Wives of Job: A Woman’s Perspective

This is a very interesting and bold article sent to us by Ms Kiran Rizvi which gives female perspective on the male centric cultural narrative

By Kiran Rizvi

The story of the biblical character ‘Job’ or Ayyub, has intrigued me ever since I first heard it at the age of seven. Job was a wealthy man who had many wives and children and was the head of his clan. Apparently, one day Satan pointed out to God that the reason Job was so pious and thankful was because he had many things to thank for, at which God took some objections. God was determined to demonstrate to Satan that Job would be thankful under all circumstances. As a proof, God took away all the wealth of land and cattle and Job and his family had to live in poverty, yet Job remained thankful.  Job’s wives and children died off, yet he remained thankful. Job himself was subjected to unspeakable diseases; it is said that as the worms would fall off of his open wounds, he’d put them back and offer thanks to God who had bestowed His blessings upon him. After having proved to Satan that Job was indeed a pious man with our without the favorable circumstances, God returned all the wealth and cattle to Job and he acquired new set of wives who bore him many more children than before. Job was well rewarded for his steadfastness and patience. The story ends here..or does it?

The first time I heard it, I was struck with despair. As soon as the story teller ended the story, my first question was, “what about the wives and children who died for the sake of this experiment?” The story-teller said that it was the will of God, they had to die. “The point of the story,” he added “is that Job was patient, thankful and steadfast in his faith. The story is not about his wives and children and cattle. You are missing the point.” Missing the point? Whose point? Am I missing the point or the point-of-view? I had so many questions. Why was only Job’s patience rewarded and why were his wives and children punished in the process? Did Satan effectively tricked God into making Job suffer, even if only temporarily? Why was God ‘conversing’ with the Satan in the first place? A child’s curiosity knows no bounds.

When I grew up I realized that Job was not the only person in Bible or history whose point-of-view happened to be more important than that of his peers. History was written from the point of view of winners or rulers or at least the writers of history. The losers, the subjects and the cultures without a writing system were treated like Job’s wives…collateral damage in the grand scheme of things. History is not the only thing affected by the plague of point-of-view. Religion is another major example.

Every religion sees the world from its point-of-view, which happens to be the most correct, of course. I remember watching a debate on TV recently over the Islamic law of apostasy. A Christian who converts to Islam should not be killed by Christians for his apostasy, but a Muslim does deserve to die if he converts to Christianity. The debating Islamic scholar on the TV was trying to defend this law because converting to Islam saves souls, something his opponent, a prominent Christian scholar, claimed to do as well. The real battle was whose point-of-view was valid. It was clear that if this apostasy happens in Pakistan, the mullah will get his way and if it happens in a Christian country, the bishop will get his.

 The religious texts are almost always revealed through men, written down by men, interpreted by men and legislated by men. Whose point-of-view, do you think, is reflected in this process? A gross misconception is that “Islamic Law” is written by Allah Himself. People defend Islamic teachings, interpretations and legislations as if they are divine, nothing can be farther from the truth.  A man can divorce his wife with or without reason in the blink of an eye, but a woman has to get a judge’s permission to divorce her husband. A judge, who can be bribed, threatened or manipulated. It is quite clear whose point-of-view is being catered here. There are other laws and interpretations that blatantly disregard women’s rights to safety and property etc. These laws and interpretations are not only defended by Muslim men, but also by Muslim women who are mislead into believing that challenging these interpretations is synonymous to challenging Allah Himself!

Time has come that we re-examine our stories not just from Job’s point-of-view but also from his wives’ perspective. Where we question why was God in counsel with Satan and why was Satan interested in Job’s piety? It will be a mistake to take the centuries old stories at their face value without investigating into the various point-of-views injected in them over the course of time.

57 Comments

Filed under Pakistan

57 responses to “Wives of Job: A Woman’s Perspective

  1. Bravo! for posting this and bringing up the absurdities of religion and highlighting the role of sexism in religion.

  2. Raza Raja

    A brilliant post. I hope we have a good debate over this piece. This topic needs to be debated

  3. Samachar

    Why do you think Taliban blow up girls’ schools? To prevent more Kiran Rizvis.

  4. This is blasphemy against religion and Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

  5. KR

    A Abbas: This is precisely what I mean when I say that challenging the outdated concepts are taken as challenging the Divine Himself!!
    It is not a coincidence that religious texts address men and their needs. They have been copied down and interpreted by men and either consciously or sub-consciously they reflect the point-of-views of the interpreters, not only their gender but their social and intellectual class. Gender bias is a little more prominent, though.

  6. Humanity

    @ Ms. Rizvi

    Please share the reference of where the story of Job’s wifes is narrated. I have not read any such detail in the Holy Quran.

  7. Vijay Goel

    Wow !!! What a superb piece. Short and to the point. Congrats Kiran.

  8. hayyer

    K Abbas:

    You would want to execute Ghalib and Mir Taqi Mir too would you not?

  9. no-communal

    What a fantastic post!

    I think Abbas would be the last person to not appreciate the message.

  10. KR

    Humanity: If you have read Holy Quran, you already know that the stories are just “references” to what has already been revealed. There are no details of these stories in Holy Quran only ‘exceptions’ to the stories that are deemed corrupted by the earlier ‘poeple of the book’. The details are in the ‘interpretations’…. going back to my point that not everything we believe in as religion, is Divine!

  11. Bade Miyan

    Ouch! Rizvi, you reckless girl!

  12. Bade Miyan

    Well, for one, we don’t know what pious women are supposed to get in the Paradise: male equivalent of houris? Probably that clause was left out because women are so complicated. In Hindu mythology, there is a story/saying that even Brahma(one of the trinity) gave up on understanding women.

