SEXUAL BEHAVIOR AND OUR SOCIETY
by Javed Ahmad
Preface & Acknowledgements
Being coming from a different part of the world my observation and analysis are naturally different. It didn't take me too long to realize that my ideologies, philosophies, and perceptions are different. To me, good is good, and bad is bad. I make no compromise in between them. As I believe, 'Truth and Evil" cannot co-exist, they will always try to eliminate each other. And I consider myself a 'man of truth'. Being so, I just can't help but try to expose the inner truth which we usually tend to overlook. And thus the result is this book.
Although I was always thinking to expose my inner feelings and understanding on this topic (meaning how our sexual behavior and attitudes affect the society as a whole), but it didn't begin to materialize until I was forced to write a research paper for my Speech 111 class at the City College of New York in spring of 1992. Major portion of my work was completed at that time. But, for some reason, I always thought that the work was incomplete. Thus I kept on pondering upon this issue updating my work from time to time. Now I am feeling like I have completed my project and feeling much comfortable about it.
Please understand, this is an independent research work and I tried my level best to stay free from being biased. I tried my best to produce support to my arguments which could be verified. My motive is to show some alternatives which would help us to change for better, not for worse. And this work is nothing but my free opinion and judgement in good faith. I would consider this work a success if it does any good to anyone, anywhere.
One might wonder why did I bother to take up such a matter so seriously(?) Well, the answer is simple, the matter IS TOO SERIOUS to be ignored. But unfortunately, most of us do not realize that. I believe, after reading this paper thoroughly, carefully one would be able to comprehend the 'cause and effect'.
From my childhood, I've learned to respect and honor women. I was fortunate enough to observe and be with some remarkable women. In the passage of time, I came to learn about the great women of Islam and their influences. The first person who believed in Muhammad (peace be upon him) and accepted Islam was a woman, Khadiza (peace be upon her), first wife of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). I admire that woman from the core of my heart. Her love for her husband, and faith in Islam is a timeless teaching for mankind. All the wives of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) were unique in their own identity. Coming from different background, and situations they all managed to transform themselves into unique individuals, and elevated themselves up to the rank of honorables. Aisha (peace be upon her) the youngest wife of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is considered one of the most important personalities when it comes to the 'traditions of Islam'. From the beginning, contribution of women towards the shaping of Islam is enormous. I hold all of them with dignity and respect. In my personal life, I literally grew up with women. My father being a high government official had to travel around the world almost half of every year. As a result, I ended up spending most of my crucial developing years with my mother, grand mother, sister, and aunts. Other males in my family (like my uncles) didn't have much influence on me as they used to remain busy with their own families. And without any exaggeration I would bluntly admit that I've been with some of the wonderful women in the world. No other women can even come closer to them (when I try to compare with all the women I've met so far). They are ordinary women with extraordinary personalities. And every one who knows or knew them would agree with me without any hesitation. They were loved and admired by every one around them.
Definitely, these women had a lot of influence in my life. To give you an example, while I was a teen ager I came across with a adult novel. And at that age being curious about sexual matters I began to read it ( it should be mentioned here that in those days it was difficult to have access to adult related materials, and people who had the privilege used to deal with them carefully and with secrecy ). My grand mother noticed my interest in that book and at an opportunate moment took a look into it to find out what I was reading so seriously. Next day while I was reading that book, I heard my grand mother yelling addressing all the adults at home saying, "Who brings dirty books at home ? Who is this careless irresponsible person at home spoiling the kids ? Who is this shameless daring person ? Come face me !" My grand mother was a peaceful polite person, seeing her so mad we all got puzzled, especially me knowing that I am the one who is really targeted indirectly. I got nervous, and hid the book. Everybody knew something went wrong, but no one dared to ask her. But she didn't say a word to me. After few days when I felt that things has cooled down I finished reading the ( I was almost at the end anyway ) book and secretly left the book on my grand mother's table. And from there the book disappeared for good. This is what my teachers were like. They used practical strategies to teach us and warn us at the same time. They helped me to witness and observe the differences between a male and a female in their duties and responsibilities. I have seen their sincerity and dedication in maintaining a peaceful environment. I've seen them taking sacrifice in order to make others happy. I've seen them being joyful, and also seen them in tears. I understood their position in the society, and how important they were. And without my knowing, eventually I became a feminist.
By the time I finished high school, my father retired from his government service and began to practice law. The tiger who used to run around the world, ended up staying home most of the time (as his practice was operated from home). However, it was kind of late for him to create any impact on my life or personality. I remained more closer to my mom than dad. Still I'm my mother's son.
On the other hand, there is a saying of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) about the situation of women in the day of judgement which alarmed me. When our prophet went on Miraz (journey to heaven and hell) he saw more women in hell than men. When I came across with this information I got puzzled. I couldn't figure out why more women would enter hell ? Of course, I tried to draw a conclusion too early. Till then I witnessed only a little portion of the world, and I was yet to learn more. My impression on women changed completely after my arrival in the United States. I know now what my prophet meant. And I know I can do nothing about it as he (the Prophet) have seen the future. I realized that the least I could do is to try to awaken the women of the world by pointing out their wrongs and show them other alternatives which would lead them to their own safety. I hate to believe that they will be greater in number in hell knowing what they really can be if they sincerely try. I hope you would understand my feelings. Please forgive me if I'm over reacting.
Finally, I must thank Mr. Ahmad H. Sakr, Ph.D. for going through this manuscript, and for providing valuable advice and suggestions for it's improvement. Thanks also goes to Mrs. Shahrazad Ali for her constructive criticism. I welcome comments, opinions, criticisms from all my readers aswell. Thank you.
Javed Ahmad, New York , 1995
Social Science & Philosophy:
Sexual Behavior, and our Society by Javed Ahmad
In order to achieve peace and prosperity, one need to have a 'standard guide' which would direct an individual to the goal safely. Realizing this point, I decided to 'choose' a 'standard law' which would guide me through out my life, no matter where I go or live. Apart from this, I was also drowning in thoughts on some basic questions regarding life. Like, "What is this life all about ? Who and what is God ? Why there are different religions ? Which is the truth ?" etc. And I learned from the history of mankind that it was always the 'belief' or 'religion' which played a major role in every part of the world. So I stepped into the world of religion and philosophy to look for my answers. "For millions of people within the empires, religious and philosophical systems that seemed to give meaning to life provided a sense of cultural identity. Great religions, such as Hinduism and Buddhism, sought to encourage the right relationship between human beings and the higher powers of the universe. Greek philosophy, Confucianism, and Daoism ( also known as Taoism ) all sought to help people live in harmony with the universe by understanding the underlying patterns of reality. Moreover, both philosophical and religious systems provided ethical codes, often embodied in written scriptures, that provided guidelines for everyday life"(Duiker & Spielvogel:7).
Six years of continuous learning, reasoning, verification, investigation, I came out as a satisfied man. I choose 'Islam' as my way of life. From Christian point of view one might say 'born again Muslim'. Every effect has a cause. There is no problem in this world that cannot be solved or will go unanswered. It's just a matter of time and exposure. More exposed we will be, better 'problem solver' we would become. As a Muslim I have ready access to the two main sources of wisdom, the Qur'an (holy book of the Muslims), and the Sunnah (the teachings from the life of the Prophet Muhammad).
"It's not fitting for a believer, man or woman, when a matter has been decided by God and His Apostle, to have any option about their decision: If anyone disobeys God and His Apostle, he is indeed on a clearly wrong path"(Qur'an: The Confederates(33):36).
