In Presence of the Sun (91)
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei believes that the westerners have gone to extremes in recognizing the nature of woman and dealing with the female gender.
He maintains that, despite the incessant slogans of equality of the rights of woman and man, the western vision of woman is fundamentally based on inequality and unbalance. Stay tuned to get further familiar with the viewpoints of the Leader on the issue.
Women constitute part of the human community. They, like other members of this community, enjoy certain rights both at home and the society. Islam has thoroughly taken these rights into consideration. But this question might arise in the minds as why the women in the Islamic countries still complain over the violation of part of their rights? The answer is that this is not the problem of Islam but the problem is created by the people who pretend to be religious while they are not committed to religion in practice. If the judiciary systems and governments of Islamic countries were really religious and practice divine commandments the rights of women would never be violated there. Thus, we see that in Arabia, with the most vociferous claims on protection and safeguarding of Islam, women are denied their primary rights.
The European and western countries, which try to make similar condition for men and women through legislation of rules, have indeed ignored the innate differences of men and women in society and at home.
A brief look at history reveals that the voices of human rights began since the 17th century. Writers and thinkers strenuously spread their ideas and thoughts on the inalienable and natural rights of human beings. Jean Jacques Rousseau, Voltaire and Montesquieu were among these figures. The first outcome of these moves emerged between the ruling system and nation in England after a long skirmish. Finally it was the nation which proposed part of its social and political rights in the form of a rights statement.
But statement which came to be known as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was released after the French revolution in late 18th century. Nevertheless, whatever was discussed on human rights till early 20th century pertained to the rights of nations against governments or the rights of the laborers and low class before the employers and masters.
It was just in the 20th century that the issue of woman’s rights was raised. Although the governments of the United States of America had acknowledged the general human rights in the 18th century, in 1920 they passed the law of what they called “equality of man and woman”. France submitted to the regulation, too. Anyway, during the 20th century many groups across the world advocated deep change in the relations of men and women in terms of duties and rights. The industrial revolution of the 19th century and the ensuing miseries among workers, especially women, had set the ground for further tackling the issue of women’s rights.
French historian and author writes in the 6th volume of his history collection, “As long as the governments paid no attention to the state of workers and the behavior of employers with them, capitalists would do what they wished. The owners of factories would employ women and children with very low salaries; and as their working hours were very long they would often suffer from different diseases and died in youth.”
Ayatollah Khamenei elaborates on the violation of women’s rights in the west and European countries, “In the west and European countries, where there are so many claimants of women’s rights, almost all of which are false, women had no right to vote till the first decades of the last century. They didn’t have the right of choice and ownership, either; i.e. woman was not the owner of her hereditary properties and her properties belonged to her husband! In Islam, woman’s allegiance, woman’s ownership and woman’s participation in basic political and social arenas have been fixed. Women used to come and take the oath of allegiance with the Prophet. The Prophet of Islam didn’t say let the men come for allegiance, and consequently, whatever they vote and whatever they accept women would be forced to accept. No! he said let the women swear allegiance; let them, too, participate in acceptance of this state, in the acceptance of this social and political order. The westerners are 1300 years behind Islam in this respect and yet they have so many undue claims.”
The Leader of the Islamic Revolution maintains that the westerners have gone to extremes regarding the recognition of woman’s nature and the way of treating woman. In his opinion, the west is continuously claiming equality of the rights of man and woman but the western view on woman is fundamentally based on inequality and unbalance. Ayatollah Khamenei opines that the western view is not understandable via these hollow slogans. These do not indicate realities. He believes that the western view on woman should be searched in the western literature.
Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, who has studied a big number of books and novels and is well aware of the famous European novels and dramas, says, “Those who are familiar with the European literature, European poetry, European stories and dramas, know that in view of the European culture since the Middle Ages till the middle of the 20th century, woman has been the second grade being. How much they claim against this they are telling lies. Look at Shakespeare’s famous dramas; see with what tongue and what view woman is beheld in these dramas and the rest of the western literature! Man is the western literature is the master and lord of woman and is her owner. Some of the instances of this culture and its impacts remain to this day.”
The Leader believes that in the west and Europe when a woman gets married to a man even her family name is changed and she gets the husband’s family name. A woman has her family name as long as she is single but as soon as she gets married she will lose her family name. The Leader stresses that this is not the practice in Iran.
Another instance of paying no attention to woman’s rights in the west is the heedlessness of her properties and real state. Ayatollah Khamenei stresses, “In the European culture when a woman got married, having all her belongings and properties, not only her body is in disposal of the husband but also all her properties and real state which had been bequeathed to her from her father and family would belong to the husband! This is a reality that the westerners cannot deny. This existed in the western culture. In the western culture when a woman went to the husband’s home in fact the husband had her life in his disposal, too! Therefore, you see very much in the western stories and European poems that a husband kills his wife for a moral problem but nobody reprimands him! A girl had no right of choice in her father’s home, either. Of course, at that time, too, the relations of man and woman were somehow free but the authority of marriage and choice of husband were totally in the hand of the father. In the dramas that I mentioned what you see is this; there is a girl who has been forced to marry; there is a woman who has been killed by her husband; there is a family in which the woman is under ultimate pressure. Such are the things that exist. This is the western literature. Till the middle of the 20th century this culture persisted though since late 19th century some moves have started in the name of freedom of women.”