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ParadiseLost

Gender Roles In Islam Vs Other Cultures

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This topic is continuing from another thread which got off topic. The main purpose is to discuss the gender roles in Islam compared to other cultures mainly western but not limited to western culture. Feel free to join in. 

 

The main question one of the non Muslim members (russell) was in relation to men and women being put in boxes. He is curious about whether men or women can step outside these boxes. So let's help him. 

 

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the point it seems that you won’t accept is that not all women want the things you suggest they should.  

 

No I already do accept that not all women have a desire to get married and have children and stay at home. I know there are more career orientated women and I believe we need women like that in society. If there weren't women like that then society would be very different. Through the ages women were part of the economic system in muslim countries, I agree compared to men it was small but they still had a role in especially family businesses and handcrafts.And like I said before some women have no choice but to work for financial reasons. You kept going on about what if a woman wants to be a truck driver. Like I said as long as things can be done within the bounds of Islamic rulings then there is no problem. It is only when these things bring people outside of Islam that is the problem. 

 

 

I can’t see many women from this culture deciding to give up their freedoms for the restrictive lifestyle you suggest that all women should live under.

See the funny thing is a lot of Muslim women do not think western women are free. I was born in western society and still live in western society and I really do not think women are so free here. And when I talk about free I am not talking about freedom of expression and political rights etc I am talking about free on the basis of their gender. Women still earn less than men in many sectors in western cultures. Did you know in the UK women earn on average 27% less than men? Women still are a very small minority when it comes to holding positions of power.  The pornography industry which makes millions profits itself on exploiting women. There are nasty things that go on in that industry and a lot of women get involved for money. I have watched documentaries about women who got involved in this stuff, and from what they said they didn't enjoy it. Some of them have been emotionally affected by their past. There are still high statistics for sexual harassment at work where supposedly women are treated equally and anti-discrimination legislation has been introduced. 


Oh and yes women are free to wear what they want to wear in your society but what I see is women constantly obsessed with how they look. Every womans magazine has a section about diets. There are high statistics in your society for women with eating disorders. In Islam a woman is supposed to not care about her looks when she goes out in public (of course she should dress dirty or untidy) and instead she should beautify herself for her husband. What do you see in the west? Women spend hours getting ready to go outside, applying make up, doing their hair and they never make this effort with their husbands at least after time the effort wears off. Of course not all women in your society are like this thankfully but a lot are. And the music and fashion industry are constantly pressuring young girls to adhere to this way of life. There is a reason why eating disorders are most common in western culture. It is not a coincidence. Look at the role models for young girls in your society. People like Rihanna who constantly sing about sex and drugs and her music videos are full of everything you would not want your child to look at. But the fact is young girls are aspiring to be like these people. Miley Cyrus and her antics at the mtv music awards. This is the type of society that is being produced. All in the name of freedom? I am sorry but I think you people have gone to far with the word freedom. Western culture tends to be very individualistic which makes it different from Islamic culture and other collectivist cultures. I don't think me me me is the right way to go. People need to make decisions thinking about society and the people around them. Your society has produced selfish people who do not care about what other people think because they are 'free' and can do whatever they want. A famous female singer can dance around half naked knowing most of her audience are young girls who see her as a role model but she doesn't care because its their parents job to teach them right from wrong. Of course its the parents job but to neglect her influence is naive and selfish. 

 

 

I accept the risk that she might be attacked while understanding that it’s a very small risk in our society.  It would be horrible if it happened but I don’t actually know anyone to whom it has happened even though all of my friends live this way 
Like I said it is great you trust your wife but in Islam we don't trust people we don't know that much around our wives. Statistics show us that women are more likely to be at risk of abuse. I also don't know anybody who was sexually abused but I do know several girls who have been verbally abused by men because of how they dressed. I mean I thought women are supposed to have their rights and all that but they can't even get respect when they walk in the street and men whistle at them and make comments. 
 
I don't think we blow the risks out of proportion. When you learn about the values of Islam you will learn that in many areas of life we try to keep ourselves away from the problem to our best extent in a way that we can still function. I don't think it is good to overestimate the risks in a way that a man won't even let his wife go to the shop because he fears she will be kidnapped especially in a society that has low rates of such crimes. But I also don't think it is good to underestimate the risks that can occur when a woman goes to certain places.
 

 

It’s about balance, even though that one in five statistic is horrible the picture you paint would limit all women for all of their lives to avoid a one in five chance that once in their lives they’d have a problem. 
But why do you keep saying it limits all women. I already said that in muslim countries not all women sit at home all day. You really paint a picture as if this is the case. Women work in muslim countries. Women go shopping for clothes in muslim countries. Yes women shouldn't travel long distances alone but I don't see how this is a limitation. If her male family member can go with her what is she missing out on? I don't think her being with someone in a long distance is a limit. I think it is nice that if  a woman goes abroad she should share such experiences with her husband. It cannot be compared to travelling in your own area where you know people and if you had a problem there can be people you can turn to for help. But going abroad to a place you do not know, where the language is different and culture is different is a different story.
 

 

Why is it assumed that the man will need to teach his wife how to behave as if men aren’t just as often the problem?
It is not the man that teaches the woman how to behave it is Allah. Allah taught both genders how to behave through the quran and through the sunnah of the prophet. If a man is forcing his wife to behave in way which is outside the fold of Islam he is a problem.
 
Allah has given men the primary role of protector. A woman is very valued in Islam and therefore is treated in such a way. Maybe you don't agree with the role of man as the protector but it is in the nature of man to be protector and millions of men and women around the world feel this way too. Not just in muslim countries.

 

 
I’ve heard quite a few instances of women beating up their husbands so this is not a one way street though men are far more of a problem on average. 

Of course there are violent women but in Islam it is clear a woman shouldn't be like this. There are lots of guidelines in Islam that a woman should follow. Just as there are for men.

 

 

Surely the Quran should teach people not to beat people up rather to talk about their issues rationally and forget totally the sex’s involved because violence occurs between females, between males and from male to female and female to male.

In general you will find throughout the hadiths stories about how the prophet dealt with arguments between males and males, females and females, and males and females. So it is not neglected in Islam. The issue of male and females arguing is not the only case looked at in Islam. But as you said when it comes to abuse against women it is most likely that a person close to the woman abuses her in particular her spouse. Now if this is such a high statistic and one you pointed out then why don't you see the importance of the three step guideline in Islam. Islam understands that the nature of the man is more aggressive. Therefore Allah orders a man to deal with his wife in this way. Allah does not order man to lose control of his emotions. The prophet Muhammad told people that when they are angry they should sit down and if they are sitting down they should lie down. There are lots of things in Islam which advice us on controlling our anger and emotions. I think when you learn more about those things you will have a better understanding of the values we have. You just see a few things on the surface but you need to learn more under the surface before you can understand why the surface is the way it is. 

 

 

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I had to continue on here because I had too many quote boxes apparently. :huh:

 

 

 

Yes I understand that Islam says that the man must be the provider and I have criticised that before.  I have an acquaintance who is a house husband and his wife is a very successful lawyer.  She makes far more money than he could and he is a far better ‘mother’ than she could be.  

That is good for them. And Islam doesn't say a woman cannot work and be successful. It doesn't say man cannot be involved in his home life and take care of the children. However, it outlines the way for a harmonious relationship in a family. The family structure in western cultures has been truly destroyed. More children disrespect their elders, more spouses do not respect one another. In Islam it is essential that there is a leader in the family to guide the family. Being a leader is not dictator. The man has been given this responsibility and it is selfish for him to give it up. This role is not to say that the woman has no say in family matters. It is naive of anyone who thinks that muslim woman have no say in what goes on at home. The reality is that Islam puts this system in place to compliment the role of man and woman. If you have 2 leaders in a family there will be trouble, if you have 2 supporters and no leader in a family you will have no direction, if you have 1 leader and 1 supporter then you have a complimentary system.

 

If a man walks away from his children would you praise him for doing what he wants to do and living his life the way he wants to do?

 

 

I can’t say much about the merit of your equality when praying, as an atheist I’m sure you understand how much value I place on prayer.

I know that but if you are here to learn about Islam then it is an essential part of your learning. In the eyes of Allah men and woman are on an equal level when it comes to faith. There gender does not stop them from being close to Allah. Because a lot of anti-Islam people bash women in Islam but they never care about this part and for us it is one of the most important things. We believe as the prophet said that the pious woman is the best provision in the world. And we really believe in this. 

 

 

Why should she be treated as if her husband, who she supports, is the one running her household and supporting her when she is clearly the better of the two at this role?

Like I said women in Islam can work. The only thing is that a man cant demand the right to financial support from his wife if he is sitting at home as it is not his right in Islam. It is only the right of the woman. Any money that a woman earns is hers and any property she buys is hers. But in Islam a woman does have the right that her husband financially support her. Of course if a woman decides independently to help her husband financially it is not illegal. And sometimes in society there are situations when a man cannot work due to health reasons, economic problems etc so Islam has ways of dealing with this. 

 

 

 Why should his opinion carry more weight than hers as if she were a child and he was the adult in the relationship?  That’s the inequality I see in this situation.

 

Because the main responsibility of the woman is to take care of the family and anything else she does should not neglect this responsibility. The main responsibility of the man is the provider and anything else he does should not neglect this responsibility. It is not inequality it is a different responsibility suited to different genders. The woman should discuss with her husband her plans that could affect the family. It is selfish not to. 

 

 

It’s more than just hormones but you are right, biologically we are given roles in reproduction that we can’t transcend at least not at this stage.  Who knows what science may be able to achieve one day.  Yes PMS is a female only problem though I saw a scientific study that suggested that it was actually an invention not an actual problem for women but I tend to believe it does indeed affect women’s moods to some extent.

I think you are downplaying the role of our biological differences. There is a lot of scientific research out there to back up such cases especially PMS. And I know girls that are physically affected every month due to menstruation in ways that they have to sit in bed all day because of the pain. Of course not all women go through such extreme cases but most women do suffer effects. Men don't have this issue.

 

 

On a side note did you notice that the WHO Mental Health Atlas 2011 lists 51% female and 29% male treated in mental health facilities.  What I want to know is what were the other 20% who were neither?  Where they treating rocks?  In Russia there were 35% who were neither men or women.  Interesting statistics!

Well I actually typed it wrongly. Thanks for pointing that part out because it makes a difference. The real one is that 51% of the people treated in mental health facilities were women, and 29% treated were under 18. They didn't actually list the males. I for some reason got the under 18s to be males I don't know how. But yea thanks for pointing it out.

 

 

what I argue against is your scheme which paints all men as fitting into one box and all women as fitting into another while we know that there are women who just don’t fit those moulds and there are men who likewise don’t fit. 

