SHAFAQNA- Fatimah is Fatimah is a collection of lectures given by Dr Shariati about the life of Fatimah Zahra (S.A.), the daughter of the Prophet (PBUH) and how she is a manifestation and a symbol of the way and an essential direction of ‘Islamic thought’ .
What Should Be Done?
Islam distributes freedom. People are in love with Islam and yet, the young intellectuals realize the weakness and decline of Islam’s followers. The main reason for this contradiction is ‘not having come to know’. It is coming to know which has value. Love and faith have no value if they precede coming to know and precede chose or commitment. If the Quran is read but not understood, it is no different from a blank book. The Prophet (PBUH) gave his followers awareness, greatness, chastity and freedom when they came to know who he was. When one reads a book mis-stating the Prophet’s (PBUH) character or when a book of his sayings is not given to his longing people, what effect can loving him, praising and eulogizing him have?
Love and faith follow coming to know something. It is that which moves the spirit and brings up the nation. This is why the face of Fatimah (S.A.) has remained unknown behind the constant praise, eulogies, and lamentations of her followers.
In Muslim societies there are three faces of woman. One is the face of the traditional woman. Another is the face of the new woman, European-like, who has just begun to grow and introduce herself. The third is the face of Fatimah (S.A.) which has no resemblance whatsoever to that of the ethnically Muslim woman. The face of the ethnically Muslim woman, which has taken form in the minds of those loyal to religion in our society, is as far away from the face of Fatimah (S.A.) as Fatimah (S.A.)’s face is from the modern woman’s.
The crises which we are facing in the world today, in the East, and in particular in Islamic society, the contradictions which have appeared are all the result of the break-down of human qualities. It has come from the agitation which affects the way a society behaves and thinks. Principally, the changing human form has produced a particular type of intellectually educated man and woman, modernists, who contradict the religious man or woman. No power could have prevented the appearance of this contradiction.
This is neither to confirm this change nor to deny it. That is not within the scope of this discussion. Rather, we refer to the change in society, the change in the dress of man, his thoughts, his lifestyle and his direction in life. Woman also follow this change. It is not possible that she remain in her same mould.
In previous generations a son was inclined to fit exactly into his father’s mould, and his father had no fear that his son might be other than him. There was no difference between them. There were such strong feelings and ties between them that no doubt or indecisiveness could be heard in their words. But today it is not like this. One of the peculiarities of our generation, whether in the East or in the West, is the distance between the older and younger generations. From the point of view of ‘calendar time’, their distance is 30 years, but from the point of view of society’s time, 30 centuries.
Yesterday, society was permanent. Values and social characteristics seemed unchangeable. In a period of 100, 200, 300 years, nothing changed. The foundation of society, the forms of production and distribution, the type of consumption, the social relationships, the government, the religious ceremonies, the negative and positive values, the art, the literature, the language and all other things were the same during the lifetime of a grandfather and of his grandchild.
The Worthy and The Unworthy
In such fixed worlds and closed societies, where society’s time stands still, men and women are of a permanent type. It is perfectly natural that a daughter be an exact copy of her mother. If there is a difference of opinion between a mother and her daughter, it only relates to extraneous things or it arises from daily conflicts. In the world today, a girl, without having gone astray, without having fallen into corruption, creates a distance between herself and her mother. They are strangers to each other. An age difference of 15, 20 or 30 years separates them into two distinct people, two different human beings attached to two different social cycles, attached to two different histories, two different cultures, two different languages, two different visions and two different lives. Their relationship is such that only their home addresses are the same.
In the external forms of society, we see this same contradiction and historic distance between two generations, two types of visions. For example, we see flocks of sheep grazing on the asphalt streets of Tehran, and being milked in front of the consumer resident of the capital at the same time that pasteurized milk is available in the stores. Or, we see a camel standing next to a Jaguar sports car. The distance is the same as that which separated Cain and Abel from the electronic age and automobiles.
We see a mother and daughter, with this distance between them, walking shoulder to shoulder down the street, one eating baklava and the other chewing gum. When you add these two together, you do not get a natural, permanent sum. It is obvious that the mother is beginning the last years of her life. She is pulled and preserved by habit. The daughter, on the other hand, is just beginning the first days of her life’s journey. It is clear that the daughter will never become the type who eats baklava with relish. Yet the mother and daughter will eventually become identical. The mother will have the same relationship to her daughter that she had to her own mother.
The change from this type of mother to the new type of daughter is inevitable. Only beginners write about this phenomenon of change. They have not sensed the abusive language, accusations, anger, punishments, and deprivations. They have not sensed the chains and irons around the necks. They have never kicked and screamed or cried out in pain. They have never fainted from loss of strength. These observers of change in society are just beginning to touch upon these issues, but the work has already been done. They are wasting their efforts. The* results are worth less than zero. The opposition is strengthened.
Those who act as guides, who give explanations, in the name of faith, religion and charity are also mistaken in trying to save forms inherited from the past. They try to preserve old customs and habits. They are referred to in the Koran as ‘tales of the ancients’, ‘the ancients,’ Legends of the ancients’, ‘fathers of old’, ‘fables of the ancients’, and ‘stories of yore’.
These words all refer to the first myths and first fathers. But those who act as guides see old as synonymous with traditional. As a result, they call every change, including even change in dress or hair-do, infidelity. They mistakenly believe that the spiritual source and the belief in submission to God (Islam) can only be preserved through the worship of anything which is old. They turn away from anything new, from any change and from any re-birth .
