Me vs. Islam: Sexism of Our Age

One of those distinctive memories that I have is from a session of those “we wash your brain” classes that we had back at high school, which were called “Islamic thought”. Of course, as all these types of classes tend to be, this class was of as outmost stupidity as you can imagine. Most of the times we were bored out of our minds, but this particular session was not like that for me, since it was about men and women rights.

In these recent years, it seems that Islamist textbook writers and also teachers have become more and more aware of the unpopularity of direct sexist claims among people. It is actually amusing to watch an Islamist teacher sweat and try to give a mild version of a sexist statement or try to hide it behind bad reasoning.

That day was no different: Our teacher, who was our high school principle as well, was talking about women rights. He was not a full time bad ass fundamentalist, just occasionally; and he was sweating to make an argument in defence of Sharia law about women not having particular rights. Of course, as you may have guessed, in Islam women do not possess many rights, and one of them is they do not have the right to be judges based on Sharia law; and that is what we were talking about.*

“Women are by nature emotional.” Our principle declared loudly to the class “and we know that emotional people cannot make good decisions. Therefore it is absolutely justified to say women should not be judges.”

At that point I knew that this was wrong, but of course I was 16 and didn’t know “why”. I actually did try to say something in defence of women by stating that even they have specific rights in Islam (I don’t think so now), but obviously that was completely off topic. We now can see what is wrong with that stupid argument: Surely no one can state that all women are always emotional. Well, some of them are and some are not. Besides, men are emotional too; I personally have seen many women less emotional than me! But we all probably have: Benazir Bhutto, Margaret Thatcher, Hillary Clinton, Indira Gandhi etc. These were (and are) confident and strong women that shaped the history in their own way. I don’t think that an Argentinean would have agreed with our teacher-principle about Thatcher being “emotional”!

You can see that it doesn’t take much to be a sexist in the world of Islamic ideas. You just have to first believe in Islamic law, and then you can try to deceive yourself and others by vague or incoherent arguments.

In my mind, there is no doubt that the Islamic law (or Sharia) is Fascistic, and the reason is quite simple: It is based on discrimination. In Quran you can find phrases like (Sura An-Nisa: 34):

Men have authority over women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their property (for the support of women). Therefore, the good women are obedient, guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded. And (as to) those (women) on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and avoid them in beds and beat them; then if they obey you, do not seek a way against them; verily Allah is Ever-High, Ever-Great.

As one starts reading the passage, one immediately realizes there is a huge distinction between the way Islam talks about men and women. “Men have authority over women” basically sums it all up: Women are considered men’s properties, not conscious beings who have their own will and understand as much (maybe even more!). And this is all because Allah has “made” some of them like this. Like what you ask? Of course men are stronger and work outside to earn money and “properties”, and women stay at home and do some “housework”. So men are spending their property on women, and that gives them the right to “rule” over them.

And if that doesn’t cut it, the next lines does: If you are a Muslim and you “fear” that your wife may desert you, and she wouldn’t back off if you asked her “nicely”, you can beat her. And they call this “guarding your family”!

Well, if you think that’s bad, you should read this Hadith from Mohammed:

A woman came to the Messenger of Allah and said: O Messenger of Allah, what is the right of the husband upon the wife?  So he said to her: That she obey him and not disobey him, and that she not give any charity from his house except by his permission, and that she not fast voluntarily (i.e. not an obligatory fast) except with his permission, and that she not prevent him from herself even if she is upon the back of a camel saddle (qatab), and that she not leave his house except with his permission, for if she leaves without his permission the angels of the sky and the angels of the earth curse her, and the angels of wrath, and the angels of mercy, until she returns to his house.  So she said: O Messenger of Allah, who of mankind has the greatest right upon the man?  He said: His parents.  She said: So who of mankind has the greatest right upon the woman?  He said: Her husband.  She said: So is there for me a right upon him like what he has upon me?  He said: No and not (even) one for every hundred.  So she said: By the one who has sent you by truth as a prophet, no man will ever own my neck.