From the above verse of the Qur'an, we can come to an understanding that a Muslim is not given any choice on the matter which is already discussed in Islam. Once one accepts Islam, he or she becomes a slave of 'Allah'. So as a Muslim I am obligated to judge and verify everything with 'Islam'.
"The religion before God is Islam (submission to His will): ... Say:"We believe in God, and in what has been revealed to us and what was revealed to Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob, and the tribes, and in (the Books) given to Moses, Jesus, and the Prophets, from their Lord: We make no distinction between one and another among them, and to God do we bow our will(in Islam)"" (Qur'an: The Family of Imran(3):19, 84, 85).
Under the circumstances, what I would like to do is to compare the present situation of our society ills in comparison to Islamic teachings (where needed). And from that point of view, I would also like to point out to possible solutions. 'Truth' is universal. It's something on which we all can agree upon sincerely. In speaking of truth lets see what Jesus Christ had said,
"If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever- The Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. ... But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your rememberence all things that I said to you. ... But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the father, He will testify of Me. ... And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and the righteousness, and of judgement:...
I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is mine and declare it to you....I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do."(Holy Bible, John: chapter 14-17).
No wonder, the deliverer of truth, the holy spirit was none but Prophet Muhammad- the apostle of God.
"He does not speak (aught), of (his own) desire. It's no less than inspiration sent down to him: he was taught by one mighty in power," (Qur'an: The Star(53):3-5). "We have not sent thee ( O Mohammed) but to the whole of mankind, as a giver of glad tidings and as a warner, but most of mankind still do not know" (Qur'an:The City of Saba(34):28.
"The mood of hopelessness about the future of man is in marked contrast to one of the most fundamental features of Western thought: the faith in human progress and in man's capacity to create a world of justice and peace. This hope has it's roots both in Greek and in the Roman thinking, as well as in the Messianic concept of the Old Testament prophets. The Old Testament philosophy of history amuses that man grows and unfolds in history and eventually becomes what he potentially is. It assumes that he develops his powers of reason and love fully, and thus is enabled to grasp the world, being one with his fellow man and nature, at the same time preserving his individuality and his integrity. Universal peace and justice are the goals of man, and the prophets have faith that in spite of all errors and sins, eventually this "end of days" will arrive, symbolized by the figure of the Messiah....With the breakup of the medieval world, man's sense of strength, and his hope, not only for individual but for social perfection, assumed new strength and took new ways."(Orwell:25). Refuting this concept, the Islamic holy book is telling us,
"Proclaim! (or Read!) In the name of thy Lord and Cherisher, who created- created man, out of a (mere) clot of congealed blood: Proclaim! And thy Lord is most bountiful,- He who taught (the use of) the pen,- taught man that which he knew not. Nay, but man doth transgress all bounds, in that he looketh upon himself as self-sufficient. Verily, to thy Lord is the return (of all)"(Qur'an : Read or Proclaim(96):1-8).
Idealism of the 'mind' can have two consequences, positive or negative. Depending upon the mood, exposure, and intellectual capability of the people of the generation, the society in question would have it's reflection. And the result could be 'good' or 'bad'. The American democracy we are witnessing today is the result of negative utopia. The system that worked so well, is now falling apart. And this is the danger of the utopian society. Experimentation, trial and error are the process of this system. Now let's see where we are standing. We are living in a society where adultery, fornication is no more considered sin. Concepts of virginity, purity, chastity, marriage are now in confusion. Where are we heading ? What are we trying to achieve ? "Headline:"Kids are most likely to lose their virginity in the sultry heat of June and July." So reports a survey by Duke University psychologist Joseph Lee Rogers, which went on to print out that 30% of teens have sex by the age of 15....They can do it. It's instinctive and doesn't demand a lot of skill. But they may pay the ultimate price for not having the wisdom or judgement to save themselves....There isn't a person in the world who will admit (if he is honest) that he is the same person after his first sexual experience than he was before. He left something behind that was so special even he didn't realize it....Age knows what youth has not yet learned- that there is time. There are patches of life that follow a pattern of growth. There's a time of discovery, a time for adventure, a time to be a child, a time to learn, a time to find your place. Don't even try to fast forward it. Enjoy every minute. You get only one chance to be 15."(Bombeck). This is how it begins. A kid who has nothing to do with sex is now in an adult role ! Now what's the difference between a kid and an adult ?
"Moral conservatives are our cultures self-appointed Cassandras: they know they are right and they know no one will listen to them until it's too late. One man at the Board of Ed fracas who spoke in favor of opt-out kept declaring that the state did not own children- the implication being that parents did. Anyone who deviated from the absolute stance of the opt- outers stood for absolute evil."Chancellor, Hail Hitler !" screamed one man at schools chancellor Joseph Fernandez." (Strand). Now the parents are in dilemma about the issue of condoms at schools ! Who is going to get the blame ? Teachers ? Parents ? Kids ? I would like to blame the entire society we are living in. We brain wash ourselves by TV programs like, 'Studs', 'Love Connection', where 'dating couples' express their 'dating behavior and experiences' openly; shows like 'Howard Stern Show', where explicit sexual attitudes are viewed. We love to watch porn films in videos, cables:" America's favorite home videos are no longer rated gee, but triple X. Amateur porn, once the discreet kin of it's commercial counterpart, has in the last 10 years worked it's way into the mainstream. What's new isn't just how far the video revolution has invaded American bedrooms, but how deep America's bedrooms have penetrated our favorite videos."(Dargis).
We are now living in a society of 'porn stars'. Prostitution is on it's peak. We honor our women by giving them titles like- 'bitch', 'whore', 'desk-top-lady', 'evening ladies',etc. And our men are playing dogs and hogs randomly. The meaning of 'character', 'morality', 'personality' are now lost. Our heroes and heroines are 'immoral & characterless' personalities. They are our idols, dreams! What good could we expect if this is the case ? The choice is ours, if we want to save ourselves from sure destruction, then it's time to take immediate action to impose strict censorship on media and propagation. We have to be hard on pornography, exposure of sexual acts on TV or movies, and commercials- no exceptions! Islamic point of view in this regards is,
"God loveth not that evil should be noised abroad in public speech, except where injustice hath been done, for God is He who heareth and knoweth all things. Whether ye publish a good deed or conceal it or cover evil with pardon, Verily God doth blot out (sins) and hath power (in the judgement of values)"(Qur'an: The Women(4):148-9).
We have become so tolerant on the issues of sex that we no longer know what is good and what is bad. "...Now New Yorkers have been immunized to bad taste. That they like to be insulted (Bob Grant) and abused. That they are willing to tolerate bad manners and racist jokes. That this town has become a carrier of incivility and intolerance(WLIB). And that anything goes as long as the ratings support the program.... The f-word has become so common it has lost it's shock value....I am talking about demure young things cursing their teachers or boyfriends, using these words as they walk along the street."(Duggan).
"People are dying of AIDS because the city is too tolerant of homosexuals, according to the new chairman of the City Councils Health Committee Councilman Enoch Williams believes that if the city permitted discrimination against gays, it would limit sexual activity among homosexuals- and reduce the spread of AIDS."(Nicholson).