Woman, in their view, must also remain as she is today because, simply enough, her form existed in the past and has become part of social traditions. It may be 19th century, 17th century or even pre-lslamic, but it is considered to be religious and Islamic. It must, therefore, be preserved. Those who seek to guide accept this view because it has become part of their way of life and because it suits their interests. They try to remain the same and hold onto things of the past forever. They say, “Islam wanted it to be this way. Religion has taken this form. It should remain like this until Judgment Day.”
But the world changes. Everything changes. Mr. X and his son change. But a woman must retain her permanent form. In general terms, their point of view is that the Prophet sealed woman into her traditional form and that she must retain the characteristics which Haji Agha, [her husband], inscribed in her.
This type of thinking tends to lead us astray. If we wish to keep the forms because of our own inexperience, time itself will outrun us. We must realize that destruction is also a reality. Insistence upon keeping these forms will bear no fruit as society will never listen. It cannot listen because these are mortal transient customs.
Those who seek to guide try to explain social traditions which have come into being through habit, in religious terms. When we equate religion with social or cultural traditions, we make Islam the guardian of declining forms of life and society. We confuse cultural and historical phenomena with inherited, superstitious beliefs. Time changes habits, social relationships, indigenous, historical phenomena and ancient, cultural signs. We mistakenly believe the Islamic religion to be only these social traditions. Aren’t these great errors committed today? Aren’t we seeing them with our own eyes?
Three Clear Methods of Problem Solving
There are three well-known methods of problem-solving. Conservatism is the method used by the guardians of Traditions as interpreted by culture. It is used by leaders who guard and preserve society so that the guardians have something to guard.
The logic of the conservative is this: If we change the customs of the past, it is as if we had separated the roots from the trunk of a tree. The cultural relationships which are preserved in custom are connected to the body of society like a hierarchy of nerves. If the roots are destroyed, so is the rest of the tree. It is exactly because of this that after a great revolution, anguish, confusion and/or dictators come into being. Hastily digging out the roots of social and cultural phenomena in a quick, revolutionary manner will cause society to face a sudden void. The unfortunate results of this void will be made apparent after the revolution subsides.
Revolutionism is a method used by leaders who tear out things by the roots, believing that all custom is based only on old superstitions and, is, therefore, reactionary and rotten. The reasoning of the revolutionary runs like this: by retaining out-dated cultural customs, we keep society outdated and living in the past. We stagnate. Thus a revolutionary leader says that all forms inherited from the past should be eliminated because these forms are like chains around our wrists, feet, spirit, thoughts, will and vision. All of our relationships to the past should be done away with. New rules should replace old. Otherwise society remains behind, fanatic, stagnant, and bound to the past.
Reformism is a method used by people who believe in gradual change. These people lay the groundwork for gradual change in social conditions. Reformism is the middle way between the other two. The reasoning of the returner is just as weak as that of the other two methods. He takes a third way, believing change should be quiet and gradual so that the different factions do not oppose each other. If change is gradual, reformers reason, the foundation of society will not take on a revolutionary form but rather change over a long period of time. Thus, programs should be graduated to reach this end. But the method of reformism or gradual evolution usually faces negative, strong reactions from internal and external enemies during the long time period this method requires. These forces either stop it or destroy it.
If, for instance, we wished to change the ethics of our youth, or if we wanted to enlighten the thoughts of all people, we would be destroyed before we could reach our goal. Or, perhaps, corrupt, circumstances would dominate and deceive society and paralyze us. A leader who tries to gradually bring about change in society over a relatively long period of time believes that he used logic in calculating his programs. But such a leader does not take into account the powers seeking to neutralize change. One does not always have the time necessary to neutralize powers which are against change. Reactionary elements do not always give the time necessary to leisurely implement gradual changes. Factors considered minor make themselves manifest.
The Particular Method of the Prophet (PBUH) Stemming From His Traditions
The Traditions of the Prophet (PBUH), so important in Islam, consist of the words which he spoke, the laws he brought, the deeds he performed, things he remained silent about or did not disagree with and deeds he actually performed in his life time without telling others that they should themselves perform them. The Traditions of the Prophet (PBUH), then, are his words and his conduct. These become the rules of Islam which are divided into two groups: first, those which existed before Islam but were confirmed by the Prophet (PBUH); second, those which had not existed previously but were established by Islam (created rules). Besides these signed and created rules and the words and deeds of the Prophet (PBUH), a third principle can also be perceived. It is my belief that it is the most sensitive. It is the method that the Prophet used.
The Prophet (PBUH) preserved the form, the container of a custom which had deep roots in society, one which people had gotten used to from generation to generation and one which was practiced in a natural manner, but he changed the contents, the spirit, the direction and the practical application of customs in a revolutionary, decisive and immediate manner.
He was inspired by a particular method which he uses in social combat. Without producing negative results, without containing any of the weak points of the other methods, his method contained the positive characteristics of the others. Through the customs of society which apply the brakes, he quickly attained his social goals. His revolutionary method was this: he maintained the container of a social tradition but inwardly changed the contents.
He used this method in reconciling social phenomena. He adopted a process and method which is a model for all problem solving. This method can be applied to two problems or two phenomena which in no way resemble each other. Recognizing how important this method is, we cannot fully explore it here. We can only clarify it by a few examples.