I agree that and in muslim countries you will find not all men are the same and not all women are the same. It is not a robotic system. It is just our primary responsibilities make women seem similar and men seem similar but that is on the surface. There are women who fulfil their primary responsibility while carrying out other tasks and there are others who choose not to. If you are calling the responsibilities boxes then it is different. I think when men and women walk away from their primary responsibilities you get a society that is emerging in the west today full of selfish people, an individualistic culture, a weakened family structure and high rates of alcohol and drug abuse. So I would prefer to preserve the Islamic values than get those results.

 
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I scanned through most of your responses and just want to say I think you did a pretty good job answering them. I won't jump in unless someone raises a point for clarification :)

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Thanks sister. And I just wanted to correct a typo: In Islam a woman is supposed to not care about her looks when she goes out in public (of course she should dress dirty or untidy) 

 

I meant to say shouldn't dress dirty or untidy!

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Hi ParadiseLost

 

Humanism says, and I agree, that all human minds must have equal rights.  Not that they all have equal abilities, obviously some have disabilities, some are old and some are young, some are Einstein and some are Ralf the garbage man.  What I mean is that all have equal rights and responsibilities regardless of their gender.  We do have to treat the very young differently until they develop and we have to treat people whose minds don’t work properly differently but those limitations are applied only for demonstrated reasons not based on gender.  Some rights are earned but the ability to earn them must be open to all people equally.  You earn the right to drive a car once you have demonstrated a set of specific abilities and reached a certain age regardless of your gender for example.

 

The problem is unearned and enforced differences, putting people into boxes as I’ve described it before, because there are exceptions to the way you say people must live.  Some women want to show off their bodies in public by wearing flashy clothes, some women want to fly fighter jets or run huge corporations and some men want to be house wives.  You’re boxes limit the options available to humans to decide their own destinies based on gender and that is wrong.

 

To justify the differences in the way women and men are treated you pointed out that women suffer from PMS and associated problems which is of course true but women also have immune systems which kick in faster and harder than men so while they may suffer in one area they are likely to suffer less in another area because they get over the colds and flu’s we all suffer from faster and easier than men.  I have a fiend from work who suffers from migraines and clinical depression, he’s had a great deal of time off work over the last three years with these conditions, far more than a healthy woman suffering from PMS.  Being unfit for work is a human thing not a male or female thing.  PMS does not make a woman incapable of thinking rationally at the same level as a man any more than migraines make a man incapable of carrying out whatever role he chooses except while these people suffer.  In all cases all they have to do is wait out their issue and then get back into their role.

 

You say that women can and do work in your society but you explain that to be secondary to their assigned role as child raisers and the jobs you talk of are all minor and limited.  You don’t suggest that they have roles such as company CEO’s or fighter pilots or truck drivers but small roles that can fit in around their ‘primary responsibilities’.  That fixed, child rearing role, is the issue I was driving at.  That is something women on average excel at over men and it is a role that many women will choose to take on because they are so much better at it and they enjoy it but that’s an average, not all women go down that path and not all women fit that mould.  Some couples choose not to have children or to put it off till later in life.  Why should the woman who chooses not to have children be restricted in the roles she can take up in her work?  Why should the woman whose husband excels at child raising be restricted in what job she could choose?

 

In my marriage, and the marriages of many people I know, there is no head.  When we want to work things out we discuss them and come up with a shared solution to any issue or to any decision we need to make.  Neither of us can overrule the other to make a decision we are having trouble with but we have never found an issue that we could not work out this way.  Are people in your society incapable of working cooperatively like this?  In marriages in which the husband demands to be the head you see a much higher failure rate than among marriages in which both parties are equal.  Why do you think that is?

 

I’ll quickly list the sexisms I see here and mention a point or two against each.:-

 

  • One of your rules is that a woman can demand support from her husband but the husband can’t demand support from his wife.  Obviously in my society those roles are reversed for some people but your proscription forbids this arrangement or at least makes it lopsided.  In a fair system anything either party earns becomes joint property of the marriage and is available for the support of the household.
  • Women are not allowed to have contact alone with strange men but men suffer from no such restriction against contact with strange women.  If men are the problem, as you claim, shouldn’t it be the men who are restricted or, as in our system, those specific individuals who have been shown to be causing problems regardless of gender?  Yes woman have also been convicted of sexual harassment under our system.  Committing sexual harassment is a dismissible offence in my company regardless of the legal outcomes if you are also charged for your offenses.
  • Women are not allowed to travel far from home unescorted.  I certainly don’t trust Mr. random stranger with my wife either but I know that she’s a capable women who can look after herself and that she’ll avoid dangerous situations.  If it came right down to it I think an attacker would have a hard time of it if they tried attacking her, she’s only half an inch shorter than me and I’m not short plus she’s as strong as most men her size so it would be a foolish man who tried anything with her.  In the end I’d love to have taken those trips with her but her work paid for her to go while I’d have to have paid my own way and we simply could not afford it.  The choice was simple she either went alone or she did not go and she got so much out of these trips.  She’s been to Japan, Europe, England and the US over the years all on her own.  Of course even traveling to our nearest town at home will put her in contact with people she does not know while she is beyond contact with anyone she does.  This causes no problems in my society of course but you seem to see such everyday situations as dangerous.  This doesn’t speak well of your society if it’s true.
  • Women are restricted in the clothing that they can wear in public.  Now this one makes no sense, sure I understand that men will look at women who show off their bodies but looking never hurt anyone.  In my society woman can wear what they want and many choose to be conservative and to hide their bodies while others choose to show them off.  Doing so may get you a few comments or looks but that’s it in the vast majority of cases.  If you don’t want the looks or the comments dress conservatively but it you are happy to have men admire and compliment you or even if you desire this then dress in a more showy way.  It should be the woman’s choice rather than a proscription.  She must understand the risks then she decides if she is willing to take them.
  • Men are instructed how to show their wives correct behaviour as if they are the parent in this situation and their wife is the child.  Nothing was included in this set of steps as explained by one of the contributors here which showed an understanding of how differences should be handled between equal adults.  No sensitivity to the possibility that the husband may have been the problem, that his desires of his wife could have been wrong or even just beyond the things she wants to do in her life.  This instruction ended with details on how to hit her with a small stick (I can’t remember what it was called but I gather it’s used to brush your teeth or similar so it’s hardly an offensive weapon) but the tone of the whole exchange was of a parent to a child.  It was also explained to me that if a husband and wife had an argument the husband had a casting vote if the two could not work out their differences.  Look at that mathematically, that means that in a committee of two people one member, always the woman, has one vote while the other member, always the man, has two votes. How could the woman ever override the man’s desire if he did not want to be reasonable?  Remember that the object of the disagreement would not have to be something that conflicts with Islamic principals, it could be as silly as a paint colour or what food to eat for dinner but in all cases the man can overrule his wife with his casting vote.  Do you really think that’s fair?  Now I’m not suggesting that most men won’t be perfectly reasonable about this and will work with their wives to sort things out but they don’t have to be according to the rules as they were explained here and that’s an issue.

 

Yes we are all restricted so we don’t have absolute freedom but in my society women are as free as men.  There are no rules or customs that say that women can’t do this or that, so I agree that none of us is actually free but we are equally free regardless of our gender and that’s critical here.

 

Yes I know that women, on average and for the same job don’t earn as much as men.  Our society isn’t perfect but we are trying.  For the same roles the difference in Australia isn’t 27% though it’s still in the teens which is wrong and should be fixed.  My wife earns a very good wage when she works, more than me in fact, because she is well trained and in a very responsible position so this is not an absolute and it should not limit women even if it was.  They should still be given the same choices when it comes to deciding what career they want to choose.

 

I don’t know much about the sex industry.  My understanding was that the women command far higher wages than the men involved at least on the acting side, behind the scenes I have no idea.  I don’t have a problem if these women freely choose to take part in this but I think things should be fair and reasonable and if that’s not the case things should be changed.  This is a very small segment of our society of course so it doesn’t say much about gender roles generally.

 

Yes some women do obsess about their looks; they are not my sort of women. I much prefer the natural beauty to the made up look.  My wife suits me perfectly on this front.  None of my children, and I have two teenage daughters; have any issues in this department.  One of my daughters makes her own jewellery and she’s always wearing a range of things she’s made and a few that friends have given her but she’s not obsessive, no makeup, no crazy diets, no expensive clothing.  I’ve never actually met someone who as such problems though I’ve heard of one distant acquaintance whose daughter suffered from anorexia so I know that it does happen but most women can separate themselves from this stuff and do so quite successfully.  I can’t say we’ve ever watched the MTV music awards so I don’t actually know what you mean about Miley Cyrus.  Quite a few people at this website pick on very minor issues such as this which actually affect very few people as if they are an epidemic that picks off every second one of us but that’s overblowing the case here.

 

You restrict yourself in public to avoid meeting strangers and to avoid strangers seeing your body, all to avoid the problems you may encounter from these men but by far the largest problems you are likely to face, according to our statistics, are from the people within your family, the people you are open with under your system.  It seems misdirected to me, a very poor answer to an issue in another area. Now maybe your society is different to mine, is your society really so dangerous to women that such measures are actually necessary?  Shouldn’t you tackle the issue, the men who are perpetrating these crimes, rather than restricting the women?

 

In the end ‘god likes it that way’ is the only reason backing up your gender roles as hard and fast rules.  The majority of people in my society choose to live within those roles to some extent but many don’t to a greater or lesser extent which works just fine for them.  All of these options that people in my society do choose are perfectly workable but under ‘god does not like it’ reasoning these options are denied to people in your society.

 

Even the way you dress is restricted by the roles set out in your system, you say this is to stay clear of trouble as are the rules about avoiding being alone with a strange man but these are everyday occurrences in my society and the problems that are caused are very small while the benefits are huge.  Is your society really so much worse than mine that these things can really be a serious problem?

 

I disagree that our family structure has been destroyed, many people live the family life you paint but many choose other options that work very well too.  Of course we have people who neglect their families but most parents’ put a lot of time and effort into their children, that’s certainly the case in my family though I’d always love to be able to put in more time.  The family is not destroyed when the father takes on the traditional mothering roles while the wife takes on the provider role that’s just a different way of living.  Equally children with two mothers, in other words children raised in Lesbian households, have been shown to do better emotionally and mentally than children raised in heterosexual households so the ‘standard family’ is not necessarily a gold standard here.  My family has two leaders/followers, neither of us has the casting vote yet we seem to manage just fine. It’s amazing what you can achieve if you just work together.  Maybe other people can’t manage that, that’s really sad but I’m sure it happens.  Of course some people choose to give the leadership role over to someone else which is also fine, my only problem is when that role is proscribed on sex lines.

 

No I would not praise a man who walks away from his children but in our legal system such men are forced to contribute financially to their upbringing and they are given the legal right to be involved if they want to.  Mind you any man who did not want to be a part of his childs life is probably not the sort of man you’d want involved.  I know of a number of men who fall into this category, seeing their children only rarely and in many cases that’s probably for the best as they make terrible role models and nurturers.

