Thursday, May 05, 2005

A Rose By Any Other Name

I Could Scream: Examining the plight of women under Islam
Have you ever heard of muta'a? It means ecstasy in Arabic — but a truer definition might be prostitution.

Saddam Hussein outlawed the practice in Iraq; it’s generally looked down upon by the Sunni Muslims. However, the Shi’ites have Mohammed on their side as he is supposed to have recommended it as a way for widows to earn extra income.

Muta’a is a pleasure marriage, a temporary arrangement lasting from an hour to a decade, depending upon the ability of the man willing to pay for such an arrangement.
     A turbaned Shiite cleric who issues wedding permits from a street-side counter in Sadr City says he encourages permanent marriages but gives the OK for pleasure marriages when there are "special reasons"...{he} grants licenses for muta'a in cases where the woman is widowed or divorced, or for single women who have approval from their fathers.
Your probably don’t need to be told that this arrangement is legal only for men. Women cannot and do not initiate any such arrangement.

According to the news report,
     Most Shiite scholars today consider it halal, or religiously legal. Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the highest religious authority in Shiite Islam, sets conditions and obligations for muta'a on his Web site. ("A woman with whom temporary marriage is contracted is not entitled to share the conjugal bed of her husband and does not inherit from him ...")
Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari and other Shiite lawmakers have said they want Iraq's new constitution to use the sharia, or Islamic law, as its basis. That could give muta'a formal legal protection. Sunni Arabs and Kurds, who are mainly Sunni, oppose the idea. But the practice is growing among Sunnis and Shiites alike.
Why is this not surprising?
     The renaissance of the pleasure marriage coincides with a revival of other Shiite traditions long suppressed by the former regime. Interest in Shiite customs has accelerated since Shiite parties swept Jan. 30 elections to become the biggest bloc in the new National Assembly.
Good on them. It hardly bears thinking about what the “revival of other Shiite traditions” might entail.

Meanwhile, with the addition of each new Arabic word to our rather sheltered vocabulary, there is no commensurate addition of esteem for a supposedly poetic language. If this be poetry, let's hear it for prosaic Anglo-Saxon.

3 comments:

Rune said...

These temporary pleasure marriages were (is?) all the rage amongst the pious Islamic terrorists of Algeria. With the added twist that the blushing, if somewhat reluctant, bride had her throat nicely cut after the time was up. In short the fundamentalists raided villages for young girls and children whom were then spirited away to the terrorist camps and there forced into such Islamic unions – and when she because inconvenient, normally after 24 hours, disposed of after proper Islamic practises. Nothing works quite like Islam when it comes to legitimising paedophilia, rape and bloody murder.
The Iranian state mullahs are running large scale brothels operations, or rather "morality houses", wherein the prostitutes and clients first enter into such pleasure marriages before any sexual contact, thereby rendering it all a-ok. Hypocrisy, thy name is Islam.

Brian H said...

Concubinage and sheik's prerogatives from the bad old Bedou days are core to Sharia. Unless Islam utterly repudiates Sharia, it's on a fatal collision course with modern humanity. Given that EVERYTHING Arabic and Islamic culture now depends on for survival comes from the modern world (= the West), it cannot win, it cannot break even, and it cannot quit the game. It can only change utterly or die.

Dymphna said...

Yes, the hypocrisy is breath-taking, isn't it? The projected hatred and then humiliation of women is striking. You can see it all thru the Koran and hadiths, too.

Thanks, Rune, for the info on how brothels operate; I'd wondered about that, given the level of licentiousness among the ruling class.

Islam will probably repudiate Sharia thru the efforts of its women. They have the most to gain by any such changes. The early years of Islam show that women had more leeway than they do now, but even that wouldn't be enough to cut it in the modern world.

What is truly disgusting/amazing is the lack of organized, dedicated Western feminist support for Islamic women. They're really in a bind since they love victims and see Islam as perfect victimhood under the boot of global capitalism. They haven't the courage or brains to finesse the situation so that Muslim women get support.

IOW, Western feminism is in the same orthodoxy bind as Islam: change utterly or die. The younger generation -- the "lipstick feminists" -- are simply ignoring the earlier ones.