News & Updates

November 27, 2018

 

Path of Naam Simran – Concept of Sikh meditation explained as a true path of salvation.

 

May 17, 2018

 

Sri Guru Amardas Ji – A detailed biography of Guru Amardas Ji posted.

 

Check Past Updates

Find Us On...

Find Sikhism: Sikh Religion, Beliefs, Philosophy and Principles on FacebookFind Sikhism: Sikh Religion, Beliefs, Philosophy and Principles on Twitter

Blind Inequality of Islam

Bijla Singh

Foundation of Sikhi is laid upon justice, equality and love for the entire humanity. Guru Sahib saw no difference between a man and a woman in terms of spiritual progress and religious way of life. He, therefore, established that both must have equal rights and opportunities to become one with Waheguru. Such advanced and divine message is a hard truth for Muslims to bear since it condemns the Quranic message of inequality. Muslims claim that equality between both sexes is impossible to be practiced and not realistic and to prove their point they have written a futile article “Blind Equality”. It is unfortunate that their ability to comprehend the message of Sikhi is still beyond the level of intellect. We shall, therefore, not only refute their article but show them the true path of Sikhi and explain the divine revolutionary message.

Understanding True Equality

First we must explain what equality is based on in Sikhi. When Guru Nanak Sahib appeared in this world, the society was divided on the lines of superiority. Hindus were further divided into caste system. Hindu Brahmins considered themselves superior to lower caste. Muslims considered themselves superior because they belonged to the ruling class. Women were being subjugated and oppressed by both Muslims and Hindus alike. They were being prevented from practicing religion by banning them from going to religious temples and mosques. Whereas Muslims considered women as unintelligent, impure due to menstruation and a sex toy, Hindu saints and holy men considered women the real barrier between men and salvation. Women were cursed by both and the humiliation and degradation they were forced to face is unspeakable. The entire social structure was divided between physical differences and none realized the truth.

During those turmoil times, Guru Sahib revealed the divine message and preached that Waheguru has created both men and women and His light resides within everyone. One cannot be treated as inferior or less equal because He sees all as His children and loves everyone equally.

O people, O Siblings of Destiny, do not wander deluded by doubt. The Creation is in the Creator, and the Creator is in the Creation, totally pervading and permeating all places ||1||Pause|| The clay is the same, but the Fashioner has fashioned it in various ways. There is nothing wrong with the pot of clay - there is nothing wrong with the Potter ||2|| The One True Lord abides in all; by His making, everything is made. (Ang 1349)

 

Recognize the Lord's Light within all, and do not consider social class or status; there are no classes or castes in the world hereafter. (Ang 349)

 

“In all beings is he himself pervasive, Himself pervades all forms Male and Female.” (Ang 605)

Guru Sahib preached no two Individuals are similar in all respects but physical structure of a body does not put one closer to God or makes one superior over the other which is why Sikhi does not consider physical differences as a barrier to achieve salvation.Equality means equal opportunity and rights to all irrespective of gender, race, color, creed etc to reach Waheguru. Structure of a human body is mute in Sikhi since achieving salvation stands on the pillars of Naam (meditation), seva (selfless service) and spiritual enlightenment. Word “woman” is used symbolically in Gurbani to represent the disciple walking no the path of salvation which means Sikhi considers every soul (regardless of sex) as the bride of Lord Husband.

“Whatever the Lord does, accept that as good; do away with your own cleverness and self-will. By His Love, true wealth is obtained; link your consciousness to His lotus feet. As your Husband Lord directs, so you must act; surrender your body and mind to Him, and apply this perfume to yourself. So speaks the happy soul-bride, O sister; in this way, the Husband Lord is obtained. ||3||” (Ang 722)

 

“The red-robed woman becomes a happy soul-bride, only when she accepts the True Name…O Nanak, what is the character of the happy soul-bride? Within her, is Truth; her face is bright and radiant, and she is absorbed in her Lord and Master. ||1||” (Ang 785)

 

“There is one Husband Lord, and all are His brides.” (Ang 929)

Thus, according to Sikh ideology, all men and women possess equal status. All human beings, regardless of gender, caste, race, or birth, are judged only by their deeds. This is why Sikhi is a universal way of life and for the entire humankind. Unlike Islam and other religions Sikhi does not discriminate over physical differences. It gives equal opportunities to everyone. Guru Sahib went beyond the physical differences which He acknowledged but opposed to be the cause of men’s superiority over women. Therefore, equality in Sikhi means equal opportunity to women and is not based on the notion that both are physically the same.

Rights and Status of Women

Guru Sahib gave an equal opportunity to women. Gurbani advocates equal status of both men and women, laying emphasis on the development of their respective qualities without any attempt to subjugate the other.Concerning women, Guru Nanak Sahib said:

“We are born of woman, we are conceived in the womb of woman, and we are engaged and married to woman. We make friendship with woman and the lineage continued because of woman. When one woman dies, we take another one, we are bound with the world through woman. Why should we talk ill of her, who gives birth to kings?” (Ang 473)

With this assertion, the Sikh Gurus invited women to join the sangat (congregation), work with men in the Langar (community kitchen), and participate in all other religious, social, and cultural activities of the Gurdwaras (Sikh places of worship). Women like Mata Sulkahnee Ji (wife of Guru Nanak Sahib) and Mata Khivi Ji (wife of Guru Angad Dev Ji) were responsible for running the community kitchen and providing food to everyone.