 

Do you consider the womans role running the household as just sitting at home?  That is the role the man in question has taken on.  He’s doing all the work around the house, all the work of raising the children, all the work that the woman traditionally takes on as a house wife.  If that’s your idea of sitting around then you probably have never tried it.  Neither party has the right to demand money from the other but in a marriage any money either earns become joint property so they are each equaly entitled to use it regardless of the gender of the earner.  That is reasonable and not sexist.

 

It’s selfish of either party to a marriage not to discuss their plans which may affect the family, it doesn’t matter if it is the man of the house or the woman.  If the man decides that he really wants some particular job which pays less than his current one that will affect the family, if he decides that he wants a job which will earn more but take more of his time that too will affect the family.  Why is it the woman who has to get his approval for her plans but not the other way around?  Why is it only selfish when the woman decides to do what she wants but not the man?

 

Russell

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Hi Redeemed

 

One of the things that I see really clearly today is that religions are actually moving towards a new morality.  Look at the bible or the quran, they contain some of the most amazingly horrible messages on morality on page after page.  The bible, for example, suggests that you should stone your daughter to death if she is raped but refuses to marry her attacker.  That’s a horrible message and a horrible moral.  It also supports slavery and many other clearly immoral ideas.  Have you noticed how, year by year, the bits of the bible that its proponents actually preach is becoming more selective.  They pick the ‘good’ bits and down play all the bad bits.  They are ignoring the horrible morals in favour of the better subset mostly at least.

 

Society as a whole is a step or two ahead of religious leaders in pushing for even more progressive moral ideals, gay marriage, sexual freedoms, sexual and cast equality etc.

 

What I think we all need to consider is this, what is the source of this new morality?  Could it be that humans can see what good morals would look like and they are pushing for them?  That they can rationally deduce what humanistic morality is, even if they don’t call it that, and they are pushing, more and more, for this set of rules as opposed to the out dated, immoral and foolish ideas they have been taught for years?

 

Russell

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How sister paradise lost has explained about the gender
roles in the main is the framework that the teachings of Islam has constructed.
What we believe will be of best benefit for not only families but the community
as a whole.



 

Laws and rules are never made up for individuals, rather
they are made generally for the majority of people and such is the case in
Islam. It goes without saying that there are cases when individual’s situations
need to be looked at and this is why scholars are able to issue Fatawa on an
individual basis if required.



 

At the heart of why we Muslims embrace these gender roles is
because it is part of what Allah has told us, we are servants of god first
before anything else. Allah would never order us to do something which was
detrimental to us or to our society and as you can see there are major benefits
in the system that Islam orders us to implement.



 

Your points are arguing the case for individuals outside the
norm, as stated before scholars are able to advise and can issue rulings for
people in special circumstances.



 

Also another point, you said looking does not hurt… it does
not but does it stop there. The look leads to desire, the greater the desire
the more one feels to act upon it until they do. Which is why Islamically men
are women are instructed to lower their gaze and not look upon the other sex
with desire.



 

Men should not be alone with women as well, nor should they
talk to them outside of what is required. The law for men and women is the same
in this regard.



 

I have not read all of your post and will respond more
later, these are a few points I had time to get back on.



 

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Redeemed i am not sure if you are mocking or being serious. But i will take it as a serious question.

 

If a man is married (1,2,3 or 4 wives) or unmarried he should lower his gaze, Just as women should. Obviously when walking you will look upon the faces of different people inadvertedly, which is why lowering the gaze refers to looking back at a person more times then required.  

 

when a man wants to marry, be it his first second or third time... the meeting takes place under a controlled environment and because the purpose is for marriage in that meeting the lowering of the gaze rule is lifted for both of them.

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Hi Russell, 

 

Excuse me that I have taken a bit of time getting back as I am a little busy at the moment and our replies tend to be long! I will try make this one not so long.

 


 

 

You’re boxes limit the options available to humans to decide their own destinies based on gender and that is wrong.

 

I disagree because in life we first must deal with our responsibilities before we have a I want attitude. This is exactly the attitude I am criticising that is becoming more common in the west. Everybody must take on their responsibilities before they demand rights. But in this western society people are forgetting their responsibilities and just remembering their rights and that is why you have the society you have today in the west. More and more you see selfish people who do not want to help others. The effect of this attitude comes down to the most basic things. 

 

 

To justify the differences in the way women and men are treated you pointed out that women suffer from PMS and associated problems which is of course true but women also have immune systems which kick in faster and harder than men so while they may suffer in one area they are likely to suffer less in another area because they get over the colds and flu’s we all suffer from faster and easier than men. 


 

I don’t think comparing a cold which we may get once or twice a year is the same as menstruating every month. It is just not the same thing. They can both have different side effects.

 

 

PMS does not make a woman incapable of thinking rationally at the same level as a man any more than migraines make a man incapable of carrying out whatever role he chooses except while these people suffer.  In all cases all they have to do is wait out their issue and then get back into their role.

 


 

What about scientific evidence that suggests that one of the side effects of pms is loss of concentration and trouble remembering things. This is not to say ALL women suffer from these symptoms but the fact that it is a side effect for some women needs to be considered and not thrown by the sidelines. Is it right that we ignore such effects? 

 

 

You say that women can and do work in your society but you explain that to be secondary to their assigned role as child raisers and the jobs you talk of are all minor and limited. 


Minor??? So women who work as teachers, scientists and doctors are minor roles in society?? Are you serious these are some of the most important roles in society. I don’t think these are minor roles at all? They can have whatever role they want as long as it is within Islamic guidelines. There is nothing that says women can’t work in business. In the early days of Islamic society women were involved in trade. The main thing that needs to be avoided is riba (interest) and unnecessary mixing with the opposite sex. 

 

 

That fixed, child rearing role, is the issue I was driving at.  That is something women on average excel at over men and it is a role that many women will choose to take on because they are so much better at it and they enjoy it but that’s an average, not all women go down that path 

But Islam does not say all women will marry and have children. Some women will never marry, some women biologically have problems conceiving. However, if a woman does choose to marry and does choose to have children then they need to be her first responsibilities. If you choose to have children you can't walk away from that decision because a child depends on its parents in order to develop. If you leave a child alone and do not give it the correct nourishment they cannot develop properly. 

 

 

Some couples choose not to have children or to put it off till later in life.  Why should the woman who chooses not to have children be restricted in the roles she can take up in her work?  Why should the woman whose husband excels at child raising be restricted in what job she could choose?

The muslim woman is not restricted in her roles the only restriction is that it be within the guidelines of Islam and this is also for the man too. The man also should avoid places of mixing with women in the workplace where it is not necessary. 
And if you say you are a Muslim you accept that you believe in Allah and you accept that the rulings he gives are right. So if you believe there are some circumstances in which he doesn’t want you to be then you don’t put yourself in those situations. Why would any Muslim woman choose to be for example a prostitute if she believes that such a job is not Islamically right? 

 

As regards to your comment about there being no need for a head of the family I think this is why your family structures have failed. And There is no demand to be the head it is a given right. Of course couples discuss their problems, you talk so naively no offence. It doesn’t mean because the man is given that right that he demands everything his way. He also has restrictions within Islamic law. If you look at the life of the prophet Muhammad pbuh and the way he interacted with his wives you will see that he did not treat his wives unfairly and have a demanding character. And he is our example that we are supposed to follow. This is why people who demand reform on the basis of Islam believe life will be better because if men know how the prophet behaved then they will also learn that this is the right way to behave. Unfortunately today we have some men who are ignorant of Islam and certainly go beyond their rights. 

 

As for your sexism well at least you are saying we are also sexist against men because I can't stand when people just pick on women in Islam when we clearly have given roles for both genders. But I don't think we will agree. I believe there is a lot of research to support my case. Yes I believe that because Allah said it is this way then it is this way but my faith is stronger than that because i see the truth in the word of Allah and I see research that backs it up. To think that a man would expect money from his wife (unless there is a financial difficulty they are experiencing in which the man cannot cover himself) is odd to me, even before I became a Muslim it was odd to me. This is why I think muslim women are more privileged than women in your society. We are taken care of and we can keep any money we earn for ourselves. And in the case of a divorce we have our mahr. 

 

 

Women are not allowed to have contact alone with strange men but men suffer from no such restriction against contact with strange women.  

Totally wrong. In the quran there is a verse which demands men to lower their gaze just like there is a verse that demands women to lower their gaze. Men also have to dress modestly not showing certain parts of their body. Men also are not to talk with women unnecessarily or be alone with a strange woman. 

Tell the believing men to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts). That is purer for them. Verily, Allah is All-Aware of what they do. (24:30)

 

And men do suffer the consequences of going beyond Islamic law. This is not a system which makes the women follow the law and makes the women get punished. Men are required to also follow the law and they also suffer the punishments.

 

 

Women are not allowed to travel far from home unescorted.  

Yes that is right. However, I personally beleive scholars of Islam need to take into account more the advances of technology. In most urban cities now there are cameras and most women will carry a mobile phone which they can use when something goes wrong. I don't think though we should ever disregard the fact that some cultures have different perceptions of women and in some places women will be more in danger than men. 

 

As regards to women covering themselves, well it is really a topic that even Muslims can't agree on. Scholars differ in their opinion of modesty. But I think in a majority muslim country we can come to an agreement of modesty. Most Muslims would agree that covering the chest area on a woman is right and covering her legs is right. Headscarfs and veils are debated between Muslims though.The scholars themselves though are very respected and their work is well done if you re interested in looking into their views. And I just want to say that our dress is also a sign of our identity so that we do not dress like the non Muslims. It is not just about modesty. Men also are asked to grow a beard or grow a mustache to be different from the non Muslims. 

 

I think you just don't understand the value of a woman in Islam and that is why you view her as a child. I know for certain I am not a child and the rights I have are not those similar to a child. I mean you are saying things like men have the final vote in the colour of paint and really strange things which to me just seems silly. You obviously don't think muslim women have voices. There are also different ways of dealing with a problem in Islam. Like if the wife finds that she is unhappy and she has done everything she can then she can call a person from her husbands family and a person from her family to help them in their marriage. 

 

 

Yes we are all restricted so we don’t have absolute freedom but in my society women are as free as men.  There are no rules or customs that say that women can’t do this or that, so I agree that none of us is actually free but we are equally free regardless of our gender and that’s critical here.

Yes you have anti discriminatory laws but they don't seem to be making a difference. Why then do women still earn less than men? http://metro.co.uk/2013/08/21/the-gender-pay-gap-why-are-women-still-being-paid-less-than-men-3931817/

 

I am just honestly surprised at how little emphasis you think the sex and music industry has in the west. I don't know maybe it is a generational difference that you don't seem to know the effects of MTV because I know my parents also wouldn't know much about it. But definitely young teenagers and people in their 20s are affected by this industry. Most of the fan bases of singers come from this age bracket. It is a very small segment of society (singers, sex industry) that are affecting a large proportion of our youth. I am shocked when I hear young girls singing the lyrics to some songs, I hope they don't know what they mean but it seems they do. This is definitely not a minor issue I am picking at. I am not someone from the middle of nowhere looking for things to show why I am anti western. I live in the west so I know what goes on here. And you seem to think having an eating disorder is so uncommon yet so many girls keep it a secret so how would you even know. The statistics are high and it is young girls that have the highest rates. We need a society where young girls look up to good role models such as Mary mother of Jesus and Aisha and other women from contemporary times instead of people like Rihanna. We need a society where young girls do not feel their appearance has to matter all the time and that their personality should be their focus. 

