i Faith in Iran during the 19th and 20th centuries.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2021
  2. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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  3. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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  4. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    Reviewing travelogues from foreigners in Iran that were written before the emergence of the Babi Faith, Fereydun Vahman observes Iranian women that didn't wear a hijab were often thought of as imitating European women. Hence, by the time the Baha'i Faith emerged, Muslim men looking for promiscuous women would try to find Baha'i women and look to take advantage of them since European women were viewed as promiscuous. Women that held their own opinions and deviated from traditional beliefs were mockingly called Babis. One of the daughters of Naser al-Din Shah recalled:

    "Right up to the eighteenth year, I had held beliefs taught to me by my nanny that the heavens were pulled by a chain in an angel's hand, or that when God's wrath was incurred, the sound of thunder came . . . As I progressed in my studies day by day, my irreligiosity grew until I was a complete naturalist myself. Since these ideas were new to me, I was eager to impart them to my mother, my relatives, and my children. As I would begin to talk, however, my mother would curse me, 'You have turned Babi!' My relatives would invoke God's forgiveness and keep their distance, refusing to listen."​

    As a side note, any person engaging in behavior that resembled Western ways, such as wearing boots or reading a newspaper, could be criticized for being a Babi. One poet named Saber (1862 - 1911) wrote:

    "What's the news Mashhadi?
    May you be healthy - Haji Ahmad has bought a
    newspaper.
    What are you saying boy? Did you see him buy it?
    No, that's what people say.
    O God! Who is left from my community?
    If this is so, that blasted one is a fraud.
    He has turned his back to his religion and belief -
    has been led astray, and has become a Babi."
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2021
  5. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Common racism. When a culture looks down on a different culture, the woman is regarded as even lower, more promiscuous, etc. There's all manner of dubious powerplays going on ...
     
  6. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    And no-one likes a woman who thinks for herself. That is the prerogative of men.
     
  7. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    What we need is to teach men not to rape...

    Consent...it is a word.

    Rapists blaminf their victims is dead.
     

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