  13. Rashid Aurakzai

    Eloquent, Timely and pertinent.

  14. O J DEEN

    “There shall be no compulsion in religion for guidance and error have been clearly distinguished”. (2:257)

    Surely, all believers are brothers. So make peace between your brothers, and fear ALLAH that mercy may be shown to you (49:11)

    Abdullah ibn Mas’ud relates that the Holy Prophet (sa) said: Truth guides to virtue and virtue guides to Paradise. A person persists in telling the truth till in the sight of Allah he is named Truthful. Lying leads to vice and vice leads to the Fire; and a person goes on lying till in the sight of Allah he is named a liar (Bokhari and Muslim).

  15. Maryanne Khan

    Kiran,

    very pleased to see you post this. I have some thoughts I want to share with you.

    See this discussion was eventually bound to come up in Pakistan, as women are more and more exposed to the fact that women elsewhere don’t succumb to similar male-centric points of view.

    It has taken us a long time to reach the point at which women are now. I, as a first-generation modern feminist (the 60s and 70s, when I was young were the real tinder-box) now see my own daughters cheerfully ignorant of the days before, when we were fighting for women’s rights. They have no idea what it meant to have to convince your husband that you had an opinion, that you had the right to work, and to convince other men that you were worth hiring, that men do not have the right to use force against you if they so desire – many, many things that were irregular even back then and that are now generally accepted behaviour. Any whiff of discrimination now, and it’s off to court.

    In Australia, male parliamentarians and the Big Boss of the major chain of department stores, have learned that any semblance of lewd behaviour towards a woman will cost them their jobs, literally.

    One thing — the women who have desired and reached parity with men, certainly did not achieve this by any voluntary concessions from men. The men resisted and the women persisted. All the pressure and the action came from women who thought it was worth fighting for. Pakistani women will have to fight for equality.

    (Perhaps, to return to your analogy to Job, perhaps his wives ‘died’ o make other women think ‘Hang on! There’s something wrong here!’

    The women’s movement in the west was also an economic phenomenon. Economies in a state of growth cannot afford to waste 50% of the population by excluding them from the workforce and the education system.

    The religious basis on which women are discriminated against is less a matter of the religion itself, more an attitude by the male hegemony running it, and more a tribal matter than anything else. Women treated as though they are vessels of the honour and purity of an entire family is a sword which has kept them under cover (literally) screened away, secluded, uneducated etc etc. I believe that nowhere in the Qur’an is this written, it’s the lingering tribal practices that demand and reinforce this ancient chastity-belt attitude.

  16. Rashid Aurakzai

    Were religions really meant to oppress and deprive women or has man exploited them to serve his purpose?

    Does Islam fail to establish equality for woman, as expected by present times?

    What are specific spots in Islam that has made it a misogynist religion in the western eye? And Is the argument valid?

    Can woman be set free by abolishing religions?

    Is she really free in the so called ‘free world’?

    How much freedom is freedom for women and who should define it?

    Anybody with Answers?

  17. amar

    There are too many human beings, esp. women, who wish to be fooled with some stories written in the name of some god. It is a public mental illness, esp. in muslim societies and areas. Every religion contains blasphemies and the misleading of simple-minded human beings in the name of some god, the worst offender is islam (both in theory and practice). The proof is so clear to see everywhere.

  18. Bin Ismail

    @KR (November 22, 2010 at 6:27 am)

    “…..challenging the outdated concepts are taken as challenging the Divine Himself!!…..”

    What may appear to you as an issue of “outdated concepts”, may well be the most “updated concept” for the mullah. In fact, the mullahs continue to update these stories on a daily basis. Not only do they update them, they also keep adding freshly revealed details to them, details to which they alone are privy.

    The source of these stories, most certainly is not the Quran. Most of these stories can be traced to what are known as the “Israeliaat”, a term used for accounts that were borrowed by early Muslim theologians from Jewish commentaries. The other major source of these stories is the mullah’s splendid cranial cavity.

    I do not mean to suggest that the mullah has no taste for religion. Mullahs too, have a taste for religion, but only for anecdotes served at dinner.

    By the way, this reminds me of a Catholic priest who was fervently preaching religion in the wildernesses of Central Africa. One day, he bumped into the chief of a cannibal tribe. After preaching his message, he asked the chief “So, what have you decided?” The cannibal replied, “We will have you for dinner.” The priest said, “Your problem is that you’ve never tasted religion.” The cannibal responded, “We will taste religion at dinner.”

    Moral of the story: Cannibals too, have a taste for religion, but only at dinner.

  19. lota6177

    Excellent Job Kiran!

  20. amar

    to bin ismail

    Cannibal are better than suicide bombers.
    Muslims develop arrogance and conceit because they believe that the kuran contains the final correct versions of all previous stories. In reality they end in messing up even more than before.

  21. Dear Kiran
    As the members of Council of Ex-Muslims (click on the link),we fully endorse the views expressed in your article.

    The comment was intended as sarcasm on blasphemy and religious orthodoxy!!!

