"They have started taking some of those basic rights," she said, "like working together, living together, going out like a free human being. I am worried for my daughters and for all the girls and women of Afghanistan."It's certainly right to be worried. A rush transcript of the ruling can be read here; it dwells chiefly on the rights of women in Islam until section "F," when we hear about the other side of the coin.
F. Women cannot be inherited. Similarly, there are many other rights, granted to a woman under the religion of Islam, which are observed. But, where a Muslim woman has many rights, [she also] has duties and obligations, such as:
* Adherence, in faith and action, to the orders and prohibitions of Islam’s sacred Shariah
* Complete adherence and observance of the hijab [according to the Shariah], which protects the dignity and personality of the woman
* Avoiding mingling with stranger men in various social situations, such as education, shopping, the office and other affairs of life
* In consideration of the clarity of verses 1 and 34 of Surah an-Nisa’ [of the Qur’an], men are fundamental and women are secondary; also, lineage is derived from the man. Therefore, the use of words and expressions that contradict the sacred verses must be strictly avoided.
* Respecting [the orders] about the multiplicity of wives (polygamy), which are in accordance with clear orders of the Qur’an
* Avoiding travel without a [Shariah-sanctioned] mahram (male companion)
* Adherence to the clear orders of Muhammad’s Shariah in case of divorce
The authors helpfully cite the source of their claim that women are secondary: verses 1 and 34 of the Surah an-Nisa' (i.e., "The Women"). As we all know by now, the Koran is supposed to be the actual word of God, filtered only by Muhammad and the angel, allegedly Gabriel, who revealed it to him.
1. O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person (Adam), and from him (Adam) He created his wife [Hawwa (Eve)], and from them both He created many men and women and fear Allah through Whom you demand your mutual (rights), and (do not cut the relations of) the wombs (kinship) . Surely, Allah is Ever an All-Watcher over you....
34. Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient (to Allah and to their husbands), and guard in the husband's absence what Allah orders them to guard (e.g. their chastity, their husband's property, etc.). As to those women on whose part you see ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (next), refuse to share their beds, (and last) beat them (lightly, if it is useful), but if they return to obedience, seek not against them means (of annoyance). Surely, Allah is Ever Most High, Most Great.You may also find verse 11 to be telling, since it deals with inheritance rights between sons and daughters; though, remember that the English tradition was primogeniture; this system, though unequal, does provide a better inheritance (and therefore, property) system for the daughters than that.
The BBC notes that this ruling has the potential to reverse the legal freedoms instituted for women in Afghanistan a decade ago, following the American invasion.
I gather that the American people will not endure a presence in Afghanistan of the length that we devoted to, say, Japan or South Korea. That being so, it will fall on women like Fawzia Koofi to prove these freedoms are rights. Perhaps there are ways we can be of some service, even once we can no longer hold back the tide.
Americans had better steel themselves to swallow this, though, if we do choose to walk away. You're going to have a chance to reconsider just what is meant by the word "rights." Those things, taken for granted, are like wine: they are a gift from God, in the sense that the possibility of wine -- like the possibility of freedom -- is inherent in the structure of the world. Yet if the good is to be had it must be made by human hands, and made new every year. If we do not do the work, there will be no wine.
But wine, I have heard, is also banned by the Koran.