Ironic similarity of Iranian women to Iranian Baha'i's


by Faramarz_Fateh

For the past 400 years, except for a short period during the reign of the great Reza Shah and his useless son, Iranian women have been second class citizens.  From forced wearing of the hijab, whether its full chador or roosari to a whole host of other things that most of us Iranian men have known and know about but haven't given enough crap to correct; examples are laws of divorce, inheritance, jobs, salaries, mandatory husband permission to do many things, custody etc etc.

Bottom line, if you ask most women in Iran if they feel equal to men, the answer is NO.  Women have been systematically oppressed via teachings of Islam and men have benefited from this for at least 4 centuries.  But, Iranian women have done everything they could to counter this systematic attempt.  Some examples:  Hijab has now been transformed to "mAnto and roosari" and the roosari sometimes covers 2/3 of their hair at best.  Women now constitute 60% of university students.  Women between ages of 28-38 are significantly more computer savy than their male counterparts.  A lot more single Iranian women have been able to leave Iran via marriage and attend universities in Europe and Canada, henece making women the "more" educated sex in Iran.

I know that the IRI elements who scoure the web for anti regime info to counter will make this sound as if the IRI actually promoted all these good things for women of Iran; to enable them.  But most of us know that is a big crock of crap.  Women have done this inspite of the government attempts to oppress them.  Ask this of any woman in Iran and you'll get to the truth.

Until the revolution, Bahais were, on a relative scale, more educated than the general public.  A somewhat disproportionate % of them were doctors, university profs, architechts and industrialists; Sabet Pasal (first broadcast TV station, Pepsi factory), Arjmand family (Arj HVAC company) were a couple examples.  Since the very first weeks of the so called revolution of 1980 and the formation of the Islamic Republic, the government of IRI has systematically done everything possible to make second class citizens out of the Bahais. 

The steps taken included but were not limited to:  1) confiscation of real and personal property  2) prohibition of work in public or private enterprieses  3) prohibition of enterance into institutes of higher eductaion (public or private universities)  4) creation of an atmosphere of fear and in some cases encouragement to leave Iran.

To some extent the IRI goverment has succeeded.  Until the revolution, 1 out of every 35-45 people in Iran was a Bahai.  Now that figure is less than 1 out of every 250-350.  There are no university professors, less than 100 doctors and 0 Bahai industrialists in Iran.  Less than 25% of Bahai youth can get a university education (Bahais attend online university courses but due to government crack down it takes 7-8 years to finish a BA/BS degree).

If it was any other group besides the Bahais, 95% of them would have left Iran and the other 5% would have lived in destitude.

Just like the Iranian women, the Bahais have persevered 30 years of atrocities and have become stronger.

Like I have said many times before, until and unless women and Bahais are given their due rights, nothing will ever change in Iran.



more from Faramarz_Fateh

Abaiana...where do you get this garbage?

by Faramarz_Fateh on

Other than participation of women in the UHJ as you put it, everything else in your post is false/wrong.  I am not a Bahai and even I know you have created this crap.

Instead of trying to bad mouth these people, try to write to the subject matter.....stop being a jerk


Question about equality of men and women in Bahai teachings

by abaiana on

When a man or woman coverts to Islam they are told that in Islam women's rights are not equal to that of men. Bahais since the inception of Bahai releigion, have publicized and insisted that in their religion women and men are equal. I will quote from Aqdas the holiest Bahai book revealed to Bahaullah:

18-Women during their monthly cycle are exempted from saying prayers.
Instead after ablution they should repeat 95 times Allah-u-Abha.
32-Women are forbidden from pilgrimage to holy shrines.
20-Inheritance-Children 9 shares, wife 8, father 7, mother 6, brother 5, sister 4, teachers 3.
25-Residential house will be inherited by the male offspring. If the
family does not have a son it will not be inherited by daughter, but
rather the house will belong to the House of Justice.
63-Man can marry two wives, but for tranquility he may be content with
one wife. He who takes into his service a maid may do so with propriety.
68-After one year of separation man can divorce his wife or decide to
go back together. One month after divorce man can remarry his wife.
107-Step son is forbidden from marrying his step mother.
(Instead of saying step mother is forbidden marrying her step son).