  22. KR

    Rashid Aurakzai: You have valid questions worth discussing. No one can ‘answer’ them, only offer their point-of-view.
    1. Men are not against women, nor did they invent religion to manipulate them…it just happened because it suited men. If women had the same advantages (in early society) as did men, they would do the same.
    2. Islam is not a person or tangible force which can do anything. It is a tool, and yes it has been abused by men to continue oppressing women. What is wrong is that the ‘tool’ they are using is off-limits to rational reasoning.
    3. I don’t care about the ‘western eye’. Islamic laws as practiced and preached, are misogynist…period. Specifics? Look at hadood laws, divorce laws, wife reprimanding, property law, obligation to cover themselves in public (as opposed to obligating men to look away), obligation to obedience towards her husband (no matter how inept he is) etc. etc.
    4. Religion is not solely responsible for oppressing women. It is, however the only tool that, when applied correctly, cannot be challenged, reasoned with and overturned through legislation/demonstrations etc; because for many, religious text is written in stone and those who challenge it are apostates.
    5. Freedom is not granted, it is earned and kept. In the ‘free world’, women may and may not be free depending on many circumstances, but one thing is certain: they are free to improve their chances without being labeled as Godless, apostates, heretics etc.
    6. How much freedom? That is a funny question…how would you answer it if the same were asked for men?

  23. Raza Raja

    @ Kiran

    Brilliant reasoning and more importantly it is not based on emotioonal rheotric or politically correct superior virtue of the oppressed. Your take is extremely balanced and incorporates the core issue.

    yes you are 100% correct when you say that:

    “Religion is not solely responsible for oppressing women. It is, however the only tool that, when applied correctly, cannot be challenged, reasoned with and overturned through legislation/demonstrations etc; because for many, religious text is written in stone and those who challenge it are apostates”

  24. KR

    Dear Maryanne Khan: Thank you for your kind words. You are absolutely correct, a lot has changed since our days but a lot more needs to. For now only a handful of educated urban women have been able to get anywhere in Pakistan. A vast majority in the cities and villages still lives and is passed around as property.
    I also agree that religions don’t oppress anyone, the followers do. Religion is an idea, which can lead to concrete laws, economical policies and inspire imperial expansions (as it did in the case of Islam) This is why I believe questioning the ‘religion’ is not the same as questioning the idea of religion but the interpretation of this idea over the course of time.

  25. Samachar

    From my point of view, rules get outdated and must be changed. E.g., a rule from a time when perhaps one-quarter to one-half of women died in child-birth might have made sense then, but no longer does so.

  26. Sardar KHAN

    Do not forget although,there are no woman prophet/nabi in this world (according to you supposed to be men dominated) there is always a mother for any prophet/nabi.The place of a mother is higher than a man.

  27. Anwar

    KR – Very thoughtful reasoning… Asma Barlas in her book “Believing Women in Islam” has covered the patriarchal nature of faith in great detail… I recommend reading the book for excellent re-interpretation of the passages men hold dear.
    Some aspects of the divine blessings and/or wrath are indeed troubling – one of my former colleague who hurt a number of people only because he did not like anyone else at work to outshine him has his wife in coma for over a year… he is indeed suffering but I cannot understand the divine justice. For example what about his wife who was the kindest and nicest person I ever met and can only communicate through eye movements?
    I guess when the events fail the test of logic, analytical reasoning, and understanding, we as humans have limited choices besides calling random events as the God’s will…. For many, it is the only comfort…
    Enjoyed the article. Thanks.

  28. KR

    Sardar Khan: Absolutely correct, every prophet had a mother. If the balance were to tip in favor of women, every son (and daughter) is also ‘required’ to obey the mother . However this requirement is easily over-looked in favor of the requirement for a wife to obey her husband. Selective interpretation of religion?
    The question is not whether women are placed higher than men or vice versa. Question is whether there is any room for reasoning. Prophet had said that there shall be no discrimination based on race and color and those most pious are more worthy (to rule, to govern, to be obeyed, to lead etc.) Why then keep the gender bias? Why not have female scholars issuing fatwa? Why not have female imams? Why not ask a husband to obey his wife if wife is clearly wiser than the husband? Why not? Did prophet mean to say that all “men” will be judged based on their piety, but women will be judged based on their gender first?

  29. KR

    Anwar: For centuries humans have been oppressed by other humans. When the opportunity arises, women are not bashful in oppressing men or other women. The point is that such oppression should be recognized and removed whenever encountered. It is a work in progress and there will be many angles to work out each problem.
    The most common tool to oppress women has been something subtle and lethal: virtue! A man’s virtue is to defend his property (woman, for eg.) and assert his rights. A woman’s virtue is to be patient and obedient (like Sita of Ramayana). This makes a very easy recipe for disaster spelled out for women. Whether the virtue of a woman is sold in religious packaging or under the guise of social responsibility and gender roles, it is a shackle hard to break.

  30. gandhi

    Amezonian in the rain forests do not discriminate on the basis of gender. So also all the natives or tribals did or do. It is the barbaric Abrahmic enslaving concept which used for enslaving other people and cultures have this concept of gender segregation and discrimination. Sexualization of society is Abrahmic. By not allowing mixing of sexes, pervert males are raised for becoming cannon fodder for imperialistic wars who rape womens of other culture take them as cocumbine and …

  31. KR

    Bade Miyan: Funny you’d bring up Brahma’s dilemma…I wonder if there is a quote from Brahma’s consort (or those of other gods) on understanding men? Wait! only Brahma’s point-of-view is important…if women have difficulty understanding men….who cares?

  32. KR

    Gandhi: Hunter gatherer societies tend to be egalitarian because the name hunter (men) and gatherer (women) suggests equal distribution of power needed to survive.
    Abrahamic religions are not the only culprits..all agrarian societies realized that women were good breeding properties and could be ‘used’ as such.
    Industrialization of human societies has given back some status to women which they lost from the days of hunting/gathering.

  33. Rashid Aurakzai

    KR:

    Thanks for the convincing viewpoint.

    And the funny Question was from the ‘moralist’ point of view usually posed and was aimed at clarification than sarcasm.

    I believe life is about choices and one is totally free to chose his/her way. He/She is to pay for it after life.

