World religions: Sarah D. and Divina B.Presentation Transcript
World Religions:ISLAM Introduction At 40 years of age, Prophet Muhammad claimed to have received revelation from God, through angel Gabriel, at Mt. Hira (Hakim, 2009). Founded in Arabia in 622 AD by Prophet Muhammad, Islam spread fast around the world to areas such as North Africa, Middle East, sections of Asia and Europe. Islam means “submission to God” or “way of life”. A Muslim therefore, is someone who has submitted to God (Allah) (Nasr,2003). Today, Islam is one of the world’s dominant religions with approximately 1.5 billion followers across the globe. An estimated 6 million Muslims live in the United States. Islam central theme 1. Monotheism or belief in only one God, Allah. 2. Muhammad was the final prophet and the Qur’an is the final and most perfect revelation of God. The foundation of a Muslim life is summed in the five pillars of Islam, which are duties each Muslim performs to demonstrate his or her faith (Hakim, 2009).
Islam Hakim (2009) lists the five pillars of Islam as: Testimony of faith (Shahada). Every Muslim must state "There is no god, but Allah, and Muhammad is the Prophet of Allah." 2. Prayer (Salat). A Muslim must pray five times daily facing Mecca; at dawn, at noon, in the mid-afternoon, at dusk and after dark. 3. Almsgiving (Zakat). Every Muslim must give 2.5% of their yearly savings to charity. Fasting (Sawm). Every Muslim must fast for the month of Ramadan; eating, drinking, smocking, and sexual intercourse is forbidden from sunrise to sunset as physical discipline and a way to feel the afflictions of the poor. 5. Pilgrimage (Hajj). Every adult Muslim who is physically and financially able must make a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in his or her lifetime as a symbol of unity among Muslims.
The Qur’an The Qur'an, written in Arabic language, “is the verbatim word of God in Islam” and the Holy book for Muslims (Nasr, 2003). The Qur’an lays down the law and commandments, codes of social and moral behavior, and the Muslims religious philosophy (Al Islam, 2010). It is the primary source of every Muslim's faith and practice. Sharia or Islamic law Vriens (2009) states that, “Sharia guides all aspects of Muslim life including daily routines, familial and religious obligations, and financial dealings. It is derived primarily from the Quran and the Sunnah--the sayings, practices, and teachings of the Prophet Mohammed”. An important concept is the concept of ijtihad which allows the formulation of independent judgment and interpretation of the Sharia. Islam has no central authoritative structure of religious interpretation and there are diverse understandings of how should be practiced (No to Political Islam Campaign (NTPI), 2003). “Theideals for Islam call for freedom, justice, and equality” yet the holy texts and laws (fiqh) derived from them are interpreted by humans in the patriarchal society (Mir-Hosseini, 2006). With the ijtihad, Muslims in different regions of the world interpret the Qur’an differently which results in the extremist Muslim radicals in other parts of the world.
Sharia, Islamic law and women Under the Sharia law, women are considered inferior to men despite the declarations of equality of the sexes before Allah (NTPI, 2003). Vriens (2009) on gender inequality and Sharia : Polygamy with up to four wives is permitted. Muhammad's Sunnah (practice) was polygamy and Islam is a polygamists religion. Women are not allowed contact with men to whom they are not related without the presence of a male relative, this can be interpreted as having unlawful sexual relations. Temporary marriage is allowed whereby a man can have access to an unlimited number of women- a practice known as Sigheh; Men are permitted concubines, female slaves and promised many virgins in heaven. The wife must have sex whenever her husband wishes. A man can easily divorce a woman by pronouncing that “I divorce you” three times (talaq). Divorce through text has been upheld in some cases. A woman cannot divorce a man without the man’s consent. A woman counts as half a man in giving evidence in a court of law, or in matters of inheritance. A husband has a moral and religious right to beat his wives for disobedience or for perceived misconduct. A woman has no right to choose her place of residence or to travel freely without her husbands permission. Legal age for marriage varies from country to country; ranging from 9 in Iran to 17 in Tunisia. Muslims follow Prophet Muhammad who married Aisha, a 9 year old girl when he was 53 years old.
Sharia, Islamic law and women Muslim women are expected to cover their whole bodies, faces and hands up to their wrists. Sharia opposes freedom to dress for women ; veiling and hejab dressing are enforced. To protect honor, women are kept locked up, isolated and unable to enjoy a full life. Segregation of sexes is upheld in all areas. Any conduct that undermines male supremacy will fall foul of the Sharia Punishment under Sharia; There are three categories of offences under sharia: those prescribed a specific punishment under sharia (Hadd punishment), those that fall under judges discretion and those resolved through a tit-for-tat measure (Vriens, 2009). There are five hadd crimes: 1. unlawful sexual intercourse (sex outside of marriage and adultery) 2. False accusation of unlawful sexual intercourse 3. Wine drinking (sometimes extended to include all alcohol drinking). 4. Theft. 5. Highway robbery.
