SHAFAQNA- Fatimah is Fatimah is a Compilation 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’ .
Loneliness is the greatest tragedy of the century. Durkheim has analyzed the situation in his book, Suicide. Suicide in the East is an exception. It is not a common event. In Europe it is looked upon as a social phenomenon. It is not an accident; it is a reality. Its incidence grows higher and higher everyday in developed societies. The rate of suicide in Spain, which is an underdeveloped country, is less than in other European countries. In Northern Europe the suicide rate is higher. This same pattern exists between villages and urban centers, between the developed areas and the more underdeveloped areas and between the nonreligious, modern group and the old-fashioned religious group. Why? Because people are lonely.
Religion ties people together. It causes a common spirit which is born in its followers to be shared. It nourishes a sympathy between each individual and God. In the past, each individual was linked through hundreds of connections with others family, friends and tribes. Social and economic self-sufficiency makes people needless of each other.
It used to be society which gathered individuals together. Now instead of gathering individuals, the family defends the individual and his or her material needs. Intellectual studies and logic attack the spiritual and traditional religious connections. Intellectual growth, the logic of mathematics, the spirit of materialism, cause the spiritual connections to become unstable.
The individual becomes autonomous. Individual reasoning of necessity becomes self-seeking. It becomes needless of others. It stands alone. Because people no longer need each other, they uproot themselves, and each person then seeks out his or her own interests. Individuals are alone on their islands. Then the thought of suicide attacks them, for suicide is the neighbor of loneliness.
Women choose their men and men their women. But the very fact that men and women are both independent, powerful and without needs, causes them to move towards each other only because of sex. Other factors such as love, kindness, social and traditional roots, friendship, and sympathy, are not taken into consideration. Today, these sorts of attractions have died. Then what remains? A frail intellectual calculation without light, a logical necessity, or a force.
Sexual freedom in men and women’s thoughts (although officially beginning at puberty) for all practical purposes begins whenever one wants. A new idea appears namely, that in order to satisfy a sexual urge the only requirement is the sexual urge. It can be eliminated with money. Only money is necessary. At different levels or with different amounts of money, the sexual urge can be satisfied. One can at any time and under any government be a Don Juan or an Onassis. The First Lady of America can also be bought for a price. The difference between her and those who stand on the street is one of rate. Since boys and girls both enjoy sexual freedom, neither one wants to restrict him or herself for the whole of the lives. It is not to their interest to restrict the power of their sexual urges. In such circumstances none of the answers of logic or wisdom justify an individual choosing one person for one’s whole life thereby restricting all future availability of pleasure and beauty in life.
Forming a Family
At the present time, men and women freely satisfy their sexual urges in universities, restaurants, outings, and various gatherings of this kind. This continues until a woman comes to herself and sees that it is empty around her.
No one any longer seeks her out or if they do, it is to review, to revise a memory of the past. When a man has passed the freedom of his sexual cycle, when he has picked a flower from every garden and from each flower, taken its perfume, there is nothing any longer for him which is interesting or new. His sexual urge has subsided. It has been replaced by attachment to his position and his money. He seeks fame and worships position. His inclinations are now towards getting a house and forming a family. These feelings then appear in his being. A woman, face to face with the reality that no one seeks her out, and, a man, exhausted from his freedoms and indeed by sexual experiences which have finally turned his heart, confront each other. They reach out towards each other at the end of a long and tiring road. They want to form a family.
A family is formed but that which draws these two together that which causes them to join hands, is fear and fatigue. On the part of the woman it is fear of bankruptcy and no longer being noticed. The man is tired and no longer interested in anything. A family has been formed but in place of love and the intensity of an ideal, instead of creative happiness and imagination, exhaustion and ennui set in so that nothing is new. They know what is there. Nothing!
There is nothing for which their hearts beat. They know why they have found each other. They know what needs they have from each other. Both, completely conscious, calculating, aware, seek each other out. Each knows what the other meant by the words, ‘be my divine sacrifice’. Each has achieved their wishes. Both sacrifice for the other. Both die for the other. But in the opposite way from which we normally understand it.