    Well done for thoughtfulness and objectivity.

  34. Mustafa

    @Kiran: I understand your views and frustration and on many things you are right and I do beleive that women are discriminated against especially in name of Islam. But in a way I am dissappointed at the way some people interpret your article (not saying its your points of view). Thing is Islam is a beautiful religion, and i disagree with your previous comment referring to Abrahamic religions as ”culprits”. The thing is women are given a lot more respect in Islam than anywhere else including the West. Its just not practiced. And just because its not practiced doesnt mean you condemn the religion, surely you can condemn people who abuse it and fail to follow it.

    Also why dont we look at what Islam REALLY says about women? What does Christianity say about women? The problem with people, is that they jump from one extreme to another. So if somebody finds a problem with maulvis they suddenly become anti religion, and if someone finds issues with the west they suddeny become fundamentalist and unfortunately ppl in this blog have taken this direction. Why not look in the middle and attempt to understand what religion says about women. Is religion patriarchal or are the people who claim to understand it? Are fundamentalists the true representation of religion? Are progressive Islamic scholars patriarchal? IS there an alternative narrative present? Why do you people attack on another instead of finding a solution? Stop jumping from one extreme to another and try to explore things and get to the bottom of it, which contrary to what most people say isnt hard to do at all and can be done! You just need the will to do it!

    And for some idiots we usually here from in this blog, you say islam is patriarchal and imperialist and other stuff. Well maybe a FEW people who follow it are and in dominating positions but does that mean that you condemtn the entire religion? Have you people even read the Quran or attempted to study religion? So I should judge hindus on the actions of Shiv Sena and Bajrang Dal and RSS? Should I judge Christians by the Crusades? Should I judge jews by the actions of Israel! How short sighted some people are!! honestly!!

    FYI many arab families have dominating women, where they are not subject to men, so dont beleive Fox News and CNN and BBC when they tell you that all arab women are oppressed. Some are while most arent. This applies to muslims as well, most are nice and progressive people, who follow thier religion deeply which results from a good social environment.

    Hope you guyz take my points positively. I am only giving my point of view, though there are some things that are very frustrating to hear.

  35. krash

    How do we overturn these oppressive interpretations that have lasted for centuries?

    The “key” is in the Quran itself.
    “Let there be no compulsion in religion”

  36. Tilsim

    @ Mustafa

    I agree that it does come across in comments that Islam is the problem, reform a pipe dream and fundamentalism and Pakistan’s culture and laws represent the essential nature of the religion. It’s frustrating to see this stance for many people with faith and who practice it without feeling any clash with the essentials of modernity.

    We have to recognise that we may have similar values but we can come from very different perspectives and the ability to make common cause between religious liberals and people who actively berate religion may obviously be limited. It’s also not helpful having non-Pakistanis deluging us with their comments as they change the nature of a discussion by introducing unrelated and partisan elements into it.

    In this case, I don’t believe Kiran was berating at all. She was questioning the lazy habit of unthoughtful and passive absorption of received wisdom. I find myself questioning some of the conclusions that she reached but I agree with the thrust of her argument.

  37. readinglord

    @Kiran

    A time, I think, has come when the applecart of obscurantist nonsense is going to be over-turned.

    But I wonder why Kiran took God to call in question when He was never free and has now been banned legally even by the mullah in the Pakiland to even communicate with humans after He did so centuries ago. This is because the Mullah has taken over all this business of god-hood in this country and his clients are only the men.

    This is very audacious indeed but why not she dare to call in question the doings of prophet because it is not God but the Hadees which lends to more misogynistic interpretations by the mullah than Quran, the word of God. This is perhaps because there is no law to punish blasphemy against God like the death sentence for blasphemy against the prophet.

    For instance take this Hadees:

    “Sunnan Abu-Dawud
    Book 38, Number 4348:
    Narrated Abdullah Ibn Abbas:
    A blind man had a slave-mother (A slave-woman bearing children but not treated as a wife?) who used to abuse the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) and disparage him. He forbade her but she did not stop. He rebuked her but she did not give up her habit. One night she began to slander the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) and abuse him. So he took a dagger, placed it on her belly, pressed it, and killed her. A child who came between her legs was smeared with the blood that was there. When the morning came, the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) was informed about it.
    He assembled the people and said: I adjure by Allah the man who has done this action and I adjure him by my right to him that he should stand up. Jumping over the necks of the people and trembling the man stood up.
    He sat before the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) and said: Apostle of Allah! I am her master; she used to abuse you and disparage you. I forbade her, but she did not stop, and I rebuked her, but she did not abandon her habit. I have two sons like pearls from her, and she was my companion. Last night she began to abuse and disparage you. So I took a dagger, put it on her belly and pressed it till I killed her.
    Thereupon the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: Oh be witness, no retaliation is payable for her blood.”

    Can you ask any question here why in the first place, a mother, a woman, was treated as a slave and why a blind man could lynch her without any trial by just accusing her of blasphemy. NO! Because this hadees is perhaps the basis of the Blasphemy law in the Pakiland and the person of the prophet only and not God is involved here.

    Btw, Asya, a christian woman, whose death sentence on the charge of blasphemy is being much agitated these days is perhaps lucky that she has escaped lynching so far and has a an option to appeal, but can she remain alive even if acquitted and live as a free woman afterward.

  38. Naseem

    @ Humanity
    The references are given below and include The Quran, Sahi Bukhari and the first biography of Rasoolallah by Ibn Ishaq:

    [21.Surah Al-Anbiyaa]

    Dua of Hazrat Ayub (Alaihi Salaam)

    Ayahs 83-84:

    “And Ayub, when he cried to his Lord, (saying): Harm has afflicted me, and Thou art the most Merciful of the merciful.”

