2 October, 2020

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Muslims Ready To Follow Many Concepts Of Buddhism, Are Buddhists Ready..?

By Mza.zakky

Mza.zakky

Buddhism is divided into two main divisions and several sub divisions based on country and culture. Fundamental beliefs include the three jewels, the four noble truths, the eightfold path and the five precepts.  The three jewels are the Buddha, the Dharma (the teachings), and the Sangha (the community) and taking refuge in them is the basis of Buddhist practice.  The four noble truths are the universality of suffering, the origin of suffering, the overcoming of suffering and the way leading to the suppression of suffering.

The way or path is known as the eightfold path  and consists of dṛṣṭi (ditthi): viewing reality as it is, not just as it appears to be, saṃkalpa (sankappa): intention of renunciation, freedom and harmlessness, vāc (vāca): speaking in a truthful and non-hurtful way, karman (kammanta): acting in a non-harmful way, ājīvana (ājīva): a non-harmful livelihood, vyāyāma (vāyāma): making an effort to improve, smṛti (sati): awareness to see things for what they are with clear consciousness, being aware of the present reality within oneself, without any craving or aversion, samādhi (samādhi): correct meditation or concentration.

The five precepts outline Buddhist ethics.  Do not kill, be kind to all creatures.  Do not steal, give rather than take.  Do not lie, be honest and open.  Do not misuse sex and do not consume alcohol or use recreational drugs.  

Alcohol consumption is inconsistent with a Buddhist’s quest to understand and develop the mind. Buddhists believe that by practicing meditation, wisdom and morality, every individual has the innate ability to experience true happiness.

The Buddha encouraged his followers to refrain from consuming any kind of intoxicant. This included alcohol, cigarettes and drugs. These substances are said to be inconsistent with Buddhist beliefs as they distort the mind. Buddhists regard the mind as precious; they work diligently, through meditation, to master it.
Buddhists follow five precepts, serving as guidelines for correct and moral behavior. One of the precepts clearly states that Buddhists should ‘refrain from taking intoxicants’. Buddhists adhere to these guidelines with differing degrees of success.

Only a small number of followers practice Buddhism seriously, even though an overwhelming number of people in Buddhist countries, such as Sri lanka, identify as Buddhists. Despite the Buddha’s teachings, a number of Srilankan Buddhists adolescents consume alcohol.

A survey conducted in a semi-urban community in southern Sri Lanka (total sample size n = 783) revealed that

5% of females and 52.5% of males aged above 10 years old were current alcohol users. Age-specific prevalence

of alcohol use was highest among those aged between 40 to 50 years for both sexes. By ethnicity, the highest prevalence was found among Tamils (43%), followed by Sinhalese (32%) and Muslims (9%).

WHO Global Status Report on Alcohol 2004

Despite the popularity of Buddhism as a philosophy in the west, few people are willing to follow the Buddha’s advice regarding alcohol. People with a shallow understanding of Buddhism may believe that alcohol is acceptable if used in moderation, justifying this in terms of the Buddha’s preaching of the ‘Middle Way’ philosophy.
The Buddha was against any form of alcohol consumption, even in moderation, because of the effect it has on the mind.

Mindfulness is central to Buddhist philosophy. This concept requires a constant awareness of changes occurring in the mind and body. Mindfulness enables the individual to react wisely to emotions and sensations when they arise. Alcohol distorts the mind and makes it impossible to practice this tenet.
Karma is another Buddhist teaching inconsistent with the use of alcohol. The Buddha taught that each individual must be responsible for one’s own Karma. This involves being responsible for the consequences of one’s actions, speech and thoughts. Alcohol tends to encourage irresponsibility. It is possible to generate much negative karma while under the influence of alcohol.

The Buddha taught that true happiness was to be found in letting go of attachments. Many people are deeply attached to the feelings they experience when drinking alcohol. Through meditation it is possible to let go of this attachment. Buddhist meditation has been successful in treating alcoholism.

Many people use alcohol as a means of avoiding problems that arise in life. Buddhism encourages people to deal with life’s difficulties and challenges. It encourages individuals to view problems as opportunities to learn and grow. By practicing meditation, an individual can develop the courage and determination to deal with life, rather than rely on alcohol to create an artificial sense of contentment. Alcohol consumption is inconsistent with Buddhist beliefs for a number of reasons. Buddhists exert an enormous amount of effort through meditation in order to change the mind. By consuming alcohol the individual is unable to have any control over the mind.