 

I completely disagree with you when you say the family system is ok in the west. It clearly isn't. I have read research that children develop better when they have both parents in their life and if both their parents provide love. The fact that you think it is ok that a man can walk away from his child as long as he gives money to the mother is truly worrying. However, it is not surprising because I see this attitude is on the rise in the west. It is a wrong attitude and it shows children especially boys that its ok to have sex and not deal with the consequences completely. 

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Do you consider the womans role running the household as just sitting at home?  

I certainly don't! But a lot of people who are against Islam and the role of a woman in Islam tend to think that is all she does! Glad you don't think like this.

 

 

It’s selfish of either party to a marriage not to discuss their plans which may affect the family, it doesn’t matter if it is the man of the house or the woman.  If the man decides that he really wants some particular job which pays less than his current one that will affect the family,

You would be surprised there are actually rulings in Islam that tell a man to not neglect his wife if he works! Yes thats right if a man works many hours in a week there a rulings that tell a man he should spend more time with his wife and try to shorten his hours at work. You may find it hard to believe but men in Islam don't live the life they want and neglect their wives. This is not the Islamic system. This is certainly not the example the prophet taught us.

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You Christians make me laugh like seriously it seems like you don't know your own holy book. 

 

 

First of it should always come down to personal choice, a woman should never be seen as an extension of a man, being husband, father, or any other male relative.

For man did not come from woman, but woman from man;neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. (1 Corinthians11:8-9)

 

A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.  For Adam was formed first, then Eve.  And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.  But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety. (1 Timothy 2:11-15)

 

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. (Ephesians 5:22-24)

 

At least as Muslims we are not ashamed of our holy book and we do not try to hide what it says. Christians have always been trying to hide the word of God. Its such a shame. 

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Hi Ala’adin

 

You are right to an extent that I am discussing the people whose desires fall outside the norm that your rules portray for all people and I’ve mentioned a small number of specific examples.  To me it seems clearly wrong that someone must seek a fatwa from a religious leader if they wish to live the life that will make them happy even to try a lifestyle that might make them happy just to see if it works.  Surely they should be able to make up their own minds within reasonable limits.  Many people in my society, probably most, live outside some of the rules you have laid down because in their opinions the lifestyle they have chosen works better.  If each needed a fatwa to affirm their choices it would become a very cumbersome system and I’m sure it would be a very restrictive system.  It would mean that those writing the fatwa had a very strong meddling hand in everyone’s affairs.  I can just imagine the sort of abuse that such a system would be open to just for starters.

 

I understand that desire can be sparked by seeing someone of the opposite sex especially in a bikini or budgie smugglers for example but, unlike you, I can go and talk to her/him, I can discuss these things if I want to and I’m even allowed to ask them to have sex with me.  As a married man I obviously wouldn’t but I’m allowed by the rules of my society.  I do often talk to sexy women both for work and socially and I often admire them but that’s as far as it goes because I’m a normal human being and I can control my desires easily enough.  There is something wrong with those people who can’t control their desires and they would probably not fit into our society.  How many people in your society fall into this category?  How many people in your society can’t control their desires?  For us seeing sexy members of the opposite sex is an everyday occurrence, talking to them is also an everyday occurrence and dropping your eyes is seen as rude avoidance behavior.  Despite the horrible claims from some quarters this does not cause significant problems in our society, in fact the figures I’ve seen suggest that we have less problems of sexual assault etc in our society than the more restrictive muslim societies in the middle east.

 

Now there are people who can’t control their desires, far too many but the numbers are not very high and the chances are that most people will never interact with one of them but they do exist and our legal system takes a very dim view of how they behave and locks them up.  The last one I heard of was given life plus one thousand years just to be sure he’s not getting out again.  Of course that’s for cases of rape etc not just for people having consensual sex outside of marriage but I’ve already spelled out why that is not actually an issue if it’s done properly by using protection etc.  I understand that you still have a problem with protected sex outside of marriage but again I’ve never seen a reason to have problems with this apart form ‘god does not like it’.

 

I agree that laws are not made up for the benefit of individuals from one point of view at least but laws are necessary to control the behavior of interacting individuals for the ultimate benefit of individuals.  The aim of those laws must be to create happiness for those individuals involved.  We can’t all rule the world for example so we need rules to control our conflicting desires but these rules should always be as open as possible doing the minimum required to create a happy society and that means that the laws must aim to make as many of the individuals in that society as happy as possible while leaving them free to make as many choices as possible.  Your laws seem to step far beyond that point and that’s where I see a problem with them.  They restrict actions that individuals may reasonably take which would not negatively impact other people significantly but which would make themselves and those around them happier.  To me that restriction is clearly, morally, wrong.

 

You have rules which spell out the role of women as child raisers and housekeepers but they don’t allow women who might want it to be astronauts or truck drivers or company executives even though women do excel at these roles at times unless they get special dispensation to do so in the form of a fatwa.  Your rules assume that everyone will be happiest if everyone lives very similar lives but most people I know would not be happy under such draconian rules.  Very few people live lives that would fit completely into those formulas though many come fairly close by choice in my society.

 

Yes I understand that you believe god said that’s how it should be so you are living up to a predefined and in your view perfect standard, obviously I disagree about the god did it part but I also disagree that these rules could in any way be construed as the best possible moral system for humans.  The fact that so many people want to live lives that don’t look like your idea of the perfect way to live speaks volumes about the truth of that claim to me.

 

One point we will always disagree on is the afterlife.  Yes I understand that you see the proper life here as a way into an eternal and good afterlife so even if this life is less than it might be you see that as working for a far more significant reward after death.  Obviously I disagree but there’s probably no way to settle that one.  There is no evidence that there is an afterlife and plenty of evidence that suggests such a thing is really really improbable but you can’t actually prove it either way so we’ll probably have to agree to disagree on that point.

 

Russell

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You have misunderstood the laws or Islam or you do not know
them. Generally speaking the vast majority of people do not need a fatwa and go
about a perfectly happy life living within the laws of Islam. A fatwa is
required in special cases, those outside of the norm.


 

You talk about controlling desire; I am not talking here
about sexual assault alone but what desire leads to and how rampant casual sex
is in the west and the effects that it causes. Teenage pregnancies are a huge
issue, which is an issue that only grows every year. Not only this but the psychological
effects of casual sex is also something that is well documented. Alongside this
the issue that it has on a society is detrimental.

 

 Would you be content
if your daughter was to have a different partner every night? (using protection
ofcourse)

 

The figures you have seen? Please go research these figures
again.  The statistics show these are far
higher in western countries. US being amongst the highest.

 

Your talk about laws to make people happy is naïve,
different things make different people happy and even then people in general do
not really even know what they want. An example of this ‘buyers remorse’ a
common term we all know, when you are so sure you want it and it will make you
happy and then when you have it, it all changes.



 

With regards to freedom, Allah says in the Quran, “there is
no compulsion in this religion” so you have the freedom to do what you want. We
trust that Allah knows what is best for us and our society and so we seek as
best as we can to observe the boundaries set by Allah.



 

Again as sister Lost mentioned in her latest post, that
women can strive and work in many different fields so long as it is done within
the guidelines of Islam. Fatwas again for special circumstance a woman would
not need a fatwa to become a doctor or the like.



 

How people wish to live their lives is entirely up to them,
as sister lost said more and more people are living selfish lives pleasing only
themselves. Islam teaches us to focus more on giving others their rights then
trying to take our own.



 

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Hi Ala’adin

 

I am only getting bits and pieces from the people here so I certainly don’t know all about Islam and it’s laws and I can see that people who are taught that this is how you should want to live may well live those lives even though they might choose something better if they were really free to do so.  That last is really my point, you say that the choices I’ve mentioned, women becoming fighter pilots or truck drivers etc, would need a fatwa because they both involve unislamic concepts, the truck driver would have to deal with men on her own as a necessary part of her job and the fighter pilot would be in command of men and would, again, have to deal with them alone at times.  Maybe the people in your society choose to live within the rules set out for them but would they if they had choices?  Given the choices that people make in my society I suspect that they would not, at least they would choose other things far more often if they were free to do so.

 

One interesting question then is how many of the ways people live in my society would fall outside the standard set of rules you are talking about. I suspect that there are a great many and each of those would need a fatwa apparently.

 

I think we have a basic disagreement on the dangers of desire, I see sexual assault in its many forms as really bad thing but desire leading to sex can be a good thing.  Yes there are down sides and I’ve discussed them here before, STDs and pregnancy being the main ones.  Contrary to your claims in Australia the teenage pregnancy rates have actually fallen over the last 40 years from around 5% to around 1.5% today.  That dramatic fall is due in large part to better sex education and the easy availability of contraception.  Still that means that around 98.5% of teenagers today just have fun having sex and many of those teenagers who are producing children are doing so by choice so we are unlikely to get lower than around 1.5%.  You’ll have to tell me how those figures represent some horrible detriment to our society.  Casual sex for many people is just part of life, they suffer no psychological effects what so ever and have a lot of fun along the way while there are probably a few people who do have a problem with it but then no one is forcing them so if they have a problem they just don’t do it.

 

A different partner every night is a very very rare thing and no I would not be happy with that but let’s look at what actually happens in our society rather than the very very rare exceptions.  Generally teenagers form relationships that can include sex but it is sex within the relationship so they don’t swap partners often.  Many such relationships last years, some go on to be lifelong with the people marrying when they are older but most end as they learn more about what makes them happy and what doesn’t in a relationship and they realize that they aren’t right for each other.  Learning what you want in a relationship is a critical step in forming good long term relationships.

 

I don’t live in the US and I can’t say I know what their statistics are so I’ll stick with the Australian figures which show a steady improvement over the last 40 years with the current figures reflecting largely those teenagers who choose to have children with the rest successfully dealing with contraception so they don’t have these issues while they still get to have all the fun and learning.

 

You sound like you are talking about very proscriptive laws here when you say that making laws to make people happy is naive but I don’t see a big distinction here between our positions.  You impose a set of laws on people designed in their ‘best interests’.  Obviously as an atheists I believe those rules were written down by men pushing their own ideas a long time ago and claiming god was behind it to give them force.  These men were completely ignorant of what our society is capable of and so of how to best live in our society.  My scheme is more open, laws should be written and updated as we learn more with the aim of making people as happy as possible.  I suspect that happiness will be achieved with a great deal of freedom, that proscriptive laws would not work because we are all different.  You laws appear to spell out people’s roles, man = father / husband / breadwinner / head of the house, woman = mother / wife / homemaker.  My laws on the other hand would look more like, you can do whatever you like except for, followed by a long list of things that would negatively impact other people.  So long as you were not hurting other people you would pretty much be free to do whatever you wanted.