    “Therefore We responded to him and took off what harm he had, and We gave him his family and the like of them with them: a mercy from Us and a reminder to the worshippers.”

    Another Reference:
    Story of Hazrat Ayub (Job) (PBUH)

    Ibn Ishaaq stated that he was a man of Rum. His name was Job, Ibn Mose, Ibn Razeh, Ibn Esau, Ibn Isaac (pbuh), Ibn Abraham (pbuh). Someone else said he was Job, Ibn Mose, Ibn Rimil, Ibn Esau, Ibn Isaac, Ibn Jacob. There have also been other statements on his lineage. Ibn Asaker narrated that his mother was a daughter of Lot (pbuh). It was said, also that his father was one who believed in Abraham (pbuh) when he was cast into the fire.

    The first opinion is the most plausible, because he was a descendant of Abraham’s offspring as Allah Almighty declared:

    “That was Our proof which We gave Abraham against his people. We raise whom We will in degrees. Certainly your Lord is All-Wise, All Knowing. And We bestowed upon him Isaac and Jacob, each of them We guided and before him, We guided Noah, and among his progeny David, Solomon, Job, Joseph, Moses, and Aaron. Thus do We reward the good doers. (Ch 6:83-84)

    Allah the Almighty praised His worshipper Job in His Glorious Quran:

    Truly! We found him patient. How excellent a slave! Verily, he was ever oft returning in repentance to Us! (Ch 38:44)

    Job (pbuh) was repentant, remembering Allah with thankfulness, patience, and steadfastness. This was the cause of his rescue and the secret of Allah’s praising him.

    A group of angels were discussing Allah’s other human creatures, how those who were humble earned Allah’s pleasure, while those who were arrogant incurred His displeasure. One of the angels remarked:

    “The best creature on earth today is Job, a man of noble character who displays great patience and always remembers his Generous Lord. He is an excellent model for the worshippers of Allah. In return, his Lord has blessed him with a long life and plenty of servants, as well as the needy and the poor share in his good fortune; he feeds and clothes the poor and buys slaves to set them free. He makes those who receive his charity feel as if they are favoring him so kind and gentle is he.”

    Iblis overhearing all of this, became annoyed. He planned to tempt Job to corruption and disbelief, so he hastened to him. He tried to distract Job from his prayers by whispering him about the good things in life but Job was a true believer and would not let evil thoughts tempt him. This disturbed Iblis even more; thus he began to hate Job even more.

    Iblis complained to Allah about Job. He said that although he was continuously glorifying Allah he was not doing so out of his sincerity but to satisfy Allah so that his wealth should not be taken away. It was all a show, all out of greed.

    “If You remove his wealth then You will find that his tongue will no longer mention Your name and his praying will stop.”

    Allah told Iblis that Job was one of His most sincere devotees. He did not worship Him because of the favors; his worship stemmed from his heart and had nothing to do with material things. But to prove to Iblis the depth of Job’s sincerity and patience, Allah allowed him to do whatever he and his helpers wished with Job’s wealth.

    Iblis was very happy. he gathered his helpers and set about destroying Job’s cattle, servants and farms until he was left with no possessions. Rubbing his hands in glee, Iblis appeared before Job in the guise of a wise old man and said to him:

    “All your wealth is lost, some people say that it is because you gave too much charity and that you are wasting your time with your continuous prayers to Allah. Others say that Allah has brought this upon you in order to please your enemies. If Allah had the capacity to prevent harm, then He would have protected your wealth.”

    True to his belief, Job replied:

    “What Allah has taken away from me belongs to Him. I was only its trustee for awhile. He gives to whom He wills and withholds from whom He wills.”

    With these words, Job again prostrated to his Lord. When Iblis saw this, he felt frustrated, so he again addressed Allah:

    “I have stripped Job of all his possessions, but he still remains grateful to You. However he is only hiding his disappointment, for he places great store by his many children. The real test of a parent is through his children. You will see how Job will reject You.”

    Allah granted Iblis authority but warned him that it would not reduce Job’ faith in His Lord nor his patience.

    Iblis again gathered his helpers and set about his evil deeds. He shook the fountain of the house in which Job’s children were living and sent the building crashing, killing all of them. Then he went to Job disguised as a man who had come to sympathize with him. In a comforting tone he said to Job:

    “The circumstances under which your children died were sad. Surely, your Lord is not rewarding you properly for all your prayers.”

    Having said this, Iblis waited anxiously hoping Job was now ready to reject Allah. But again Job disappointed him by replying:

    “Allah sometimes gives and sometimes takes. He is sometimes pleased and sometimes displeased with our deeds. Whether a thing is beneficial or harmful to me, I will remain firm in my belief and remain thankful to my Creator.”

    Then Job prostrated to his Lord. At this Iblis was extremely vexed. Iblis called on Allah.

    “O my Lord, Job’s wealth is gone, his children are dead, and he is still healthy in body, and as long as he enjoys good health he will continue to worship You in the hope of regaining his wealth and producing more children. Grant me authority over his body so that I may weaken it. He will surely neglect worshipping You an will thus become disobedient.”

    Allah wanted to teach Iblis a lesson that Jo was a devoted servant of his Lord so He granted Iblis his 3rd request but placed a condition:

    “I give you authority over his body but not over his soul, intellect or heart, for in these places reside the knowledge of Me and My religion.”