Islam also has same philosophy about alcohol consumption. Islam’s holistic approach to health and well-being means that anything that is harmful or mostly harmful, is forbidden.  Therefore, Islam takes an uncompromising stand towards alcohol and forbids its consumption in either small or large quantities.  Alcohol is undoubtedly harmful and adversely affects the mind and the body.  It clouds the mind, causes disease, wastes money, and destroys individuals, families, and communities.  Researchers have proven that there is a strong link between alcohol and gambling.  Drinking impairs judgment, lowers inhibition, and encourages the type of risk taking involved in gambling and dangerous activities.  God tells us in the Quran that intoxicants and gambling are abominations from Satan and orders us to avoid them.  (Quran 5: 90) 

Alcohol is considered highly carcinogenic, increasing the risk of mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, liver, and breast cancers.  Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can lead to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, causing the child to be small at birth, have some facial malformations, small eye openings, webbed or even missing fingers or toes, organ deformities, learning disabilities, mental retardation and much more.

Even though it is clear that alcohol is responsible for a great many evils it is legal and even encouraged in most societies.  In Muslim countries where alcohol is forbidden many people still find it difficult to resist temptation and fall prey to the disease that is alcoholism.  Amazingly even in the light of such startling evidence against alcohol, people around the globe continue to consume alcohol in ever-increasing amounts.

At the time of accident, 89% of drivers and 28.1% of pedestrians were under the influence of alcohol. Alcohol was related to 67.4% of accidents taking place during the night.

According to the Department of Traffic Police, the detections of driving under the influence of alcohol were 8.86% in 1990 but had increased to 20.75% in 1993.

According to the Ministry of Health, the number of cases of those hospitalized due to alcohol psychosis, alcohol dependence and alcohol withdrawal had increased by 4436 cases from 1998 to 1999.

– WHO Global Status Report on Alcohol 2004

Alcohol affects the mind and makes sinful behavior and evil actions fair seeming.  It creates enmity and hatred between people, prevents them from remembering God and distracts them from praying, and calls them to participate in unlawful sexual relationships.  Alcohol generates shame, regret, and disgrace, and renders the drinker witless.  It leads to the disclosure of secrets and exposure of faults.

“Satan wants only to excite enmity and hatred between you with intoxicants (alcoholic drinks) and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of God and from the prayer.  So, will you not then abstain?” (Quran 5:91)

“O you who believe!  Intoxicants (all kinds of alcoholic drinks), gambling, idolatry, and diving arrows are an abomination of Satan’s handiwork.  So avoid that so that you may be successful.” (Quran 5: 90)

The Quran is a book of guidance sent to all of humankind.  It is a set of instructions from the Creator for His creation. God links alcohol and gambling to idolatry and declares it filthy and evil; however, He is merciful and generous towards the believers and acknowledges the power of addiction.  Islam is a community-oriented faith.  There is no place for an individual to do what he wants to do, if it hurts others.  Alcohol abuse affects not just the alcoholic but also his or her family, and community.  There is great wisdom in the prohibition of alcohol.

A survey conducted in a semi-urban community in southern Sri Lanka (total sample size n = 783) revealed that 5% of females and 52.5% of males aged above 10 years old were current alcohol users. Age-specific prevalence of alcohol use was highest among those aged between 40 to 50 years for both sexes. By ethnicity, the highest prevalence was found among Tamils (43%), followed by Sinhalese (32%) and Muslims (9%). WHO Global Status Report on Alcohol 2004

According to this report Tamils and Sinhalese are first opponents of a main concept (precepts) of Buddhism. We can’t kill human by approving alcohol. So as Muslims, we follow Islam as well as many concepts of Buddhism. We never give halal certificate to alcohol. In these things Muslims are real Buddhists. Why don’t refrain alcohol from srilanka? We are ready to make history. We Muslims invite Sinhalese to make our nation as wonder of Asia by giving haram (not acceptable) certificate to alcohol

*Mza.zakky – student of Faculty of medicine,  Eastern university

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    “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.”- An old koan

    ‘Buddhist tradition, taken as a whole, represents the richest source of contemplative wisdom that any civilization has produced. In a world that has long been terrorized by fratricidal Sky-God religions, the ascendance of Buddhism would surely be a welcome development. But this will not happen. There is no reason whatsoever to think that Buddhism can successfully compete with the relentless evangelizing of Christianity and Islam. Nor should it try to.

    In many respects, Buddhism is very much like science. One starts with the hypothesis that using attention in the prescribed way (meditation), and engaging in or avoiding certain behaviors (ethics), will bear the promised result (wisdom and psychological well-being). This spirit of empiricism animates Buddhism to a unique degree.’

    http://www.samharris.org/site/full_text/killing-the-buddha/

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    @Ankara –

    This video for you to have more knowledge about BUDHDISM…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPPPBQEy2SA

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      In this Video, Harun Yahya’s main charge against Buddhism appear to be that it is a religion which dismisses “fratricidal Sky-Gods”. To this extent he is correct…

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      And perhaps this short video will portray true Buddhism even better.
      (From 12th minute onwards he speaks in English).

