Women in our religions


Women in our religions
by Arash Monzavi-Kia

“And David took more concubines and wives from Jerusalem, after he had come from Hebron.” Samuel 5-13  

The orthodoxy of our three Semitic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) have consistently treated women as a prized holding – valued but held in custody. This view of women is deeply rooted in the 1st Semitic civilization of Akkad , which started some 5,000 years ago in today’s Iraq.  

In comparison, the “barbarian” women have often been less prized and more “free”, because the harsh hand-to-mouth nomadic life style could not afford a bunch of “ladies” sitting behind the veil and doing nothing by gossiping and giggling!  

The original Jewish tradition kept women in low esteem. They were not to own anything, inherit anything, or have a say in any important matter. The power struggles between Moses and his free-spirited Mede wife (Zipporah) make for some funny moments in the Torah.  

A good Jewish girl had to marry at 12, whereas the Jewish man could have up to 4 wives. However, the Jewish kings could have much more wives, as David and Solomon had hundreds! A girl was in the “custody” of her father, or in his absence, the other male members of her family – until marriage. Afterwards, she belonged to her husband. She could not even inherit from her husband or father – as inheritance was only the men’s right.  

As an Arabized version of Judaism, Islam has much the same rules and ethics for the treatment of women, except one key positive attribute, which has allowed women to possess money and property, and to inherit (albeit half the men) from their fathers and husbands. Otherwise, the total submission of woman is complete, and she may not even leave the house without her man’s permission! She can be beaten and forced into submission, while the threat of divorce and another wife (Havoo) always hangs overhead.  

Infected by the negativity of Manichaeism, the pre-reformation Christianity has always viewed sex and women as something close to evil. Their only key positive attribute has been the monogamous marriage, which in effect breaks the one-way tie of the woman-belongs-to-man relationship, into a two-way and permanent institution, with no way out (divorce). 

A woman, who cannot be divorced or supplanted, has an immense power over the man, which has been perhaps a most important factor in the relative historical rise of Christendom over the Mohammedans.  

Instead of being on the look out for his next wife, concubine or “Sigheh” – the Christian man has had to vent his sexual and marital frustrations into the intellectual, artistic or industrial ventures. Not being able to divorce an old housewife, the historical Christian had to travel away from home and explore new worlds, just to avoid the constant nagging at home!

 Some 500 years ago, the confederation of Jewish rabbis placed a moratorium upon their polygamy. Until the Muslim world does the same thing, our chances of breaking free from sexual obsession will be limited.


Recently by Arash Monzavi-KiaCommentsDate
وابستگی، استقلال، همبستگی‌
Nov 04, 2012
The pain of living
Oct 21, 2012
The 2nd Year of Green
Jun 01, 2010
more from Arash Monzavi-Kia
Arash Monzavi-Kia

Women's Day

by Arash Monzavi-Kia on

Thanks for your comments and happy women's day to all



by yolanda on

Thank you, Nur-i-Azal, for the beautiful poem...here is the you-tube video of the same poem


A garden amongst the flames!

by Nur-i-Azal on


A garden amongst the flames!

My heart is capable of taking on any form

For the idols sacred ground

A meadow for gazelles

A cloister for monks

The pilgrim's Ka'aba

The tablets of the Torah

The scrolls of the Qur'an

My religion is Love

And wherever its caravan turns along the Way

That is my creed, my belief, my faith!

-- Ibn 'Arabi (The Interpretor of Desire)




My Temple and Mosque is Nature. My Book is the Book of Nature. I pray within myself and my prayer is the Eternal Prayer. My Ka'aba is my heart. The prophets are my soul. The House of Immaculacy is my Spirit, for,

"I was a Prophet sent to myself by Myself and it is by own signs that I was guided to Myself."

-- Ibn Farid

And because of this I can say the Theophany and Appearance of Supreme Divinity can be seen flowing from the Face of the Eternal Woman! So whenever I glance upon the beauty of a woman's face I see God(ess) and the Divine Light flowing from Pre-Eternity,

dar azal partov-i-hosnat zi tajalli dam zad

ishq payda shod o atash beh hameh 'alam zad


In Pre-Eternity the reflective ray of Your Beauty consented to Theophanize

Love appeared and its fire blazed forth throughout the worlds!

-- Hafiz

Godhead means Divinity beyond all duality, both transcendent and immanent, both one and all, both negation and affirmation, i.e. the Totality of all Reality  and  so the coincidence of all opposites contained within a Pre-Eternal Point of Absolute Unicity and Oneness.





Oppression of women

by Gavazn on

It must be awful to be born a woman and be oppressed, not have a say in your own destiny. I think it is boring to have a companion that just does what they are told. Why do we do this to women? 


Are you a Sufi muslim? Or a pagan (worship a goddess)? What religion are you? What is Godhead I have never heard this before. Do you pray in a traditional mosque?


Fatima Wajh'ullah! The Divine Feminine in Islamic esotericism

by Nur-i-Azal on

La ilaha illa Allah wa Fatima Wajh Allah! There is no god but the Godhead and Fatima is the Face of the Godhead!