Before Islam, there was a custom of total ablution which was both a belief and a superstition. The pre-Islamic Arabs believed that when a person had sexual intercourse, he or she incarnated jinn [spirits which inhabit the earth], thereby rendering both body and soul unclean. Until he or she found water and performed a total ablution, the jinn could not be exorcised. Another example is the pilgrimage to Makkah. Before Islam, it was an Arab custom, full of superstitious ancestor worship. It was a glorified type of idol worship, holding economic advantage for the Quraysh tribe. It had gradually come to assume this form from the time of Abraham. Islam kept the pre-Islamic custom of pilgrimage, believing that Abraham, the Friend of God, had built the Ka’bah which (after a period of decline) had been purified of its idols and renewed.
The basis of the pilgrimage had been twofold: to protect the economic interests of the Quraysh merchants in Makkah and to create an artificial need among the Arab tribes for the Quraysh nobility. It was revealed to the Prophet of Islam to take this form and change it into a most beautiful and deep rite founded upon the unity of God and the oneness of humanity.
The Prophet (PBUH), with his revolutionary stand, took the pilgrimage of the idol-worshipping tribes and changed it into a completely opposite rite. It was a revolutionary leap. As a result, the Arab people underwent no anguish, no loss of values or beliefs, but rather, revived the truth and cleansed an ancient custom. They moved easily from idol worship to unity. Suddenly, they had left the past. Their society was not aware that the foundations of idol worship had been torn down. This leap, this revolutionary social method found within the Traditions of the Prophet (PBUH) preserved the outer form but changed its content. It maintained the container as a permanent element but changed and transformed the content.
The conservative, at whatever cost, tries, to the last bit of his strength, to keep his customs even if it means sacrificing himself and others. (The revolutionary, on the other hand, wants to change everything into another form all at once. He wants to annihilate everything, to suddenly jump whether or not society is prepared to leap in that direction.) When the conservative senses the possibility of revolution, he turns to anger, dictatorship, and extensive public murders not only against his enemies but also against the people themselves. A reformer, on the other hand, always gives a corrupter the opportunity to destroy. The Prophet, through the inspired method of his work, showed us that if we understand and can put his method into action, we can behave in a most enlightened and correct way. A clear vision intellectual, confronted by outdated customs, ancient traditions, a dead culture and a stagnant religious and social order, takes up the mandate of the Prophet rather than submit to prejudices from the past. By this method one can reach revolutionary goals without the danger of revolution, on one hand, and without opposing the basis of faith and ancient social values on the other. By doing so, one does not remove oneself from people, nor does one become a stranger on whom people may turn and condemn. This method works because the Prophet received knowledge from the divine Infinite, because he asked for the help of revelation and because he made use of what he received.
Realism: A Means of Serving Idealism
One of the peculiarities of Islam is that it accepts both beliefs which are identical to it as well as coercive beliefs of society. It admits to the existence of both. Here the perception of Islam is special.
The idealistic schools of thought embrace the highest values, the absolute and most desirable ideologies. Each and every fact is categorically rejected if it does not suit them. They have no patience. They deny unpleasant realities and dig out the roots of anger. Anger, violence, pleasure seeking and greed are realities which do exist. Moral idealism or religious idealism (i.e. Christianity) ignores these vices and denies their existence. On the other hand, schools of thought which are based on realism accept all things as the basis of reality. For instance, sodomy is not accepted in England or in Christianity due to religious idealism, not reality. Divorce among Catholics is prohibited to preserve the family and to re-enforce the sacred nature of marriage.
But reality is other than this. Some human beings cannot preserve the first, sacred marriage and remain loyal to each other. It so often happens that human beings grow apart during their lifetime. They become strangers. They live together like two pitiful people. That which has joined them is not love; it is only the ties of law. They are afflicted. One might even become lucky with someone else. This reality has existed in the past, exists in the present and will exist in the future. Civilized and uncivilized people, the religious and the nonreligious, have felt it and continue to feel it. Statistics show it, but some Christian groups deny this reality. They bind marriage to the sacred. They force a family to stay together even when a real hell is behind the doors, and the family has become a center of murder, adultery and corruption. The door of divorce has been closed, but thousands of windows of swindle and illegality have been opened.
Social realities are such that if we do not open doors to them, they will spring out from the windows. Forbidding divorce brings about a type of concubinage. That is, a man who cannot live with his legal wife separates from her without being able to get a divorce. The same is true for a woman. She cannot get a divorce, so she lives separately. They each live for years separated from each other. Perhaps each finds another man or woman. The children born out of such a situation are natural but illegal. Such people often have sick beliefs and complexes. Their spirit is anti-social.
Suppose a woman and her legal husband become strangers. They begin opposing each other. They both reach the conclusion that the relationship of husband and wife is not just sleeping together. It cannot continue. They cannot even live as neighbors. It is natural that they separate. The man leaves the household and goes looking for the type of woman he always wanted. Love, the need for a family life, and the pull of sex (one way or the other) helps him to find a natural tie. The man and his new partner find a place and live together. The wife’s life follows exactly the same pattern and the same fate. As a result, we see that nature and reality build two new families, two incompatible types find compatible partners.
But some Christian ideologies do not accept this reality. Therefore, no one, including that man and woman, is responsible. People close their eyes so as not to see it. As a result, they accepts, in legal terms, a decomposed house which has no external existence. Its materials have all been used to make another house. It is the former empty marriage which is acknowledged as official, while these two natural families are denied.