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPbQpUDmUN0&feature=youtube_gdata_player

      Sadly such Buddhists are rare even amongst Buddhist monks…

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    List of countries by alcohol consumption

    Sri Lanka, along with few other Islamic and Buddhist countries, is at the bottom end of the Boozers league…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_alcohol_consumption

    No doubt Sri Lankans need to do more.

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    Female Literacy

    In Sri Lanka, women’s literacy rate is 90% compared to men’s at 92.3%. To put it differently, female literacy rate is 97% those of males. Although there is room for improvement (compared to some countries with 100% score all round), this is a commendable result for a country like ours.

    Of the 25 countries where female literacy rate is below 50% – and as low as 15%-, all but 2 countries are Islamic countries. Furthermore, in all these countries, widest gap exists between male and female literacy rates.(Female literacy rate is between 1/3 and 2/3 (or 35% to 65%) those of males).

    How do we address this inequity? What changes in the attitude towards females should occur in these places? Could religion / culture be blamed for this poor state of affairs?

    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_literacy_rate

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      It’s a pathetic way of census, a nonsensical system to assume literacy by means of fallacy-based statistical literacy which is concerned with mathematical/statistical fallacies or mathematical thinking.

      How is it counted: Number of Literate persons divided by total population and multiply by 100.

      If we want to calculate the Literacy Rate of Population Aged 7 and above in a certain district for the year 2013, take the number of literates (value) and its population aged 7 and above (value).

      Then divide the (literate value) by population (age at 7 & above) = (net literate value). Multiply (net literate value) by 100 = (you get the %).

      Therefore, Literacy Rate for Population Aged 7 and above for the year 2014 shall be determined .

      (In today’s society literacy means functional literacy: the ability to review, interpret, analyze and evaluate written materials (and to detect errors and flaws therein)). Anyone who lacks this type of literacy is functionally illiterate as a productive worker, an informed consumer or a responsible citizen. Functional illiteracy is a modern extension of literal literacy: the ability to read and comprehend written materials. Does our system of survey based on this thesis or statistics is unknown.

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        Thank you for your illuminating discourse Pauline. I don’t want comment -apart from quoting from the same website below- because I know nothing of Statics (or is it Statistics?).
        Whatever ;<)

        According to the source of this analysis, "There are no universal definitions and standards of literacy. … (In this analysis) all rates are based on the most common definition – the ability to read and write at a specified age (in the case of Sri Lanka and other countries quoted, 15 years)."

        The website further states "Low levels of literacy, and education in general, can impede the economic development of a country in the current rapidly changing, technology-driven world".

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    Even buddhists too ready to do so, but so long they are governed by a bunch of thieves – who one can name a born to be rascal minded, nothing like peaceful settlements related to whatever can be expected.

    We the srilankens are being abused today. We had a war, but today the situation is becoming much worst… as reports show, even if you re beaten to death, as a victim, you cant seek JUSTICE.

    This you should understand easily, even if senior police officers are openly engaged in serier killing of the people,

    President of the country has not yet ADDRESSED the issue yet. Nor has he uttered a single word about that.

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    One need only study the doctrine of Islam—not merely as it existed in the 7th century, but as it exists today—and ask some very basic questions like “What is the penalty for apostasy”?
    While it is not spelt out in the Quran — where, apostates are merely promised their just deserts in hell—it is made painfully clear in the Hadith, and in the opinions of Muslim jurists everywhere.

    The year is 2013, and the penalty for apostasy, everywhere under Islam, is death. I have yet to meet an apologist for the religion, however evasive, who could lie about this fact with a straight face.
    There are people who are all too aware of what it means to be a former Muslim. Depending on where they live, these people run a real risk of being murdered, perhaps even by members of their own families, for having lost their faith.
    The real issue with the doctrines of Islam is the ways in which it reliably produces these “bad acts”. This is not to condemn the followers of Islam who are innocent victims of this process.
    The Islamic doctrines related to martyrdom, jihad, blasphemy, apostasy, the rights of women and homosexuals, etc. present huge problems for the emergence of a global civil society (and these are problems quite unlike those presented by similar tenets in other faiths).
    The plight of Shiites who have their mosques, weddings, and funerals bombed by Sunni extremists, or to victims of rape who are beaten, imprisoned, or even killed as “adulteresses” throughout the Muslim world and the Afghan girls who are risking their lives by merely learning to read are good examples of these.
    This is because , unlike in other religions, the bad acts of the worst individuals—the jihadists, the murderers of apostates, and the men who treat their wives and daughters like chattel—are the best examples of the Islam doctrine in practice. Those who adhere most strictly to the actual teachings of Islam, those who expound its timeless dogma most honestly, are precisely the people you want us to believe least represent the faith.