 

Yes I’m aware of “buyer’s remorse”, luckily it’s a very rare thing in my experience but maybe I’m a bit more carful than other people in what I choose to spend my money on.  Of course a normal person who bought something they later decided they didn’t want would just put it up on EBay and sell it off again and that’s the end of the problem.

 

I’m not sure what to say about the no compulsion in Islam idea.  I keep hearing about things you can’t or shouldn’t do coming from the mouths of the contributors here.  It certainly sounds like these ideas are pushed on you with some force. They don’t come across as just suggestions on how to live.

 

If a woman wanted to become a urologist would that present any issues for your religion?  A urologist deals with both sexes and deals with the sex organs of strange men as part of her profession.  From what I’ve heard that would be an issue.  Ok that’s an extreme example but even a general practitioner is going to have male patients present with issues with their sex organs so she’s going to have to deal with them.  Or do your female doctors only get to deal with female patients?

 

These “guidelines of Islam” are still very ill-defined to me here so maybe it would make more sense if I knew more about them. So far I get the feeling that those guidelines involve no unescorted long distance travel, no dealing with strange men alone, no cutting into your duties as a house wife and mother.  What else is there in those guidelines?

 

I’m all for looking after the less fortunate in the community, our system of government in Australia is well setup for this and I believe does a good job at it.  If you can’t find work, for example, you get unemployment benefits and you can claim them for life if you don’t find work in the mean time.  Our public health system is very good, I’ve used it myself on more than one occasion even though I’m also privately insured and the public system is free for all funded by the government.  We also have disability benefits for people incapable of working and we have benefits for many other things so I think our system takes care of the less fortunate well and I agree that this is a good thing.  I’m not impressed by the American system from what I know of it.

 

Living selfish lives, pleasing only yourself, is an unusual way to live in my society but we have the freedom to do so if we really want to.  Of course we are still required to pay our taxes and that money goes into building road and running our hospitals and paying unemployment benefits so even this sort of person will be contributing to the rest of the community but they can live the rest of their lives in a very selfish way.

 

Russell

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Without sounding rude, if you do not know about Islam and its laws and you are just choosing to raise discussions on bits and pieces, then maybe you should go away read up on them and learn fully. You mentioned again the point would people choose to live within rules if they had choices or were free, again if this was the case there would be different laws for every person in the world. In the same way people in Australia if given choices, would they stick to all the laws set out by parliament?

 

Something I highly doubt. As I said in my previous post, muslims do have a
choice and by choosing Islam they choose to live within these laws.


 

How about in the case where a married man or woman develop this desire for someone other than their partner?
How can that be a good thing?



 

With regards to what you claimed, according to an Australian government website it states that 30% of teenagers (granted most in their late teens) but of this 50% of these women have an abortion. [http://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/teenage-pregnancy]. These statistics do not agree with your claim that all those getting pregnant are doing so by choice.



Again without sounding rude, I feel I need to ask how old you are because casual sex is causing a major issue. We live in on over sexed society, way too much focus is placed upon it and with how accessible pornography is in today’s world and the filth it promotes, people have begun to form unrealistic ideas about it. It causes major issues in schools and amongst the younger generation who feel that they must look, dress and act in certain ways. There was a news report recently (will try find a link to it) in which a girl spoke about she felt because of what was being said and how people acted she had to do things she was not comfortable with just so she could fit in. It led her to get depressed and hate herself, something she claimed is common amongst teenagers today.  



Your idea about what happens in society appears to be somewhat dated, having graduated from university a few years ago, what you describe is not the case in the main. It is a mixture you have some who form relationships and others who just want to have ‘fun’. One night stands are very common.



Really and truly as I have said before you issue is that you do not believe in god, so really the argument should be about whether there is a god or not and if there is should you follow the laws set out. Your system is flawed by your own standards, “everyone can do what they want except a long list of things that negatively impact people” so who comes up with this list? There is no way you are going to be able to get a community to agree on all things on a list.



In truth in Islam everything is permissible except that which is mentioned as unlawful, which as described previously is generally that which may cause detriment in the society.



We are not talking about me and you; this is not a local level discussion we are looking at the general society. By the logic you have made about selling on ebay, people would be chopping and changing laws according to their whims. How could that ever be a good thing.


 

I’m not sure what to say about the no compulsion in Islam idea. I keep hearing about things you can’t or shouldn’t do coming from the mouths of the contributors here. It certainly sounds like these ideas are pushed on you with some force. They don’t come across as just suggestions on how to live.



Well no compulsion in the religion, is a verse from the Quran and so there is no dispute regarding it. People often advise on here saying you shouldn’t or can’t because this is what is best for a person. Its like a when a person is studying for a test, if he or she is not revising or preparing you would advise them, whether they take it or not is up to them.



I think it’s a great idea that women become urologists, female doctors deal with females and male doctors deal with males. In the case of emergencies where there is a life of death matter then ofcourse it can switch vice versa, but very rarely is a sex organ issue life or death.


 

Maybe you should go away and learn about the laws of Islam if they are ill defined to you.  


 

Regards



 

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Yea I have to agree with aladin. Russell I do think you come from a different generation if you think that one night stands are rare and that people are not sleeping with several partners. I am currently a university student and I can tell you that there are many students involved in casual sex outside of relationships. It isn't a case that people get involved in long term relationships and then become more intimate. The majority cases I see is that people are not in relationships and it is just for fun, or just something that happens when people get drunk after parties. And after the weekend you hear people talking about what they got up to on the weekend almost bragging about what they did..it makes me feel so sorry for them that they think its cool. It is almost like a competition to them. 

I know for sure when my parents were growing up that this sort of stuff didn't happen as much as it does today and even my parents have a hard time believing such things happen so maybe you also are similar to my parents in this respect. But the fact is young people are involved in a lot of things their parents don't know about. 

Even take a look at this:

http://www.esrc.ac.uk/news-and-events/press-releases/20028/does-your-mother-know.aspx

 

To you casual sex is a personal choice but casual sex is something that affects people and society. The effect on young people who aren't involved in casual sex but many people around them are is tremendous, they feel a lot of pressure to become involved. And Islam is not an individualistic religion, it places emphasis on the larger community. People have choices but we can't make choices that harm the rest of society. You don't take into account the effects such actions have on people's mental well being, health, and family. 

 

And you seem to see getting a fatwa as some negative thing. Muslims seek religious advice on a vast array of subjects everyday. When someone is not sure about the Islamic law that is what they do. Just like in your country and most other country's when people are not sure about the law or how their situation is dealt with by the law they go to the citizen's advice bureau etc. Maybe you just associate negative things with the word fatwa like some westerners but it is really not a negative thing. 

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Hi Ala’adin

 

I think people here have explained enough about Islam that I can at least discuss some of the ideas in it.  If you have ideas from Islam that solve some of the issues I raise then you should just point them out.  So far that’s not happening though some of the edges have been softened just a little by the details you guys have filled in but none of the defences get to the nub of the problems I see at least none of those presented so far.

 

Firstly, from my point of view, we are on this rock on a one way ride to the grave so we’d better make the most of it.  Along the way we may choose to take risks that we enjoy but which expose us to all sorts of dangers up to and including death and that’s fine so long as we go in with our eye’s open as much as that’s possible.  We may choose to climb mountains, to ride motorcycles or to swim with sharks for example because we enjoy such things.  We may equally choose to have sex with every beautiful stranger we meet if that is our desire.  All of these activities have risk associated but all of those risks can be mitigated to a large extent so long as we take care with how we go about it.

 

It sounds like you have misunderstood what I’m suggesting here, I’m not suggesting that everyone’s wants to live differently so each person needs a different set of rules rather I’m suggesting that the rules should be open enough that they will allow people to live very very different lives within the one set of rules.  There should not be a rule which says that all women must primarily be home makers for example because we know that not every woman wants to fill that role, we do however need a rule that says that if you produce a child you have to ensure that it will be provided with a certain minimum set of things, food, shelter etc.  There’s no reason why the role of mother has to be in the rules because a man can provide virtually all of the same support so the rules should simply set a minimum standard and leave each couple the choice to work out how they go about meeting the child’s needs.

 

You asked if every person in Australia would want to stick to all the laws passed by parliament, I very much doubt that they would but the more important question must be should they?  We have a rule that says you can’t drive a car when you’ve had too much to drink and people get into a lot of trouble if caught breaking that rule but some people still seem to believe they should be able to drive home carefully while drunk because they can cope with it even though the statistics clearly show that this is not the case.  Should we repeal that law because some people disagree with it?  Does the fact that that law is in the best interest of the whole of society overrule the individuals dislike of it?  I believe that rules must be made in the best interests of the total happiness of our society and rules like murder is wrong, drink driving is wrong etc are all overriding rules that should exist no matter how much certain individuals may think they should not.  What I disagree with is the idea that we should based anything in our society on the ideas of long dead men who had no idea what our society would look like or be capable of.

 

The point is to make all of the rules as high level and open as possible so as to prevent things which are specifically bad for the overall happiness of society while letting people do pretty much anything else they might feel like.  You’ll note that such rules allow people to live virtually all of the ideas you have promoted on this website if that is how they want to live.  Just because you are free to have sex with people outside of marriage does not mean that you have to, you can save yourself till marriage and you can, assuming you are old enough, consent to a marriage arranged for you to someone you’ve never met if that is really how you want to live but no law should ever make you do those things, you should be free to choose them only if you want to.

 

Where Islam is a choice I have no problems with it but how much choice do people really have?  In some countries Islam is the law of the land so you are forced to live under it even if you object, in other places your entire family may be muslim so even if you strongly object you will lose a lot by not following the laws but in as much as Islam is a free choice I have no problem with it.

 

Unfaithfulness is a bad thing, it is a breach of the trust and the agreement you made when you married but people change over time so after many years you may well find that your partner is not the right person for you anymore.  It would be brilliant if everyone could find their perfect match for life the first time every time but we are human so that’s not going to happen.  I don’t think we should cheat on our partners but if you have worked out that your partner is not the one for you then you should have the choice to leave that relationship and move on.  The science is clear that that is far healthier for the children involved than staying together even though you are no longer right for each other and it is clearly better for the individuals involved who can move on to a relationship that is right for them.

 

I’m not sure who ran that website you linked to, they claim to be presenting the data on behalf of the government but I can’t find any reason to believe that and the official Australian government statistics differ significantly from their claims and they are the ones I quoted.  http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Teenage_pregnancy . Teen pregnancy rates are far lower than you suggested, around 50% of 18 year olds have had sex and around 5% of those got pregnant.  That’s about 2.5% overall pregnancy rate at 18.  The figures are significantly lower at 16 years old.  Of those around 1.5% decided to carry the baby to term and the majority of those kept the child.  As I said I have no idea who actually runs the website you linked to but, as you can see, the website I linked to is a .gov website run by the Australian government.

