Do you believe in heaven or hell? — asked the preacher.
No, I replied.
Do you believe in God?
I — Yes, but I believe in Good more than God.
Don’t you want to meet your God? He lives in heaven.
Me — No, My god lives in me; lives in every good that I do.
Now, why am I narrating this conversation here? It is because of a news story coming out of the southern state of Karnataka where a Muslim Girl is being targeted, trolled and abused for singing the Hindu hymn on a reality TV show. The Mullahs and Caliphates of Islam immediately trolled her and decided her and her family’s fate to heaven or hell. The post said — “You have not achieved any great feat. Your parents will not go to heaven as you have exposed yourself to other men. Stop wearing the hijab, you don’t know how to respect it”.
Now this line “will not go to heaven” is playing in mind since last night and making me think about the Islam, women and Heaven in general. I did some study and found that there is a striking connection between all three; time and again Islam or the Islamists (as I don’t want to point fingers on religion because there is nothing behind the curtains of religions, people put there whatever their imaginations can fathom) have used the women as a trophy for the destination heaven, if the followers perform their religious duties in sanctity to their version of Quran.
I tried to co-relate Islam and Women and results are disheartening, Islam at one place offers many guidelines under Quran and hadiths (Surat-an-Nisa, 4th chapter of Quran for Women) to the women but on the other hand is very liberal towards applying these guidelines to the Muslim men; a very simple and controversial guideline is about getting married while the men are allowed to practice polygamy and denounce the marriage by triple talaq, it’s the women who has to go through the ordeal whether it is about remuneration or remarriage. In-fact the marriage is treated as a contract with a term.
Furthermore only men are provided with this triple talaq tool because Islamists believe that a women goes through mood swings during her PM’s and may divorce a man during this monthly course; I think only Allah can answer that who in this world can believe on such argument? Now when we try to look why the men are allowed to have more than one woman, it is because men are considered to do good by marrying more than one woman. In Arabian Islamic culture, marriage is generally contracted in accordance with the larger needs of the tribe and is based on the need to form alliances within the tribe and with other tribes. So in short Islam believes in the men’s masculinity as a superior gender over the women. Quran (2:228) — “and the men are a degree above them [women]”
“Divorced women remain in waiting for three periods, and it is not lawful for them to conceal what Allah has created in their wombs if they believe in Allah and the Last Day. And their husbands have more right to take them back in this [period] if they want reconciliation. And due to the wives is similar to what is expected of them, according to what is reasonable. But the men have a degree over them [in responsibility and authority].”
And it’s not only about the marriage equality rather there are many such instances where the women’s rights are denied based on religious prejudice be it traveling alone or practicing the religion or even participating in democracy.
Now coming back to the heaven part; Islam is the religion which talks about “The Last Day” and the concept of Heaven, a paradise where your faith will be decided not based on what good or bad you have done but based on how true you were to Quranic Life. Now this heaven and hell concepts are not new to the religious world, almost all the religions talks about the heaven and hell to a certain decree and use it to create a fear among the God fearing people. However in Islam; the Jannat or Paradise is purely based on the sensual experiences and is erotic in nature. The concept of 72 hoors (Virgins) awaiting in the Jannat is based on the Quranic verses which describes the Paradise as a Sensual or Erotic Island where the believers (Men) will be sent if they sacrifice in the name of Allah; these men will then be rewarded by being wed to virgins with “full grown”, “swelling” or “pears-shaped” breasts (Quranic translations of 78:33 specifying the virgins will be voluptuous). On the contrary, women will be provided with only one man, and they “will be satisfied with him”.
Now taking the religious part away and going by the logical linkages of what have been practiced and deciphered; this entire concept to marry women of your choice, two or three or four while alive or to allow men to take women as sex slaves outside of marriage and furthermore to sacrifice yourself to prove your worth to Allah so that you can get another 72 Virgins in heaven seems to be nothing but purely a lust hidden behind the curtains of religion.
So the linkage between Islam, Women and heaven is nothing but pure Lust where as men should treat the women as the mean of sexual pleasure dead or alive. I know there are many moderate Muslims around the world who do not believe in the polygamy or gender discrimination and there are also many examples like Malala which affirms my belief in women empowerment, humanity and equality but at the same time I am worried that these Moderate Muslims do not raise their voice high enough to denounce this patriarchal and medieval mindset.
At times I feel that Islam is the only religion which runs on the laws of Quran words by words rather than taking these verses as a learning to make a better cohesive world. Yes I admit that all the religions have their own share of good and bad traditions and culture but the Islam, in particular talks about the religious authority and Quran’s role as an authoritative legal source over the humankind. We now need to move on from the status quo where an effort is to make it clear that Islam gives all genders their due rights and roles according to the divine wisdom to a pragmatic and gender neutral world of humans be it men, women, gay, lesbians or transgender. After all Heaven is where we live; right under our feet and above our heads.