Now that women conceive to be in charge of their own affairs, does this mean that they have reached the pinnacle of gender equality? Has the “new woman” of today overcome the oppression and subjugation of the “bad old days”? Does the liberation of women signal the advent of a new, morally correct world? Has liberation achieved real emancipation and freed women from injustice? Have we seen the last of oppression, infanticide, prostitution, rape, divorce and single-parent (usually single mother) families? The answer, according to the feminist should have been an emphatic yes, but is sad, a dismal no!
The old customs practised by the supposedly “uncivilized” peoples of ancient Rome, Persia, Arabia and Judaea are alive and well but under a new guise. In this modern advanced age, instead of killing innocent girls at birth, we are aborting them in the womb and discarding their mutilated corpses like offal. Abortion is murder, and it has never been heard of a woman’s “right to choose” being accepted as a defence in a homicide case! Doctors and other abortionists are finding ever more gruesome ways to kill unwanted babies. The latest, which goes by the grotesque name of “partial-birth abortion” involves the partial removal of the foetus from the womb; the head is left inside the mother, and the abortionist (does he or she deserve the title of Doctor?) pierces the back of the skull with a sharp instrument, inserts a catheter, and removes the brains. Then the remains of the murdered child are fully removed.
This horrific procedure was devised as a way to get around U.S. laws which state that any child born alive has human rights, and its death would be viewed as murder by the courts. What sort of sick, twisted mind can dream up something like this? Why should a living child in the womb be deserving of fewer rights than one which is already born? Women with children are still casually abandoned, as in former centuries. Now the phenomenon is known as “single-parent families”. Instead of going to the market to purchase a woman, men now resort to prostitution or even rape. In bygone times, men murdered women they had no more use for (consider the blood lust of Henry VIII, founder of the Church of England, and how he disposed of some of his wives); nowadays women are driven towards drugs and alcohol, and ultimately kill themselves. This is labelled as “suicide”, and saves men from doing the dirty deed themselves.
The old Spartan way of having women “inseminated” by strong men, is now replaced by genetic engineering and artificial insemination via sperm banks, which achieve the same thing under the auspices of science and technology, the “gods” of their modern age. All of this is regarded as Progress. Women’s equality in the West is a charade. For how long can the world continue to ignore women’s misery and the disaster towards which all are heading? The only way to a just, fair and secure future for all is through the pristine teachings of Islam. Muslims have the awesome responsibility of conveying this message correctly and effectively to the people of the world.
According to popular belief, the twentieth century has seen the most significant advancement in equality for women. In particular, the period after the Second World War, from the late 1940s until the present, is hailed as a golden era. But during this period, atrocities of all kinds against women have increased by more than 25%. A survey into the world of government statistics reflects a true picture of the plight of women in today’s world. ABORTION In Britain, registered abortions have increased almost tenfold since abortion was “legalized” in 1968. In that year, there were nearly 22,000 registered abortions, compared with nearly 180,000 in 1991. Since records began, there has been a steady increase in the number of abortions performed each year. Of the 180,000 abortions that took place in 1991, 110,000 were carried out on unmarried women. Only 1% were done for medical reasons.
In 1993, 819,000 women in England and Wales had abortions. The results of population surveys indicate that a third of all conceptions that occurred outside of marriage was terminated by abortion in 1993. Over 3,000 abortions were carried out on girls aged 15 and under (16 is the “age of consent” in Britain), and over 31,000 terminations were carried out on girls aged 19 and under. The figures for the USA are even more horrific. Abortion rates have increased since records began and there were over one million ‘recorded legal abortions’ carried out in 1994. The Alan Guttmacher Institute, a research organization affiliated with Planned Parenthood (America’s leading abortion provider – it is rather like calling a butcher a lamb’s confidant) estimates the total number of abortions is typically 10 to 20% higher than the official government statistics.
Canada where the womb is considered a safe place for the unborn by Western standards has nearly half the abortion rate of the USA. However, in 1992, this equates to 25% of all pregnancies being terminated by abortion. In Japan, the ‘most advanced industrial country of the World, where time is money and money is the substance of life, has abortion rates twice that of the USA. The nation suffers from over 2 million abortions each year. The most stupendous blood bath of the innocent unborn life has been carried out in the Former Soviet Union. The Soviet Union suffered an incredible 12.8 million abortions in 1965 out of a total population of 233 million. At present almost three-quarters of all Soviet women’s pregnancies end in abortion.
