A Woman Has No Religion
Perhaps a Baul saint Lalon Fakir (1774–1890) of Bangladesh declared first the notion in his song:
“Shob loke koy lalon ki jaat shongshaare
Aar lalon bole jaater ki roop,
Dekhlaam-na ei nojore.
Naari jaatir ki hoy bidhaan?
Aami bamun chini poita proman
Bamni chini kishe re?”
(The English translation of that song is like this: “Everyone asks, ‘What religion has Lalon in this world?’ And Lalon says, ‘What the shape of religion is, I have not seen with my eyes’. The religion he speaks of encompasses and surpasses not only religious identity, but also notions of gender. ‘If circumcision makes you a Muslim, what then is the dictum for women? If a Brahmin can be identified by his sacred thread, how shall I know a Brahmin woman?’ asked Lalon.)
Any honest, thinking person cannot ignore the blatant misogyny and barbarity of any religion towards women. The powerful Creator Gods were the product of a patriarchal, tribal, violent, intolerant society. They reflect the ignorance and brutality of that society and at the dawn of a new millennium, fundamentalists insist that we should all abide by their religious law. Here are some examples how some of our prominent religions are misogynistic and sexist in their attitudes.
Women in Hinduism
All women are liars, corrupt, greedy, and unvirtuous. (Manu II 1)
· It is the nature of women to seduce men in this (world); the wise are never unguarded in the company of males (Manu II. 213).
· Killing of a woman, a Shudra, or an atheist is not sinful. Women are an embodiment of the worst desires, hatred, deceit, jealousy and bad character. Women should never be given freedom (Manu IX. 17 and V. 47, 147).
· One should not sit in a lonely place with one's mother, sister, or daughter, for the senses are powerful and master even a learned man (Manu II. 215).
· A Brahmin male, by virtue of his birth, becomes the first husband of all women in the universe (Manu III. 14).
· Though destitute or virtuous, or seeking pleasure elsewhere, or devoid of good qualities, a husband must be constantly worshipped as a god by a faithful wife (Manu V. 154).
· At her pleasure, let her (i.e. widow) enunciate her body by living voluntarily on pure flowers, roots, and fruits, but let her not, when her lord is deceased, even pronounce the name of another man (Manu V. 157).
· A woman must always maintain her virtue and surrender her body to her husband only, even if she is married off to an ugly person or even a leper (Manu IX. 14).
· Women have no right to study the Vedas. That is why their Sanskars are performed without Veda Mantras. Women have no knowledge of religion because they have no right to know the Vedas. The uttering of Veda Mantras, they are as unclean as untruth is" (Manu IX. 18).
· None of the acts of women can be taken as good and reasonable (Manu X.4).
· A woman shall not perform the daily sacrifices prescribed by the Vedas. If she does it, she will go to hell (Manu XI. 36/37)
Women in Islam
· Men are superior to women (Surah 2:228).
· Women have half the rights of men: a) Half rights in court witness (Surah 2:282), b)Half rights in inheritance (Surah 4:11).
· . Women are a possession (Surah 3:14).
· Women are unclean (Surah 4:43).
· Women to veil themselves always when they are outside their home (Surah 24:31).
· Women are lacking in mind and religion (Al Bukhary Vol. 2:541).
· They [women?] are a bad omen (Al Bukhary Vol. 7:30).
· Women are harmful to men (Al Bukhary Vol. 7:33).
· Men are free to polygamy (Surah 4:3).
· Men are free to divorce his wife by oral announcement (Surah 2:229).
· When a husband has pronounced divorce three times on his wife, she then may not lawfully remarry her husband until she has married and been divorced by another man (including having intimate relation with him) (Surah 2:230).
· A wife is subject to punishment by her husband (Surah 4:34).
Women in Buddhism
· Women are irritable, jealous, greedy and unintelligent, thus undeserving of any worthy undertaking (Anguttara Nikaya 4:80, in Nyanatiloka/Nyanaponika, 1984).
· They snare of Mara, the Evil One (Anguttara Nikaya 6:55).
· can never become fully enlightened (Anguttara Nikaya 1:15).
· Women are compared with a chain of bones, a lump of flesh, a grass torch, a pit of glowing embers, a slaughterhouse, spears, swords and a poisonous snake (Anguttara Nikaya 5:76).
· Women are the source of disorder; they are foolish, lowly and weak; their sole duty is to serve their husband (see Confucius' Analects 8:20, 17:25, 18:4).
Women were not allowed to become members in a ‘sangha’ during Buddha’s time. But it is the attempt of Ananad, a disciple, Buddha at last agreed to have female members in his ‘sangha’ with the following conditions:
· A Bhikkuni (nun) even if she was in the Order for 100 years must respect a Bhikkhu (monk) even of a day's standing.
· A Bhikkuni must reside within 6 hours of traveling distance from the monastery where Bhikkhus reside for advice.
· On Observance days, a Bhikkhuni should consult the Bhikkhus.
· A Bhikkhuni must spend rainy season retreats under the orders of both Bhikhus and Bhikkhunis.
· A Bhikkhuni must live her life by both the orders.
· A Bhikkhuni must on two years obtain the higher ordination (Upasampatha) by both Orders.
· A Bhikkhuni cannot scold a Bhikkhu.
· A Bhikkhuni cannot advise a Bhikkhu.
Women in the Bible
· Eve created from Adam's rib. (Genesis 2:22).
· Cain marries sister (Genesis 4:17).
· Man marries two wives (Genesis 4:19).
· Keeping many concubines is OK (Genesis 25:1-6).
· Samson gives wife to another man (Judges 14:20).
· Samson visits prostitute (Judges 16:1)
· David took many wives and concubines (2 Samuel 5:13).
· Ammon rapes his own sister (2 Samuel 13:14).
· Absalom sleeps with his father's concubines (2 Samuel 16:21-22).
· Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines (1 Kings 11:3).
· Women are property of men (Exodus 20:17).
· OK to sell daughters. Female slaves can be used for sex. Polygamy permitted. Unwanted female slaves can be set "free" without payment of money (Exodus 21:7-11).
· Burn daughters (Leviticus 21:9).
· Rape victim must marry rapist; rape victim's father compensated for depreciation of his property (Deuteronomy 22:28).
· Woman's vow invalid unless approved by her father or husband (Numbers 30:1-16).
· Do not waste strength on women (Proverbs 31:3).
· Woman created for man (I Corinthians 11:2-10).
· Women must be silent in churches (I Corinthians 14:34).
And lastly, my two cents:
Religion, I think, is always a patriarchal concept, though it's my personal assumption and I adhere to it. But I am against this. I am looking, myself, at the point where Lalon Fakir once placed himself.