Mata Sahib Kaur, the mother of Khalsa, was never seen without work. She would forget her meals for days in serving meals to the needy. She did twenty-four hours service on special occasions. Her motto was hands at work and mind on the Lord.

With your hands and feet, do all your work, but let your consciousness remain with the Immaculate Lord. (Ang 1376)

Guru Sahib condemned purdah or burka, the wearing of the veil, and female infanticide. Wearing of veil is popular among Muslims, Hindus and Christians and women are forced to cover themselves more than men. Gurbani states that one should only wear those clothes which do not distress the mind or the body. Guru Sahib refused a woman from entering the sangat until she had removed her veil. According to Sikhi, true veil is shying away from immoral activities and being humble.

"Stay, stay, O daughter-in-law - do not cover your face with a veil. In the end, this shall not bring you even half a shell….Your veil shall be true only if you dance and sing the Glorious Praises of the Lord.||3|| Says Kabeer, the soul-bride shall win, only if she passes her life singing the Lord's Praises. ||4||1||34||” (Ang 484)

Sikh men and women were blessed with same articles of faith, the five Ks, Kes (hair covered with turban), Kara (an iron bracelet), Kirpan (sword), Kangha (wooden comb) and Kacherra (an under short). Both are required to say the same prayers and live same way of life.

Guru Sahib rejected the old tradition of ‘Sati’ (burning of the widow), thus permitting the remarriage of widows and advocated women’s right to life. It was the great influence of Guru Amar Das Ji, third Nanak, that Akbar passed a law abolishing ‘Sati’ practice.

They cannot be called satis, who burn themselves with their dead husbands. They can only be called satis, if they bear the shock of separation. They may also be known as satis, who live with character and contentment and always show veneration to their husbands by remembering them. (Ang 787)

Women were given an equal status in congregation and place to sit in the same hall as men. Women prayed along with men and had the opportunity to be as close to Guru Sahib as men. Notice in the verse below that both men and women are called “dear sisters” referring to them as “soul-brides” of the “Husband Lord”.

Come, my dear sisters and spiritual companions; hug me close in your embrace. Let's join together, and tell stories of our All-powerful Husband Lord. (Ang 17)

The marriage ceremony, according to Sikh rites is not ‘Kanyadan’, which assumes that a girl is a piece of property to be given away in charity. It is regarded as Anand Karaj, a ceremony which gives Anand, a state of bliss, because it is a union where two souls meet in perfect harmony.

They are not said to be husband and wife, who merely sit together. They alone are called husband and wife, who have one light in two bodies. ||3|| (Ang 788)

Guru Sahib redefined celibacy as marriage to one wife and taught that male and female alike need to practice conjugal fidelity.

Having one woman as wife he (the Sikh) is a celibate and considers any other's wife as his daughter or a sister. (Bhai Gurdas Ji, Vaar 6)

Sikhi teaches that both (husband and wife) are to live a married life, grow spiritually together and work towards achieving salvation. Sikhs are taught to live in their household but at the same time immerse themselves in Waheguru. In other words, Sikhs are taught to live in the world but rise above it mentally and spiritually.

Night and day, sing the Kirtan, the Praises of the One Lord. In the midst of your household, remain balanced and unattached. (Ang 281)

Becoming householder, man resides in his innate nature (atman). (Bhai Gurdas Ji, Vaar 16)

A woman is considered the other half of the man i.e. woman is not only the physical and spiritual companion of her husband but an equal partner of the household.

"Woman is one half the complete personality of man, and is entitled to share secular and spiritual knowledge equally." (Bhai Gurdas Ji, Var 5)

Sixth Guru Har Gobind Ji, further uplifted the status of women by saying:

Daulat guzran, Aurat lman, Puttar nishan.

Money is my servant, wife is my conscience and children keep the race going.

Gurbani declares that a woman can not only tread the spiritual path herself, but also guide others in their spiritual pursuit.

“Of all the Vedas' knowledge and all other virtues, it is the woman who can best assist man to the gates of salvation.” (Bhai Gurdas Ji, Var 5)

In devotion, Bibi Amro, the daughter of Guru Angad Dev Ji, reigned supreme. It was she who brought Guru Amar Das Ji to the fold of Sikhism who then further solidified the foundations of equality.

It is not only in spiritual matters, that a woman enjoys a supreme status. The status of Sikh women in social sphere is equally honorable. Gurbani gives clear guidelines as to the qualities Sikh women must possess in order to lead a healthy and harmonious social life. The following Shabad explains the status of a Gurmukh woman.