Now the question comes, "How much should we tolerate?" As far as I am concerned, like AIDS, homosexuality is also a disease or illness. On Friday, 24th April,1992 TV program 20/20 showed a case where by psychological treatment, a gay has returned to normal life, and now happily married! Homosexuality is an abnormal behavior-"What mammals besides man exhibit homosexual behavior? Many young animals engage in what looks like homosexual behavior, but in practice for when they mature sexually, according to Marie Lawrence, senior scientific assistant in the mammalogy department of the American Museum of Natural History. Adult males sometimes engage in such behavior, she said, but only if they are isolated from females."It's not persistent",she said,"when a female comes along, that's the end of it." This information appeared in the Q & A column of the New York Times of November 3rd, 1987. Therefore, we could conclude that instead of getting too hard on homosexuals as Mr.Enoch William suggested, we could discourage their activity in public and encourage them to under take treatment to live a normal life. " ...like the Laboushere amendment, Clause 28 reads: A local authority shall not- a) intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality; b) promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship."(Kendrick).
Maybe we could re-think about introducing a law similar to this to tackle the situation. In a Muslim country, homosexuality is seen as a curse, and thus is not tolerated. Because, one of the sayings of Prophet Muhammad regarding this issue is, "When people of same sex engage in sexual acts, the kingdom of God shakes in anger". "The Qur'an accused the people during the days of Prophet Lut for the lewdness they committed by being involved in homosexuality. In Surah Al-A'raf (The Heights), Allah says:
"We also (sent) Lut: He said to his people: Do you commit lewdness such as no people in creation ever committed before you ? For you practice your lusts on men in preference to women: You are indeed a people transgressing beyond bounds... And we rained down on them a shower (of brimstone): then see what was the end of those who indulged in sin and crime !" (7:80-81,84)."(Sakr2:33-4).
And on the other hand, 'anal sex' is forbidden in Islam (which is widely practiced in the western world). The reason given for this prohibition is just a simple answer, "It spreads disease." "This is an abnormal sexual behavior. Islam prohibits this act between husband and wife. It is similar to that of homosexuality except the latter is between two males. It is totally prohibited and condemned...Narrated by Abu Hurairah(R) that the Prophet(P) said:"He is cursed the one who approach his wife in her anus". (The Sunan). One should remember that Allah instructed men to approach their wives in the right place. In Surah Al-Baqarah (The Cow) Allah says the following:
"You may approach them (wives) from the place He ordered you...(2:222)."" (Sakr2:44-5).
Incest- is another ill of the society which is making headlines nowadays. " Some statistics suggest that one in every ten people in this country is a victim of incest....social scientists suggest that the breakdown of the family structure has contributed to the problem of incest.... The growing rate of divorce has also helped to splinter families. Sometimes a family is headed by a single parent. New and transient relationships can contribute to abuse. With all these changes, many children are missing their foundation, the family structure."(Kosof:13). Why incest ? "Like everything else about incest, there are many explanations. First, there is a biological explanation- the fundamental purpose of the incest taboo is to prevent inbreeding. This theory really regulates reproduction. It's believed that inbreeding is biologically harmful to offspring, causing mental retardation and other problems."(12)."Incest is destructive to the family, and if we destroy the notion of family, we place our culture and society in jeopardy....The offender should be punished, but prison sentences should not be the only punishment for this crime. It's important that , along with a jail sentence, the offender should receive therapy....Certainly, as stress increases in the society, we will see more incidence of all types of bizarre behavior, incest being one of them... Incest is adultery, child abuse, betrayal, the breaking of a universal taboo, a crime."(66-8).
I am not a man of double think. What ever I choose for myself, I also choose for others. And when it comes to problem solving, I approach cautiously with an open heart. Recently, on 'Paul & Lisa' show on TV of CBS, showed an episode called 'Street Stories', where a group of people are working together to educate and train women who chose prostitution to make a living due to their lack of proper skills needed in today's work force. Indeed this is a beautiful attempt. These kinds of efforts need support and appreciation.
Women- are the key to civilization. If women are spoiled, the entire society is spoiled. Probably that's why Islam is so protective and strict about women. "For many Algerian women, the veil (hijab) represents a rejection of Western influence, liberation from unwanted male advances, and the right to promote their own social status through education and self-appointed professions. Women in Western societies can wear what they want, these Islamic women say, and are still exploited economically, politically, and especially sexually- yet have no sense of spiritual comfort....But feminists who support the veil enjoy the physical separation that enables them to concentrate on their studies and their work. As Coffman describes it, they are "succeeding brilliantly at beating men at their own game."" (Inda:23).
Male and female are equal before the law, but has different purpose, goal and responsibilities. And this difference is intentional and natural. "Research is breaking important new ground in showing us how the sexes differ and how they are alike. There are the obvious differences in physiological equipment. But while anatomy is not destiny, there are important biological differences that cannot be denied- mainly in the form of the sex hormones and their effects, and in the actions of the chemical transmitters that spark neural impulses in the brain. Current research highlights other sex differences that may be biological, or may be learned, but are nonetheless very real. We know, for instance, that women and men respond differently to sounds, visual stimuli, tactile sensation, and problem-solving challenges. (But 'different' does not mean one sex's reaction are necessarily 'better' or 'worse' than the others)."(Sources:xviii).
Male and female are compliment to each other-"In creating civilization, women transform male lust into love; channel male wanderlust into jobs, homes, and families; link men to specific children; rear children into citizens; change hunters into fathers, divert male will to power into a drive to create. Women conceive the future that men tend to flee; they feed the children that men ignore....The male pattern is the enemy of social stability. This is the ultimate source of female sexual control and the crucial reason for it. Women domesticate and civilize male nature. They can jeopardize male discipline and identity, and the civilization as well, merely by giving up the role.... Women control not the economy of the marketplace but the economy of the eros: the life force in our society and our lives. What happens in the inner realm of women finally shapes what happens on our social surfaces, determining the level of happiness, energy, creativity, morality, and solidarity in the nation."(1- 5). Therefore, it's the choice of women- what they want. Feminist movement in the West is an unequal war against men. The war which makes women more vulnerable to men. "True respect for women can never spring from their exhibition of bodily charms and entertaining manners. It's only when women prove themselves good daughters, good wives, and good mothers, that they can earn the respects of man."(Afza:8).
"During World War II, women by the million took on jobs traditionally held by males. The upheaval of war also has had the effect of churning the population, separating loved ones, and in general creating an environment for a freer expression of casual intimacy. And the tension of hot and cold wars and living in a period when the Bomb or a draft call may strike all tend to contribute to the mood of living for the moment.
Henry David Aiken, Brandies University philosopher, suggests that "the bomb has created the most extreme of all predicaments that have ever confronted man" in it's constant potential for instant extinction of the human race. This possibility makes it tempting to be unconcerned about tomorrow and to strive today for intensity of experience.
Most of these background forces that have helped create a sexual wilderness in the USA are at work in many of the world's societies in addition to those of North America and Western Europe"(Packard:30).
It was the need and response of the hour. Once women volunteered to leave home and replace men's jobs, now it's time to volunteer once again to leave jobs and return to homes. And if they really do so, apart from solving social moral troubles, it would also turn out to be a 'part solution' for today's economic recession. Otherwise, sexual wilderness will turn us all 'wild'.
"The 'traditional' family of the 1950's, the father working and the mother staying at home caring for the home and rearing the children, is much rarer in the 1980's. With half of all married women working and an ever-increasing number of working mother joining and remaining in the labor force, women who stay at home are becoming fewer and fewer. Many women remain at home, enjoy the option, and, in many cases, resent the pressure this society places upon them to justify their existence. They view their occupation as homemaker and raising their children as their principal job.