Here we see the distance between common law, civil law and religious law, and we see how natural forces, realities and oppositions arise. As a result, families which are Christian, do not actually exist, while families which are real and natural are considered to be corrupt and sinful Christianity, by denying this reality, causes the family which comes into being to be illegal. The children which are born of concubinage are also illegal.
From the point of view of a religious society, they are criminals. They do not have a share in the kindness of the family nor the purity of society. Society looks upon them as sinners. Complexes arise within them. They suffer anger and anguish which is beyond imagination. They take their revenge on society. Crimes which occur in Europe and, in particular, in America, do not exist in backward and underdeveloped countries. The reason is that in these Western societies (even though they have civilizations in the sense that they have culture, ethics, nourished minds, freedom of thought, etc.), there is something born into this generation which makes them take revenge upon society in the worst of forms.
An Englishman had built something which resembled a very small bow and arrow. He had attached this to a box upon which he had displayed cigarettes, selling them along the streets and at movie houses. With this device, he shot a tiny poison tipped arrow into a group of people blinding or killing them. The police could not find the killer. They were looking for a motive connecting the murderer and the murdered. But the murderer had no particular reason for murdering those people. He murdered simply because other people were accepted by society and he was not.
Such a murder can be explained as the result of complexes which the church refuses to accept. It thus has had a hand in bringing misfortune about. Fortunately, we have not yet seen such complexes here. Because there is divorce in our society, there are no illegal families. Because there is divorce there is no family which is a non-entity forced to live with each other under common law. We do not bind people together through the force of law.
A child wanted to go out of a room, but a samavar, a teapot and various dishes were in the way. He closed his eyes and tried to pass through. He thought all the obstacles were gone. Idealism is like a child who does not see reality. It does not want to see reality. It closes its eyes to that which it does not want to see. Because it does not see obstacles, it thinks they do not exist.
The opposite of idealism is realism. Its followers see everything, no matter how ugly or unpleasant, simply because it has an external existence. They accept a thing, attach their hearts to it and find faith. They oppose and reject, however, all beauty, truth and correctness simply because these do not record with existing realities. Through this rejection, they become unbelievers.
One of my students, who was among the pseudo enlightened of this country, drew only one conclusion from our conversations. As he was a supporter of dialectical materialism and I was religious, a believer in Islam, he rejected whatever I said because of his pre-conceived notions. Even if I said something which agreed with Marxism (with which he should have agreed) without attributing the idea, he rejected it.
One day I was speaking about the murders committed by the Umayyids and the disagreements which existed between the classes. The Umayyids had a political dictatorship which dominated religion in order to justify their situation. They wanted people to believe that whatever happened was God’s will. This, they said, was particularly true about their own government. I spoke about the people who opposed them and resisted the situation. I saw how my student suddenly became unhappy. I was opposing the Umayyids. I was praising the Prophet, the Companions, Fatimah(A.S), Abu-Dharr, Hujr and Husayn as leaders of a movement for justice and human freedom against prejudice, oppression and ignorance. What could this first class enlightened thinker do? He yelled out, ‘The despot is history!’
According to the Marxist philosophy of history, society must move through historic phases in a certain predictable sequence. Ali, Husayn and Abu Dharr were ideologists who opposed the despotism of history. I said, ‘The Mercy of God be upon this enlightened one.’
I see that I was right in re-iterating the fact that when the level of thought and vision of a society is transformed, the religious, non-religious, enlightened, reactionary and ignorant scholar are all the same. When a religious view prevails, all unknown and un-comprehended facts are called it calls it fate and destiny Such a view believes that whatever occurs is the When a society becomes Marxist, it believes in the despotism of history. It believes that whatever happens is beyond human will. Whatever exists is accepted because it is a reality resulting inevitably from the processes of history. I said, ‘No look my friend, the sword is the despot here, not history.’
We see that realists believe that whatever exists should be as it is! The members of the Parliament in England defend the laws of homosexuality because homosexuality is an objective reality which exists in society. Therefore, it must be made legal. To oppose this realism is to worship idealized fantasies which form the outlook of politicians and pseudo-intellectuals. You do not hear them argue that Israel is a reality. The settlement of the Palestinian people in lands occupied by Israel is a manifestation of someone who worshiped the ideal. Even though it is wrong, it is a reality which a realist must accept. Although it goes against the grain of humanity, although it is murder, it exists. Politicians and intellectuals accept it, and officially recognize it.
A magazine entitled ‘This Week’ has recently been published for young people. All the articles, translations, news items and photographs are the output of only two or three well-known writers using pen names. These writers visit whore houses and then, damn them. They write for our young people giving them a point by point description of events which take place. One of the top writers (who is too knowledgeable) is a politician who officially represents Islamic culture! He advises women who are overweight and unhappy because of it to find an illicit lover as a solution to their obesity. This is all a reality. Most probably the writers of “This Week” had first scientifically experienced this form of weight loss.
Abuse of the weak by the strong is also a reality. Oppression and suppression of certain classes are also realities. Reality seekers are completely objective viewers. They see the external form which is a scientific and sensible reality. Then they judge. They face no difficulties with imagination, ideology and ideas which are not translated into real forms.
We see that an idealist, a thinker, a reformer tends towards mental desires, ideals and sacred values, but denies or rejects the realities which deviate from his beliefs. It is impossible to negate them. He turns his back on them, or else, through inexperience, rejects them. He pulls. himself away from realities. He thinks in terms of imagery. He occupies a sacred place but does not realize that he is in an idealistic environment. A realist, on the other hand, kills flights of thought, visions, efforts, mental longings of perfection. A realist keeps everything as it is. He builds walls around the framework of existing values and within the existing situation. He paralyzes creative thought, rebellion and the deep changes of life. His needs and desires tend only towards the present, external purposes of mankind. He surrenders to realities and nourishes that which exists.