    Armed with this new authority, Iblis began to take revenge on Job’s body and filled it with disease until it was reduced to mere skin and bone and he suffered severe pain. But through all the suffering Job remained strong in his faith, patiently bearing all the hardships without complaining. Allah’s righteous servant did not despair or turn to others for help but remained hopeful of Allah’s mercy. Even close relatives and friends deserted him. Only his kind, loving wife stayed with him. In his hour of need, she showered her kindness on him and cared for him. She remained his sole companion and comforter through the many years of suffering.

    Ibn Asaker narrated:

    “Job was a man having much wealth of all kinds; beats, slaves, sheep, vast lands of Haran and many children. All those favors were taken from him and he was physically afflicted as well. Never a single organ was sound except his heart and tongue, with both of which he glorified Allah, the Almighty all the time day and night. His disease lasted for a long time until his visitors felt disgusted with him. His friends kept away from him and people abstained from visiting him. No one felt sympathy for him except his wife. She took good care of him, knowing his former charity and pity for her.”

    Therefore Iblis became desperate. He consulted his helpers, but they could not advise him. They asked:

    “How is it that your cleverness cannot work against Job, yet you succeeded in misleading Adam the father of man, out of Paradise?”

    Iblis went to Job’s wife in the form of a man. He asked her:

    “Where is your husband?”

    She pointed to an almost lifeless form crumbled on the bed and said:

    “There he is, suspended between life and death.”

    Iblis reminded her of the days, when Job had good health, wealth and children. Suddenly, the painful memory of years of hardship overcame her, and she burst into tears. She said to Job:

    “How long are you going to bear this torture from our Lord? Are we to remain without wealth, children or friends forever? Why don’t you call upon Allah to remove this suffering?”

    Job sighed, and in a soft voice replied :

    “Iblis must have whispered to you and made you dissatisfied. Tell me how long did I enjoy good health and riches?”

    She replied:

    “80 years.”

    Then Job replied:

    “How long am I suffering like this?”

    She said:

    “7 years.”

    Job then told her:

    “In that case I am ashamed to call on my Lord to remove the hardship, for I have not suffered longer than the years of good health and plenty. It seems your faith has weakened and you are dissatisfied with the fate of Allah. If I ever regain health, I swear I will punish you with a hundred strokes! From this day onward, I forbid myself to eat or drink anything by your hand. Leave me alone and let my Lord do with me as He pleases.”

    Crying bitterly and with a heavy heart, she had no choice but to leave him and seek shelter elsewhere. In this helpless sate, Job turned to Allah, not to complain but to seek His mercy:

    “Verily! distress has seized me and You are the Most Merciful of all those who show mercy.” so We answered his call, and we removed the distress that was on him, and We restored his family to him (that he had lost), and the like thereof along with them as a mercy from Ourselves and a Reminder for all who worship Us.” (Ch 21:83-84)

    Almighty Allah also instructed:

    “Remember Our slave Job, when he invoked His Lord saying: “Verily! Satan has touched me with distress (by losing my health) and torment (by losing my wealth)!” Allah said to him: “Strike the ground with your foot: This is a spring of water to wash in and cool and a refreshing drink.” And We gave him back his family, and along with them the like thereof as a Mercy from Us, and a reminder for those who understand. (Ch 38:41-43)

    Job obeyed and almost immediately his good health was restored. Meanwhile, his faithful wife could not longer bear to be parted from her husband and returned to him to beg his forgiveness, desiring to serve him. On entering her house, she was amazed at the sudden change: Job was again healthy! She embraced him and thanked Allah for His mercy.

    Job was not worried, for he had taken an oath to punish her with a hundred strokes if he had regained health but he had no desire to hurt her. He knew if he did not fulfill the oath, he would be guilty of breaking a promise to Allah. Therefore in His wisdom and mercy, Allah came to the assistance of His faithful servant and advised him:

    “Take in your hand a bundle of thin grass and strike therewith your wife, and break not your oath.” Truly! We found him patient. How excellent a slave! Verily, he was ever oft returning in repentance to Us!” (Ch 38:44)

    Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said:

    “While Job was naked, taking a bath, a swarm of gold locusts fell on him, and he started collecting them in his garment. His Lord called him: “O Job! Have I not made you too rich to need what you see?” He said: “Yes, My Lord! But I cannot shun Your Blessings.” (Al Bukhari)

  39. gandhi

    “What might count as earliest literary congress of the world was the congress of philosophers which was codification of Brahmanical philosophy by discussing the subject under the direction of the master philosopher, Yajnavalkya. In these deliberations at the highest level, a lady- philosopher named Gargi was a prominent participant beside men like Uddalaka Arni. Obviously, in those days women were admitted to the highest knowledge and did not suffer from any education disabilities. There was equality between the sexes in the filed of knowledge. The Rig Veda mentions women Rais called Brahmanavadinis.”

  40. waqas

    Thank you very much for sharing your viewpoints. This indeed is to question mark to humanity as a whole with respect to the status of women.
    Please bear in mind that teachings of the religion have sometimes being a victim to Man-favoring but the blame is not fair to be put on the religion but on the ones propagating and pursuing them.
    I can highlight many instances where Islam have given women a upper hand to men but the issue is why ,never these, are brought up. Even in the case of divorce, Islam has made sure any muslim man divorcing his wife has to bear a hug consequences financially, moraly, socially etc but they are bound not to be known.

  41. Bin Ismail

    @Naseem (November 23, 2010 at 9:13 am)

    The actual quotes from the Quran and Sahih Bukhari that you’ve presented, form a relatively minor portion of your comment. The greater part of your comment consists of interpretation and commentary. The reference from Ibn Asakir is obviously neither Quran nor Hadith. Ibn Asakir was a historian of the 12th century AD.

