Lafif Lakhdar

Why do we not open up the universities to veiled women? To politicize and pietize[1] the university is the demand of the Islamic extreme right today, as it was in the 70s and 80s, and the purpose of this is to train up unemployable fighters rather than researchers, to mould them on the basis of loyalty[2] rather than merit. We should not play into their hand in committing this crime against those who labour in the 21st century - technicians, engineers, researchers, scholars and doctors.

The ugliest form of enmity to woman is that which is dressed up as religious law

But what is to be done? One has to combine two complementary strategies: leave the veiled students to study and face their examinations, but at the same time make them aware of the understanding of the hijāb and the niqāb as explained by the humanistic sciences: the hijāb and the niqāb are part of the arsenal of the enemies of womankind to deepen her absorption of her inferiority, with her body, hair, face and even eyes held to be ‘private parts’ that need to be covered up like any other pudendum.

You possess an effective knowledge weapon in the humanities (psychology, sociology, anthropology, religious phenomenology and above all the comparative history of religions) to uncover the roots of the tragedies that womankind has lived through and still does, particularly in Muslim lands where enmity to woman is becoming daily more deeply rooted since 2011, which as was expected, was the most hostile to her than any time previous!

An act of pious obedience

Throughout the progress of the ape’s development to man, whenever the latter stood before a challenge he adapted to it by inventing new strategies for survival. Likewise, [the Islamists] adapted to the challenge of the ‘Nahda’ by not confining themselves to the old academic practices: at the commencement of every lecture, whatever the subject, they set aside a portion to explain the myth of the hijāb and the niqāb and the inferiority of womankind, for their having shorter life-spans, and their worth being half that of a man in giving testimony in court, or in receiving inheritance, and amounting to zero as regards the full citizens’ rights.

The ugliest form of enmity to woman is that which is dressed up as religious law, which makes her approve of her inferiority as something ‘written’, whereby resistance to it is an act of impious disobedience and conversely the acquiescence to it an act of pious obedience.

So refute this religious camouflage that misleads critical awareness by recourse to the humanities, the phenomenology of religion and the principles of human rights. Strip the enemies of womankind of their religious legitimacy by analysing their sick symptoms and pathologies, so that women can achieve awareness to free themselves from it. Tell your students, male and female, that when religious mentality was at its more primitive stage, such as in the mentality of hostility to womankind, this was nothing other than a simple, crude enmity to women.

Give them examples of primitive laws, pagan and monotheistic, which codified sadistic torture against women:

Babylonian law: adulteresses to be drowned

The Jews stopped perpetrating the crime of stoning after the second destruction of the Temple in 70 AD, while the execution of women for adultery over the world has been halted for centuries. But in the Islamic world she is still being stoned to this day. For instance, the forerunner of the republics of the ‘Arab Spring’ the Islamic Republic of Iran put to death by stoning something in the region of 2,000 women between the years 1979 and 2011!

In this battle against religious delirium, your effective weapon is the comparative history of religions. It strips the fantasies of religious hostility to womankind of its religious legitimacy – as you will see below in the case of the hijāb and the niqāb – as do the humane sciences. I shall confine myself here to psychology and sociology, which explain the unconscious motives behind men’s hostility to women and they do women’s own self- hatred.

Man’s enmity to womankind can be explained by his unconscious, suppressed fears that go back deep into prehistory. Fears such as being devoured by her vagina, which his imagination depicted as too ‘wide and deep’ for his phallus.

When separation between the genders is complete, religious delirium accumulates

And what is this fear that induced him to punish the adulteress with the most grievous of punishments? Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi issued a fatwa, impelled unconsciously by this complex, that a man should kill his spouse and her paramour if he caught them alone together. He issued this criminal fatwa in the face of the Qur’ān which requires that the man present four eye-witnesses to the judge, who is the only one qualified to issue such a punishment! So, the law of sexual delirium tops all the laws of the Qur’ān!

Why do men despise women? As Freud observed, “the boy sees that his little sister does not have a phallus and despises her for that.” Is not the most heinous insult a man can cast at another man that “you are not a man” or “you are a woman” – that is, devoid of a phallus?

The first agricultural revolution 12 thousand years ago coincided with the supplanting of female goddesses with male gods and the rise of patriarchy, which gave to the father instead of the mother the absolute authority over the family. In this male environment the man gradually absorbed his centrality as the head of all beings, woman included. The centrality of the male led him to think that he alone was the perfect being. A woman, on the other hand, is nothing more than a man who lacks virility. This primitive fantasy was interpreted by the religions to the effect that “woman is deficient in reason and religion”, as the famous hadīth has it.[3] That is, “lacking a phallus and testicles” and therefore to be despised and indeed worthy of disdain. For did not Allah create her from Adam’s crooked rib? Freud explains this as “a masturbatory fantasy”.

House arrest

What is the reason for this hysterical fear of women travelling? Or the raving frenzy to impose the hijāb or the niqāb upon her, or to imprison her in the home?

The deprived or repressed member, suppressing the violent desire to rape, his suppression rises to the surface whenever he sees a woman travelling and he descends into religious delirium. In the 1980s the Islamist lawyer Hasan al-Ghadbān wrote a rebuttal of Bourguiba’s law stipulating the death penalty for rape, arguing that a woman wearing a miniskirt ‘deserves to be raped.’

A woman’s hair, a psychologist affirms, “reminds the man of hair somewhere else” – the pudendum – and he simply goes off the rails. Whenever the deprivation is strong and the separation between the genders is complete, religious delirium only accumulates. In January 2012 the Saudi ‘Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice’ decided upon forcing women to cover their eyes “particularly those who may stir up infatuation”, as they expressed it. It just so happened that soon after this fatwa was issued King Abdullah ibn Abd al-Aziz sacked the head of the Committee (and a good thing too).

Emulating this delirious fatwa the Egyptian Salafist Abū Ishāq al-Huwaynī issued a fatwa stating that the hijāb was insufficient and imposing the niqāb. Why? The shaykh gave his response: “Since the woman who exposes her face is like a woman who exposes her vagina” and is thus inviting others to rape her! In the 1990s the head of the Saudi Scholars ‘Abd al-Azīz bin Bāz, issued a fatwa that a woman leaving her house on her own should be stoned for adultery!

It is clear from these examples that suppressed sexual urges are the hidden powerful factor behind these irrational fears of womankind, which sexual-religious delirium has narrowed down to the all-alluring vagina.

Read Part 2 of this article

 


[1] The author actually uses the term تديين  ‘to render religious’. (Ed.)

[2] A reference to the legal category of al-walā’ wal-barā’ (See Glossary).

[3] The hadīth (Muslim) in full is the following: The Prophet said, “O women folk! You should give charity and be diligent in seeking Allah's forgiveness because I have seen [i.e., on the Night of the Ascension to the highest heavens] that dwellers of the Hell are women.” A woman amongst them said: “Why is it that the majority of the dwellers of Hell are women?'” The Prophet replied, “You curse frequently and are ungrateful to your husbands. In spite of your lacking in wisdom and failing in religion, you are depriving the wisest of men of their intelligence.” Upon this the woman asked: “What is the deficiency in our wisdom and in our religion?” He replied, “Your lack of wisdom can be well judged from the fact that the evidence of two women is equal to that of one man. You do not offer Salāh [prayer] for some days and sometimes you do not fast [for the whole of] Ramadan; it is a deficiency in religion.”