On the day of weddings, city hall is filled. Someone from city hall, with a medal on his coat, looking like a beauracrat attends to them, not a clergyman who is a symbol of spirit, faith, reverence and sainthood. Each couple is called forward exactly like molded sugar cones. Their names are read from a list. They answer, “Yes.” Often several children standing behind the bride and groom also answer yes. It shows their existences have influenced the yes of their mothers and fathers. They pay their money. They sign the register. The ceremony is over. Each returns to his mould, his home. From among the 200-300 brides only 20-30 wear a bridal gown. Most of them say, what, at my age, in my condition, it would be degrading to wear a bridal gown. It is not right.”
Then the wife goes to work and the man as well. They have a rendezvous with their friends to meet at noon in a restaurant and eat lunch together. This, of course, only happens when the wedding to some extent has been full of happiness and excitement. Otherwise they forget what had happened and what event had occurred. Most often, outside city hall after the civil ceremony, the bride and groom (who have been living together for years and each one has probably spent a year or more living with someone else), give each other a cold look as if to say, “So what? Where should we go? Fun? We’ve gone out a thousand times together. Embrace each other? We’ve tasted each other a thousand times and we’ve fled from the taste. Home? We came from home.” What appeals to them? Do they excite each other’8 imagination and feelings? Not at all. Then its best if each continues his work each day like always.
Families are formed in this way. Both the man and the woman have schemed to find each other and form an economic union. Or else, they were married because of the other pressures. Perhaps a child was born causing the father and mother of the child to become a bride and groom. They show no undue standing, feelings and desires towards each other. They do not sense any secrets in each other, no paradox in their union Nothing begins. Nothing changes. No imaginary flights, no heart beats not even a smile upon their lips. This is why the foundation of a family becomes frail. Once the foundations have weakened, the children in that family no longer see under standing, warmth and attractions. Because the mother and father will not sacrifice all of the freedoms for their children they put the child in a school or boarding school and they only give it money so that they can continue their free life.
Afterwards, having formed a logical but deceitful partner ship according to the laws and having created a family, they then separate from each other. The possibilities continue for the man who has experienced thousands of warm and young embraces. How can this woman who is tired and fallen in spit it and whose masculine actions cause disgust in the man, satisfy his needs? And visa versa? A woman who can make a thou sand comparisons, takes the worn out man into her arms Through her comparisons, his number is up. In such a situation, within a household which lacks understanding, he turns to bars, fraternities, new experiences, official and unofficial cen ters. Once again, contrary to the original invitation, the factor which keeps these two within the same household is an illogic one.
Women in the Consumer System: Sex Instead of Love
Societies which only authenticate things in the economic terms of production and consumption only understand economics. Women are no longer creature who excite the imagination nor speakers of pure feelings. Neither are they the beloveds of the great lovers nor do they have sacred roots. They are no longer spoken of in terms of mother, companion, center of inspiration and mirror of life and fidelity. Rather, as an economic product, women are bought and sold according to the value of their sexual attraction.
Capitalism, as a result of producing leisure time, has shaped a woman to serve two purposes. In the first, she fills the time between two jobs which is part of the fate of society. The bourgeoisie exploit her and create a dry and absurd future for her without any purpose whatsoever. Should she not ask, “Why am I working? Why am I living? ‘For whom am I suffering?”
Secondly, women are used as an instrument of entertainment. As the only creature who has both sex and sexuality, has been put to work, office employees and intellectuals can think about ways of spending their capital during their leisure time (instead of thinking about the ideas of classlessness, for instance). Women have been put to work to fill every empty moment of the life of society. Art quickly joins the market so that they can meet the orders of the capitalists and the bourgeoisie. The main purpose of art has always been beauty, spirit, feelings and love. This has now been changed into sex. The market of Freudism, the worship of the most vile and wretched sex has been made into an intellectual philosophy. Sex has been introduced as the virtue behind contemporary art. This is why we find instant paintings, poetry, films, theater, stories, novels etc. all concerned with sex in some form.