    Apparently, you seem to have proven KR’s point that “….details are in the ‘interpretations’….going back to my point that not everything we believe in as religion, is Divine….” [KR, November 22, 2010 at 9:21 am].

  42. Fellow-Pakistani

    @Bin Ismail
    November 22, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    1-WOULD YOU PLEASE LIKE TO TELL US WHY YOUR QADIANI KHALIFA 2 MIRZA MAHMUD AHMAD MARRIED 7 (SEVEN) WIVES OFFICIALLY???

    2-PLEASE ALSO TELL US WHY YOUR QADIANI KHALIFA 3 MIRZA NASIR AHMAD MARRIED DR. TAHIRA KHAN (looking after him in his last illness, few months before he died) WHEN SHE WAS OVER 50, YES, FIFTY YEARS YOUNGER THAN HIM, AND HE WAS IN OLD AGE (OVER 75 YEARS) AND DIED WITHIN WEEKS OF MARRYING HER???
    AND MORE OVER WHY SHE TO THIS DAY IS NOT ALLOWED TO REMARRY???

    Bin ismail, first look in your own collar (gariban) than talk about Pakistani Mullah!!!!
    I wait for your answers.

  43. Fellow-Pakistani

    ADDENDAM:

    Qadiani Khalifa 3 Mirza Nasir Ahmad died June 09, 1982 and to this day his widow Dr. Tahira Khan is NOT allowed to remarry.
    Today she is approximately 50 years old but on June 10, 1982 she was JUST 23 YEARS YOUNG WIDOW, married for few weeks with over 50 years older in age, a weak, sick frail man.

    And qadianis consider it a justice!!!
    Qadianis have the audacity to point fingers!!!

  44. Mubarak

    @ Fellow-Pakistani

    Mirza Mahmood Ahmad only had 4 wives at a certain instance.

    Didn’t the Prophet marry Aisha, who was approximately 40-50 years younger?

  45. Bin Ismail

    @ Fellow-Pakistani

    “…..qadianis consider it a justice…..”

    Legal Matrimony is perfectly in line with justice. Ahmadis, whom you insist on calling Qadianis, are fortunately clear on issues. Your rummaging search, however, through the clutter of your poisoned and tangled thoughts, does invoke genuine pity.

  46. gandhi

    “An estimated 17 percent of all families in Pakistan are associated with polygamy in their primary relationships. This means that as many as one-fifth of our population lives in an arrangement of compromise, most likely to take up a share of resources and pieces of the emotional pie that have come to them at a social cost. These strains in relationships have an economic stress on the system as well.”

    Let us look at this in human terms.

    For a young, and by definition virile, male – nothing could be better than the thought of having several women. Paradise on earth. Have easy access to means of relieving those pesky painful, five times a a day erections.

    What stops him? Morality of course. Morality that says “Do not covet another man’s wife”. “Be faithful to your wife”

    So what is the solution? The solution is to redefine morality to allow a man more than one woman. Make it both moral and legal for a man to have one woman under some circumstances. And an important pre-requisite for this is to ensure male dominance. Let the male be given higher status than the female. No matter how you may want to squirm and wriggle – this is exactly what Islam has allowed. And Pakistanis, by embracing islam are doing exactly what Pakistaniyat and Islamiyat allows them.

    It is also the reason why so many well endowed with men willing to kill in the name of Islamiyet. As thay know that they will not be able to get a wife. If they don’t go out not try to kill a kafir and take his women.

    Islam and to a large extent Paulian Christianity is a criminal imperialistic enterprise. It needs to create brutalized enslaved cannon fodder which is used in destroying other people, their cultures and civilization. They might rewrite history and burn others universities (Taxila, Nalanda etc), their libraries and ban the native culture and spirituality but the DNA engraves the knowledge and wisdom which these brutes cannot wipe out, that is why you see today India and China are progressing and the future truly belongs to the Native Spirituality or Dharmik Spirituality and Culture.

  47. Fellow-Pakistani

    @Mubarak
    November 24, 2010 at 8:15 pm
    @ Fellow-Pakistani
    “Mirza Mahmood Ahmad only had 4 wives at a certain instance.”
    YEAH, AFTER MURDERING HIS WIFE WHO EXPOSED HIM BY WRITING LETTER TO JOURNALIST MR. DEWAN SINGH MAFTOON. JUST ASK BROTHER OF THE MURDERED WIFE OF QADIANI KHALIFA 2 MIRZA MAHMUD AHMAD.

    “Didn’t the Prophet marry Aisha, who was approximately 40-50 years younger?”

    MORON, HAVE SOME SHAME:
    FYI: Prophet wife Aisha was at least 19 (NINETEEN) years old when marriage was consumated.
    She was given to prophet by her father.
    WHERE AS:
    QADIANI KAHLIFA 3 MIRZA NASIR AHMAD POISED AND KILLED ONLY BROTHER, A PROFESSOR IN TI COLLEGE RABWAH, OF ORPHAN DR. TAHIRA KHAN. BECAUSE HE WAS OPPOSING QK3 AND NOT LETTING HIS YOUNG BEAUTIFUL SISTER BECOMING WIDOW IN LESS THAN 8 WEEKS OF MARRAIGE BY MARRING AN OLD SICK, DIABETIC PATIENT I.E. QK3.
    NOW TELL ME:
    What was age of Prophet Muhammad SAW at time of consumation of marraige with Aisha (RA)????
    How was the physical health of prophet Muhammad SAW at time of marriage with Aisha (RA)????
    FYI:
    Prophet Muhammad SAW was about 30 years older than Aisha (RA).
    Prophet Muhammad SAW was VERY HEALTHY, at time of marrige. He made his own living, and FOUGHT IN WARS, BY PHYSICALLY BEING PRESENT THERE.
    Where as Qadiani Khalifa 3 Mirza Nasir Ahmad was VERY SICK, ALMOST CLOSE TO DEATH, and with very difficulty even travelled in his EXPANSIVE MERCEDES BENZ.
    Open your eyes.