The trivial nature of abortion, human life and women’s sentiments held in the Western world was brought to the forefront when a Charity organisation ‘Marie Stopes International’ opened six-day centres across England. They provided a ‘walking, walk out’ abortion ‘that could easily be completed during a working woman’s lunchtime break. Their leading abortionist ‘Dr Tim Black horrified the nation when he disdainfully described the method of abortion by Suction as the ‘minimal service interception’ a ‘seamless service without medical drama or moral censure’ and a ‘quantum leap in service delivery. Abortion, a traumatic, sorrowful and grievous moment for every unfortunate woman has been reduced to the language of shopping.’ It is worth taking some time to ponder over these figures.
Although it is easy to be blinded by such large numbers, we should not forget that each of them is much more than a statistic. Each number represents the murder of an innocent, helpless baby by supposedly “civilized” human beings. The freedom of choice under the guise of First World civilisation has allowed the hideous slaughter of unborn children which has claimed over ONE BILLION lives throughout the world over the past 25 years. In the “barbaric” past, infant girls were killed for economic reasons. Now children are killed to destroy the evidence of adultery, fornication and mischief! These figures account only for those abortions which were registered. As for illegal abortions and those carried out in private clinics, only Allah knows exactly how many babies were killed.
RAPE It is not easy to find accurate figures on rape. Many incidents are not reported, and the police statistics do not include cases where the allegations have been withdrawn. It is safe to assume, therefore, that the official figures are an underestimate. According to the British police, in 1984 there were over 20,000 cases of indecent assault and nearly 1,500 rape cases in Britain. The London Rape Crisis Centre estimates that there are between 5,000 – 6,000 rapes per year; the true figure may be much higher. Since 1984, the number of recorded sexual offences has risen at a slightly higher rate than recorded crime in general. By 1994, the number of recorded sexual offences had risen to 32,000.
If we accept the higher figures, we may say that, on average, one rape occurs every hour in England. In other words, by the time you finish reading this chapter, someone, somewhere in the country, will have become yet another rape statistic. The USA, a country proclaiming the greatest freedom of rights has the World’s highest rape rate. It is 4 times higher than Germany, 18 times higher than England and almost 20 times higher than Japan. In one state Utah alone the rape rate is 44.6 per 100,000. In 1995, 2,071 Utah children under the age of 18 were sexually abused: 633 of these children were under the age of 6. In the USA, 1.3 women are raped every minute. That equates to 78 rapes each hour, 1,872 rapes each day, and 683,280 rapes each year.
Looking at such figures, the question springs to mind: who is committing these barbaric acts against women? Are these acts of mentally disturbed characters roaming the streets? The popular stereotype could not be further from the truth. In 1980, only 2% of men convicted of rape were referred for psychiatric treatment. The reality is shocking and disturbing: over 75% of women who are raped have had some prior contact with the man who raped them.3 They are raped by acquaintances, people they know and probably trusted. A close friend or relative rapes 16%. A study carried out by the National Council for Civil Liberties showed that 38% of men use their power and position at work to rape women. A Retook survey found that 88% of respondents had experienced sexual harassment at work. In the UK, 86% of managers and 66% of employers had experienced such problems.
The British Civil Service found that 70% of those surveyed had experienced sexual harassment. In Britain, even in that bastion of law and order, the Police service, the problem of sexual harassment is serious. Female officers with twenty-five years’ service in the force may be subjected to harassment. Examples of offensive incidents include being spied on while in police station showers, being “casually” shown pornographic pictures, and being physically groped.
One female officer said, “You go into a room and three or four men will run their hands over you to see if you are wearing the ‘full tackle,’ i.e., suspenders. It happens frequently”.’ Rape has a devastating emotional, mental and psychological impact on the victims and their families. USA census reports, 1.3 million currently have a mental disorder due to rape, called Rape Related Post Traumatic Disorder (RR-PTSD). 3.8 million in the USA have previously had RR-PTSD, and roughly 211,000 women will develop RR-PTSD each year. MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE The latter part of the twentieth century has seen an increase in cohabitation i.e., couples “living together” before marriage. Nearly half of women born in the 1960s said that they had cohabited at some time.