This is one my personal zikrs/mantras which I have added to my personal shahada/testimony of belief. If one day I end up getting smoked for it by some crazed fundalooniest, so be it,  it would be for a good Cause since I am what you might call a Sufi Shi'ite Islamic Goddess-worshipper! Note that there has also been a debate amongst Arabic grammarians for centuries now that the word ALLAH is more accurately grammatically feminine (mu'annath) than masculine (muzakkar) since the final ha' in precise grammar and etymology should indicate feminine case rather than masculine case. This is apparently one of the grammatical anomalies in the Qur'an which many Sufis have been aware of for centuries. ALLAH itself derives properly from the Hebrew Elah and Eloah (goddess) and not El (god). The debate continues....

But in esoteric Shi'ism the preeminence of the Goddess-form of the Supreme Divinity is strongly implicit, especially in statements made by the Prophet Muhammad (sws) Himself stating things such as Fatima (as) is the "Mother of Her Father" (umm abiha) and the Conjunction of the Twin Lights (majma' al-nurayn). In fact the epithet Light (nur) applies specifically to Fatima in Shi'ite gnosis, as She is held to be its human epiphany or manifestation (mazhar).

There is also an account about the mutual execration incident (mubahala) that is mentioned in Qur'an 3:61: a debate that occurred between a deputation of Najrani Christians and the Companions of the Cloak (ahl al-kissa, i.e. Muhammad, Fatima, 'Ali, Hasan and Husayn) in the 9th year of the Hegira in Medina. It is related that at the conclusion of this debate there was an en masse conversion to Islam by these Najrani Christians. The accounts say that at the climax of this event Fatima (as) transfigured into Mary the mother of Jesus  just as in the Gospels Jesus transfigured into Elijah and Moses on Mount Tabor. The accounts state that it was as a result of this transfiguration whereby these Najrani Christians came into Islam and Fatima earned the title of the Greater Mary (maryam al-kubra)!

One does need to take such stories literally or one-dimensionally because they are rich in multi-layered spiritual and esoteric symbolism, which is the level such things need to be read and appreciated. The later generations of esoteric Shi'ites went steps further and read some interesting things into such sayings and incidents, distilling a symbolic cosmology out of it and applying the epithet and attribute Creator (fatir) to Fatima directly. As such in the writings of some Isma'ilis as well as some esoteric Twelver Shi'ites we see the appelation Fatima Fatir (Fatima the Creatrix) who then stands in such speculations as the Hidden Pole and Concealed Avatar of Islam itself; that is, Fatima's station is implicitly held here to be higher than Her illustrious Father and Husband. To the literalist orthodox mind, this is heresy. To the esotericist and gnostic, this is Theophany and hence Truth!

There's a Persian Isma'ili text known as the Umm'ul-Kitab (Mother of the Book). This text is a purported visionary conversation between the fifth Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (as) and Abu'l-Khattab (an early extremist/ghali Shi'ite and disciple of two Imams). At one point in the dialogue the Imam transfigures into all of the members of the Ahl al-Bayt (people of the House) and then finally into Fatima. Fatima begins to speak and proclaims Her Divinity and claims that Her Father, Husband and Sons are so many ornaments on Her body which She wears!

Note as well that before two-hundred years ago, the official symbol of Judaism was not the Magen David (Star of David). Rather it was the Hamsa which is the Hand of Fatima symbol. This is likewise a universal symbol with Shi'ites everywhere. In Judaism it represents the Shekinah (the Feminine Theophany of the Ultimate Godhead). The origins of this Hand of Fatima symbol go into distant antiquity and so precedes the Abrahamic Tradition. It is found in the Mesopotamian civilization and represents there the symbol of the Sumero-Akkadian Goddess Innana who in Assyro-Babylonia becomes the Goddess Ishtar, viz. the Ashoreth of the Hebrew Bible who is also known as Astarte (i.e. Venus, the morning Star). Apparently versions of this Hand of Fatima have even been found amongst the pre-Aryan  Indus Valley civilization of India, and there likewise it is said to represent the Maha-Devi (Supreme Goddess) which these people worshipped as their Ultimate Deity. As fate would have it, it would appear that the Goddess has been moving around within Traditions that are ostensibly on the face of things hostile to Her. I would argue that providence has always had other plans and that the greatest catastrophe that could beset patriarchal religion is for one day it being revealed that the He that these Abrahamic religions have been worshipping all along has actually been a She!

There's a lot more one can say about this topic. Anyway, here is a very important paper a friend of mine wrote some years ago on THE CENTRALITY OF THE DIVINE FEMININE IN SUFISM. Note where he points out the symbol of the Ka'aba as being a symbol of the YONI (the female sexual organ)!

The Goddess is Returning! Everybody brace yourselves....Makaru wa makar Allah wa Allahu khayr'ul-makerin/They plot and the Godhead plots, and verily the Godhead is the best of plotters! Quran 8:30




by tabar on

let's not forget about Hinduism, and also Confucianism doesn't look too kindly on women either...

I think it's more cultural than religious because nearly all save for Buddhism, North/South Ameircan Native religions, Shamanism of Mongolia and Turks, and one sect of Jainism treat women with respect. In nearly every society women have always been second class citizens. Even in the West it's still like this, what with gender stereotypes [women are always always always in home product commercials, etc]. It's someything in our culture we have to change I believe.