 

I have no problems with you asking how old I am, I’m 49 years old, have five children ranging from 12 to 20 years old, three girls and two boys and all doing really well at the moment.

 

Teenagers getting depressed about how they fit in has been an issue forever, the issues today are different to the past but there have always been issues that have lead to depression and associated problems so that’s nothing new.

 

Pornography is a mixed bag, it certainly teaches people a very warped view of human sexuality but I think most people are aware of that certainly in my society where it’s taught in sex education classes.  Pornography does teach people not to be scared of human sexuality and that’s a positive thing so it has ups and downs so to speak.  How it’s made can be problematic with exploitation etc of people and I think we need to deal with that carefully though quite a bit of the currently available pornography is made by people who are exhibitionists who film themselves and post it online so that others can watch them.  It’s a very mixed bag as I said.  Is it actually causing all these problems you seem to see?  I’d like to see some evidence of that if you can find any.  I’m not suggesting that it causes no problems but I don’t believe it causes anywhere near the level of problems you claim.

 

You’ll have to define oversexed?  Is there any level of sex that is actually ‘over’.  Sex is healthy and it’s fun so what’s wrong with it?  If it stopped us earning a living that might be a problem but I’ve not heard of that happening; well not often at least.

 

Don’t get me wrong I know that one night stands occur and that some people specialize in them while others would do it rarely if at all.  Sometimes when drunk someone might take part in sex and realize in the morning that they had nothing in common with their partner of the previous night so they are never going to work as a couple while others go out looking for one more conquest.  I see nothing wrong with any of that so long as people use a little bit of intelligence and so protection so they don’t catch anything or get pregnant.  What is the harm if everyone does things carefully?

 

This thread is not about ‘is there a god’ but if you want to start one and point me at it I’m happy to take part.  I’ve done that particular argument to death in the past but if you have anything new to bring to the table then I’m open to it.  So far ‘you just have to have faith’ is the only argument for god that does not evaporate when you look deeply into it and that is unsatisfying on so many levels.

 

We seem to manage to come up with laws that work in our current society, the majority of those laws are not based on religion but on human intellects and we seem to mange to abide by them or work to change them in a rational manner.  You may not feel that we are capable of formulating a good set of laws to govern us but I would have to suggest that we already do.  I think those laws could be better if the remaining vestiges of religion that do still exist in them were removed and they were just based on current human intellect and knowledge but we are getting closer to that every day.  We came quite close recently to allowing gay marriage for example which is a very anti-religious position but it is a humanistic position so we’re getting there.  Unfortunately we ended up with the christian nutcase in charge of our country at the last election and he knocked the gay marriage idea on the head for the moment but we’ll get there I’m sure.  Bit by bit humanism is winning here though much of the improvement has been far less controversial than gay marriage.

 

“In Islam everything is permissible except for those things which aren’t”, is that really what you said? We may well argue about which rules are better for society and which are worse but many of the rules you paint as, ‘in the best interests of society’ are clearly only in the best interests of some particularly slice of society not of society as a whole.  Polygamy, homophobia, and sexism just to name a few are all quite sever negatives in any society just for starters.

 

Ebay was a practical answer to byers regret, if you buy something and find you don’t want it after all just sell it off again and learn your lesson.

 

Laws should be so open that, unless what you wish to do is bad for someone the law will not have a problem with you doing it.  You would never have to change such laws unless you find that one of them is missframed.  Unless the law prevents you doing something which is good for society or does not prevent you from doing something which is bad for society then the law should stand.  If the laws are correctly framed the range of options open to each member of that society are so broad that they will not feel restricted by them and so should never wish to change them.  Women who wish to become astronauts or truck drivers should be free to do so as should men who choose to be house husbands.  Women who wish to travel the world on their own should be free to do so etc etc.  A human will be held to have sufficient intelligence to determine their own course so long as certain basic duties are upheld.  Such duties will include tax’s, supporting any children produced etc.  Beyond that every person will be free to do whatever they like, to make the most of their lives.

 

The problem with only female doctors dealing with female patients and male doctors for male patients is that there are far fewer female doctors produced so females will have a much harder time visiting the doctor than males.  Of course the majority of conditions that anyone will see a doctor for have no sex relevance at all, we all get colds or broken bones etc so why can’t either sex treat such conditions?  We have strict rules about relationships between doctors and patients and anyone found breaching such rules is liable to be struck off, that works very well in our society so cases in which doctors form relationships with patients are very very rare as are the cases in which doctors sexually abuse patients though both do happen.

 

If, in a muslim country, a woman chose to go out into the world and become a truck driver on her own, if there were no compulsion then that should be fine but would it be?  Sure the religion may not say she must not but would she actually be able to do so?  Is the idea of mixing with the opposite sex also just a suggestion from Islam or is that an enforceable rule?

 

Russell

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Hi ParadiseLost

 

Maybe I’m looking at the bigger picture, sure among the young one night stands are common, they’re not that rare among my generation but they are certainly the exception now.  But the young generation is what percentage of the total population?  If your peer group represents say 5% of the population and they have lots of one night stands that does not significantly offset the remaining 95% who do not so I think my point stands.  I guess I also don’t actually see a problem with one night stands so long as the well understood precautions are taken to avoid STD’s and pregnancies.  As I said the science is clear, sex is healthy and it’s fun so why would anyone object.

 

I guess we’ll see how things go as my children grow but so far, apart from the 20 year old, we have always known where our children are at night, every single night.  Even the 20 year old has only been at an unknown location at night a few times in his life.

 

Yes I do feel that casual sex is an individual choice but I understand that peer pressure is also involved so you may well feel pressured to get involved.  I support your choice not to if that’s what works for you and I don’t think you should ever let your peer group push you to do things you are not comfortable with.  Keep it up!

 

I do take into account mental health and well being when I talk about casual sex.  For the vast majority casual sex is just that casual sex and sex is healthy and it’s fun.  Some people have a problem with it and some people should not get involved, that’s true for all sorts of things we do today not just sex.  How we can help such people to make that choice rationally I don’t know but I think we need to.  Sex education in this country has come a long way in this area teaching self-respect as well as contraception, teaching what pornography is and isn’t along with teaching how to go about forming relationships and the up and down sides to casual sex.  Children in this country are much better informed than my generation ever were.

 

Yes I see the need to get a fatwa as a negative, for me laws should be simple and open so that we don’t need a ruling to understand what we can and can’t do.  If you want to know if you should kill someone the law will lay it out for you in black and white.  If you want to get a certain job again it should be clear without needing an expert to interpret it for you.  The need to get a fatwa if you wish to become a female truck driver or a male house husband just seems silly to me and damaging.

 

No it’s not some negative connotation to the word fatwa, I’m aware of that but that’s not the issue.  If I don’t understand the law I can explore it online or I can hire a lawyer or go to the advice beauro to get their inputs but the ideas I get from any of those sources are taken with a grain of salt.  Each of those people could be wrong they don’t come with a religious mandate that says they know what they are talking about so I can always seek further advice from someone else if they appear to have erred.  I gather a Fatwa is taken as a ruling from a higher authority on the matter but from my perspective those higher authorities are just men.  Men are fallible, they make mistakes but they may well be ruling against something important to you so you are basing your future on the fallible ideas of some old men.  That is what I have a problem with.

 

Russell

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We are moving around in circles and this could continue for a loooong time.

 

I think that we agree that laws that are in the best intrests of the society as a whole should be implemented. Where we disagree, is how the law is formed. We as Muslims believe that we should live by the Law that God has chosen for us, this is the main sticking point for yourself and i guess all athiest.

 

I would like to suggest that you do more research rather then throw out credible sources of information and claim they are wrong. To say 50% of 18 year old have not had sex in this day and age is almost laughable.

 

Unless you have specific questions, I think its pointless to continue as we are going other the same points again and again.

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Hi Ala’adin

 

Yes we are going around in circles a bit here.  I was going to try to boil some of the discussion points down so that we can examine the differences to see if we can head that off.

 

What I’ve said is that I believe that laws and morals should be driven by the sum of human happiness.  A law is good if its effect is to create the maximum sum into the future and it is wrong if it does the alternative.  Yes the idea that ‘god’ has given us laws is a bit of a sticking point for all atheists.  Actually consider this, if the atheists are right where did those laws you wish to push on people really come from?  Where did the laws the Christians want to push on us come from or the Buddhists or the Hindu’s etc?

 

Do you consider ancient and ignorant men with wheel barrows to push a good source of morality and law for a society they could not even imagine?  Can you think of any better source?

 

Actually I didn’t say that 50% of 18 year olds haven’t had sex I said that the best evidence we that our researchers have managed to come up with says that around 50% of 18 year olds have not had sex.  I suspect that is true though I don’t know for certain that it is.  If 99% of 18 year olds had had sex but with our enlightened education system they knew how to do so with full and proper protection meaning that disease was a very minor risk as is unwanted pregnancy then to me that’s a good thing.  As I said the science is clear on this, sex is healthy and fun so what’s wrong with it.  It’s actually far less risky than many other behaviours that people choose to do all the time.

 

As I said I was going to boil down some of the issues that seem to keep going around and around without your side actually addressing them.  Now remember I’m an atheist so ‘god likes it that way’ and any of the many similar answers you may come up with don’t wash with me.  Please consider:-

 

What’s actually wrong with having properly protected sex outside of marriage?

 

What’s actually wrong with having a one night stand again properly protected etc?

 

What’s intrinsically wrong with pornography?  Yes I understand that some of it is produced in questionable ways but so are many main stream movies so that’s not unique to pornography and some pornography does not fall into that category so that is not a necessary part of pornography.  Many movies today paint worlds that are unrealistic as if they were real, pornography is just one more example.  In sex education children learn about this, they learn what normal is and that movies show matrix style dramatizations of situations that aren’t real, very sex dramatizations but dramatizations none the less.  If children are well informed why is any of this a problem anymore than showing them stories of magic or sci fi?

 

Russell

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Your question if athiests are right… in the same way if I asked you what if
athiests are wrong and there is a god? Then what of these laws?



 

 

Do you consider ancient and ignorant men with wheel
barrows to push a good source of morality and law for a society they could not
even imagine? Can you think of any better source?



 

I consider this disrespectful as it comes across that you are calling our
beloved Prophet an Ignorant man, politely I ask you to refrain from this. The
law of Islam was not from the desires of the prophet rather it is the command
of God, that determines the law.



 

Over fourteen hundred years ago, Islam gave women rights that
women in the West have only recently began to enjoy. In the 1930’s, Annie
Besant observed, “It is only in the last twenty years that the English has
recognised the right of woman to property, while Islam has allowed this right
from all times.” (The Life and Teachings of Mohammed, 1932).  