    Sourced from Internet sources.

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      You never seem to learn do you Paul? To Judge ISLAAM as a religion and attribute the actions of its WORST followers to the religion is absolutely insane. If I were to judge BUDDDHISM by the BS you write, then I will lose all respect for it. You believe whatever is written in the INTERNET against Islam, since you show signs of Islamaphobia, must be true. However anything written against BUDDHISM in the INTERNET is faulty. Does this not sum up your INTELLECTUAL HONESTY???

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    Don’t you love it when the Bible and the Quran agree (more or less) on something? I do. Because whenever they do, you can be pretty sure they’re both wrong.

    The worth of a woman: the Bible vs. the Quran

    They go at it from slightly different angles, but come up with the same answer.
    A woman is worth about half as much as a man.

    [Edited out]

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      You are so confused that even you do not know what your saying! In common parlance Paul, it means you have gone BONKERS! Go get your head examined.

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    I like your line of argument throughout this thread: For any question about Islam your standard answer seems to be that the questioner is an Islamaphobic or unless the questioner learns Arabic and read the original text, she or he will never know will never know true Islam. How convenient?

    Here are some examples.
    Q: A woman is worth about half as much as a man. True or false?
    A: You have gone BONKERS!
    Q: Is the penalty for apostasy, everywhere under Islam, death?.
    A: You show signs of Islamaphobia..

    Q: Are the bad acts of the worst individuals—the jihadists, the murderers of apostates, and the men who treat their wives and daughters like chattel—the best examples of the Islam doctrine in practice?
    A: You are INTELLECTUALLLY DISHONEST

    Q: “Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.” — Bukhari 9.84.57 True or false?
    A: What’s your problem ?

    Q: “Shall I tell thee of a worse (case) than theirs for retribution with Allah? (Worse is the case of him) whom Allah hath cursed, him on whom His wrath hath fallen and of whose sort Allah hath turned some to apes and swine, and who serveth idols. Such are in worse plight and further astray from the plain road. (Quran verse 5.6). True or false?
    A: Buddha also ordered killing. For example he said ““When I heard the Brahmins slandering the vaipulya sutras, I put them to death on the spot.”
    Q: Could someone please provide authentic reference to Buddhist Cannon to support above quote?:
    A: (Because ) you and your ilk (are) misquoting the Quran, (we too have the right to misquote Buddha).

    Q (But) Buddha would have never said, and never acted upon writer’s fabricated lie “I put them to death on the spot”?
    A: (You are hurt. You say these things) just to please your ego and to ride a crest in a bout of oneupmanship.

    Q: If you want to follow Buddha’s teachings, there’s absolutely no room for killing, stealing, or lying, period. True or false?
    A: You lie brazenly about Islam.

    Q: In its 2,550 year history, no war was ever fought to propagate Buddhism anywhere in the world. True or false?
    A: Can you honestly believe that you know everything there is to know on Islam, before you pass judgement?

    Let me ask one last question:
    Can we have a lively conversation like this in countries where Islamic law prevails? Can anyone criticize Islam the same way Buddhism is criticized here?

    (Don’t get me wrong- it is fantastic we all have this freedom. This should preserved at all costs).

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      Paul please do not try to deceive people with your “I am holier than thou” attitude. Lets get one thing straight and that is you bear no love or sympathy for Islam, correct? Then when you home in only on Islam and write disparagingly about it with a load of lies and out of context qoutes, you got to be an Islamaphobe! Now let’s take your questions and analyze your answer with the correct one.

      Q: A woman is worth about half as much as a man. True or false?

      A: The question is incomplete. You have not classified worth “what?”. There is no blanket expression to indicate that a woman is worth half as much as a man in any of our Religious texts. Please quote your reference. Hence you are writing a falsehood about Islam.

      Q: Is the penalty for apostasy, everywhere under Islam, death? NO.

      Q: “Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.” — Bukhari 9.84.57
      There is no reference 9.84.57 in Bukhari. Please give the correct reference if you know how to read Bukhari. Or check your Internet reference and make the correction with the correct context.