Neither Idealism Nor Realism: Both
Islam is a pure tree which belongs neither to the East nor the West but has its roots in the heavens and its branches reaching towards the earth. Contrary to idealism, Islam recognizes the realities of life (in both body and spirit) of the individual, as well as the realities of community relationships and of the depths of a society seen only in the motion of history. Islam like realism only admits to the existence of life’s harsher realities, but unlike realism, Islam does not accept the status quo but seeks to change. It changes essence in a revolutionary way. It carries the common idea of ‘reality’ along with its ideals. It uses such realities as a means to reach its idealistic goals, its real desires, which are without form by themselves. Unlike realism, Islam does not submit to realities, but rather, it causes the realities to submit to it. Islam does not turn away from realities as idealists do. It seeks them out. It tames them. Through this means, Islam uses that which hinders the idealists as raw material for its own ideals.
For example, Islam accepts divorce, a new marriage contract and temporary marriage (in certain very exceptional cases). Islam accepts divorce in certain social circumstances. If it did not accept divorce, divorce would still exist, but it would be outside its control. By accepting an unavoidable, natural reality, it makes it into a legal form. As a result, one can conquer the sense of guilt one has in the eyes of God and society. Thus, divorce is based upon ethical principles and religion is preserved. Such people can nourish their environment. Society does not look upon them as sinners or on their children as illegal and impure.
Islam succeeded the day it admitted the existence of these social and human realities. Because of this, it can control its results. It can give realities a corrected legal form. It can bestow an ethical and religiously accepted form upon amorphous ‘facts’ By confirming and admitting the existence of reality, Islam gains strength. It can then control, guide and dominate any reality within its framework.
If we deny realities, they will dominate us. Without knowing it, we will be pulled wherever they want us to go, and we, like the realists, will be drowned in existing realities, whether good or bad. On the other hand, idealists make the mistake of imprisoning themselves in the chains of useless customs Realists move along with realities and accept them. Idealists who do not recognize such realities, deny them through their ignorance and their attachment to imaginary ideals. Idealists are then attacked by realities. The idealists fall on their knees because they are defenseless, inexperienced and weak. They are destroyed.
We don’t see the form that girls who are raised in very strict religious homes take. We don’t see how she covers her face so that, God forbid, the fish in the courtyard pool do not see her What happens when she enters the ocean of society? She vigorously swims, but she is so afraid that she loses control of herself and drowns. In order to make up for what she lacks now, she pays her fine a thousand times over
The same is true for young men who grow up in a pious society. The nouveau riche have just moved from the former world of their idealistic pseudo-religious environment in which they were prohibited from learning physics or chemistry, and in which women were forbidden to have a high school or college education. The men did not shave their beards. They sat in coaches instead of in buses or in taxis. They wore no neck-tie They did not let their hair grow long. They did not change the form of their clothes or their hair-style. They neither bought radios nor did they spread the word of the Koran through a microphone! Suddenly, these young people faced the new world of realities, full of twists and turns.
You see what confusion it has caused. The newly rich young person sees the pretense. He has learned certain airs through watching Western films and TV. He has learned about showing off luxury and being silly. He has seen the exaggeration of it all. It is so exaggerated that even foreigners laugh about it. Why? Because these pretenses exist side by side with reality whereas we deny the realities before we even come to know them. This is why we have been captured by our imagination. This new civilization has attacked all boundaries toppled all the watchtowers of the world. The new generation has been caught in the whirling wind of the Renaissance, the 17th century intellectual movements, the French revolution and the industrialized life style. These historical events changed the weather of the world. The change of atmosphere of our country is also a reality. It is a most certain reality. It is clear that sooner or later lightening will strike. When it does, machines, printing presses, books, newspapers, democracy, electronic media movies, schools, women’s education, new industrial techniques, new sciences, and many other new things will come and will change us.
The leaders of the people, those responsible for ethics, those who have been given the responsibility of guiding lives and thoughts, those who stand face to face with unavoidable realities have closed their eyes. They have given their hearts to mental ideologies and to their ancient thoughts. They have tried to preserve their horse drawn carriages side by side with taxis. They still light lamps when they have electricity. They correctly predict the rush to the inferior world. They know it will bring about the decline of much belief, faith, piety, health and independence. They know that corruption will find a home deep within people’s brains. But face to face with this rush towards modernity (and knowing the relationship which it imposes on the furthermost points and on the most backward tribes of society even those in the depths of the desert) they only say one thing and one thing only: Forbidden! Radio? Don’t buy one Movies? Don’t see them. Television? Don’t watch. Loudspeaker? Don’t listen. University? Don’t go. The new science? Don’t study it. Newspapers? Don’t read them. Vote? Don’t do it. Office work? Don’t do it and woman? Shhh…Don’t mention that word! Face to face with the flood of new technology covering the globe, face to face with civilization which sells refrigerators to the Eskimos, they attempt to completely defend the past. Their total army and strategy consists of only two words: ‘Forbidden!’ and ‘No!’.