So great are the pressure upon homemakers that numerous 'help centers' have developed throughout the country to encourage stay-at-home mothers and reassure them that their choice was the right one, to ensure rights and benefit's for non-working mothers, and to raise the public's awareness of how valuable these women are. A University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) study of the social ranking of the homemaker, found homemakers were afforded roughly the same prestige as clerical workers, higher than all but the lower than white-collar professional jobs. Men and older people rated full-time mother higher than did working women and members of the younger generation....Although the trend in recent years has been for more and more women to enter the labor force, many women consider their responsibilities at home to be their vocation. Of those women who are neither working outside the home nor looking for such work, 90 percent report they do not want to work outside the home. Most cite home responsibilities as their reason. Men are more likely to give retirement or schooling as reasons for not working. Taking care of the home is still considered a more acceptable activity for women than for men."(Women:16,36).
Women are secure at home too-"Homemakers, those retired or unable to work, essentially who did not have school or work to take them out of the house, tended to suffer comparatively low rates of rape and attempted rape....Date or acquaintance rape accounts for at least one-third of all rapes and law enforcement authorities believe that most unreported rapes are of these types"(81-2). Although the definition of rape has also changed considerably (now husband can also rape his wife !), but it's one of the wide spread crimes in our society today. And often it triggers racial hatred and chaos.
Women outnumbering men- is another growing problem in the society. "As of July 1, 1984, women outnumbered men in the United States 121.5 million to 115.2 million- for every 100 females there are only 95 males"(9). What's going to happen to these excess women? To find an answer, let us see what is happening to them currently. One of the business magazines 'Money Making Opportunities' of October, 1991 issue ran following ads-
"Lonely girls call or write you first..."(67). "Meet beautiful women! We supply photos, names, addresses!..."(68). "Sexy ladies pay you for your special 'intimate' services! $700 weekly possible!..."(68).
Now women are used as 'products' in businesses called 'dating services', 'introductions', etc. Not only that, our American women are in direct competition with women of the rest of the world! "Beautiful girls, all continents, wants correspondence, friendship, marriage,..."(68). "Beautiful ladies seek friendship and marriage. Mexican- Oriental-American-European...."(68). "Japanese girls make wonderful wives. Let us introduce you to an unspoiled oriental beauty..."(68).
What does the above ads imply ? That the American women are not attractive, spoiled ? Hey! That's an insult!! And this is not the only magazine that runs these type of ads, there are many. We have made our women so cheap that we like to treat them like 'toys', we play and then discard them. And women on the other hand don't mind being treated like that! And that's why it's an accepted phenomenon in our society.
I remember, in the summer of 1988, I went to Sea Isle City in New Jersey, where I met many young Americans. One day while I was chatting with two young guys, asked me,"Do you like American girls?" In response I said,"Yes, I do", then they asked me again,"Then how come you don't try them out?", I knew what they meant, so in reply I said,"I respect women, and I don't like to play with them". With my surprise, they both looked at each other and said, "Respect?!", and then began to laugh as if I said something very funny. This is the impression that most young men hold about their opposite sex. It took me a while to comprehend the message of that behavior. So now I ask my respected American women,"Do you (women) really deserve any respect ? Who is responsible for such an attitude ?". I would say, women themselves are responsible for being so 'cheap'. And blame could also go to extreme feminist movement. Women are engaged in an unequal war with men neglecting the factual differences- the war they will never win!
What are the solutions to these problems? Well! It depends on how much our women are willing to take. First, women has to decide, what they want. I heard many people say, "It's very difficult to understand women"; and I often wondered why? Why they are so unpredictable? And as far as my understanding goes, I have come to the conclusion that women are unpredictable, because- a) they are secretive, and b) they themselves don't know what they want or what is good for them! Now if you are a women, then ask yourself, and judge if my conclusions are correct. Another acquisition I heard about American women is that, 'they don't mind going to bed with a stranger, but they are too proud to approach a man they like'. So my dear women, if you want respect and dignity, then you must change, must be protective, and must be sure about your desires.
If men can import 'women' from other countries to be their wives, then why can't women import 'men' of their choice to be their husbands ! After all there are many men out there who are no less than their American counter parts. Especially, being an Asian, I can tell that there are many Asian men out there who are sincere, honest, strong, competent, handsome, unspoiled, and willing to take up responsibilities. Why go to 'pubs' or 'bars' to get picked up my men whom one does not even know (also risking AIDS ) ? Or why compete with other women to win a man's heart ? What about the women who are not so 'beautiful'? They will have no chance in the 'heart winning' competition!
Sex is not food. It's not something that we just go and have when there is an appetite. We must change this attitude. I have come across with some people who thinks it's okay to have protective sex with someone with mutual consent. But the truth is, sex is sex, no matter how protective or safe it is. Even when performed with mutual consent, it would be nothing but 'mutual exploitation for pleasure'. Sex is the ultimate expression of love and trust. If the love is not true, then it is deception. True love should lead to marriage and commitments to ensure each others mental, emotional, psychological, physical and economical well being. So many people commit's suicide due to failed relationships which in most cases involve sex. A relationship that is built on sex also collapses with sex. A persons self-esteem, dignity , honor, sense of commitment can be judged by his or her sexual attitudes and behavior. A person who is used to multiple sexual partners is unlikely to settle down sincerely with a single partner relationship. He or she will always look for secret relationship with someone else. And when this relationship is discovered, the result would be a divorce or breakup. Uncontrolled sexuality can lead to addiction. Sexual promiscuity degrades human qualities and intelligence, which in turn affects the entire society. Furthermore, sexual relationship which is intended for only pleasure or lust exposes weaknesses of an individuals character and personality. Can a person who expresses such attitude be really trusted ? How can we trust someone who deceive and have no control over themselves ? In fact, these type of individuals are worst than the prostitutes ! Prostitutes use sex as a tool to make a living. A prostitute is known as a prostitute, he or she is recognized. But what about the people who don't label themselves as prostitutes, but engaged in sexual business anyway ! They are the real foul of the society. They pretend to be nice and good, but actually they are engaged in selective prostitution. And worst of all, in most cases, they are free ! Because making money is not their motive, their only motive is sexual pleasure and lust. In the name of dating they begin to go out with someone and eventually in most cases they end up having sex ! And this goes on until they get tired of each other. These people are against marriage and commitments. When they are asked why they don't get married, in reply they say, "We are not ready for it yet ?" Of course, they will never be ready as long our society tolerates promiscuity, fornication and adultery. No wonder why AIDS is spreading so fast. In the U.S.News & World Report of February 26, 1996 issue, in the column of "Culture & Ideas" under the title of "Tommy Morrison's Knockout Punch" the following news appeared, "... Last week, the former world heavyweight champion confirmed that, at 27, he is infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. He blamed a "very permissive, fast, reckless lifestyle" -and gnorance....Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that nearly 42,000 Americans died of AIDS in 1994." In order to attain this few minutes pleasure men kill their sperms, and women destroy their eggs. Which if allowed to join could produce life! If this is the motive and intention, then is it not better to just masturbate than having sex for real ? This way he or she would not only save themselves from emotional and physical illnesses, but could also save others aswell. And thus stay decent and dignified at the same time. But unfortunately, when the Surgeon General recently recommended this method as a way to self-control ended up losing her job !