66-Dowry for the goirl in the city is 19 methghal of gold (it can be increased to 95 methghal) in the villages dowry is 19 methghal of silver.

If the dowry was conditioned upon the virginity of the girl and at the time of consummation it becomes evident that she is not virgin, the dowry should be refunded and marriage annulled. However to conceal and forgive the matter  merit a bountiful reward. (Answer to question 47) (what about the man if after marriage it becomes evident that he has had sex before?)

One of the 12 principles of Abdul Baha is equality of man and woman.
But at his direction women are forbidden from membership in the
Universal House of Justice.
In 1909 Mrs.Corinne True in a letter to Abdul Baha asked him to
reconsider the decision and allow women to become members in the UHJ.
Abdul Baha's response was in the negative(No).
According to Abdul Baha (talk New York City June 7, 1912 , the women of the East should wear a veil. However The Blessed Beauty does not recommend the veil for the western women.                     It is evident that in marriage, divorce, inheritance and also in the high administrative posts man is the active participle and the dominant gender.


Hope you don't get other non-Baha'i women asking this question!

by sophia on

Awake,    So the UHJ has no power to administer the Faith, and has no power to direct the functioning of its institutions and members? Rubbish. Your false dichotomy of "power" and "service" (obviously designed to emphasize your eminent humility) and inability to avoid uncomfortable aspects of your institutional doctrine is a total joke, and in no way detracts from the simple fact that THE SUPREME BAHAI INSTITUTION DOES NOT CURRENTLY ALLOW WOMEN TO SERVE IN IT. Capability or otherwise, the symbolism stands, just as it does with the Catholic and other Christian churches (some of whom are at least offering women positions within the clergy formally reserved for men), and with the very system the Iranian people are trying to get rid of. And I sure hope you don't get other non-Baha'i women asking questions of this situation if this is the kind of response you give.  I'd love to see you defend these positions against some of the feminist scholars currently looking at these issues (and I'm sure you will one day in the not too distant future, so you'd better come up with something better than telling them they're "exposing their ignorance").    And how dare you tell me I "need to find a purpose in life and try and be useful to humanity". 


Ignorance is Evil!

by Awake on

Dear Sophia, I am not sure what is your intention beside exposing your ignorance.   The Universal House of Justice as a body has a purpose, if its membership is limited to Male has nothing to do with the ability of Females who practically run the Baha'i Administration and are in various capacity serve the community. The theme of the Baha'i Faith and everything within is about SERVICE AND NOT POWER.  Baha'i Institutions one and all were created to administer and serve the community and nothing else, no "one" person regardless of gender or the institution they serve on have any "power", a complete contrast from every other institutions on this planet whether they are democratically elected or not. whether religious or political.

So to take couple of excerpts out of context and try to distort facts is futal in this day and age, please these expressions are just too lame and serve no purpose.  It really doesn't work anymore so please find a purpose in life and try to be useful to humanity.


Soooo, what about women serving on the UHJ?

by sophia on

So, the question that arises again and again, is when will women be allowed to serve in the highest official office of the Baha'i Faith (ie the Universal House of Justice)?

If there are claimed scriptural reasons for this situation, why should women accept yet another set of laws that ultimately maintains the status quo of the current religious paradigm in which women aren't allowed to hold the highest positions of 'spiritual' authority within an institutional context (and in this case, the highest of such offices for the Baha'i faith) that is equal to that institutional role of men?

Now, I'm sure there are Baha'i women who may not have a problem with this, and I am sure you can quote me endless instances where Baha'is claim to defend the rights and equality of women, and emphasize the importance of their place in society, but THIS issue must be resolved.