The bride shows such special devotion, and has such an agreeable disposition… In worship, marriage and in the next world, such a soul-bride looks beautiful... She is the most noble of all the family. She counsels and advises her hope and desire. How blessed is that household, in which she has appeared. O servant Nanak, she passes her time in perfect peace and comfort. (Ang 371)

Furthermore, Guru Sahib appointed 146 missionaries to spread the message of Sikhi of which 52 were women and out of 22 Manjis (authorities) established for the preaching of Sikhi, four were women. The steps Guru Sahib took to advocate equality of women revolutionized the tradition of Indian society which gave people sense of pride, equality and they practiced the love of human brotherhood. No longer did the society remain divided on the lines of social and birth reasons. As the women began to partake in social, religious and political affairs, their contribution and worth as equal partners of men became more obvious.

Blind Inequality of Islam

In this section, we briefly look at how women are perceived in Islam. The following few points leave no doubt that women are not equal to men in Islam.

1)      Men are superior to women.

Men have authority over women because Allah has made the one superior to the other. (4:34)

The famous commentator Ibn Kathir commented on (Q. 4:34) saying:

“Men are superior to women, and a man is better than a woman.”

God established the superiority of men over women by the above verse (the Qur'an 4:34) which prevents the equating of men and women. For here man is above the woman due to his intellectual superiority and his ability to administer and spend on the woman. (Tuffaha, Ahmad Zaky, Al-Mar'ah wal- Islam, Dar al-Kitab al-Lubnani, Beirut, first edition, 1985, p.36).

Men are considered superior physically and intellectually just because they are men. Hence, women are inferior and unequal.

2)      Muslims women are considered impure due to their menstrual cycle.

They ask thee concerning women's courses. Say: They are a hurt and a pollution: So keep away from women in their courses, and do not approach them until they are clean. But when they have purified themselves, ye may approach them in any manner, time, or place ordained for you by Allah. Surely Allah loves those who turn much (to Him), and He loves those who purify themselves. (2:222)

On the other hand, Sikhi emphasizes purification of the mind. The Gurus teachings say that one cannot be pure by washing the body but purity of mind is the real pureness.

They are not called pure, who sit down after merely washing their bodies. Only they are pure, O Nanak, within whose minds the Lord abides. ||2|| (Ang 472)

3)      Muslim women have to stay in secluded rooms in Mosques to pray and cannot join men in the same area. This does not represent equality.

A woman is closest to God’s face, if she is found in the core of her house. And the prayer of the woman in the house is better than her prayer in the mosque’ (Ihy'a 'Uloum ed-Din by Ghazali, Dar al-Kotob al-'Elmeyah, Beirut, Vol II, Kitab Adab al-Nikah, p. 65. Reported by Tirmizi as a true and good Ahadith)

On the other hand, Sikh women are encouraged to join the congregation and not forced to pray in secluded rooms. Safiyya Aslan realizing the equality given to Sikh women in Sikhi states in “Women’s Space in the Mosque: Sikhs Might Have a Solution”

“The Sikh approach toward gender participation in their houses of worship could be used as a spatial and ethical model for designing and implementing new policies in mosques. It would be wise for mosque authorities to reconsider the division of space in mosques and readjust it to satisfy the needs of modern Muslims.”

4)      Muslims women are required to wear veil which is a sign of subjugation.

Veil was introduced in Islam to distinguish free women from slave women. This only suggests that instead of doing something for the betterment of womanhood (slaves in this case) Mohammad further solidified the slavery because to him women were nothing more than property of men.  Although these days women are not categorized as “free” or “slave” but nonetheless Muslim women are required to wear veils to cover their “beauty” to save themselves from molestation.

“O; Prophet! Tell thy wives and thy daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks close round them (when they go outside).  That will be better, that so they may be recognized and not molested”. (33:59)

Does this not imply that men are naturally lustful beasts and have no control over their lustful needs? Why should women suffer just because men cannot show bit decency to womanhood? If Islam was all about equality then why aren’t men required to wear veil and cover themselves up? Is it because Quran assumes that women have no lustful thinking and are just robots wondering about in the world?

If the whole purpose of making women wear veil is to protect them from evil intentions of men then looking with evil intention is a sin and the sinner should be punished not the victim; or is it devised to save men from not committing the sin? Then what prevents these men from looking at non-Muslim women? If some men have evil intentions, they will have it regardless of women wearing veil or not.

It would be more reasonable to declare that having ‘Evil Intention’ is a sin and if anyone commits it he should be punished instead of subjugating women to wear veil. It is degrading for women to be treated like a sexual object and not as a person.

5)      According to Islam, women are considered unintelligent and deficient in mind which is why Quran considers testimony of two women equivalent to a man.