To me goodness of a woman appeals more than her beauty. A good woman really turns me on. Because I know that her beauty would not last long, but her goodness will remain forever. After all, a woman who has given herself up to other men, does she have anything else to offer ? Would anybody pay the price of a brand new car for an used one ? Men are donors, and women are acceptors. Men can get away with many things, but women can't. When a man loses his virginity, he doesn't lose much; but when a woman loses hers, the veil is broken forever. In Islam, good means total purity;
"But those who believe and do deeds of righteousness, we shall soon admit to gardens, with rivers flowing beneath,- their eternal home: therein shall they have companions pure and holy: we shall admit them to shades, cool and ever deepening"(Qur'an: The Women(4):57).
"And besides them will be chaste women, restraining their glances, with big eyes (of wonder and beauty)"(Qur'an: Those Ranged in Ranks(37):48).
"In them will be (maidens), chaste, restraining their glances, whom no man or jinn before them has touched; then which of the favors of your Lord will ye deny ?"(Qur'an: Most Gracious(55):56-7).
In Islam, Muslims are instructed to marry only good and chaste men/women. As Qur'an puts it,
"Do not marry unbelieving women (idolaters) until they believe: A slave woman who believes is better than an unbelieving woman, even though she allure you. Nor marry (your girls) to unbelievers until they believe: a man slave who believes is better than an unbeliever, even though he allure you."(Qur'an: The Heifer(2):221).
"...(Lawful unto you in marriage) are (not only) chaste women who are believers, but chaste women among the People of the Book, revealed before your time,- when ye give them their due dowers, and desire chastity, not lewdness, nor secret intrigues. If any one rejects faith, fruitless is his work, and in the hereafter he will be in the ranks of those who have lost (all spiritual good)."(Qur'an: The Table Spread(5):6).
Having being married to a good woman is considered a blessing from God. Indeed it is ! As for a good woman always protects her chastity and dignity, becomes a good friend, a good wife and a good mother. And on the other hand, Muslim men has been commanded to be kind, just, and caring towards women. And also have been warned to accuse any woman on anything without sufficient proofs or evidence. Therefore, Islam safeguards, and upholds the status of woman is a society. One time when our Prophet Muhammad(peace be upon him) was asked, "Who is the most honorable person in a family ?", in reply, our prophet said, "Your Mother." When asked again, "Who is next ?", again the reply was "Your Mother." When the question was repeated for the third time, the answer was still the same, "Your mother." This time the man got puzzled, and asked again with little excitement, "Then who ?", now the reply came, "Your father." Islam fully recognizes the role and importance of women in a society, thus does not allow her to be a product of pleasure. 75% of respect goes to mother and only 25% to the father, even though the man is the head of the family and the bread earner.
Fortunately, a new trend has begun to pop up which intends to uphold virginity and chastity. A group of young people has vowed that they won't engage sexually until they get married and get into commitments. And indeed it's the right thing to do, and it's bound to grow.
What is marriage ? And why ?
"It's He who has created man from water: then has He established relationships of lineage and marriage: for thy Lord has power (over all things)."(Qur'an: The Criterion (25):54).
It's 'a close or intimate union' between opposite sexes recognized by the civilized societies. It's very natural that men and women would feel attracted to each other and will desire intimate relationship. A male and a female are the 'better halves of each other'. They are incomplete without each other. A new human being cannot be produced without their inbreeding. They are a 'single pair';
"(He is) the Creator of the heavens and the earth: He has made for you pairs from among yourselves, and pairs among cattle: by this means does He multiply you: there is nothing whatever like unto Him, And He is the One that hears and sees (all things)."(Qur'an: Consultation(42):11).
Therefore, my other half must be out there some where. And we are just awaiting our grand meeting. Thus, it's not just or fair for me to go out and mess with women in the name of 'dating' who is obviously someone else's wives if not mine ! In Muslim communities, free mixing or mingling between sexes is not tolerated. This is maintained to halt spread of sexual freedom or misuse. When Muslim kids reaches 10 years of age they are instructed to maintain distance between their opposite sexes with due respect. And when they reach marriageable age, adults of the community initiate and encourage marriage. Marriages are mostly arranged and it take place with mutual agreement between both parties. Both men and women are expected to be virgins, and they experience their first sexual encounter after marriage. And of course, we do not practice the barbarian tradition of 'bachelor's party' before our marriage. Muslims take their marriage very seriously. And they take a lot of sacrifice to keep their marriage and commitments effective. Marriage is a foundation on which a family tree grows. And without this foundation the tree will not stand and grow. For Muslims, children are like assets. A decent, moral and good child would uphold the name and dignity of the parents in the society, and become excellent citizens. And when they will retire their kids (males) would look after them (parents) in this life and pray for their well being in afterlife.
"Thy Lord hath decreed that ye worship none but Him, and that ye be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in thy life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honor. And, out of kindness, lower to them the wing of humility, and say: "My Lord! bestow on them thy mercy even as they cherished me in childhood.""(Qur'an: The Children of Israel(17):23-4).
Personally, I always respect and honor people who are seriously married. As they have under taken a serious responsibility to raise good citizens who would be better than hemselves. Indeed it requires strong commitments and determination. Parents try to teach their kids all the best they know. They don't want their kids to make the same mistakes they themselves ones made. This is how they hope them to be better. We need to prepare our kids for the future world where they would come as our replacements. So if they aren't prepared to do anything better than what we did, then all our commitments and efforts would fail. Now, how can we teach them the good things if we fail to recognize it ourselves ? Therefore, we need to identify the good from the bad, so that we could safeguard our children and teach them to do so accordingly.
Another solution is accepting 'polygamy'! "Aside from cases where women outnumber men, devastating wars, in the past and at present, have taken their toll on mainly among men. The result is not simply more women who cannot find husbands, but even more widows who may aspire to a respectable family life. In such a situation, if polygamy is bad, the limitation on polygamy is even far worse.
Both unmarried women and widows are human beings. Unless their instinctive needs are legitimately satisfied, the temptation is great for corruption and immorality. But aside from the moral question these women are also exploited. They are used as tools for men's pleasures, yet have no guarantees, no rights or security, financial or emotional. Should they become pregnant, it's their burden alone. But even if such women are ready to pay he price for this personally, society also suffers seriously from such situations. The increasing number of illegitimate children born today under such as these provides a potential base for tomorrow's maladjusted and even criminals. Furthermore it's inhuman, humiliating for those children to grow up without knowing who their fathers were and without enjoying a clean and normal family life....It's now evident that the association of 'polygamy' with Islam is not only unfair or biased but based on serious misunderstanding. Polygamy was practiced, often without limitations, in almost all cultures. It was sanctioned by various religions, and practiced both before Islam and for many centuries thereafter. It's presently practiced, though secretly, by the Mormons, and is allowed by Christian missionaries in Africa and other areas where polygamy is a social necessity....The question is, however, far more than the inherent flexibility of Islam; it also is the frank and straightforward approach of Islam in dealing with practical problems. Rather than requiring hypocritical and superficial compliance, Islam delves deeper into the problems of individuals and societies, and provide for legitimate and clean solutions which are far more beneficial than would be the case if they were ignored. There is no doubt that the second wife legally married and treated kindly is better off than a mistress without any legal rights or security. There is no doubt also that the legitimate child of the polygamous father, born in the 'full light of day', and who enjoys all the rights and privileges of a son or daughter, is far better off than the wanted or unwanted illegitimate child....Man can reject the guidance of God, become his own god, and establish his own standards of morality. Ultimately, however, he may discover the mirage that alluded him. A few honest questions finally: What is the situation in countries which banned polygamy? Do they really enjoy sincere and faithful 'monogamy'? What is the degree of cohesion of the family? Is there any significant number of mistresses, sweethearts, and illegitimate children? How observant are married men and women of the strict 'monogamous' relationship? Are infidelity and secret extramarital sexual relationships more moral than the legitimate, legally-protected husband-wife relationships, even under polygamy if there is a pressing need for it? Which of the two situations is best?... After all, Islam, by it's very nature, is a universal religion which is revealed by God to guide people in all places and at all times"(Badawi:9-12). Finally, let us see what the Muslim holy book says about polygamy;
"If you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans, marry women of your choice, two, or three, or four; but if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then (marry) only one..."(Qur'an: The Women(4):3).