This social trend is supposed to iron out any differences between partners and ensure that they are compatible before they tie the knot and make the commitment of marriage. This “trial run” is meant to increase the chances of a successful marriage, but the truth is that the increase in cohabitation has been accompanied by an increase in the divorce rate. Britain now has the highest divorce rate in the European Union. In 1983 there were over 147,000 divorces granted by the courts. By 1994, this number had increased to 165,000. In the USA the divorce rate has increased from 708,000 in 1970 to 1,175,000 in 1990.
Whereas during the same period the marriage rates have remained virtually static, despite the rise in ‘marriageable age’ populations Tables of divorce statistics do not convey the suffering of partners whose marriage breaks down, or of their children whose world is torn apart by the parents’ separation. The number of marriages in Britain has decreased, from 389,000 in 1983 to 341,000 in 1994. Of those, nearly one-third end in divorce, and the most common ground for divorce is adultery. The silent sufferers in divorce families are no doubt the children but even the partners are not saved from the trauma. Divorce now ranks as the number one factor linked with suicide rates in USA, outstripping other important social and economic predictors.
Divorced people are three times more likely to commit suicide than people who are married. The more human beings rely on their own intellectual reasoning and abandon the guidance of their Creator, the greater their suffering. SINGLE PARENTS There is yet another set of depressing statistics that has been increasing since the advent of so-called “women’s liberation”. In the past ten years, the number of births to unmarried mothers has risen from nearly 90,000 in 1982 to 215,000 in 1992. Of all the babies born in 1992, 31% were born to unwed mothers. Nearly 2,500 girls under the age of 15 gave birth, and over 23,000 new mothers in that year were aged under 20.
As the number of illegitimate births has increased, the number of babies born within marriage has decreased, from 890,000 in 1961 to 511,000 in 1994. The reality behind these statistics is that women are bearing most, if not all, of the responsibility for raising these children. This form of oppression of women should not be ignored; men must be made to shoulder the responsibility and be accountable for the children they produce.
An official survey has demonstrated that the number of families with children headed by a lone parent has risen to more than one in five (over 20%); in the North West of England, the figure is closer to 30% or one in three. The same survey shows that fewer than 60% of women aged 18 to 49 are married. Even more alarmingly, growing numbers of single mothers are typically trying to cope with very little money: 42% of them had a gross weekly income of less than £100.
The impact of poverty on educational achievement, crime rates, health, moral value and self-esteem has been well documented and has led to reports in Britain and elsewhere of an “emerging underclass” whose future is indescribably bleak. The burden of family care on Western women has been escalating and in 1994, the USA had 9.9 million single mothers having to maintain and take care of their children compared with only 1.6 million single fathers. The ‘normal house’ with a father, mother and children has become an illusion in the Western world and is reaping havoc.
The USA – In 1970, 40% of households were made up of married couples. In 1995, only 25% of households are made up of married couples. The social impact of single parenting on children is devastating. 75% of children in chemical dependency hospitals are from single-parent families. 20% of children in single-parent families have a learning, emotional or behavioural problem. 63% of suicides are committed by individuals from single-parent families. The burden on women created by ‘single parenting is one of the most brutal forms of oppression. HEALTH When it comes to health matters, women fare less well than men, especially when it comes to mental health. Single mothers, in particular, suffer poorer health than women in two-parent households.
General Health Survey data indicate that lone mothers are more likely to have both long-standing and recent illnesses, and are less likely to assess their health over the last twelve months as good. In this survey, only 43% of single mothers described their health as “good” and nearly 39% reported a long-standing illness. Women also suffer poorer psychological health than men. They see their GPs (family doctors) more often for mental health problems and are more frequently prescribed drugs for anxiety and depression. Women are more unwell and unhappy than men because of the work they do and the conditions in which they do it created by the capitalist system for the acquiring of profit margins. If you were to question a randomly picked sample of the population and ask them, “Who suffers more from mentally-related disorders” The majority will reply: women.