 

I would say that a minimum 50% of 18 year olds have had sex in western
countries. “with our enlightened education system” seriously if such was the
case then drug/drink abuse would be on the way down… yet both are increasing.
As much as you like to push that people practice safe sex there are many articles
that beg to differ have a look at link which claims STD’s are becoming an
epidemic.  (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2008-11-09/stds-a-teen-epidemic-experts/199342)



 



 

Regardless of whatever reason I give you, even if it is such an argument
that it convinces you, the first and most important reason as to why we
avoid/abstain from something is because it is a command of God. As I have said
in previous posts we are his servants and we obey his command as we believe
that God knows what is best for us more then we know ourselves.



 

With regards to your first two questions, Sex as you know is far more than
just the act. It affects people emotionally and psychologically. Recently there
has been a number of studies that have shown the effects of casual sex (im sure
you can find these online) highlighting many who engage in it have lower levels
of self-esteem and find themselves less content in life. Obviously there are
arguments for and against it, however as stated before whether you choose to
accept it or not it is a Command of God and that is the core reason as to why
we refrain from it. Similar to what you asked what would be wrong in your eyes
with an incestuous relationship providing full protection was used? If both
parties are happy to engage in it and use protection??



 

 

What’s intrinsically wrong with pornography? Yes I
understand that some of it is produced in questionable ways but so are many
main stream movies so that’s not unique to pornography and some pornography
does not fall into that category so that is not a necessary part of
pornography. Many movies today paint worlds that are unrealistic as if they
were real, pornography is just one more example. In sex education children
learn about this, they learn what normal is and that ###### movies show matrix
style dramatizations of situations that aren’t real, very sex dramatizations
but dramatizations none the less. If children are well informed why is any of
this a problem anymore than showing them stories of magic or sci fi?



 

There is a lot wrong with pornography, morally. In the main it demeans
women as objects of satisfaction to be used. It paints an unrealistic picture
of the bodies of men and women and how they should look, causing major insecurities.
In the same way so do adverts and mainstream movies, recently there has been a
flux of articles about pornography and its effects because the PM of England
has decided to block over the internet unless you call you service
provider and request it to be unblocked. The amount of issues it causes between
married couples is really surprising, the addiction rate is staggering. It
teaches no morals and for people to be slaves only to their desires. How could
any of this be of benefit to a society?  



 

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Hi Ala’adin

 

Sure you can ask the question what if god does exist and I’m happy to discuss that if you’d like what you can’t do is assume that god exists without proving it.  So far we humans have invented thousands of god ideas that I’m aware of and who knows how many that I’m not.  To study each in depth would take a long time.  Each of those god ideas has followers who would say, “mine is the real one and I can prove it” or some derivative.  So we’re left with thousands of belief systems which are contradictory and exclusive so at most only one of them can be right, though of course it’s perfectly plausible that all of them could be wrong, yet not one of them can show any empirical evidence for their god.  Now even if there is a god in all that mess we are unlikely to ever ‘know’ but we can agree that humans exist and that they want to be happy so whether or not we believe in a god you and I agree on the basis for humanistic morality.

 

So back to my point here, in the absence of a demonstrable god behind your claimed moral source what should we do to create a moral code?

 

Yes I understand that you think I’m being disrespectful and in a sense that is true but, again, please remember who you are talking to.  You’re asking me to show respect to a man who may or may not have existed and who you claim gave you messages from a god who does not exist.   I’m an atheist remember so what else could I possibly believe here.  What do we call people today who want to pass on messages from the voices in their heads?

 

You’ll note that I never said there was anything wrong with being ignorant at that time, I merely pointed out that he was ignorant of our modern society.  What could he have known of the internet, of space travel, of modern medicine and so many other things that were not even dreamed of in his day?  Why is it a problem to point out this obvious ignorance on his part, an ignorance he shared with every member of the human race who lived at that time.

 

Careful, you’re assuming god exists without proving it again which is not a rational position to take especially when discussing these things with an atheist.

 

I agree that chlamydia is a bad thing but that article is kind of out of date don’t you think?  Chlamydia is now a disease of the past in this country, all of my children have been vaccinated against it so in future they won’t have to have safe sex to avoid this one.  Most STD’s are now treatable with simple measures much like those you’d take if you had the flu and most have no long term effects if treated properly.  Even HIV is treatable today and our infection and death rates from this disease are now very low indeed.  I’ve discussed these figures here before and the Australian death rate was, I think, a little over 100 people per year.  If over twenty million people have lots of extra fun and less than 100 of them die in a year that’s a tragedy but it’s not worth stopping the rest of us having a good time over.  Far more people die on our roads but I don’t see anyone suggesting we should stop driving cars.

 

The 50% figure was from the Australian Government statistics and it’s probably at least in the ball park as it was a well conducted survey.  I’m not sure what the problem is even if the figure were higher given that no one seems to be able to find any down sides to it other than that other people are having more fun than you at a younger age than you.

 

Now you’re jumping topics mid-stream.  Education is one reason why people might choose to stop taking drugs or drinking alcohol but there’s more to it than that and this is a separate question to sex education.  For Alcohol the percentage of Australians who consume alcohol daily declined from 8.1% to 7.2% to 2010.  Drug use is measured differently, to be counted you have only to have used a given drug once in your life and these figures did indeed rise during this same period for some drugs only.  Most remained steady.  Cannabis was the most common rising to 10.3% of the population who’ve ever tried it.  Cocaine rose to 4.2% while Ecstasy use declined over the same period.  Of course all of those statistics are beside the point really, the real issue we need to examine is the costs benefits analysis.  We need to count all of those people who have a better life because of the drugs compared to those who have a worse one.  Here the figures are clear.  The number of people having problems because of their drug use is tiny compared to the number who just enjoy the experience.  For most people the only down side to drugs is that they cost money but then many things we do for fun cost money.

 

I’ve said before not only that I understand that you choose a lifestyle because you believe god told you to but that I support your absolute right to do so so long as you don’t try to tell anyone else they must follow you.  Come and live in my country, stay a virgin till marriage, wear a burka, pray five times a day etc, all of that is just fine by me and it’s perfectly acceptable in my society with a few minor restrictions.  Just don’t try to force others into that lifestyle and everything is fine.  Yes you are even welcome to start up your own churches etc (there are already plenty of them here for virtually every religion on earth) and you can show people you’re ways and try to convince them that they too should follow.  That is all just fine, it adds to the complex culture that is part of Australia.

 

Yes sex is more than just some body rubbing, it is emotional but that does not mean that some people can’t divorce the parts of it and enjoy it just for the physical components and yes some people struggle with casual sex but then some people struggle with going out in public or driving cars but that’s not a reason to avoid those things that is a reason to work out how to help these people.  At most some people might be better of avoiding casual sex, they should stick to committed relationships, we are all different and that’s certainly a choice that many people choose to make.

 

The specific statistics you mentioned, that people who engage in casual sex have lower self-esteem than others may be backwards to the point you are trying to make.  It may not be that casual sex causes low self-esteem but that it attracts those of us who have low self-esteem while others have the desire or will power to live another lifestyle.

 

I’ve already answered the incest question but in brief the issues with incest that spring to my mind are the power gradients involved, usually incest is between a parent and a child and that’s generally wrong because the parent has control over the child, and the genetic issues.  Any children produced by incest are far more likely than average to have genetic problems so that should always be avoided.  Now protection etc can solve that issue but you are then left with those power gradients and that’s a tricky issue.  If two people could both equally consent to be part of incest and no children were to be produced I see no issues with it.  I’m aware of a number of couples in the US who have even produced children and one is married but they are brother and sister.

 

I agree that some pornography demeans women though there is some that is made specifically for women and that tends to demean men so that goes both ways.  Yes male targeted pornography is far more common but both kinds do exist as does the sensual movement who produce couple based pornography which shows sexy but apparently normal loving couples together.  What you are talking about are the sorts of complaints critics raise against all sorts of films and I think they need the same response, choose the sort that does not do this, in other words choose the good stuff, and the bad stuff will disappear but if there’s a market for it then it’ll stay.  Body image is an issue in all movies not just pornographic ones though given the focus of pornography it’s more of an issue there than in other genera.  I’m not sure how the English idea will pan out but banning something in that way is technically impossible so even if they pass it into law I can’t see it being effective.

 

How many people suffer from major insecurities because of pornography?  I’m not aware of any even from the media though I’m sure it could happen.

 

Again I’ve never seen any statistics on problems caused within marriages other than anecdotal stuff that suggests such problems are very rare but if you have a study I’ll have a look at it.

 

Pornography addiction is again a very small problem from everything I’ve read.  It has caused big problems for some people but not for many, most seem to handle it just fine.

 

Maybe these issues are big elsewhere, if some areas of society can’t handle it then maybe we need to work on them rather than on Pornography in general because for most people it is not a problem its an entertainment.

 

Most movies could be accused of teaching no morals, that’s hardly an issue with pornography specifically.  What’s wrong with being a slave to your desire when you are getting your clothes off with your partner?  Isn’t that what sex is supposed to be about?

 

So you say how can any of that be a benefit to a society but you’ve not shown how any of it is a detriment to more than a very small sub set of society and if the rest weren’t enjoying it then it wouldn’t exist so the benefit is clear enough.

 

I see problems with allowing children to see pornography, they are still forming their opinions of how the world works and how to interact with other people.  Most people are not going to react well if you treat them like pornographic stars so they’ll probably learn that lesson pretty fast as they start to interact with human beings but it does start them off on the wrong foot which is a bad thing.

 

Russell

Edited by russell

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Firstly many of the belief
systems out there are often shoot offs from some of the ‘mainstream’ faiths
where individuals have chosen to take a different view on an issue and then
that has caused issue division and so they have separated. At the core many of
the religions preach the same, belief in God (alone) the creator, even the
hindus after all their demi-gods believe in a one all-powerful God. Islam, Christianity
and Judaism mention the same prophets in the past and relate stories which are
the same. In the Quran you have a book that has remained unchanged, not a
single letter, a proof from God. Which has challenges in it for those who
disbelieve in it. A book without contradiction, a book in which there is no
doubt, a guidance for mankind.



 

The fact that your doubting that
Muhammad (peace be upon him) ever existed shows a lot of ignorance. Even
staunch orientalists who are anti-Islam accept that he existed. I do not insult
what you believe so I ask again not to imply disrespectful things.



 

Again as I have said before,
knowledge of modern society should not dictate how laws are drawn up. Laws should
not change as and when a society does, laws need to be consistent else it will
change on every whim and desire.



 

Careful, you’re assuming god
exists without proving it again which is not a rational position to take
especially when discussing these things with an atheist.



 

This topic is called gender roles
in Islam, so ofcourse we are going with the assumption God exists. If we were
not there would not be a discussion here.