"The verse which allows polygamy 'was revealed after the battle of Uhud in which many Muslims were killed, leaving widows and orphans for whom due care was incumbent upon the Muslim survivors'....the permission to practice polygamy is not associated with mere satisfaction of passion. It's rather associated with compassion toward widows and orphans, a matter that is confirmed by the atmosphere in which the verse was revealed"(Badawi:5). We have to encourage marriage (including polygamy), and not 'common law'.
Pro-life and pro-choicer's are battling on the issue of 'abortion'. Our mind and commonsense are now divided. Therefore, we will have to look for other sources for help and solution. "In the past there have almost always been rules, standards, and sharply defined roles for each sex within which their maneuvering took place. Today the rules, standards, and assigned roles are in disarray....The Dean of Students at Hope College suggested that "our society is giving up the Judaic- Christian tradition as a basis for law and morality without replacing it with any consistent rationale for morality""(Packard:13,28).
"Different religions have different teachings. Among hunter- gatherers, there are usually no prohibition against abortion, and it was common in ancient Greece and Rome. The Assyrians impaled women on stakes for attempting abortions. The Jewish Talmud teaches that the fetus is not a person and has no rights. The Old and New Testaments- rich in detailed prohibitions on dress, diet and permissible words- contains not a word specifically prohibiting abortion. The only passage that's remotely relevant (Exodus 21:22) decrees that if there's a fight and a woman bystander is accidently injured and made to miscarry, the assailant must pay a fine. The Catholic Church's first and long standing collection of canon law ( according to the leading historian of the church's teachings on abortion, John Connery, S.J. ) held that abortion was homicide only after the fetus was already 'formed'- roughly the end of the first trimester" (Sagan:6). Now let's inquire what Islam has to say about abortion or related issue.
"...He makes you, in the wombs of your mothers, in stages, one after another, in three veils of darkness. Such is God, your Lord and Cherisher: to Him belongs (all) dominion. There is no God but He: then how are ye turned away (from your true centre)?"(Qur'an:The Crowds(39):6).
Prof.Keith L.Moore, of University of Toronto, Canada, who is an eminent scientist in the field of anatomy and embryology, experimented and verified the above mentioned verse of the Qur'an, and acknowledged the fact and process of human development in mother's womb in his book "Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology with Islamic additions". This book is basically a text for medical students and is translated into 8 major languages due to it's popularity. In this book Prof.Moore talks about the step by step process of human development and it's agreement with Islamic wisdom.
""(Man) was fashioned from a liquid poured out. It's used (as a result) of the conjunction of the sexual area of the man and the sexual area of the woman"(Qur'an: The Night Visitant(86):6-7).
"They (the believers) question thee concerning menustration. Say: This ia an evil. Keep away from women during menustration and do not approach them until they are clean. When they have purified themselves, go to them, as God ordered it to you. Verily, God loves the repentant and loves those who purified themselves...Your wives are a tilth. Go to your tilth as you will. Do (some good act)for your souls beforehand"(Qur'an: The Heifer(2):222-3).
The beginning of this passage is very clear in meaning: it formally forbids a man to have sexual contact with a woman who has her period. The second part describes the process of tilling which the sower performs before sowing the seed which is to germinate and produce a new plant. Through this image therefore, stress is indirectly laid on the importance of bearing in mind the final purpose of sexual contact, i.e., reproduction....
The orders given here are of a very general kind. The problem of contraception has been raised with regard to these verses: neither here, nor anywhere else, is reference made to this subject. Nor is provoked abortion referred to. The numerous passages quoted above on the successive transformation of the embryo make it quite clear, however, that man is considered to be constituted as of the stage described by the existence of 'something which clings'. This being so, the absolute respect of the individual human being, which is referred to so often in the Qur'an, brings with it a total condemnation of provoked abortion. This attitude is today shared by all monotheistic religions" (Bucaille:206-7).
Islam denounces abortion. Therefore, if a woman chooses to have abortion, then she is taking a risk of facing God's anger and punishment for destroying a life which was planned by God himself. And since, it's the privilege of the woman to find out about her own pregnancy, therefore, she has an advantage of making a secret choice- whether to live with it or to let it die. No 'law' can stop her from not wanting to bear a child. Instead, the danger is, that she might hurt or even kill herself in trying to abort the baby. In this situation, the best thing to do is to denounce the choice of 'abortion', and women should be discouraged in making such decision. However, if pregnancy occurs due to rape or incest (which are very rare in muslim community, because if such incidents occurs in a muslim community, the community forces the guilty to marry the victim and, or to take the child's responsibility), bearing the child may not be desirable by the woman. And in that case abortion may seem to be as the only way out. But still, a woman should not choose abortion, because 'abortion is killing'. In the day of judgement, when everyone will be 'brought back to life' and will be placed before the Almighty God for judgement of all our past actions in this life. Then all those children whom their mothers have aborted, would also be brought to life in exactly the same form the way they were killed. And on that day, they will testify against their mother for murdering them. And as a result, all those women will be sent to Hell. Regarding this matter Khalil Gibran (1883- 1931) wrote,
"Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of life's longing for itself. They come through you but not from you.
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you. You may give them love but not your thoughts. For they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday..."(17).
The Qur'anic injunction is also clear regarding this matter,
"Kill not your children for fear of want: We shall provide sustenance for them as well as for you. Verily the killing of them is a great sin. Nor come nigh to adultery: For it is a shameful (deed) and an evil, opening the road (to other evils). Nor take life- which God has made sacred- except for just cause. And if anyone is slain wrongfully, we have given his heir authority (to demand revenge or to forgive): but let him not exceed bounds in the matter of taking life; for he is helped (by the Law)."(Qur'an:The Children of Israel(17):31-3).
So why kill a child?
From the above discussion, I think we could atleast agree that, something is very wrong in the way we understand and use 'sex'. It's now time to rethink about 'sex', and change our outlook, behavior, and attitudes towards sex. And the present trend is showing that we are heading towards the right direction atlast. Following headlines gave me this impression:
a) "Half a Century of Sex Education", Nardi Reeder Campion, New York Times Magazine, 26 March 1989:22.
b) "Trend Gaining in Public Schools to add Teaching about Religion", Peter Steinfels, New York Times, 19 March 1989:1.
c) "The Limit's of Risks", E.J.Dionne, Jr., New York Times, 19 March 1989:1.
d) "New on Women Nudity", New York Times, 23 January 1991.
e) "Drop in Youths Cocane use may reflect a Societal shift", New York Times, 25 January 1991:A18.
f) "Popping a few questions on Love", Daily News, 15 May 1991.
g) "Incest comes out of the dark", Time, 7 October 1991:46.
h) "Out of wedlock into the fire", Daily News, 25 July 1994.
i) "Of religion and sex", The Campus (a publication of the City College of New York), 22 March 1993.
j) "Marriage 101", New York Newsday, 24 January 1995.
...on and on.