However, this has not always been the case. Studies from 1850 until the Second World War show that men used to be more prone to mental disorders than women. In the majority of studies prior to 1950 or the Second World War, the overall rates were higher for men. In the case of women’s mental health, the findings differ sharply from the 1950s onwards, with the advent of so-called equal status. A report by B P Dohrenwend in the American Journal of Sociology shows that while prior to 1950, for every 7 men diagnosed as mentally ill, only 2 women were similarly diagnosed, after 1950, the ratio changed to 22 women for every 2 men.
This catastrophic reversal in mental illness statistics accompanied the rise of “women’s liberation” in the West. This increased incidence of mental illness among Western women since the Second World War has occurred because “… women find their position in society to be more frustrating and less rewarding than do men ..”5 The reason for this greater sense of frustration may be found in the unfair burden which is placed on the “liberated” women She is expected to display masculine traits in the workplace but is also supposed to maintain her “femininity” – a dual burden that is too heavy for many women, who may eventually break down. Mental illness researchers have also discovered that single persons are more prone to mental illness than those who are married, and their prognosis is not as good.
As early as the turn of the century, Durkheim noted that the severing of the marital tie is particularly dangerous for mental health, as indicated by a high suicide rate among the widowed and divorced. Since that time, all studies’ comparing the mental health of those who are widowed or divorced with that of those who are married have also found that the rates of mental illness are higher among the former. With the rise of the divorce rate, the prospect of women’s mental health looks particularly poor. ALCOHOL AND SMOKING The Western development of the equality of the sexes has been accompanied by an increase in the vices that were previously thought to be a male preserve, namely the consumption of alcohol and tobacco. According to a recent report published in the Sunday Times, the number of women drinking more than the “recommended limit” is rising.
The survey shows that the number of men exceeding this limit has fallen to 26%, whilst the number of women doing so has risen to 12%. Smoking used to be a men’s vice, as for a long time it was deemed improper for women to smoke. However, the number of women who smoke is now more or less the same as the number of men who do so. Although anti-smoking campaigns have led to many adults quitting the habit, tobacco companies have responded by targeting younger people, on the premise that if they can get teenagers or children “hooked” they will continue to have a ready market for their product. Reports indicate that more young women than young men are starting to smoke, which indicates that in the near future the majority of smokers will be women.
The rapid growth of the pornographic industry since the 1950s has, again, mirrored the progress of “equality” in the West. Pornography does not present women as human beings with feelings and needs, but as mere available commodities to be used and cast aside. Women are led to believe that by selling their bodies, they are achieving equality, but in fact, they become subordinate to men who use the idea of equality to exploit women for their own desires and financial gain. In the 1980s, a further step in the manipulation of women appeared. Sheila Jeffreys, a feminist, wrote: “When the campaign against pornography first got underway, it was possible to attack pornography as a male product designed for male consumption.
This is not true in the 1980s. Women are being told – by libertarian theorists that because ‘women are equal now,’ it is all right for women to enjoy pornography. This ideology serves more to defeat women’s emancipation than to pander to it. The idea of selling pornography to women from the 1980s has become a more sophisticated and effective way of bolstering male power”. Pornography is the biggest media category worldwide. It enters our homes via television and magazines, as well as video, film and satellite media.
Globally, pornography generates $7 billion annually, more than the legitimate film and music industries combined. In the US, pornographic films gross $1 million daily and outnumber films of other genres by 30%. In Britain, 20 million copies of pornographic magazines are sold each year, producing an annual revenue of over £500 million. In Sweden, a large “sex shop” may offer over 500 titles of pornographic magazines, and a corner shop can offer up to 50 titles. It is estimated that 18 million American men buy a pornographic magazines each month.
Pornography throughout the world is becoming ever more violent and gruesome, and is spreading further via the new technology: pornography on the Internet, including “hard-core” and child pornography, is a growing problem worldwide. The Western world is also exporting this deviant trend, which exploits women in the most abhorrent fashion, to the so-called third world. This is the state of affairs to which Western “civilization” and its Progress” and “equality” have brought humankind, where women are victimised in ever-increasing numbers to vices and mistreatment that any sane person would abhor and seek to eliminate.