And get two witnesses of your own men, and if there are not two men then a man and two women such as you choose for witnesses - so that if one of them errs, the other can remind her... (2:182)

[Mohammad said]: O womenfolk, you should give charity and ask much forgiveness for I saw you in bulk amongst the dwellers of Hell. A wise lady among them said: Why is it, Messenger of Allah, that our folk is in bulk in Hell? Upon this the Holy Prophet observed: You curse too much and are ungrateful to your spouses. I have seen none lacking in common sense and failing in religion but (at the same time) robbing the wisdom of the wise, besides you. Upon this the woman remarked: What is wrong with our common sense and with religion? He (the Holy Prophet) observed: Your lack of common sense (can be well judged from the fact) that the evidence of two women is equal to one man, that is a proof of the lack of common sense. (Sahih Muslim, Abdul Hamid Siddiqi, tr., Number 142)

The Prophet (the blessing and peace of Allah be upon him) said: "Isn’t the witness of a woman equal to half of that of a man?" The women said: "Yes." He said: "This is because of the deficiency of her mind." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Dr. Muhammad Matraji, Number 2658)

In order to justify the above verses, Muslims have resorted to making excuses and presenting absurd claims. In “Why two women Witnesses” Shamshad. M. Khan claims that due to menstruation “women can experience extraordinary psychological strains giving rise to depression, lack of concentration, slow-mindedness and short term memory loss.”  This is a complete blasphemy and an insult to a woman. The verses clearly state that “women have deficient mind”. In other words, the verses apply to all women and not just to those in their menstrual cycle.  The verses make no exceptions for those who are not having menstruation or have reached menopause. Even if we assume that women are unintelligent or deficient in mind, how does that make them unequal? In modern society, disabled and retarded people have equal rights because they are human and are not discriminated against. Therefore, women must have equal rights regardless of their intellectual level.

If two women witnesses are equal to one man then are four women witnesses equal to two men? This should completely eliminate the need for a male witness. But in Islam, male witness is required. If a male was to enter women’s dormitory and rape a woman he will not be charged of anything and will be safe since there would be no male witness present there.

6)      The Quran allows men to beat their wives into subservience. If a wife doesn’t listen to her husband, the husband should admonish her. If that doesn’t work, he is to make her sleep in a separate bed. If the wife still doesn’t respect her husband’s authority, even after she has been banished to another bed, the husband is told to physically punish her.

Men are the protectors And maintainers of women, Because Allah has given The one more (strength) Than the other, and because They support them From their means. Therefore the righteous women Are devoutly obedient, and guard in (the husband’s) absence What Allah would have them guard. As to those women On whose part ye fear Disloyalty and ill-conduct, Admonish them (first), (Next), refuse to share their beds, (And last) beat them (lightly); But if they return to obedience, Seek not against them Means (of annoyance): For Allah is Most High, Great (above you all). (4:34)

Why shouldn’t women have the same rights to beat their husbands? Just because they are physically different doesn’t mean they are less equal. The verse above has been discussed in details in The Abusive Book.

7)      Islamic marriage further degrades women by giving them the status of a “sex toy”. In Islamic marriage women are slaves and their primary duty is to satisfy their husbands’ sexual needs.

The institution of marriage remained very different for men to what it was for women, and the rights accorded to husbands were distinct from those accorded to wives. In fact it is probably not accurate to use the term 'rights of the woman' since a woman under the Islamic system of marriage has no human rights unless we consider that a slave has rights under a slave system. Marriage, in so far as women are concerned, is just like slavery to the slave, or the chains of serfdom to the serf. (Nawal El Sa'dawi, The Hidden Face of Eve, Zed Press, London, 1980, pp. 139-140)

Your wives are as a tilth (a field to be ploughed) unto you, so approach your tilth when or how ye will. (2:223)

 

Umar [one of the Caliphs] was once talking when his wife interjected, so he said to her: 'You are a toy; if you are needed we will call you.' (Al-Musanaf Vol. 1 Part 2, p. 263)

Another contemporary scholar wrote:

"The marriage contract is designed by the legislator so that the husband may benefit from the sexual organ of the woman and the rest of her body for the purpose of pleasure. As such the husband owns by the marriage contract, this exclusive benefit." ('Abd ar-Rahman al-Gaziri, al-Fiqh 'ala al-Mazahib al-Arba'a, Dar al-Kutub al- 'Elmeyah, 1990, vol. 4, p. 7)

8)      A man is allowed to have up to four wives and unlimited number of sex slaves. Such is not the case with women.

Marry women of your choice, Two or three or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one, or (a captive) that your right hands possess, that will be more suitable, to prevent you from doing injustice. (4:3)

Where is the equality since women are not allowed to have multiple husbands? Why should women be treated differently in this case? What duties are there preventing women from having multiple spouses? Muslims argue that polygamy is allowed only and only if the husband can “treat” and “provide” equally to all of his wives. Such reasoning is ludicrous. Marital life stands on love, affection and companionship. How can a Muslim love all of his wives equally since Mohammad himself could not even do that for he loved Ayesha more than any of his wives?

Why are men allowed to have multiple wives? The answer is simple: to fulfill their lustful desires.