      Q: Are the bad acts of the worst individuals—the jihadists, the murderers of apostates, and the men who treat their wives and daughters like chattel—the best examples of the Islam doctrine in practice?
      Absolutely NOT. Now please answer if Buddhists are not prone to bad acts of the worst kind (that includes your Venerable Monks)—of rapists, murderers of innocents, and the men who treat their wives and daughters like chattel—are they the best examples of the BUDDHIST doctrine in practice?

      Q: If you want to follow Buddha’s teachings, there’s absolutely no room for killing, stealing, or lying, period. True or false?

      Then you admit you are not following the Buddha’s teaching yourself. Perhaps it is not practical for you!
      I do not think it is worth wasting my time on you to reply the rest- I am sure readers can judge your puerile effort to post your case based on fallacies!

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        Q: A woman is worth about half as much as a man. You have not classified worth “what?”:

        A: When giving evidence against another person in an Islamic court,Surat Al-Baqarah 2:282 states the following:
        ” And bring to witness two witnesses from among your men. And if there are not two men [available], then a man and two women from those whom you accept as witnesses – so that if one of the women errs, then the other can remind her”.

        Why doesn’t it say “Two men or two women”?.
        Why one man has to be substituted with two women?
        If the second woman is there to correct the first women in case she errs, why doesn’t the same rule applies to the man? Cant he err?.

        Is it not because men and women are not equal in the eyes of Islamic Law?.

        You will come out with some fanciful theory to explain this. But the readers will notice that in this day and age nowhere in the civilized world such horrible male chauvinistic unjust legal systems prevail except where Islamic Law applies. It is worst when it is supposed to have been codified by a man who had revelations from a God.

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          A question that repeatedly arises is that concerning the position of women in Islam. Muslim scholars have been able with great success – despite the onslaught of distortion and misrepresentation – to demonstrate the true position of Muslim women; especially of women’s liberation in the advent of Islam. The Islamic ruling on issues such as inheritance, the right to earn, the right to own property etc. have reinforced this position and have been prescribed by Allah – the One True God – long before western nations even thought of such concepts!

          The issue of two women witnesses in place of one man is the concern of the present treatise. As will become clear to the sincere and objective reader, the intellectual status of a Muslim woman is neither marred nor degraded by the commandment that if two Muslim male witnesses are not available then one Muslim male and two Muslim females should be invited to witness. Rather, this injunction is in perfect harmony with the nature and psychology of the woman as will become evident through quotations from psychologists, psychiatrists and medical research.

          The passage of the Qur’an (Baqarah 2:282) in which the above-mentioned requirement is made has usury, capital and debtor difficulties as its theme. Allah grants guidelines in matters relating to monetary obligations. Then business transactions are dealt with. In this section, the requirement to commit all transactions into writing is stated most emphatically (“Reduce them to writing … “). The section after this describes the responsibility of the scribe, or in modern parlance, the person responsible for drawing up the agreement. The following section describes the responsibility and the obligation of the person incurring the liability. The section after this explains how if the party that is liable cannot effectively draw up the contract – out of being deficient or weak mentally, or being unable to dictate – then his or her guardian should help draw out the contract and choose two suitable witnesses to observe. It must be understood that this situation arises if it is not possible for the liable party to draw out the contract by him/herself. The condition to put things into writing is still supreme. The next section then explains that two men should be called to witness and if two men are not available (“And if there are not two men … “) then a man and two women. The legislation then continues and reminds most emphatically that one should not be complacent about putting ALL agreements into writing – no matter whether these agreements are major or minor as this is more JUST in the sight of Allah and more reliable as evidence. The passage of the Qur’an further explains that for practical reasons it may not always be possible to commit on-the-spot agreements into writing. In this case, it is also recommended that it be witnessed. The section which follows then lays down the guidelines which should be followed in the event that no witnesses are present.

          The purpose in giving the above outline is to draw attention to the fact the question of women witnesses relates, in this instance, to commercial agreements and is not a statement on their status.

          Let’s look at the section under investigation in more detail. Allah said:

          “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 … ” [Al-Qur’an 2:182]

          A number of questions (as well as eyebrows!) are raised when this section of the passage is read. The questions often posed include:

          Do women have weaker memories than men?
          Why should two women be needed in the place of one man?
          Are women inferior to men?
          One must remember that Prophet Muhammad sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was neither a physiologist, a psychiatrist and nor a surgeon. He was an illiterate and could neither read nor write. He passed on the revelation exactly as he received it. Allah, the Creator, with His infinite wisdom gave the directives best suited to humankind. He is the Creator, therefore, He knows man better than a man himself.