What came above can only have one name: “sexist slavery”. Women are effectively reduced to “sex slaves” of their husbands, and cannot refuse to have sex with them even if it is on the back of a camel! Obviously they also do not possess the same rights as their husbands, not even one percent!

There you have it: A bronze age book, combined with bronze age mind-set. Whatever it creates cannot be good, as it stops the progress of humankind towards a better moral and social existence. The sooner the people toss it aside, the better

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* This does not mean that we do not have women in a judge’s chair, since Sharia law is not always done as Mullahs want.

Introductory Logic (Example Reasoning)

“There is no such thing as innocence, only degrees of guilt”. No, this is not a quote from the Bible, nor it is from anything relevant to Christianity or Islam (at least not in a historical way), although it is quite close to what they believe. Fans of computer gaming know that this is a quote from Space Marine campaign of Warhammer 40000. Another example of such quotes is: “Hope is the first step on the road to disappointment.”

Wise, right? Not right: I was just wondering how useless these statements are. Of course, in text they seem quite nice, and actually quite wise. But just look at them from a different angle: “Disappointment is the first step on the road to hope.” or “There is no such thing as guilt, only degrees of innocence.”

Well, which one is it? “There is no such thing as innocence” or “there is no such thing as guilt”?

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This brings me to the second part of my post. There was this story (a false one nonetheless) about Einstein and his “atheist” professor circulating the internet, and it contains something similar. It has many different versions, the following is one of them (source):

The professor of a university challenged his students with this question. “Did God create everything that exists?” A student answered bravely, “Yes, he did”.

The professor then asked, “If God created everything, then he created evil. Since evil exists (as noticed by our own actions), so God is evil. The student couldn’t respond to that statement causing the professor to conclude that he had “proved” that “belief in God” was a fairy tale, and therefore worthless.

Another student raised his hand and asked the professor, “May I pose a question? ” “Of course” answered the professor.

The young student stood up and asked : “Professor does Cold exists?”

The professor answered, “What kind of question is that? …Of course the cold exists… haven’t you ever been cold?”

The young student answered, “In fact sir, Cold does not exist. According to the laws of Physics, what we consider cold, in fact is the absence of heat. Anything is able to be studied as long as it transmits energy (heat). Absolute Zero is the total absence of heat, but cold does not exist. What we have done is create a term to describe how we feel if we don’t have body heat or we are not hot.”

“And, does Dark exist?”, he continued. The professor answered “Of course”. This time the student responded, “Again you’re wrong, Sir. Darkness does not exist either. Darkness is in fact simply the absence of light. Light can be studied, darkness can not. Darkness cannot be broken down. A simple ray of light tears the darkness and illuminates the surface where the light beam finishes. Dark is a term that we humans have created to describe what happens when there’s lack of light.”

Finally, the student asked the professor, “Sir, does evil exist?” The professor replied, “Of course it exists, as I mentioned at the beginning, we see violations, crimes and violence anywhere in the world, and those things are evil.”

The student responded, “Sir, Evil does not exist. Just as in the previous cases, Evil is a term which man has created to describe the result of the absence of God’s presence in the hearts of man.”

After this, the professor bowed down his head, and didn’t answer back.

The young man’s name was ALBERT EINSTEIN.

In the source link you can find some things that are wrong with this kind of reasoning, including the fact that “God” is equivocated with “good” which creates a “begging the question” fallacy, but I will not linger on that.

There is a bigger fallacy here, and that’s what we can call “Unhealthy parables”* or “Example reasoning” (the red line). In the text above, Einstein (NOT!) gives examples of the physical world, and then suddenly jumps into the conclusion about God (good) and bad (evil). Why? How is it any relevant to the examples given?

It is not, and you see why as soon as you start thinking about good things and bad (evil) things. Why bad things are bad? Why molesting a child or killing someone in a dark alley to steal his/her wallet is wrong? The “reason” is that it goes against their basic rights as human beings. So, there “is” evil, and there “is” good, separate from each other, and one is not the absence of the other.

Examples are never reasons, one should provide good reasons for what one believes.

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* I think the term “Unhealthy parable” is a more relevant term, especially in this case that the examples are completely irrelevant to the conclusion.