Some men have such a compelling sexual desire that one woman is not sufficient to protect them [from adultery]. Such men therefore preferably marry more than one woman and may have up to four wives. (Ihy'a 'Uloum ed-Din by Ghazali, Dar al-Kotob al-'Elmeyah, Beirut, Vol II, Kitab Adab al-Nikah, p.34)

Islam does not teach anything close to controlling the mind and lustful needs. Instead, it gives men to have more wives and sex slaves (right hands possess). Did Mohammad presume that women have no sexual needs and therefore do not deserve to be satisfied by their husbands? Very well so and it could only be because he thought of women no more than personal property and a sex toy to be played with.

9)      Divorce process in Islam gives all rights to the husband and none to the wife.

It is very painstaking and cumbersome for women while men are not obligated to anything. Women do not have the right to divorce their husbands. Only men have this right. If a man says “Talaq” three times to his wife, they have to get divorce. This cannot be reversed which makes it clear that any Muslim under the influence of frustration or anger can simply destroy the relationship and the lives of his children. A woman on the other hand has no right or say in this. If Islam preached equality then the woman would also have the right to say the same word three times to get a divorce. But this is not the case. Man has more rights and final say. There is little to no room for thinking and communication. Once the word “Talaq” has been said it brings the hell process only for women. Divorced woman cannot remarry her previous husband. She first has to marry someone else, consummate the marriage and get divorce in the same manner and only then she can remarry her previous husband.

This practice of inequality makes women suffer an inconsiderable amount. Assume a man says “Talaq” three times in anger and gets a divorce. Now, he wants to remarry his wife and the woman wants the same as they both love each other very much. But this cannot happen. The woman has to marry someone else and consummate the marriage. If she gets a divorce from her newly-wedded husband only then can she remarry the love of her life. If her new husband refuses to give divorce, her whole life is ruined and she is forced to spend her life with someone she doesn’t love. This traps her in a loveless marriage and the husband is given no punishment. Even if the woman gets a divorce the very next day, she still has to undergo humiliation as she will have to spend a night with someone she doesn’t consider her life partner. It is a woman who gets trapped, punished and is forced to go through humiliating process. Where is the so-called equality? It exists no where in Islam.

The list of inequalities in Islam is endless. We conclude this section by quoting Shamas-ul-ulema maulvi Hafiz Nazir Ahmad:

Women are so created that they cannot compete with men in worldly or spiritual pursuits. Lack of physical strength precludes the possibility of their taking part in Jehad. Their duty is to bear children, suckle them, and to bring them up. At certain times they are disallowed from observing fasts or saying Namaz. (Al Quran-UI-Azma page 101 Taj Co. Ltd Karachi)

Foolish Statements

In this section we respond to the irrational and illogical comments (colored) made by Muslims in “Blind Equality”.

The male is not like the female" (Qur’an 3:36)

Of course male and female are different in physical sense. It was obvious to humans back in Stone Age. How is this revealed truth?

Unfortunately, many Sikhs, similar to others who have no guidance from an all-Wise Creator, have fallen into this mistake, the degree of which varies between the numerous sects of Sikhism.

We rather not have “guidance” from Quran which leads to oppression, injustice and degradation of human beings.

There is a reason why the all-Wise created us different. If He intended both genders to be equal in its functionality, He would have made us all females or all males. However, the fact that He created us differently is recognised by Muslims as part of the universal "balance" (al-Meezaan), part of which is that each sex compliments the other by fulfilling a designated role. Furthermore, Allaah has revealed laws that sustain this different but complimentary functionality, which maintains this "balance", by not allowing one to mix with the other.

Everyone, not just male and female, is different in physical terms. If physical difference is the main cause of treating women unequal then all men are physically different from each other as well. Some are short, tall, fat, and slim and have different characteristics. Facial structure, nose, eye color, finger prints etc. all are different. How do intersexual fit in the “balance” equation? Physical differences between male and female are obvious but how does this constitute men’s superiority? How does this grant men to beat their wives? There is a fine line between being different and being unequal. Either Muslims are too foolish to realize this fact or are blinded by backward Quranic message. Humans are not robots created for the purpose of performing specific jobs. Humans are given free will and have choices to do what they want in their lives.

What is the business of Allah to say that women have to stay home and clean the dishes? Granted that female’s physical body is different but how does that make her inferior so much so that she must stay at home, pray in secluded rooms and must cover herself up to be saved from the preying lustful eyes of men? Household roles are decided by society and depend on cultural practices, which is why they differ from country to country. According to Sikhi, equality does not mean performing same functionality but granting women the same rights to progress in religion and society. Women must have equal opportunities to education, employment, spirituality and all other religious and social affairs. Many countries have declared it illegal to discriminate based on gender but Muslims have failed to move forward and are still stuck with inflexible rules.

"And they (women) have rights (over their husbands) similar (to those of their husbands) over them." (Qur’an 2:228)

What rights do women have over their husbands? Muslims are quiet on this.

One of the things that people misunderstand is that when they say "Islam is the religion of equality", what they should say is that Islam is the religion of justice.