  48. Fellow-Pakistani

    @Gandhi Ji:
    “So what is the solution? The solution is to redefine morality to allow a man more than one woman. Make it both moral and legal for a man to have one woman under some circumstances. And an important pre-requisite for this is to ensure male dominance. Let the male be given higher status than the female. No matter how you may want to squirm and wriggle – this is exactly what Islam has allowed. And Pakistanis, by embracing islam are doing exactly what Pakistaniyat and Islamiyat allows them.”

    YES, I AGREE. POLYGAMY i.e. Polygyny ALLOWED IN ISLAM IS VERY USEFUL AND HELPFUL IN SOLVING PROBLEMS IN SOCIETY.
    This is the reason, Russian Duma is trying to get ploygamy i.e. Polygyny officially legal in their country. Otherwise, practically people especially in European countries are exploiting women. By keeping them as their mistresses and girlfriends and fathering their babies but not taking responsibilities of these ladies and their children.
    If polygyny is allowed in USA, lots of ills in the society could go away.

  49. Bin Ismail

    @Fellow-Pakistani (November 24, 2010 at 11:18 pm)

    “…..Mirza Nasir Ahmad was VERY SICK…..”

    The mere fact that all these concoctions are coming from you, compels us to give those whom you speak of, the benefit of the doubt. Unfortunately, your hatred is far too accentuated to allow any serious consideration to be extended to your words. Merely due to the fact, that the above quoted words have been uttered by you, their authenticity does indeed become questionable. Whether the person named above was “very sick” or not, has become debatable. However, what appears manifestly evident and clearly undebatable, is that you indeed are psychologically “very very sick”.

  50. Fellow-Pakistani

    @Bin Ismail
    November 25, 2010 at 12:11 am
    ARE YOU DENYING THAT QADIANI KHALIFA 3 MIRZA NASIR AHMAD DIED WITH IN 2 MONTHS OF MARRIAGE TO DR. TAHIRA KHAN?????

    READ WIKIPEDIA ENTRY ON MIRZA NASIR AHMAD. IT SAYS:
    “Mirza Nasir Ahmad married Tahira Sidiqqa in April 1982. He had no children with her.”
    “Hafiz Mirza Nasir Ahmad (Urdu: مرزا ناصر احمد) (November 16, 1909 – June 9, 1982) was Khalifatul Masih III, head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. He was elected as the third successor of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad on November 8, 1965, the day after the death of his predecessor, Mirza Basheer-ud-Din Mahmood Ahmad. He was son of Mirza Basheer-ud-Din Mahmood Ahmad, the second Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. He died age 72 in 1982”

    HOW MANY MONTHS ARE THERE BETWEEN APRIL 1982 AND JUNE 1982??????
    ANSWER: THE GRAND TOTAL OF 2 MONTHS!!!!!!!!!!!!

    DON’T YOU FEEL LITTLE BIT OF SHAME IN DENYING THE TRUTH????

    YOU CAN NOT KILL THE FACTS BY SHOOTING AT MESSANGER!!!!!

    THIS IS NOT QADIAN OR RABWAH OF QADIANI KHALIFA 2, AND 3.!!!!

    \WAKEUP AND SMELL THE COFFEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  51. T.S. Bokhari

    I wonder why people become moralistic about sex relation-ships, dubbing it islamic or un-islamic, when it is purely a cultural or a legal matter. Islam does allow believers to mehramize or legalize the sex with a non-mehram but it also allows sex with na-mehrams under certain conditions. It places no limit on mehramization through the social contract, called ‘Nikah’, but rather exhorts believers (men only perhaps) to have wives as many as they like in threes and fours but allows them even one wife along with ‘what their right hand possesses (sex-slaves, perhaps). In fact Islam caters fully to the sex needs of the men (Arabs) according to the Arab culture of the time.
    The problem is we started treating the sex as a sin which had made Adam shunted out from heaven and try to religionize or islamize it, forgetting that the converted muslims would all thus become illegitimate off-spring born out of un-islamic sex.

    What we should learn from Islam is that sex is not a sin as such but an important social factor, no less important perhaps than ‘roti, kapra and makan’ and it needs to be catered fully keeping in view the ground realities of a given culture, to make it ethically good and peaceful.

  52. Fellow-Pakistani

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  53. Fellow-Pakistani

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  54. Fellow-Pakistani

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  55. Mubarak

    @fellow-Pakistani

    Your vile comments remind me of the way some of the most hardened critics of the prophet Muhammad abuse his character.

  56. amaar

    @fellow Pakistani

    Your venom is clouding your judgement. In case of Mirza Nasir Ahmad, both he and her wife married out of their free will. As they say in our language, ‘jab meyan biwi razi to kiya kara ka qazi’ (when the husband and wife are agreeable what can the judge do?) Even if he was ill, his wife married out of her free will . Her consent (as represented by her ‘wali’) , in Islam, does not require your approval.

    The rest is your indigestion in accepting this marriage.
    Thus those who mattered agreed to a marriage whereas those who don’t matter find this objectionable. And you do not matter.

  57. amaar

    @gandhi

    Isn’t polygamy (with proper and equal rights to each wife) a better alternative to prostitution/ cheating?

    You would have a man cheat on his wife but you cannot accept a man opting for full rights and responsibilities of each of his wife. I find that stupid.