          In this scientific age we can explore the significance of this legislation. A great deal has been discovered since the early days of Islam. And each day of advancement brings about a better understanding of the the last and final revelation from the Creator, Allah to the creation, humankind. As women, we are aware of the cyclical psychological strains that a woman has to encounter every month. The symptoms during early pregnancy, ante-natal and post-natal depressions, the phenomenon of menopause, the physiological and psychological problems due to infertility and last but not least the psychological problems faced after miscarriage.

          It is under these situations that women can experience extraordinary psychological strains giving rise to depression, lack of concentration, slow-mindedness and short term memory loss. Let us examine these episodes in a bit more detail and with medical references from the scientific world. PMT is an umbrella term for more than 140 different symptoms and there is a lot of evidence that it causes a lot of unhappiness in many women, and consequently, to their families.

          Psychiatry in Practice, April 1983 issue states:

          “Forty percent of women suffer from pre-menstrual syndrome in some form and one in if our women have their lives severely disrupted by it. Dr Jill Williams, general practitioner from Bury, gives guidelines on how to recognise patients at risk and suggests a suitable treatment.” [Psychiatry in Practice, April 1993, p.14]

          In the same issue, George Beaumont reporting on the workshop held at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in London on pre-menstrual syndrome, says:

          “Some authorities would argue that 80 percent of women have some degree of breast and abdominal discomfort which is pre-menstrual but that only about 10 percent complain to their doctors – and then only because of severe tenderness of the breasts and mental depression… Other authorities have suggested that pre-menstrual syndrome is a new problem, regular ovulation for 20 years or more being a phenomenon caused by ‘civilisation’, ‘medical progress’, and an altered concept of the role of women.” [Psychiatry in Practice, April 1993, p.18]

          In its examination of the occurrence of physical and psychological change during the period just prior to the onset of menstruation we read in Psychological Medicine:

          “Many studies have reported an increased likelihood of various negative affects during the pre-menstrual period. In this affective category are many emotional designations including irritability, depression, tension, anxiety, sadness, insecurity, lethargy, loneliness, tearfulness, fatigue, restlessness and changes of mood. In the majority of studies, investigators have found it difficult to distinguish between various negative affects, and only a few have allowed themselves to be excessively concerned with the differences which might or might not exist between affective symptoms.” [Psychological Medicine, Monograph Supplement 4, 1983, Cambridge University Press, p.6]

          In the same article dealing with pre-menstrual behavioural changes we read:

          “A significant relationship between the pre-menstrual phase of the cycle and a variety of specific and defined forms of behaviour has been reported in a number of studies. For the purpose of their review, these forms of behaviour have been grouped under the headings of aggressive behaviour, illness behaviour and accidents, performance on examination and other tests and sporting performance.” [Psychological Medicine, Monograph Supplement 4, 1983, Cambridge University Press, p.7]

          The lengthy review portrays how female behaviour is affected in these situations. In ‘The Pre-menstrual Syndrome’, C. Shreeves writes:

          “Reduced powers of concentration and memory are familiar aspects of the pre-menstrual syndrome and can only be remedied by treating the underlying complaint.”

          This does not mean, of course, that women are mentally deficient absolutely. It just means that their mental faculties can become affected at certain times in the biological cycle. Shreeves also writes:

          “As many as 80 percent of women are aware of some degree of pre-menstrual changes, 40 percent are substantially disturbed by them, and between 10 and 20 percent are seriously disabled as a result of the syndrome.”

          Furthermore, women face the problem of ante-natal and post-natal depression, both of which cause extreme cycles of depression in some cases. Again, these recurring symptoms naturally affect the mind, giving rise to drowsiness and dopey memory.

          On the subject of pregnancy in Psychiatry in Practice, October-November 1986, we learn that:

          “In an experiment ‘Cox’ found that 16 percent of a sample of 263 pregnant women were suffering from clinically significant psychiatric problems. Eight percent had a depressive neurosis and 1.9 percent had phobic neurosis. This study showed that the proportion of pregnant women with psychiatric problems was greater than that found in the control group but the difference only tended towards significance.” [Psychiatry in Practice, October-November, 1986, p.6]

          Regarding the symptoms during the post-natal cycle Dr. Ruth Sagovsky writes:

          “The third category of puerperal psychiatric problems is post-natal depression. It is generally agreed that between10 to 15 percent of women become clinically depressed after childbirth. These mothers experience a variety of symptoms but anxiety, especially over the baby, irritability, and excessive fatigue are common. Appetite is usually decreased and often there are considerable sleep difficulties. The mothers lose interest in the things they enjoyed prior to the baby’s birth, and find that their concentration is impaired. They often feel irrational guilt, and blame themselves for being ‘bad’ wives and mothers. Fifty percent of these women are not identified as having a depressive illness. Unfortunately, many of them do not understand what ails them and blame their husbands, their babies or themselves until the relationships are strained to an alarming degree.” [Psychiatry in Practice, May, 1987, p.18]