What is the result? What we see is what happens. Contemporary events and realities break the barriers and tear down the watch towers. Realities tears down the bricks of the walls and destroys the defenders of the past who hide with their eyes closed and faces averted in disapproval
The force of these modern consumerist realities ruins everything at once. They attack the city’s inhabited areas, its bazaars, mosques and even our homes like wild bulls, wolves or chained dogs. They plunder everything. But they do not leave. They come, they kill, they burn and they take, but they do not leave as the army of Ghengis Khan left. Why?
Because no one even sees them. Our border guards, our watchmen, don’t like them. They are so exasperated that they don’t even bother to look at them. They don’t want to go and separate the good from the bad and correct them. They don’t want to adapt them to the climate and the people of our country. They don’t want to choose among them. They don’t want to shame, control and dominate them. They stand in the middle of the road facing a driverless car. They are run over and crushed. This is why the veiled woman who wants to give birth to her children screams. Why men physicians? Why should women not be treated by women physicians?” She wants her child to go to school and to the university. Her cries increase is this the faculty of literature or a fashion show? Is this an Islamic university? Is this an Islamic society? Does this school smell just a bit of Islam? Does it contain a bit of ethics and meaning? Is this the radio of a religious country or just a noise box? What kind of a translation is this of one culture by another this full-scale importation of television, publications, laws, and banks? What film is this? What theater? What art? What craft? Really, what kind of a civilization is this? But then again, as Hafez [the great poet] has said,As our destiny has been shaped in our absence If only a little fails to accord with our wishes, don’t worry
And, in our case, we have to say: If all of this is not according to our wishes, don’t worry!
When modernism came and found a place for itself, when it begin to work, you were absent. You ran away. When you, a pious man, a religious, ethical Muslim (sensitive to people’s feelings, responsible for the spirits and thoughts of society, preserver of the Islamic culture) sulk and retire into a corner, you allow a Reza Khan to bring a new civilization into effect and to employ a new industry and science.
It takes great effort to effectively interfere in events which unfold. Yet it is only through this effort that one can guide the determined motion of society. People who believe we should preserve that which is incapable of being preserved which is dying (and who are in a position to advise those who inspire, those who appease and those who give condolences) do not recognize the dangers. They create believers from among those who accept the unacceptable. They delude the majority of society. They keep them in an unholy state of prostration silent, weak and submissive.
Those who seek a flowing, active society and want a better human life, acknowledge realities. They know pain. They take their strength from pain in order to heal their wounds. This group does not include those who, as demigods, defend that which is incapable of being defended, or those who take the public into their own hands, or those who follow the styles of the day, or those who praise according to what is fashionable, or those who try to attach themselves to something.
Those who acknowledge realities are people who know time moves. They know that society has a skin which it sheds. They feel that the strong forces of the world have turned to us to make us change. Neither are they sufficiently without pain to sit down and watch, nor are they, without shame, able to take whatever job is handed to them. They are not so stupid as one who sees a flood covering his town but protects only his wife and children, pulls only his own carpet from the water. They know that today is not like the past when families were living in a closed society. Now, even if you hide your daughter in the back room of your house, national and international television will follow her, find her and show her the attractions of the outside world.
Which Mold Do They Fill?
In reality, in our society, those who ask, ‘Who am l? ‘Who should I be?’ or What is my identity?’ are of two types. Our type is a person attached to out-dated, existing traditions which are called religion and ethics and which that person wants to impose upon others. He can’t. Even though he knows he can’t, he still adheres to outdated customs. He still retain them. He tries to impose them upon young people .
There is another type afraid to act even under the pseudo-name of intellectual, modernist or freedom seeker because he thinks, “If I interfere or negate or agree or control the ‘ifs’, I Will be condemned as being old-fashioned, eastern, backward and religious.” So against the social changes, the changes in the types of young men and women, he plays the role of a dead per son. In other words, his child acts while the mother and father create possibilities for him. They are called intellectual parents But their silence and surrender does not stem from their ; intellectual abilities. Nor does it come from their beliefs, but rather from their impotency and weakness. He says to himself “If I interfere, I will give up my outer, external strength to this show and my inner emptiness.” He shouts out, “Prestige, Papa! These are two types, two types of people who can be molded One is attached to the traditions of the Chahar Bagh in Isfahan huge, ugly, crooked and decayed. The second is a product of European brick kilns straight, subtle, with endurance, hollow and absurd.
These are two types and two ways, both of which are lost. Why? One stands against the roaring flood of realities which is about to ruin everything. He tries to turn back the waters with his hands. He tries to stop the flow. He cries out, laments, sobs, and swears at the flood, but the flood just builds up, flows out and sinks everything in its way.
The other one stretches himself out next to the flood waters like a dead person, like a useless observer. This dear man who has no personality of his own, is quiet and works from morning until night, committing murder, ripping people off, pick pocketing, and performing a thousand dirty deeds. He tricks people and then fills his pockets which he, in turn, empties into the pockets of the foreign companies.
Women We Cannot Know
There are only some European women whom we have the right to recognize. It is they to whom we always have to refer. They are the women introduced through magazines, television and sexy movies. They are women made sexy by writers. They are introduced to us as a universal type of European woman. Let me tell you about the European girl we have no right to know. At the age of sixteen she went to the deserts of Africa, to the deserts of Algeria and Australia. She spent all of her life in wild places. She lived with the threat of sickness, death and wild tribes. Throughout her youth and old age she studied the waves emitted from the antennae of ants. When she grew old, her daughter carried on her work. The second generation of this European woman returned to France at the age of fifty. At the university she said, I discovered the language of the ants and I learned some of their signs of communication.”