It's the evil force that dehumanizes mankind. And this evil is called the 'Devil' or 'Satan'. What or who is satan? There was an article in 'Life' magazine of June 1989 issue regarding "Satan". The article dealt with the issue from western point of view ( which is the case most of the time ). Therefore, I would like to bring in Islamic concept of satan.
"We created man from sounding clay, From mud molded into shape; And the Jinn(Spirit) race, We had Created before, from the fire Of a scorching wind. Behold! thy Lord said To the angels:"I am about to Create man, from sounding clay From mud molded into shape; When I have fashioned him (In due proportion) and breathed Into him of My spirit, Fall ye down in obeisance unto him." So the angels prostrated themselves, All of them together: Not so Iblis(satan): he refused to be Among those who prostrated themselves.
(God) said:"O Iblis! What is your reason for not being among those Who prostrated themselves ?" (Iblis) said:"I am not one To prostrate myself to man Whom thou didst create from sounding clay, From mud molded into shape." (God) said:"Then get thee out from here; For thou art rejected, accursed. And the curse shall be on thee till The Day of Judgement." (Iblis) said:"O my Lord! Give me then respite till the Day The (dead) are raised." (God) said:"Respite is granted thee- Till the Day of time appointed." (Iblis) said:"O my Lord! Because thou has put me in the wrong, I will make (wrong) fair-seeming To them on the earth, and I will put them All in the wrong, except Thy servants Among them, sincere and purified(By Thy grace)." (God) said:" This (Way of My sincere servants) Is indeed a Way that leads straight to Me.
For over My servants No authority shalt thou have, Except such as put themselves in the Wrong and follow thee." And verily, Hell is the Promised abode for them all!"(Qur'an: The Rocky Tract(15):26-40).
The above story is the Qur'anic version of the creation of Man, Jinns, and the curse of Satan. Islam gives a clear exposure about satan, whereas Western philosophers and theologians are in contradictory opinions. No matter what, we have one thing in common, and that is , more or less we all believe in existence of satan. "Marc Galanter, a New York psychiatrist, is the author of Cults:Faith, Healing, and Coercion.... A subculture tells them that heavy metal is associated with the devil. With a high degree of instability- and teenagers are a group of high instability- if it happens to coalesce around a particular group you can get this kind of activity. And drugs do play a role in loosening a kids moorings.
We know that suicide has increased among teenagers in the last few years. I would not be surprised if we see an increase in middle class murder as well. The times are different because of the breakdown of community, of traditional values, and of religion as well. These cults are replacing them in some way"(Life:56). Our Prophet Muhammad said, "Self jihad (struggle) is the best jihad." Meaning struggling to fight against the satan by not responding to evil desires, and by enjoining good and forbidding evil is the best form of jihad. And a true muslim is in constant jihad, and it's not easy.
Although 'Islam' is not fully practiced anywhere in the world today, but social 'stability' and 'sanity' is still strong in the so called 'Muslim countries or communities'. The problems discussed above are therefore minor in Islamic environment. The problems that the West and USA are facing today is mainly due to abandonment of religion as moral, ethical, and social standard. Religion is meant to be a source of guidance for mankind in this life. And it's supposed to do good to us, because true religion is 'divine laws' and thus 'error free'. Perhaps people are beginning to realize the importance of religion, and probably that's why more and more people are turning to religions. Although religion means well, but going to extreme with religion may breed prejudice and hatred. So we need to strive for mutual understanding and cooperation within ourselves.
Ignorance is not a bliss, it's a curse. In order to live a peaceful life we have to stop being ignorant. We need to open our minds to get more 'exposure', and to learn from each other. "Muslims Host Forum on Sex and Morality: Christian, Jewish, and Muslim leaders call for strengthening family values"- was the cover story of the 'Minaret' an Islamic magazine of January/February 1992 issue. Which is a regular publication of the Islamic Center of Southern California, USA. I found some interesting quotations in that magazine which I would like to re- quote, ""Of all the dispositions and habit's which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable", concluded George Washington, The father of the American Nation, in his farewell address on September 17, 1796"(12).
""Unless sex education addresses values, ethics, morality, deferment of gratification, and goals, it's incomplete and potentially dangerous"- Donald Ian Macdonald, An approach to the Problem of Teenage Pregnancy, Public Health Report, July/August, 1987"(23).
What are the causes of these differences in attitudes, mentality, behavior between the people in the East and in the West ? Apart from the cultural and religious differences are there any other factor(s) that makes us behave differently, and think differently ? Does our food habit has anything to do to influence our thinking pattern and character ? Well, maybe...
It's true that our food habit's regulated by our custom, tradition, and religious beliefs. And also due to climatic differences around the world people are somewhat forced to develop a particular pattern of food habit as a response to the environment they are living in. And it's likely that people would behave differently, as they also look different as a race of a particular region of the world (which is due to climatic influence on human genetics). After all, now a days we are discovering ways to stay well and healthy by natural way using dietary regulations or using natural food as medicine. Therefore, we could conclude that food habit does have influence in our mind and body. As the proverb goes, "You are what you eat."
For example, we Muslims are not allowed to eat and drink certain things. And in general every practicing Muslims tends to obey these dietary laws;
"Forbidden to you (for food) are: dead meat, blood, the flesh of swine, and that on which hath been invoked the name of other than God; that which hath been killed by strangling, or by a violent blow, or by a head long fall, or by being gored to death; that which hath been (partly)eaten by a wild animal; unless ye are able to slaughter it (in due form); that which is sacrificed on stone (altars); (forbidden) also is the division (of meat) by raffling with arrows: that is impiety ... But if any is forced by hunger, with no inclination to transgression, God is indeed oft- forgiving, Most merciful... This day are (all) things good and pure made lawful unto you. The food of the People of the Book is lawful unto you and yours is lawful unto them."(Qur'an:The Table Spread(5):4,6).
From the above verses we can see that all things that are good and pure made lawful to us. Now how do we determine which are pure and lawful ? Some items listed above are unlawful (haraam), such as, meat of any dead animal, blood, pork, wild animals, and any lawful (hallal) animals which are not slaughtered in the name of God, or killed by strangling, violent blow, headlong fall, gored to death, etc. The bottom line is that food derived from the above mentioned conditions are not good and thus impure. But what if we do eat those food ? Will we get sick ? Or will we develop some kind of disease ? Lets take pork for an example. Pork meat is forbidden because it contains 'trichinosis' worm (pork parasite) which is harmful for our body, "Because of trichinosis becoming so widely spread and it's incurable nature, medical men have become deeply concerned over the health problem which it brings to American people."(Vories:16). Other than medical problems, can we get psychological problems too ? "We have all heard the old saying "you are what you eat." After learning the nature of the pig and other near nasty animals, it's no wonder many human beings are running around behaving savagely, greedy, shameless, and wallowing in filth of all kinds. Many have become so obsessed with the pig they can't help but to exemplify it's trait's."(Ali:31). Could this claim be a possibility ? "Looking further into the behavior of the hog, one may find that it's a unique animal. The boar does not mind seeing his sow mating with another boar in front of him. This habit's unique in that other animals cannot tolerate it. To speak for the boar, one may say that the boar is, in effect, saying, let his sow mate with other boars; and who cares who is mating her as long as they (his sow and the other boars) agree among themselves and they are enjoying sex among themselves. Thus, the sow has the permission to mate with as many boars as she wants and in front of her own boar without any shame of both. In such a situation the sow acts as the worst prostitute while the boar acts with immoralities to allow his female to mate with others even in front of his own eyes and without much concern.