 

It appears as if you have
selective reading and choose to throw out anything that does not agree with
your bias. It quite clearly says ‘such as’ meaning that chlamydia is not the
only disease the article is talking about. It quite clearly is an issue, but
again something your willing to brush over. Also you talk about HIV like it’s a
common flu, it can affect any individual that interacts with a person infected.



 

“For most people the only
downside to drugs is that they cost money” Please speak to anyone who has had
to go to rehab for drugs or family members of those who take drugs. What you
said is one of the understatements of the year.



 

And again you then just disregard
the issue of casual sex as something which brings about no issues even though
it is well documented. Just because something may not be an issue for you does
not mean it will not be for others.



 

So you have no issue with incest
when it is by mutual consent? Would you be okay with it if you son and daughter
were to engage in it, both mutually consenting ofcourse.



 

There seems to be a common theme,
I raise valid well documented issues and you disregard them as minor and give
your personal opinion. Go away do some real (unbiased) research and then you
will realize why pornography is of no benefit to a society.



 

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Hi Ala’adin

 

You are correct, there are many different ways of worshiping the existing pantheon of gods that we’ve created.  If we counted all of those the number goes up from thousands into the hundreds of thousands but I was specifically excluding them in my comments still you are correct, they do exist and they definitely make the picture muddier.

 

Yes your book follows on, purposefully I’d suggest, from the Judeo Christian tradition and many of the stories have been carried over, often corrupted but carried over from their traditions into yours.  Yes some of the Hindu traditions include a supreme being but they are open on the question of whether or not he created the universe and other traditions span the range from pantheism right into atheism so there is no serious way in which your faith position and theirs is comparable to be honest.  Hinduism is a very unique religious view.

 

Today you are correct that the number of god’s has been dropping in most current faiths, I’m not sure why that would be given there’s no evidence for one or one hundred gods outside these holy books but it is certainly happening.  Maybe it’s just that people like simplicity, a religion with a thousand gods you had to keep happy just sounds like too much work to me.

 

I beg to differ on the value you see in the quran and, let’s face it, the majority of people alive today would agree with me on that.

 

Is it now an insult to explain to you what I believe, that’s going to make our discussions here rather difficult!

 

Yes I understand that the majority view seems to be that there was a man called Mohammad, I think that’s questionable but it’s certainly not beyond the bounds of possibility.  I do not believe that there was a man called Mohammad who had words put into his head by a god even if he may have claimed that to be the case and that is the man you describe.  I believe that that man did not, in all probability, exist.  Again what do we call people today who make claims about the voices in their heads?

 

Now here we see one of the fundamental ways in which our world views differ.  To me it is one of the great strengths of any system that it adapts to new information as it comes to hand.  Science does this as we learn more about the world and adapt our theories to explain the new evidence and any good moral code must also do this so that it can cope with the new world we are inventing here.  How could ancient men know how to morally deal with twitter for example?  How could they know that a woman travelling alone can be in instant contact with their families or the police if they need help?  How could they know that our society is so mobile that even travelling to the nearest town would take women away from everyone they know and so into the same dangers as if they had travelled to the other side of the world?  Ignorance paints a moral code for a time we don’t live in, a moral code that is inadequate to the world we live in and not for any fault in the original author, it’s not a fault to be ignorant of the future, that’s just how the world works.

 

Islam is a lifestyle and yes most moslems actually believe in god though I’m betting you’d find some who are just going through the motions while still living the lifestyle without that belief still that’s beside the point.  This thread was opened because I was having a discussion with one of the other contributors here and she wanted to strip out just the gender roles issue so we could discuss how you people live.  It was actually irrelevant if there was a god there the question was just about how you live.

 

Still that aside you can’t tell an atheist that X is true because god want’s it that way anymore than I can tell you that you should wear a tea cosy with ears on it on your head because Mickey Mouse wants you to.

 

Am I willing to brush over STD’s as an issue? I think I’m willing to brush them over as an issue in the same way that I am willing to brush over road accident deaths when discussing which car I want to buy next.  In other words not at all but the article you cited used Chlamydia as an example for a very specific reason, because it was common.  The figures for all the other STD’s are dramatically lower because they produce symptoms and so can be successfully treated today.  Chlamydia is thus a useful indicator because it’s not treated so anyone who contracts it can pass it on and it’s easy to pass on making it very common.  Except for the fact that it does virtually nothing for many years and for most people it is the perfect storm of the STD world.

 

HIV can indeed affect any individual who interacts with an infected person though that interaction would have to be intimate and even then you’d have to be unlucky, unlike the flu it’s actually a very hard disease to catch and, as I pointed out, with modern treatment most people who do catch it in this country don’t die from it because we can control it with drugs and they are kept non infections by the same drugs.  The HIV death rate in this country is in fact minuscule.

 

Maybe you need to actually read what I wrote and respond to that, I didn’t say that no one suffers from any problems with drugs or that the problems aren’t sever for some people, what I said was that most people who take drugs suffer from no problems at all from it and have a good time doing so.  Can you see any evidence to contradict that or do you just want to rant about the badly affected minority?

 

Again with the hand waving about the terrible problems caused by casual sex but no evidence.  Sure some people have issues with it emotionally and it may well attract the sub group within a society which has low self-esteem and there are some easily controllable potential side effects such as STD’s and pregnancy but for the vast majority of people casual sex is fun and healthy and causes them no problems.  If you have a point to make make it with hard figures not with hand waving!  No one ever said that no one suffers from any problems with casual sex, that’s a fact but the numbers are low.  The pregnancy figures you gave for pre 18 year olds turned out to be a little over two precent with some of these being by choice so the number of accidental pregnancies was actually lower than that.  That means that for over 98% of the population unwanted pregnancy is not an issue in such sex they just have the fun.  You have to put the issues, and yes there are issues, into perspective if you want to make a point here because the big picture view is what we really need to be talking about here.

 

There are several levels to questions such as incest and homosexuality.  I don’t want any of my children to turn out to be homosexual because I believe they will have better lives if they don’t.  I don’t want them to practice incest for the same reasons.  I don’t have any problem with either choice with the provisos’ I gave earlier but that does not mean I wouldn’t prefer if they picked other life choices but then many parent’s disapprove of the partners our children choose so that’s hardly unique to that situation.  One of the tricky questions that comes up a lot then is step families where, even though they are raised as siblings often for much of their lives they are not actually genetically related.  Legally I believe that still fits the definition of incest but genetically it’s not.  How do you feel about such children?

 

So nothing but some hand waving again on pornography.  I’m yet to see any of these well researched figures etc you talk about.  I know I just searched back through this thread and there’s none in there.  Or are you talking about the likes of the STD figures you gave in that article.  The problem seems to be that you look at the bad bits but never look at the good side of any of these figures.  Those figures amounted to a demonstrated, and probably understated, chlamydia infection rate for this country of around 0.2%.  Is that higher than it should be, definitely but is it some horrible social disease that we have to solve with a strict moral code that prevents people having fun?  Hardly especially when the highest figure 0.2% was for a problem that’s been solved since by a simple vaccine and other STD’s are way behind that rate.

 

And that’s what all of your hand waving and complaining boils down to here, very small figures for harm, sometimes great harm, but always in very small numbers of people which can be improved and controlled by education and health care.  With risks in such low figures shouldn’t people be free to make these choices so long as they are informed about the risks and the mitigations needed?  We take that attitude for motorcycle riding for example which is also a risky behaviour that people often choose to take part in.  Why should we not extend the same attitude to any risk taking behaviour?  If the death rate from motorcycle riding rose too high we’d ban it altogether too but the death rate has to be much higher than it is today.

 

Russell

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Russell

 

Nobody says sex is not healthy and fun. Islam encourages it but within a marriage. You just downplay all the effects sex outside marriage can have. No matter what report I present you with you will say but it is a persons choice etc. Unlike what you previously said:

 

Chlamydia is now a disease of the past in this country

This report from the Australian Sexual Health Conference shows 

 

 

A STAGGERING number of young children are suffering from chlamydia, with more than 1400 girls and boys aged 12-15 testing positive for the sexually transmitted disease.

And in a shocking reflection of the true extent of under-age sexual activity, researchers reported 10,300 children in this age group presented for testing over the past three years.

The latest statistics on sexually transmitted diseases released at the Australiasian Sexual Health Conference in Darwin show a record number of 82,000 Australians had a positive chlamydia test last year.

This is the largest number of cases ever recorded and makes the sexually transmitted disease the most notified infection or disease of any kind in Australia.

 

 

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/more-than-1400-young-people-testing-positive-for-chlamydia/story-e6frg6n6-1226745463761

 

Anyway do you even know how serious something like chlamydia can be? Some women have fertility problems because of it. And then you may say oh well safe sex removes those problems but it doesn't remove the psychological issues involved. There are countless studies done that show people often have feelings of guilt, regret, embarrassment and low self esteem. These negative feelings tend to come after the event. Plus safe sex does not prevent against the drama involved with people sleeping with someone who already has a girlfriend/boyfriend. Islam takes everything into account not just what our desires want.

 

And you talk about rationality. A lot of these young people who get involved in casual sex generally do so under the influence of alcohol. How can we talk about rationality when alcohol is involved. This is another area which Islam has solved. 

 

And sex education is a joke in western countries. In my university they actually encourage sex by giving away free condoms. It is in your face everywhere no wonder more people feel pressurised to have sex under the illusion of safe sex. And I know a lot of universities do this in the west. But they don't teach you anything else about the mental effects or the risks involved. 

 

Your confusion with a fatwa is strange. It is really not that different from getting legal advice in any other country. You say that you can look up stuff online well so can we! There are lots of fatwa websites but if our case is a very specific case and we want a specific answer then obviously we will ask the question. There are lots of books on the law in every country and unless you are a student of law, a judge or a lawyer you are unlikely to know everything about the law and therefore you will seek help on an issue you don't know about. Plus legal stuff tends to be confusing for the everyday reader with a lot of latin words etc. And nobody is saying the person who gives the fatwa is fallible. They base their answers on the quran and hadith. They don't just say yes or no they actually provide evidence with their answer so the person can see. 

 

And I can't believe some of the questions you ask. Like I really wonder are we living in the same world because you seem so out of loop about some issues. You don't know if has an effect on marriage. Seriously? You just say things without backing it up such as your chlamydia comment which turned out to be far from what you said. It is the same about your comments on pornography. http://s3.amazonaws.com/thf_media/2010/pdf/ManningTST.pdf Go to page 11 for stuff about the effects on marriage. Really use google scholar or something if you want to find real research. Why should we bring all the research to you all the time?

 

And the fact that you even question that Muhammad pbuh existed just makes me not even want to discuss any issue about Islam with you anymore. As aladin said even anti Islamic people admit he existed. If you disregard all the evidence on such an issue like this then how can we discuss anything. It is a fine line in saying you do not believe Muhammad pbuh was a prophet of Allah ( at least then we can discuss why we believe he was) and saying you don't even believe he existed. There is just no point in discussing this with you anymore then.

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