          ” … Making the diagnosis of post-natal depression is not always easy. Quite often the depression is beginning to become a serious problem around three months postpartum when frequent contact with the health visitor is diminishing. The mother may not present with depressed mood. If she comes to the health centre presenting the baby as the patient, the true nature of the problem can be missed. When the mother is continually anxious about the baby in spite of reassurance, then the primary health care worker needs to be aware of the possibility of depression. Sometimes these mothers present with marital difficulties, and it is easy to muddle cause and effect, viewing the accompanying low mood as part of the marital problem. Sometimes, only when the husband is seen as well does it become obvious that it is a post-natal depressive illness which has led to the deterioration in the marriage.” [May, 1987, p.18]1
          Again there is a need to study the effects of the menopause about which very little is known even to this day. This phase in a woman’s life can start at any time from the mid-thirties to the mid-fifties and can last for as long as 15 years.

          Writing about the pre-menopausal years, C.B. Ballinger states:

          “Several of the community surveys indicate a small but significant increase in psychiatric symptoms in women during the five years prior to the cessation of menstrual periods… The most obvious clinical feature of this transitional phase of menstrual function is the alteration in menstrual pattern, the menstrual cycle becoming shorter with age, and variability in cycle length become very prominent just prior to the cessation of menstruation. Menorrhagia is a common complaint at this time, and is associated with higher than normal levels of psychiatric disturbance.” [Psychiatry in Practice, November, 1987, p.26]

          On the phenomenon of menopause in an article in Newsweek International, May 25th 1992, Dr. Jennifer al-Knopf, Director of the Sex and Marital Therapy Programme of North-western University writes:

          ” … Women never know what their body is doing to them … some reporting debilitating symptoms from hot flashes to night sweat, sleeplessness, irritability, mood swings, short term memory loss, migraine, headaches, urinary inconsistence and weight gain. Most such problems can be traced to the drop-off in the female hormones oestrogen and progesterone, both of which govern the ovarian cycle. But every woman starts with a different level of hormones and loses them at different rates. The unpredictability is one of the most upsetting aspects. Women never know what their body is going to do to them … “

          Then there are the psychiatric aspects of infertility and miscarriage. On the subject of infertility, Dr. Ruth Sagovsky writes:

          “Depression, anger and guilt are common reactions to bereavement. In infertility there is the added pain of there being nobody to grieve for. Families and friends may contribute to the feeling of isolation by passing insensitive comments. The gynaecologist and GPs have to try to help these couples against a backdrop of considerable distress.” [Psychiatry in Practice, Winter, 1989, p.16]

          On the subject of miscarriage the above article continues:

          “Miscarriage is rarely mentioned when considering abortion. However, miscarriage can at times have profound psychological sequelae and it is important that those women affected receive the support they need. Approximately one-fifth of all pregnancies end in spontaneous abortion and the effects are poorly recognised. If however, the miscarriage occurs in the context of infertility, the emotional reaction may be severe. The level of grief will depend on the meaning of pregnancy to the couple.” [Psychiatry in Practice, Winter, 1989, p.17]

          Also, the fact that women are known to be more sensitive and emotional than men must not be overlooked. It is well known, for example, that under identical circumstances women suffer much greater anxiety than men. Numerous medical references on this aspect of female behaviour can be given but to quote as a specimen, we read in ‘Sex Differences in Mental Health’ that:

          “Surveys have found different correlates of anxiety and neuroticism in the two sexes. Women and men do not become equally upset by the same things, and being upset does not have the same effect in men as in women. Ekehammer (1974; Ekehammer, Magnusson and Ricklander, 1974) using data from 116 sixteen-year-olds, did a factor analysis on self-reported anxiety. Of the eighteen different responses indicating anxiety (sweating palms, faster heart rate, and so on) females reported experiencing twelve of them significantly more often than males. Of the anxiety-producing situations studied, females reported experiencing significantly more anxiety than males reported in fourteen of them.” [Katherine Blick Hoyenga and Kermit T. Hoyenga in Sex Differences in Mental Health, p.336]

          It is in light of the above findings of psychologist, psychiatrists and researchers that the saying of Allah, the Exalted:

          “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 … ” [Al-Qur’an 2:182]

          can be understood. One must also bear in mind that forgetfulness can be an asset. A woman has to be put up with children presenting all kinds of emotional problems and a woman is certainly known to be more resilient than man. The aim of presenting these research findings on a number of aspects related with the theme is to indicate that a woman by her biological constitution faces such problems. It does not however make her inferior to man but it does illustrate that she is different. Viewed in this way, it can only lead one to the conclusion that Allah knows His creation the best and has prescribed precise laws in keeping with the nature of humankind.