Gender inequality and the Hadd punishments Hadd punishments include flogging, stoning, amputation, exile, or execution. Thousands of Muslim women worldwide are killed by Hadd punishments mainly due to unlawful sexual intercourse or false accusations of unlawful sexual intercourse. Some women who are raped are sentenced and killed with a charge of adultery while the men involved are freed for lack of evidence. According to Sharia, a woman who claims to be raped must present physical evidence accompanied by the testimony of four male witnesses, who actually saw the act itself and the confession of the accused rapist . Without these witnesses and a confession from the accused rapist, the victim will stand condemned by her very accusation: she wasn’t raped, so she must be guilty of sexual activity outside marriage (Zina) (Spenser, 2003). Flogging with 100 lashes is the punishment for Zina. In other cases, Muslim women are stoned to death on the basis of false accusations of unlawful sexual intercourse. An example is a woman in Afghanistan who was found guilty of trying to leave the country in the company of a man who was not a family member. Under sharia , sexual activity was assumed to have happened and the woman was caught and stoned to death as recent as 1996 (Religious Tolerance.org 2007). The human interpretation of the Qur’an and Islam laws should be debated and reinterpreted with a focus on freedom, justice and equality.
Hindu Originated when Aryans conquered most of what is now India. It is one of the oldest world religions with it's name derived from the River Indus. There are over 900 million Hindus worldwide. Most Hindus live in India and Nepal. Unlike other religions, Hindu has no single founder, no single holy scripture, and no commonly agreed upon set of teachings. Hindus believe in one divine power who has many manifestations. The Hinduwebsite (2010) lists the five main principles of Hinduism as: Parmeshwar – God. Prarthana- Daily prayer. Punarjanma- The cycle of rebirth which can only be escaped by carrying out actions with a holy sense of duty and dedication. Moksha is reached when on is liberated from this cycle: this is Hindus ultimate goal in life. Purushartha- the law of action. Prani Daya- Compassion for all living things.
Hinduism The caste system is practised, and four main castes or positions exist in Hinduism. Brahman is a caste that is made up of priests. Kshatriya is a caste made up of the military. Vaishya is a caste made up of businessmen. Shudra is a caste made up of manual labourers Members of different castes are discouraged from marrying. Verde is the primary text in Hindu, which grants a man and a woman equal rights ( Hinduwebsite, 2010).
Hinduism The traditional Hindu texts claim that women’s position was superior than that of a man and practices such as dowry, divorce and forced marriages were discouraged (Scovill, n.d). In today’s society, Hindu women suffer inequalities such as paying dowry price, bride burning, and being cast out when widowed. Girls are valued less than boys and are married off early so that the girls parents can gain sons. The religious practice of sati ( burning of a widow) is widely practiced in India. The Hindu widow is burnt to ashes on her dead husbands pyre as a sign of a “good woman” and if the widow had no sons then she is viewed as useless and deserving to die (Parilla, n.d). Women in Hinduism are challenged by inequality and social injustice from the time of inception to death.
Buddha Teachings While Buddha was alive he was fully aware of the discrimination in human nature. He told his disciples to check any suspect in his teachings, word for word, against the Suttas. The same was told to the Kalama people when he told them not to believe his teachings unless proved by their own experiences. Buddha is historically a man and it is said that only a man can become a Buddha though, Buddha itself never was identified with either sex. Many in the Buddhist religion still believe it is bad karma to be reborn as a woman and good karma to be reborn as a man, even though Buddha has no teachings which would lead them in either direction In the time Buddha was alive he led within the social conditions (a dominant patriarchal society), if Buddha was alive today his teachings would still be in liberation to all but in different context to speak to all, because of the teachings of his time most have translated it with ignorance and delusion missing the liberation he meant to give us all.
Buddhist Nuns (Bhikkhuni Order) In relation to woman’s role in Buddhist cultural it almost always refers to the Bhikkhuni order, the order of Buddhist nuns. (Asia) 1) A nun who has been ordained even for a hundred years must greet respectfully, rise up from her seat, salute with joined palms, do proper homage to a monk ordained but that day. (meaning she is in less position to any monk) 2) A nun must not spend the rains in a residence where there are no monks. (women cannot be trusted alone 3) Every half month a nun should desire two things from the Order of Monks : the asking as to the date of the Observance (uposatha) day, and the coming for the exhortation. 4) After the rains a nun must 'invite' (pavarana) before both orders in respect of three matters, namely what was seen, what was heard, what was suspected.