Also, we have no right to know Madame Gushan who spent her whole life finding the roots of philosophical ideas and the studying the wisdom of Avicenna, ibn Rushd, Mulla Sadra and Haji Mulla Hadi Sabzevari. She also studied Greek philosophy and many of the works of Aristotle and compared them with Islamic material. She showed what our philosophers received from them. She corrected that which had been badly translated and incorrectly understood for a 1000 years of Islamic civilization.
We have no right to know the Italian Mme. De la Vida. She edited and completed the ‘Science of the Soul’ of Avicenna itself based on the ancient Greek manuscript on the soul written by Aristotle. We have no right to know Mme. Curie who discovered radioactivity.
And what about Resass Du La Chappelle who knew more about the sanctity of Ali than all the Islamic scientists. Resass Du La Chappelle was a young, beautiful, free Swedish girl, born far from Islamic culture. She was distant from Muslim behavior and beliefs. From the beginning of her youth, she devoted her life to knowing that unknown spirit in the structure of Islam. She followed a man covered by the hatred of his enemies, caught in traps laid by hypocrites and meaningless friends. She discovered the most correct manuscripts about Ali. She came to know the most subtle waves of his spirit, the depth of his feelings and the highest peaks of his ideas. For the first time, she felt his anger, pain, loneliness, brokenness, fear and needs. Not only did she ‘see’ Ali in the Battles of Uhud, Badr and Hunayn, but she found Ali praying in the mihrab of the mosque in Kufa. She discovered his nights of complaining at the wells of Madinah. She gathered together the Nahj al-balaqah to which the Arab Muslims had access through the literary edition of Muhammad Abduh, the great Sunni religious leader, but about which the Jafaris had only lectures of Javad Fazel which had to be read with the help of the Arabic text!
This girl a disbeliever destined for hell gathered all of the writings of Ali from books, notebooks or manuscripts, hidden here and there. She read all of them and translated them and interpreted them. The most beautiful and deepest writings ever written about someone flowed from her pen. For forty-two years she has continued to study, think, work and research Ali. We have no right to know Angela, the American girl in prison who is not only the hope of two countries, but of all the free people of the world, of all the wounded, of all those condemned through racial discrimination in other words, all the oppressed.
We should not know that foreign women are not just toys of the Don Juans who take money and jewels female slaves serving men as long as they want them, as long as they are interested. We should believe that they are worthy only of man’s desires and lusts.
The foreign woman has progressed to the point of becoming the embodiment of an ideology, of a country, of salvation and of the honor of a generation. But we have no right to know her. We only have the right to know fashion models and beauty queens. We have only the right to know movie sex goddesses in cheap exploitation films, the Queen of Monaco and all of the seven female guards around James Bond. Such women are the sacrifices made to European production. of Europe. They are the toys and wind up dolls of the wealthy. They are the slaves of the houses of the new merchants.
We Muslims only have the right to know these examples of the women of European civilization. I have never seen photographs from Cambridge, the Sorbonne or Harvard University telling about female university students who go to the library to work on 14th and 15th century manuscripts and to research artifacts from 2500-3000 years ago in China. I have not seen pictures of those who bend over Koranic manuscripts based upon Latin. I have not seen pictures of those studying Greek, Cuneiform and Sanskrit texts without moving and without allowing their eyes to rove. They don’t take their heads out of their books until the librarian takes their books away or asks them to leave.
You men and women, seekers of knowledge, scholars, researchers have you ever heard of the famous German scholar, Frau Hunekeh? Have you heard that she has recently written a very comprehensive study of Islam and its influence upon European civilization which has been translated into Arabic and is entitled, The Arab’s Sun Spreads over the West. These are not today’s women and they should not be known. Why? Because one group is made up of old fashioned, ethnic cultural bound seekers. The other is superstitious, newly rich and hidden, but at the same time known and apparent. If they join hands, they will awaken us. They will destroy everything we have. So people are obliged to take the form of tamed consumers and quiet slaves.
These two groups, old-fashioned and newly wealthy, for all practical purposes, work together to produce a new type. One does this under the name of ethics and religion while the other does this under the name of freedom and progress. The old-fashioned woman is abused by prejudice and fanaticism. They push her, leaving her without bread and water. They show her anger. They have no compassion. They treat her so badly that the woman, half crazy with her eyes and ears closed, throws herself into the skirts of those with goat like beards, who welcome her, take off their hats respectfully and with correct manners, bend forward politely, smiling, and treating her gently. The European woman about whom I was speaking, is a woman of today. She delivered herself, but she is the progeny of the Middle Ages. She is reacting to the inhuman treatment and fanaticism of the priests of the Middle Ages, who, in the name of Christianity and religion, misguided women and cursed and enslaved them. They even said woman was hated by God and was the main cause of Adam’s fall from Paradise to the earth! In the Middle Ages, people asked priests, “If there is a woman in a house, should a man, who is not related, enter?” The priests said, “Never. Because if the man is not related and he enters the house where there is a woman even if he does not see the woman still he has sinned.”
In other words, if an unrelated man goes to the second floor of the house and a woman is in the basement, sin occurs. It seems that the sins of women spread through the air. St. Thomas Dakin said, “If God should see the love for a woman upon a man’s face even if the woman is his wife he becomes angry because no love, other than the love of God, should sit upon his heart. Christ lived without a wife. A man can be a Christian without having touched a woman. This is why Christian brothers and spiritual fathers and even Christian sisters never marry. They believe marriage is a tie which arouses God’s anger. We should only join with God through Jesus Christ because two loves cannot fit into one heart. Only those who remain unmarried can carry the Holy Ghost.”