When women are given less rights and not regarded equal, it is an injustice. Women’s rights discussed in previous section makes it clear that Islam is a religion of inequality and injustice. If a woman wants to marry her ex-husband she has to consummate the marriage with someone else and then get a divorce. She is forced to spend the night with someone she doesn’t love for the sake of spending her entire life with her ex-husband. If she doesn’t get a divorce she is trapped in a loveless marriage. How is this justice? This is just one example and numerous more can be presented but Islam and justice do not go together. Is there any right that is granted only to women and does not benefit men directly or indirectly?

Those who say that Islam is the religion of equality are lying against Islaam. Rather Islaam is the religion of justice which means treating equally those who are equal and differentiating between those who are different.

Ignorant Muslims do not know the difference between different and equal. It shouldn’t be a differentiation between “equal and different” but “same and different”. How do Muslims determine which group of people is different or the same? All men are different in nature and physical structure. Serving justice depends on the situation and punishing someone depends on the degree of crime. What role does physical body play in the judicial system? None. Why is Allah so concerned with physical structure? Assume a man and woman both commit the same crime, why would Allah treat them differently? Considering gender of a person in awarding or punishing is absurd.

Most of the rulings of Islaam apply to men and women equally. However, in cases where a distinction is to be made between the sexes, by necessity of the mental and physical differences, the Muslim will regard that as a mercy from Allaah and a sign of knowledge of His creation, whilst the non-Muslim, due to heedlessness, sees it as oppression, inequality and injustice; stubbornly insisting that men and women must be equal.

It is Allah’s mercy upon men for giving them more rights but a grave injustice to women who are equally capable of praying alongside men and defending themselves by keeping arms rather than wearing a veil. How merciful is Allah on women when they are called “unintelligent”, “deficient in mind”, and considered a “sex toy”? Women must have equal opportunities to perform the same religious duties as men without any extra restrictions. Women must be allowed to progress spiritually at the same level as men. Once again, physical differences are irrelevant in spiritual progress.

There are many cases in point that a sincere seeker of truth would only dispute at his/ her peril. For example, motherhood which in Islaam is subject to particular laws that of course are only prescribed upon women. There are conditions for birth, after-birth, purification rights, breastfeeding, etc. all of which a Muslim mother must know. Likewise, the father’s role is subject to particular laws and conditions. For example, he is considered the breadwinner of the family unit having been given the important (and often arduous) responsibility of working in permissible (halaal) ways to maintain the family, as well as being the head of the household.

This is a blasphemy. A woman will breastfeed and nurture her child regardless of her religion. Whether a woman is Muslim or not plays no role in raising a child. Do non-Muslim women raise and breastfeed their children in a different or irreligious way? Since when did breastfeeding become a religious ritual? A woman doesn’t have to be a Muslim to learn how to breastfeed her child. Are Muslims assuming that women didn’t know how to give birth, breastfeed and take shower after birth before Mohammad? We don’t think ignorance and idiocy have any limits in Islam. Different roles do not constitute to different rights. There are many women in the world that cannot give birth. How do breastfeeding and “purification” laws apply to them? Many women do not get married and live alone so they have to work to earn their own bread. Why must they seek dependency? Who is the head of the household when only two women live together as a couple? Does Allah have any answers or he forgot about the different nature of human beings 1400 years ago?

One such example is the manner in which Sikhs dress. It is sad to see this perverted acceptance of blind equality take such a strong hold that one will now find Sikh men and women dressed in almost identical attire, including the dastar (turban).

Women wearing Dastaar is a clear proof that it was not given to distinguish men from women. Dastaar is not attire for men only. Rather, it is a gift of the Guru to His Sikhs. It shows His love for His followers. It is a crown of the Sikhs bestowed upon them by the True King (Satguru). Had it been considered part of dress then only men would’ve been wearing it today but it is a symbol of one’s dedication and love for the Sikh faith. Whereas veil was given to women to distinguish them from slave women and keep them in confinement, Dastaar was given to bless Sikhs with sovereignty. When a Sikh wears a Dastaar no longer will he/she keep faith in anything other than Akaal (One immortal God) and submit to the rule of anyone. Guru Sahib blessed Sikhs with His own image and elevated them to the equal status. His saying was “Soul in the Granth and body in the Panth”. This was the greatness of Guru Sahib that wherever five Sikhs assemble they have the authority to make decisions and conduct religious affairs. Thus, Dastaar is not part of men’s attire but an article of faith that represents our free way of life, submission to Akaal and dedication to the only true path. This is why both men and women are required to wear it.

It would make no sense to tell women to expose those parts of their body that men are allowed to expose because of the differences in the temptation posed by one towards the other.

If men have lustful thinking then it cannot be stopped by covering up women. In fact, covered women create more distractions because it forces men to dream about women and try to imagine what they look like under ‘purdah’. Who is to say that Muslim men do not get tempted into lustful thinking by looking at the exposed faces of women wearing hijab? If ‘purdah’ is the solution then why can’t women go to mosques and pray even after wearing ‘purdah’? Perhaps covering the eyes of men should be considered as a viable solution. Sikh women are not required to expose more parts of their body than men. Reasonable clothing covers essential parts of the body exposing hands, feet, neck and face.