Buddhist Nuns (Bhikkhuni Order) 5) A nun, offending against an important rule, must undergo manatta discipline for half a month before both orders. 6) When, as a probationer, she has trained in the six rules [ cha dhamma ] for two years, she should seek higher ordination from both orders. 7) A monk must not be abused or reviled in any way by a nun. 8) From today, admonition of monks by nuns is forbidden. (cannot accuse a monk of breaking a law
The Image of Buddhist Women Women are often depicted as temptresses or evil incarnate as they are biologically determined to be sexually uncontrollable and have a animalistic nature associated with innate sexual desires not found in men. Buddhism also represents the maternal image of women and as a life-giving positive energy. Women were said to be seen as “evil” and “sexual temptresses” to lead men away from their spiritual path and this image helped them to sustain celibacy. Women were still known to be able to offer emotional support and sensual comfort versus the man’s spirtual solace and salvation through self-discipline.
Buddhism Today Many women are still not allowed to attend religious ceremonies unless properly ordained nuns. Buddhist nuns are still undereducated and receive less funding by the monks. Women are still said not to be able to enter Nirvana, though no teachings have proved this statement. The most common subordination to women in Buddhist culture is active in India which has been a patriarchal society since the time of the Vedic society.
Important Women in Buddhist History Liu Tiemo “Iron Grindstone” was a Chinese ordained nun and master debater. She was named a dharma heir by Master Guishan who she studied with and who taught mainly men. Mama Moshan was a historical Zen master that taught dharma heirs and taught many women the teachings of Buddha and the way of the dharma. Miaoxin was a disciple of Yangshan Huiji (dharma heir and brother to Liu Tiemo) who made her minister of secular affairs in his monastery in a time women were not known to do such a thing.
Buddhism Through the ignorance some have still managed to teach of equality and liberation for all as Buddha wanted. Eihei Dogen said “In arguing the dharma, all acquire the dharma equally. All should pay homage to and hold in esteemed one who has acquired the dharma. Do not make an issue of whether it is a man or a woman. This is the most wondrous law of the Buddha dharma.” Meaning all should achieve the dharma equally and enter Nirvana.
Christianity Women have been subordinated in Christian religion for centuries, the bible is a big indicator of how women were treated. "the man is the head of the woman, just as Christ also is the head of the church. . . . Just as the church is subject to Christ, so must women be to their husbands in everything." -Ephesians 5:23 "Let a woman learn in silence with all submissiveness. I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to keep silent. . . . Yet woman will be saved through bearing children.”- I Timothy 2:11-15 Additionally, Peter 3:1-6 exhorts wives to "be submissive to your husbands" and have "a gentle and quiet spirit." It also states they should behave toward their husbands "as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord." And Titus 2:5 directs that women should be "keepers at home."
Christianity Women were excluded from many occupations, professions, and positions of leadership until recent times. The only reason they have now seen change in modern times is because people have become more secular. The religion supports such teachings as this by Saint Thomas Aquinas: "Good order would have been wanting in the human family if some were not governed by others wiser than themselves. So by such a kind of subjection woman is naturally subject to man, because in men the discretion of reason predominates."
Christianity Pope Paul XI was recorded stating that women could not become pope because “our Lord was a man.” in 1977. Catholic women are forbidden to use birth control in a sense to subject women to staying home, barefoot and pregnant. Many religious leaders such as Martin Luther and John have told Christian followers that women are meant to bear children and raise them, regardless of what they want. All women were created to serve man and a man’s needs will always come first.
Christianity One fundamentalist Baptist preacher, while running for governor of Texas in 1989, promised that if elected he would fire all female state employees. He explained, "Momma needs to get back home where she belongs.“ Elizabeth Cady Stanton, to say: "The Bible and the Church have been the greatest stumbling blocks in the way of women's emancipation." She also said about the Bible: "I know of no other books that so fully teach the subjection and degradation of women."
Christianity Harper's Magazine said in a November 1853 editorial: "Nothing could be more anti-Biblical than letting women vote Until the second half of the twentieth century, institutionalized Christianity was unfavorable to women in pastoral or ecclesiastical office. This traditional stance continues largely unchanged in Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, as well as among "complementarian" Protestants. As gender roles have shifted in society and in many churches, some Christians have re-evaluated their historic positions. Over the last 50 years Christian egalitarians have increasingly argued for equal roles for men and women in marriage, as well as for the ordination of women to the clergy.
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