Personally, I cannot see how any 'religious' organization can claim a truly egalitarian authority without these conditions.  



"It is difficult to see how an all-male Universal House of Justice does not in fact reinstate the values prescribed by Qur'an 4:38, making men the managers of the affairs of women. Only full rights of eligibility for women to service at all levels of Baha'i elective institutions would be compatible with this abrogation of Qur'anic patriarchy.

Apposite here is a 1954 cablegram from Shoghi Effendi, in Messages to the Baha'i World:"Full rights have been accorded to Baha'i women residing in the cradle ofthe Faith, to participate in the membership of both national and local Baha'i Spiritual Assemblies, removing thereby the last remaining obstacle to the enjoyment of complete equality of rights in the conduct of the administrative affairs of the Persian Baha'i community" (p. 65). The diction here is very instructive. Obviously, de jure or from the point of view of legal principle, Baha'i women in Iran had the "right" to eligibility for election to LSAs and NSAs from at least 1912 onward. But these rights could not be"accorded" to them until the early 1950s, de facto. (Not only were very few Iranian women literate in 1912, but in Shi`ite Iran values of gender segregation were very strong and a mixed meeting of women and men on an LSA would have been interpreted as an instance of moral laxity by non-Baha'i neighbors and become a source of scandal). Thus, Baha'i women can have de jure rights to eligibility for administrative office, but these rights de facto can be withheld for reasons of community security and reputation, or for reasons of women's unpreparedness as a corporate group. These rights are then"accorded" the women de facto at some point in history where conditions allow it, by the Head of the Faith. (There are parallels here to the legal language employed in the United Nations for the process of decolonization inthe two decades after WW II, wherein entire peoples become "prepared"through education and lesser forms of self-governance to exercise de facto their de jure rights of self-determination, after a period of European mandates)." 


Bahram G

Who Really Benefits

by Bahram G on

I sort of agree with Ali P. Women as a gender and as a whole, have been an under-class in about all societies for as long as there is recorded history. Surely, there have been some exceptions. But, I am talking about the general rule and not the few exceptional individual women or transient societies where women enjoyed equality with men. Even in these cases, a few individual women attained high ranks (e.g., queens).

Why is it that as a rule, men "ruled" over women and oppressed them to various degrees? A guess. Men were physically stronger and were not burdened with child-bearing and often didn't do terribly much with the chores of child-raising either. Women had to do them both. I suppose it is mother nature that programmed things that way, to get hings started and going 'til we advanced to a different stage of development.

Now, in the 21st century, physical strength is no longer as vital as was once. Men don't have to go hunting to bring food to the table, they don't have to go out and kill others to plunder their belongings and bring them to the brood. Now, there are machines that make man's muscles strength nearly obsolete. Women, particularly when educated and skilled, can perform as well as men in every imaginable sphere of life.

Then, why still keep oppressing women? It really doesn't make sense anymore. The heuristic value of oppressing women, if any, has long vanished. Now, men are better off to have equal partners who would shoulder-to-shoulder with men push the human enterprise forward in all spheres of life, from the family, to the society at large.

Treating women as unconditional equal to men is a win-win deal. An educated, emancipated, and valued woman is a great asset to a man. Women are no longer simply objects of gratification to men. That's simply neither fair to women nor is it the best value that men can receive from the totality of the contributions that women can make.

There is no question that we, men, as individuals and as a gender can benefit greatly from full emancipation of women. We, men, by supporting women's full rights are not only doing them a favor. We are doing ourselves a great favor as well.

So, unconditional and full equality of rights for women must be the guiding principle for all of us.

Ali P.

For the past 400 years?

by Ali P. on

The 2nd class citizenship of women is not limited to Iran, nor to the last 400 years. This has been a pretty universal phenomenal, since the beginning of time, with very scarce exceptions.



Ali P.