Tantalus was a figure from Greek mythology. According to the stories he cut his son Pelops up, boiled him and presented his parts to the gods as a sacrifice. The gods in turn were horrified and thus punished him.
His punishment was to stand in a pool of water beneath a fruit tree with low branches. Whenever he reached for the fruit, the branches raised his intended meal from his grasp. Whenever he bent down to get a drink, the water receded before he could get any. And so this torment and torture continues even today.
The most widely used way to criticize any civilization is to attack its treatment towards its most vulnerable groups. How a society treats its underprivileged, its ethnic minorities and its women. Yes the creature created from Adam’s ribs has always been a bone of contention.
In most Muslim countries women are ill treated in the name of religion, although the real causes lie in traditions and not religion, a fact that the enlightened media so easily tends to forget. Although all males are chauvinists the Muslim male is egoist and self centered. They boost about the exalted level of respect and dignity Islam gives to women but forgets that he himself has snatched those privileges from her today.
Women in most non Muslim communities, although have gained some significant achievements but the western standards are UNACCEPTABLE. The women in west have become an object of satisfaction and a commodity with an undiminishing price tag. In the name of freedom and equality the west has snatched away the dignity and respect women deserve and replaced it with inhumane sexual practices.
Islam always ordains its followers to achieve a level of balance in both the practical and spiritual aspects of life. It emphasizes social harmony and mutual respect among all creatures encompassing humans, animals and even non living things. Islamic laws are not oppressive. In their entirety they not only protect the dignity and honor of women but also grant them power. Powers that she can exercise on not only a few individuals rather on the entire society.
But these laws are to be established in their entirety. Just putting women under the veil and not lowering the gaze would always be a half hearted effort. The western media no matter how much it claims to be free and liberal is bigoted and biased to the extreme levels. It happily reports marriages of young girls to older men but forgets to report the plight of rape victims in its own backyard.
The decision lies with us, the Muslim males, to recognize the true value of our women, to realize the harshness in our attitudes towards them, to realize the biasness in our customs and traditions towards women and above all to realize that no matter what a women wears, a burqa or a bikini, she will always be someone’s wife, daughter, sister and mother and needs to be revered so that one’s own wife, daughter, sister and mother can be revered.
….until then the torment of tantulus will continue…
By guest writer Musafir