Usually, arrangements are made for separate entrances for the male and female ensuring that no free-mixing occurs. The wisdom behind this, as explained above, is the recognition of sexual temptation posed by each gender towards the other. Hence, not only is there a prescribed purpose-made dress code, but an additional safety precaution is established by cordoning off the two sexes to ensure that all potential avenues of temptation are cut off; thus, allowing for complete and undisturbed attention to be paid towards the purpose of attending the mosque - to worship the Creator.

Clearly, according to Muslims women are required to enter the mosques via a separate entry door and sit in separate rooms for the purpose of “cutting-off temptation”. Then it is the “temptation” that must be the sin. How do Muslims deal with such an issue outside of the mosques, at schools, shopping centers, social gatherings etc? Islam should offer a solution to deal with the temptation rather than degrading women and denying them of their religious rights. Why should women suffer at the expense of men’s sinful thinking? Keeping women in separate rooms do not keep men from thinking about women in lustful manner. Islam is a failed religion since it has no solution to keep one’s mind at peace and attuned to God at all times. If Islam cannot offer a moral way of life and teachings for men to look upon women in a respectful manner then it has no value and the society is better off without it.

However, in their naivety, Sikhs often forward the excuse that it is impossible for temptation to arise in a place of worship, or during worship, and in front of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib…..Women usually attend the Gurdwara wearing their most beautiful garments, bathed in perfume, looking their most attractive, and often with a flimsy transparent cloth (chuni) draped over their head, which leaves exposed both the neck and parts of the chest. It is inconceivable to imagine under such circumstances that no man would take advantage of the opportunity of flicking a quick glance over at a woman who is barely meters away across the room, especially if the room is full of women.

So now the clothes, perfumes and garments are tempting men to commit a sin? What would Muslims suggest? Ban women from wearing beautiful clothes and perfumes? The issue here is not what a man might do but the principles a religion stands on. No doubt a man can look at a woman with bad intentions but this can happen anywhere and many times a man doesn’t need to have woman’s presence to have lustful thoughts. This can happen in a mosque as well. A Muslim man on his way to the mosque may look at a non-Muslim woman covering only half of her body and keep fantasizing about her during the prayer. A man with homosexual thinking may have lustful thoughts about other men in the mosques. Same can be said about Muslim women. In any case, women shouldn’t be banned from religious places just because one or few individuals might look at them with wrong intentions. This is ridiculous and unjust to women. The solution shouldn’t be banning women but teaching men to control their desires and look at women in respectful manner, the same way they would look at their own mothers and sisters. Is this so hard to learn?

Gurdwara is a place for Sikhs to go and seek spiritual guidance, learn true way of life and praise the Almighty. It is not a place to look at women. Such a preposterous statement can only come from those who themselves think in such a manner and are immoral and unethical. If people wouldn’t learn morality, ethical behavior and teachings to improve their character and behavior at worship place then where else? Mosque offers nothing in this context and Muslims have chosen to ban women in order to avoid lustful thoughts but this does not root out the problem. Thinking is still in the mind as well as the lust. As long as people do not learn to control their thoughts, improve their character and ethical behavior, the problem will not be rid of.

In matters of worship, how is it possible for men and women situated in the same room; separated by no barriers, to sustain their concentration upon worship without any of them being distracted by the opposite sex?

If Islam has no solution to offer to men to have self-control and keep their minds away from lustful thinking then clearly Islam is an incomplete religion. Why should women be segregated just because foolish Muslims cannot keep their minds clean and behave like civilized human beings even at mosques? It should be Muslim men who should be required to pray in secluded rooms. The statement above explains why young raped girls are punished in Islamic countries. According to so-called “Shariya” it is those girls that provoke lustful thinking in men by not covering themselves completely. What a way to serve justice. Rapists are protected and nothing is done against them or their way of thinking. How foolish it is that women cannot go to mosques and pray alongside men without being looked upon as a sexual object. Women are prohibited for all sorts of rights just because men might look upon them with sexual intentions. Do Muslims have no morality and sense of decency? Is this how they look upon women? Then what stops them from looking at non-Muslim women? Men will have lustful thinking no matter what and who is to say that all men praying in the mosque are heterosexuals? What if they are homosexuals or bisexuals and other men distract them from saying prayers? Does Islam have any solution? It is only an excuse to deny women of their religious rights. Men can be thinking about their stocks investments, money, movies, family etc during prayer. How would Muslims keep such thoughts away from the mosque? Clearly, distraction is not the women but immoral thinking. Since Islam has no solution to offer it punishes women and keeps them away from praying and salvation.