In Christianity, the first sin was the sin of woman. Every man, as the child of Adam, who turns towards a woman, even if that woman be his wife, as Eve was the wife of Adam, repeats the first, primordial sin. The sin and disobedience of Adam is renewed in the memory of God!
Thus one must do something so that God will forget Adam and his sin! This is why a woman in the thoughts of the people of the Middle Ages was hated, weakened and held back from the ownership of anything. Such hatred even extended to the point that if a woman, owning property, went to her husband’s house, she lost the rights to her own property. Her ownership was itself transferred to her husband. A woman had no legal status. The effects of this can still be found in European civilization, which is completely unacceptable to us.
Even today, if a woman marries, she changes her name. This is not just for use in her home or unofficially. Her education certificates, her identification, her passport everything is changed from carrying her father’s name to her husband’s name. This means that a woman herself is nothing. She has no essential existence. A name is significant. A creature who lacks significance stands through others. In her parent’s home, she uses her father’s name. She lives with her first owner. When she goes to her husband’s home, the name of another man (her new owner) distinguishes her. She does not possess sufficient value or credit to have a name of her own. Modern Muslims believe that European tradition has also influenced Muslim countries. They believe European traditions are better than ours. Even if it is a tradition from the slave age, even if it is a detested and ugly action, the very fact that it has a foreign mark upon it is sufficient for our modernists to attempt to imitate it. This is just an example which our pseudo-foreigners take from the foreign ‘better’ race. Whatever that race does is copied without even knowing its reason, purpose or value. Our modernists have no common sense.
In imitating, whether by a modernist or by an old-fashionist, choice is impossible. There is no questioning or judgment about good or bad, no distinction between the useful and the useless. The basis of all imitation is the principle that “Whatever defect the king accepts is art.” They confirm him until it reaches the point where if he says, a Day is night,” they add, Yes. I see the moon and the stars.”
In the official European marriage forms, the two people to be married are asked, “Name?” Secondly, girl’s family name. In answering the first question, the family name which will be taken after marriage, that is, the family name of the husband to be is recorded. In answer to the second question, her unmarried family name, the name of her father, is recorded In other words, a woman belongs to the owner of the house Even if a house had originally belonged to her, she could not continue to own it because she was a woman. In her father’s house, it was her father’s name and in her husband’s house, it is her husband’s name which is used. This is why she officially changes her name through marriage.
Only an idiot ridiculously and unconsciously acts and thinks like a foreigner because he or she cannot distinguish values. This is why we say pseudo-foreigners have been born into our modern society who do not resemble foreigners. Pseudo-Europeans have come into existence for which no example in Europe exists.
In Islam, from the very beginning, the purest form of Islam, (not the present composite form of Islam), a woman is completely independent in respect to woman’s rights. She can even seek payment from her husband for nursing her child. She can carry on her own businesses without any interference from her husband. She can work. As to production she can independently and directly put her capital into effect. She has the most economic independence of any member of society.
All of the anti-human and pseudo-religious pressures committed against European women in the name of religion have caused a reaction. This reaction is directed against the Middle Ages. The memory of it has remained with her. In Italy and Spain where religion is still strong, women are denied many of their human rights in spite of the signs of freedom and the emphasis upon human rights.
We are talking about human freedom and social rights, not sexual freedom and sexual rights. We see with what speed the latter becomes prevalent. In return for the second world’s (the previous third world’s oil, diamonds, rubber gum, copper, coffee and uranium which inexpensively enter Europe, Europe exports freedom, ethics, techniques, culture, art, literature and, in particular, sex, to our hungry, plundered world. All the means of advertisement, all the means of social, technical, artistic and educational expertise of an underdeveloped country are employed to serve propaganda, promotion and distribution. These things are all other than freedoms and human rights! Sexual freedom is deceiving. It is part of a new exploitation, a type of limitless deception, which the impure system of Western capitalism produces. It causes both the East and West innocently to reach out towards it until things get to the point that the influencing West and the influenced East form a continuous culture.
The young generation (in particular, those who are rebellious, audacious and have not been stupefied by religious stipulations and the hereditary chains of traditions falls into the Western trap. At any moment it is possible that, based upon rebellion, they take up a notion contrary to their interests and as a result put their heads into a cheap foreign lover’s grasp and thereby, become so drowned and giddy in the artificial freedom presented by capitalists that they no longer know what the world is about. They so completely saturate themselves with materialism that they no longer sense their poverty and slavery. We see to what extent the internal conditions of despotism in Asia, Africa and Latin America have resulted in an insane emphasis upon the rights and freedom of sex as advertised by the Western capitalists. Sexual freedom is emphasized and strengthened so that the groundwork is laid for its daily increase.
We can, with a little bit of caution and discernment, come to know what is behind these attractive forms of thunder struck, sexuality. It is none other than the denial of the modern world. We have to come to know these great idols and the three faces of the contemporary religious trinity: exploitation, colonialization and despotism. This trinity makes Freud a prophet. From Freudism they build a supposedly scientific and human religion. From sexuality they build an ethical conscience. Finally, from lust, a blessed temple is built. They build their place of worship and create a powerful servant class. The first sacrifice recorded on the threshold of this temple is woman.