          Contributor: Shamshad M. Khan

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    Sadly above lengthy discourse only confirms what I have stated: that under Islamic Law, women are inferior to men in their intellect, memory and mental health. There is absolutely no scientific basis to support this any more than any evidence to support scientific racism of the 19th and 20th century that claimed the existence of quantifiable differences in intelligence among the human races – e.g. Africans vs Anglo Europeans, that was used to justify slavery, apartheid and restrictive and discriminatory social policies by the Nazis.

    Fortunately for all of us, only a handful of backward nations supported by an archaic legal system are still hanging on to these abhorrent, sexist and demeaning laws and practices. The day the United Nations or some other international body declaring such laws as against the human spirit and dignity as well as equality among sexes can not be too far away.

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    When the Supreme Court met in a ceremonial sitting at the demise of Sir Alan Rose, Chief Justice Tennakone is reported to have stated that the Sharia was one of the noblest systems of Justice. He cited the incident where a Judge stood up on the arrival of the Caliph Omar into the court. The Caliph took action to sack the Judge stating that in the Court of Law, the most important person in the eyes of GOD was the JUDGE not the RULER, He qualified his action by stating that the action of the Judge would give a wrong impression to the Public. Pit this against the situation currently in Sri Lanka where even the sitting Chief Justice was thrown out of office on the dictates of the Ruler on cooked up charges! And you talk of an archaic legal system! Why don’t you read what I have mentioned above intelligently before rushing to pronounce judgement.

    Why should the fact that two female witnesses substituting for 1 male still worry anti Muslim critics? In fact this can be considered as a mercy to the fairer sex to ease their burden in giving evidence as they would be supported by another corroborating witness. Being a witness and giving evidence is by any standard an onerous task and the very thought that your evidence will be corroborated will definitely lessen that burden.

    O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even though it be against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, be he rich or poor, Allah is a Better Protector to both (than you). So follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest you may avoid justice, and if you distort your witness or refuse to give it, verily, Allah is Ever Well-Acquainted with what you do. S 4:135

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    “Why should the fact that two female witnesses substituting for 1 male still worry anti Muslim critics? In fact this can be considered as a mercy to the fairer sex to ease their burden in giving evidence as they would be supported by another corroborating witness”.

    1 To favor women over men is also sexism. Islam must promote equality like other religions.
    2 If the God intended to help women this way, he should have made it optional choice for women decide whether to come alone or in pairs.
    3 Furthermore could it mean that if a young woman is raped in the presence of her mother, unless the rapist agrees to testify against himself, there is no way to prove the case. Correct me if I am wrong e.g Korann may have made the exception by equating one woman’s evidence to that of two mens’ in rape trials.

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      Paul please read Shamsad Khans contribution above, first and do it diligently, with an open mind. You will realize that men and women are not created equally in all aspects. That is unless you being a male( my presumption) are wont to monthly periods or, if you are an old man, having hot flushes and suffering menopause. I think sufficient has been said to cover this topic from my side. You can continue trolling and the dogs will bark, but the caravan moves on.

      And had We willed We could have raised him by their means, but he clung to the earth and followed his own lust. Therefore his likeness is as the likeness of a dog: if thou attackest him he panteth with his tongue out, and if thou leavest him he panteth with his tongue out. Such is the likeness of the people who deny Our revelations. (Pickthal) S7:V176

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    These arguments show, among others, Islamists obsession with women’s menstrual cycles which is mind boggling.
    I’ve tried -and failed- to understand why Islamists have such a major issue with what is really a natural part of human biology. In Islamic holy books, women’s menstrual cycle is given such a prominence – several hundred references- compared to zero reference in, say Buddhist texts.

    In Islam, a woman is unable to pray, attend mosque or even handle/read a Qur’an during her period. After it is finished, she must then take a full bath (ghusl) to be considered pure again. The Quran expressly prohibits a man from approaching his wife during her monthly cycle. Moreover, Muhammad went a step further by classifying menstruation as Satan’s handiwork (i.e. menstruation is said to be an illness from Satan according to Muhammad). Obviously a God-fearing Muslim is required to stay clear and as far away possible from any act or work of Satan.

    No wonder people who are conditioned to think this way by their religion consider women to be inferior beings and unlike other civilized religions, do not even permit women to be in the places of worship during periods (and more).

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