To eat the flesh of such animals may affect the personality character of the individual. We have seen before that the hormone diethylstilbestrol injected into calves, was passed onto humans who ate the meat of the calves and thus increased the ratio of homosexuality in man. Therefore, eating the flesh of the hog may affect the personality character of the individual by increasing immorality, including homosexuality, lesbianism, adultery and prostitution. ... The streakers and the degree of publicity they received, as well as the nude societies that have been established, are among the symptoms of the sick societies that have been polluted by the wrong food that they were eating. The degree of rape and the general obsession with sex in western societies, are beyond control. The rate of incidence of looting, killing, stabbing, shooting, snipping, strangling, robbing, stockpiling of arms, and the like are among the many other evils of the modern societies that cannot be tolerated any more.... If any improvement has to take place in any society, it has to start from the diet so that to be able to change the body chemistry including the central nervous system and the brain, and hence the moral standards of individuals. Moral teachings are to be followed by the society and the family"(Sakr:20). If you are a pig eater, would you still continue to be so ?
Not only in Islam, pork is also prohibited in Judaism and Christianity. "To put it bluntly, the Bible directly forbids the eating or touching of the pig. The Christian religion teaches that Jesus cast the devil (evil and filth) into the hog....The parts in the Bible that give clear instructions to reject the pig are the only parts of the Bible that Bible followers in America reserve the right to reinterpret. Most believers take the truth of the Bible to be all truth and nothing but the truth. But the eating of swine flesh is against the Christian religion according to it's own teachings, yet Christians are the major hog eaters on earth. The biblical passages that give guidance on this point are verified in the following scriptures: Rom.12:1, John 2, Genesis 7:2,3,1:29, 9:3-5, Psalms 111:8, 84:11, 119:105, Corinthians 6:20, 3:17, 10:31, 6:17, Isaiah 66:15-17, 2-4, 55:2, Mark 5:11-16, Deut. 14:8, Leviticus 11:7-8, Ezekiel 33:11, 22:26, Luke 4:2,3, Revelations 22:11,12."(Ali:23). In this same book the author links the Aids disease with eating of pork. Very interesting book , a must read !
Another hot topic of debate is 'Alcoholism'. Finally we are admitting the harmful effects of alcohol. "What is alcohol ? ...Alcohol is a liquor which intoxicates, that is, makes drunk. The word is derived from the Latin toxicare= to poison, from which comes also the English word 'toxic' meaning 'poisonous'." (Lemu:1). Actually, I need not to say much about alcoholism as this is getting established today that it does more harm than good to us.
"They ask thee concerning wine and gambling. Say: "In them is great sin, and some profit, for men; But the sin is greater than the profit." ...(Qur'an:The Heifer(2):219).
"O ye who believe ! Intoxicants and gambling, (dedication of) stones,and (divination by) arrows, are an abomination,- of Satan's handiwork: eschew such (abomination), that ye may prosper. Satan's plan is (but) to excite enmity and hatred between you, with intoxicants and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of God, and from prayer: Will ye not then abstain ?"(Qur'an:The Table Spread(5):93-4).
The above verses requires no explication, as they are very much clear and to the point. Although one of the verses admit that there are some benefit in alcohol, but it also says harm is more than benefit, therefore, abstention is commanded. "If alcohol is regularly consumed in moderate or large quantities, it's poisonous effect on the body begins to take it's toll. Among these effects are:
1. Loss of appetite, vitamin deficiency, poor health and susceptibility to illness. 2. Destruction of the liver, leading to early death. 3. Permanent damage to learning ability and to the faculty of memory. 4. In the case of women, damage to the foetus in pregnancy, often resulting in deformities and mental deficiency in their children. 5. Alcoholic addiction- the drinker develops a total physical and psychological dependence on alcohol, so that even when he or she realizes the devastating effect it's having on his or her life, he / she finds it impossible to stop drinking....
The effects of the advanced and chronic stages of alcoholism are described by Doctors Kessel and Walton in their book entitled "Alcoholism" (p.95)...p.31 which makes it clear that alcoholic consumption causes gastritis and indigestion, far from curing it."(Lemu:3,6). Alcohol has profound impact in the mind and body. It creates confusion in thought process, and makes one shameless and boastful. And often times leads to sexual crimes. Alcohol should be totally banned atleast for the safe-keeping of the society and our future well being. I know it's not an easy task, all I know that it's not impossible to do. Why allow something that turns human beings into animals ?
Islam is not new in America, "Mohammad Alexander Russel Webb was born on November 9, 1846 in Hudson, New York to Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Nelson Webb....While working for the Missouri Republican , he was appointed in September 1887 by President Cleveland to be Consular Representative to the Philippines at the US office at Manila....Webb was the main representative for Islam at the 1893 World Parliament of Religions in Chicago. On September 20th and 21st, 1893, he gave two speeches. His speeches were entitled "The Influence of Islam and Social Conditions" and "The Spirit of Islam" and were published in the large two volume proceedings of the Parliament called 'The First World's Parliament of Religions(1893)'. For the rest of his life, he was the main spokesman for Islam in America....From 1898 to the time of his death on October 1, 1916, he lived in Rutherford, New Jersey. He died at the age of 70 and was buried in Hillside Cemetery on the outskirts of Rutherford"(Al-Ahari:51-2).
"America needs to understand Islam", said Malcolm Shahbaz (usually known as Malcolm X), who was a Muslim, and one of the first Civil Rights activists in America. He understood Islam and propagated it likewise. Why do we need to understand Islam? "I have always held the religion of Muhammad in high estimation because of it's wonderful vitality. It's the only religion which appears to me to possess that assimilating capacity to the changing phase of existence which can make itself appeal to every age. I have studied him- the wonderful man and in my opinion far from being an anti-christ, he must be called the Savior of Humanity. I believe that if a man like him were to assume the dictatorship of the modern world, he would succeed in solving it's problems in a way that would bring it the much needed peace and happiness: I have prophesied about the faith of Muhammad that it would be acceptable to the Europe of tomorrow as it's beginning to be acceptable to the Europe of today." (George Bernard Shaw, The Genuine Islam, Vol. 1, No. 81936). Islam offers solution to problems when all other religion fails, because Islam is the last and final message of God,
"...This day have I perfected your religion for you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion" (Qur'an: The Table Spread(5):4).
"...By God: that is the standard religion: But most among mankind understand not" (Qur'an: The Roman Empire(30):30).
"The (Qur'an) is indeed the message, for thee and for thy people; and soon shall ye (all) be brought to account" (Qur'an: Gold Adornments(43):44). "This is the Book; in it's guidance sure, without doubt, to those who fear God" (Qur'an: Heifer(2):2).
I have a problem, and that is, I am not an ignorant. I cannot ignore things. Every evil, wrong, hurts me and touches my heart;
I am a man, but not like other men; I am a Bungalee, but not like other Bungalees; I am a Muslim, but not like other Muslims; I am what I am, I am a slave of Allah.
"O ye who believe ! Fear God as He should be feared, and die not except in a state of Islam.... Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong: they are the ones to attain felicity....These are the signs of God: we rehearse them to thee in truth: and God means no injustice to any of His creatures."(Qur'an: The Family of Imran(3): 102,104,108).
"Say:"Not equal are things that are bad and things that are good, even though the abundance of the bad may dazzle thee;
so fear God, O ye that understand; that (so) ye may prosper."(Qur'an:The Table Spread(5):103).
"Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from error: whoever rejects evil and believes in God hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And God heareth and knoweth all things" (Qur'an: Heifer(2):256).
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End of "Sexual Behavior and our Society."