To summarise, within the last hour the following have taken place in England: one woman was raped, eighteen people got divorced, 20 women had abortions, and 24 children were born to women without husbands. These same events will be repeated in the next hour, and in the hour after that. As you go through your daily routine of sleeping and waking, this sorry state of events will continue, and the number of victims will continue to escalate. What possible answer can there be? How can these barbaric crimes against women be reduced, if not eliminated altogether? The path of supposed equality between the sexes is only making the problem worse, and any sane person can see that the world is moving away from a civilized state toward a position of barbarity and ignorance (jahiliyyah). Very much like that which prevailed before the advent of Islam.
In a society which considers itself to be at the forefront of civility and human concerns, how can the low standards of morality that prevail nowadays be accepted? What are the solutions to these problems? For the people who are blessed with sincerity and understanding, there is no need to search far afield. Who better to guide, than the Creator of men and women, Allah Himself? When comparing Western practices to the values of Islam, it will soon be apparent where people have gone wrong and how Islam may steer people back onto the right path. The single most common cause of the problems discussed above is the fact that Western society encourages the free mixing of men and women.
The natural modesty of one sex towards the other is regarded as backward, unfashionable and uncivilized. Any effort to retain a sense of modesty is immediately labelled as “oppressive” or “repressive”. Yet considering the disastrous consequences of free mixing, from the above statistics, the appropriate course of behaviour to be undertaken is clear. Recent Psychologists’ reports agree that when there are two persons of opposite genders in enclosed surroundings, sexual ideas and connotations are bound to pass through their minds.
The casual and frequent manner in which such encounters are allowed to occur in an atmosphere of free mixing sets the stage for most of the calamities suffered by women today. Acting upon these impulses leads to all the woes of modern society: Abortion, divorce, single-parent families, suicide, rape and all the other heartbreaking social ills. Fourteen hundred years ago, the Prophet Muhammad warned humanity about the hazards of free mixing and advised extreme caution. In this matter, he informed us that when a man and a woman are alone together, the third one present will be the Shaytan (Satan), working to implant mischief between the two. As stated earlier, 75% of all rapes are committed by men who know their victims personally. In the workplace, 38% of men in positions of power abuse their position to take advantage of women working with them. The most frequent cause of divorce is adultery, which is made easy by the free mixing of the sexes.
The reason that children as young as 15 are getting pregnant is that the schools, which were once segregated, have become “co-educational”, and are now dens of iniquity where peer pressure reigns supreme and promiscuity is the order of the day. The abortion rate simply reflects the low esteem in which human life is held. In the Western world, equality for women has meant looking the same as men, doing the same jobs as them, and exhibiting the same behaviour and characteristics as men. Western societies have paid the price for this unnatural approach, by suffering huge losses of morality and human values. Equality of the sexes does not mean that both men and women should look the same. In a society where money, beauty and masculinity are what counts, a woman has to work, dress and behave like a man and at the same time stay pretty like a model in order to stand on equal terms with men. This is to the detriment of her moral values and feminine nature.
Islam has set out the unique and complementary roles of both men and women, an issue which will be examined more closely later. First, the misinformation campaign directed at most Westerners conveys to them that Islam preaches inhuman practices and the Oppression of women need to be emphasised. Opponents of Islam usually maliciously manipulate the fact that Muslim women are required to dress modestly, and are prohibited from mixing freely with the opposite sex.
A further whip is drawn to bash Islam by distorting the facts regarding polygyny. They misconstrue these Islamic teachings as evidence and portray Islam as preaching suppression of women. The West has been so successful in propagating these distorted views that even some Muslims have fallen victim to it. This should hardly come as a surprise when it is known that Muslims tend to be more familiar with Western literature than their own Islamic heritage.
In Britain alone, between 1960 and 1978 over 22,000 books and 43,000 journals published material slandering the teachings of Islam. When every form of media and education such as, television, schools, teachers, friends, colleagues, books, newspapers and magazines are all conveying this distorted message that Islam oppresses women; it is no wonder that those who are poorly educated, in the facts of the matter, are so easily distracted away from the right path.
To counter this tide of misinformation, a general need to educate society at large about the true Islamic teachings regarding women needs to be urgently undertaken. The Qur’an and ahadith are quite explicit on this matter and the next chapter explains the proper status of women in Islam according to these sources.
Culled from “Islam The choice of Thinking Women” by Ismail Adam Patel