Any wise person, who has sat down and reflected without jumping on the pseudo-bandwagon of equality, will come to the inevitable conclusion that the restrictions and regulations set for two different people of different backgrounds, cultures and age group must differ. It would be unreasonable to establish equal rules for a six-year-old child and a seventeen-year-old since both differ in their mental and physical maturity.

Wrong! We are not discussing restrictions for two individuals from different backgrounds but rights of two human beings based on gender. First the argument was that women are to be treated differently because they are created differently and now the argument is changed to treating people differently due to their cultural background and age group. Muslims should decide what their real argument is and what the real reasoning behind inequality is. If rules must be different for people from different backgrounds or age group then why is it not so in Islam? Why do Muslims from India have to do what Muslims in Iran are required? Are there different rules for children, teens and adults in Islam? If this is so then Islam is not the religion for humanity and has no consistency.

Religious rules must be applicable to people of all ages. Religion must provide peace of mind, spiritual growth and morality which are irrelevant to gender. It is nonsense to say that a certain individual is not required to be a moral person just because they are from a different background or an age group. Equality is not based on physical structure of the body but equal opportunity. In many countries equality is practiced in form of applicability of the law to everyone equally. Children, men, women from all backgrounds and age groups must adhere to the same laws in many of the western countries. This shows equality. The above statement by Muslims shows how absurd Islamic thinking is. It advocates inequality, injustice and gender discrimination. This is why non-Muslims are denied of basic human rights and are subject to ‘jizya’ in Islamic countries. Would it be justified if Muslims living in USA were prohibited from saying prayers, building mosques, keeping fast and travelling to Mecca just because they are from different background and culture? Would it be acceptable if there was a separate judicial law for Muslims which would give much more severe punishments? Would Muslims be happy if they were required to pay 50% taxes and paid no more than minimum wage just because they are from different background? All of this is simply ridiculous and cannot be justified on any moral ground. The fact of the matter is that, Islam degrades women to the level of personal property. No excuse given by Muslims can ever change this fact. Muslims should open their eyes and renounce the barbaric and absurd teachings of Quran.

Conclusion

Sikhs believe that although men and women have physical differences and may have different duties in daily life but this in no way should prevent women from taking part in religious activities and enjoy all the rights that are given to men. A Sikh woman reserves the right to be a granthi (one who conducts religious ceremonies), a preacher or a ragi (one who sings hymns from Guru Granth Sahib). She can take amrit and lead congregation. Islam, on the other hand, does not go beyond the physical differences and offers no spiritual progress, equality, and justice. Gender difference is considered the real reason of men’s superiority over women. The inequality of Islam is deeply rooted in the physical appearance and men are considered superior just because they were born as men. A Muslim woman cannot utter the call to prayer (Azan) or become an Imam (priest) in the mosque. She is not allowed to lead the holy congregation in prayer.

Muslims are given the proprietary rights over women and not taught to improve their lustful animalistic behavior. Urges, desires and immoral thoughts of the mind are not taught to be controlled in Islam which deprives half of the Muslims population (women) of their basic human rights and equality. Women are looked upon as a sexual object. On the contrary, Sikhi teaches to control one’s mind and keep it from indulging in lust, anger, greed, worldly attachment and ego. Reciting of Naam and reading Gurbani (Guru’s hymns) cleanse one’s mind and seva (selfless service) brings humbleness. Sikhs learn to keep control of their mind and concentrated by singing glorious praises of Waheguru. Sikh men are instructed to look upon women (other than spouse) as their own sisters, mothers and daughters. Similarly, women are instructed to look upon other men as their sons, fathers and brothers. Such a beautiful teaching keeps the community tied together as a family. It brings harmony and peace and no one suffers because of someone else’s thoughts. Sikhs were offered money, palaces and beautiful women by Islamic rulers to give up their faith but those Sikhs chose to die instead. Thus, they remained steadfast in their faith and all the worldly distractions proved futile.

Sikhi teaches to live by three principles: Kirat Karni (living honest way of life), Vand Chakna (sharing with poor and needy) and Naam Japna (meditating upon God’s name). Such a lifestyle is free of gender discrimination and establishes no superiority of men over women. Anyone can follow these principles and progress spiritually at their own pace. There are no laws in Sikhi that divide duties and rights among men and women. Performing specific household duties do not play any role in achieving salvation. Sikhi does not consider age as a factor in spiritual growth and salvation. Any person from any background of any age group can achieve salvation and progress spiritually by following the same principles. Anyone can take Amrit, get Naam and practice Sikhi. No one is held back as Sikhi is the path of liberation of the soul which has no gender or age. Therefore, Sikhi is light years ahead of Islam and perfect way of life for the modern society.

We pity the Muslim women who are forced to accept their degradation and humiliation all in the name of Islam and Allah. We urge them to renounce such barbaric practices and come in the fold of Gurmat, a true path of liberation and enjoy the ever lasting peace and equality blessed by Guru Sahib to the entire humanity.

Without the True Guru, salvation is not obtained. The self-willed manmukhs continue to cry in misery. They do not bow before the True Guru; the demon of anger is within them. (Ang 41)