Capitalism encourages people to consume more in order to make people more dependent upon it. It also wishes to increase the amount consumed and the products produced. Women are presented only as creatures who are sexy and, other than this nothing. In other words, woman is used as a one dimensional creature. She is placed in advertisements and used as propaganda for creating new values, new feelings and drawing attention to new consumer products. This causes artificial feelings in people. To protect the profits of capitalism, women are thrown in. In order to kill the great and spiritual feelings which destroy capitalism, woman works to prevent capitalism’s death
Sexuality replaces love. Woman, the imprisoned creatures of the Middle Ages, has taken the form of a wage slave in the new age. It is in great civilizations with progressive religions that woman has held a high place through the love she can give in and through the arts even though she may not have had a direct relationship with art. But, she was looked upon as the source of inspiration, feelings and spiritual characteristics. Now she has taken the form of an instrument employed for serving social and economic purposes. She is used to change the form of society. She is used to destroy the highest values of the traditional societies. She is used to change ethics. She is used to change a traditional, spiritual, ethical or religious society into an empty, absurd, consuming society. She is used to pollute art which had been the theophany of the divine spirit of humanity. She is changed into an instrument for sexuality in order to change humanity.
But in the East
Now consumer society approaches the East. It is our turn. Here its work is very easy. Young eastern boys reach the age of puberty early. It is this early sexual awakening which causes eastern sociologists and psychologists to face many problems. Where is the owner of this generation? Who thought about them? There is a war between two groups. Conversations center on type of clothes, habits and tastes. Human problems, whether they are new or old, do not concern either side. The war is between being old-fashioned and modern. Winning is to the advantage of neither. One is called civilized and the other, is called pious, religious. Neither one relates in the least to either civilization or religion. One, the pious type, calls out for Fatima and Zaynab and the other calls out for the European woman. Both are insulting to each other.
Europeans want to change eastern societies to plunder our property and to ride upon our thoughts and our feelings. They want to take the food from our mouths as well as to destroy our common sense values. Without destroying these things, they cannot take the food from our mouths or our property. First the West must break our moulds. We must be made to forget all of our human values and all of our traditions which were the very things which kept us upon our own feet. We must give these up and break them within ourselves. Once, empty-headed, with an impotent spirit, crippled and without content, we must become exactly like garbage cans which are filled with dirty and useless things and then are emptied.
This is what the West is doing to the brain and spirit of the East. They are emptying them of their contents. When we have no faith in anything, we have no intelligence or awareness so that we have no hero, we think the past is completely without value. When we believe our religion to be empty and full of myths, we feel spiritual meanings to be old-fashioned, reactionary and that way of life to be ugly and detestable. We either do not know ourselves, our children and our spirituality or else we know it badly. So what form does Western values change? They empty out our brain and heart so that we begin to thirst for exploiters. Whatever the plundering exploiters then want to pour into our interior, in whatever order they choose, they are free to do so.
It is because of this that the exploiters assign permanent slogans to plundering the East, emptying the minds of Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Iranians, Turks, Arabs, Blacks and others. All must take one form. All must have only one dimension. They must be consumers of Western economic products and have thoughts, but not think for themselves.
Insistence upon old values, traditions and religions, which are full of meaning, close the way to the West and guard the East. Insistence upon traditional values stands like a watch tower with a strong spirit against the West. They defend Islam and independence. Foreignness does not penetrate. Muslims are overflowing with honor, spiritual meaning, values and pride. Their history, people, culture, faith and religious characteristics give them independence, greatness a reason for which to hold their heads up high.
They see the Westerners as nouveau riche and newly civilized. They criticize them, humiliate them and confront them. But the West falls upon the soul of the Easterners like termites. Little by little the head is emptied out of its contents. The West even destroys the forces of resistance which remain. In place of the brave guardians of the watch towers, full of spirit and pride it builds a people empty of common sense, perseverance and pride. The Easterners go forward to meet the enemy. They take whatever the West gives and do whatever it wants them to do. They become exactly as Westerners will want them to be.