She is not considered as a housewife, because she is not married to the house.”
Elevation of Women’s Status in ISLAM:
First, let’s review how exactly women were thought of and understood in the western tradition, to compare and contrast perspectives. We know that the western tradition sees itself as the intellectual inheritors of the Greek tradition that existed before Prophet Jesus Christ, peace be upon him, and so therefore many of the intellectual traditions of the West are found to some degree in the writings of the early Greek philosophers like Aristotle, Plato, etc.
How did they view women? What were the ideas of Aristotle and Plato regarding women? When one reviews the works of these early Greek philosophers, he finds that they had very disparaging views of women. Aristotle in his writings argued that women were not full human beings and that the nature of woman was not that of a full human person. As a result, women were by nature deficient, not to be trusted and to be looked down upon. In fact, writings describe that the free women in many aspects of the Greek society – except for the very few women of the elite classes – had positions no better than animals and slaves.
This Aristotelian view of women was later carried on into the early Christian tradition of the Catholic Church. Saint Thomas of Aquinas in his writings proposed that women were the trap of Satan. The issue of Adam and Eve added a dimension to the earlier Greek ideas of Aristotle; women were the cause of the downfall of man and therefore were Satan’s trap and should be looked at with caution and weariness because they caused the first downfall of humanity and all thus evil precedes from women. This type of thought was persistent within the writings of the Church fathers throughout the Middle Ages. In their writings we find this theme proposed in one aspect or another.
However, after the Protestant reformation Europe decided to free itself from the shackles and chains of the Catholic Church. Ideas which have been entitled as the Age of Enlightenment or thought of as such, caused them to feel that they needed to free themselves from many of these ideas. Some of these ideas were scientific in nature that the earth goes around the sun, instead of the sun going around the earth; theological in nature, as in the writings of Martin Luther; and also social in nature, like the position of women in society.
However, the writers of the Enlightenment still carried this basic theme that was not much of a switch – women where not full human beings. French writers during the revolution, like Rousseau, Voltaire and others, looked at women as a burden that needed to be taken care of. Due to this Rousseau in his book “Emile”, proposed a different form of education for women based upon the fact that women were unable to understand what men were able to understand. Read more…
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