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Joined: 10 March 2003
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| Topic: Purdah
Posted: 13 April 2005 at 12:27pm
The Status of woman in Islam
Abul A`la Maududi
Translated and Edited By
Islamic Publications (Pvt) Ltd
13-E, Shah Alam Market, Lahore, Pakistan
Reproduced for Internet with permission by the
Umma Soft Project Team
Chapter 1 Nature of The Problem
Chapter 2 Status of Woman in Different Ages
Chapter 3 Purdah and The Muslims of Today
Chapter 4 Western Concepts of Morality
Chapter 5 Tragic Consequences … I
Chapter 6 Tragic Consequences … II
Chapter 7 The Decisive Question
Chapter 8 Laws of Nature
Chapter 9 Human Limitations
Chapter 10 Social System of Islam … I
Chapter 11 Social System of Islam … II
Chapter 12 Social System of Islam … III
Chapter 13 Commandments of Purdah
Chapter 14 Divine Laws for The Movements
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
The modern world has gradually headed away from the Way of Nature to the unnatural paths that are inevitably leading to the annihilation of the human race itself. The moral concepts which the Western world adopted a century and a half ago have already resulted in the disruption of family life, and produced licentiousness and sexual-anarchy to the extent hitherto unknown in history. The nudist trends in the west, manifesting themselves in the “Bikini” and the “birthday suit”, should surprise nobody as they are logical outcome of the so-called movements launched for the rights and emancipation of woman. In this connection, the following reports are revealing:
(Delray Beach, Florida, May 10, 1964): “The shapely brunette wore a veil and high heeled shoes—but nothing else—and her 23 years old groom wore only a Florida suntan when they were married today in what was described as the largest nudist wedding ever held. Nude reporters watched the ceremony. The best man, an octogenarian, carried the ring in his hand since he had no pockets. The only one wearing clothes was a local lawyer, who performed the ceremony in the sunshine watched by some two hundred nude guests.” (Reuter)
(Hamburg, May 25, 1964): “At last count, there were at least eighty four public paths, parks and private terrains throughout West Germany, reserved for nudist use. The practice is by no means limited to Germany, however, but is widespread throughout all of northern Europe”. (DPA)
This is then the culmination of the movement that was initiated with the object of emancipating woman and librating man. “In a world that has seen human beings clothing themselves since the dawn of time the practice of nudism often takes on a humorous aspect”. More than that: it suggests the virtual return of man to animality, to wild life wholly bereft of shame and decency.
The Qur'an, which contains the remedy for every moral disease, has the anti-dote to the above-mentioned moral epidemics. It asserts that the urge to clothe oneself and conceal one’s shameful parts is innate within man. It is with a view to elaborating this viewpoint of the Quran vis-à-vis modern nudism, licentiousness and free intermingling of the sexes that this book is being presented before the reading world.
This is the English rendering of Maulana Abul Ala Maududi’s famous work “Purdah”, which was originally published in book form in 1939. It has since run through thirteen reprints and has deeply influenced vast sections of reading public in the Indo-Pakistan sub-continent. This book, more than any other, has in recent years helped people to understand clearly the nature of the correct relationship between man and woman in the social life, and appreciate the great design that Nature wills to fulfill through them on the earth.
First of all it proves by reason and argument that the moral concepts underlying the social system prevalent in the West are not only unnatural and irrational but also laden with fatal portents for man and his civilization.
Secondly, it draws attention to the laws of nature and establishes that family life and legitimate procreation alone can serve the will of Nature.
Thirdly, it proves on the basis of scientific observation that man is inherently incapable of devising a perfect social system for himself on account of his shortsightedness and limited faculties. He has always stood in need of Divine Guidance, which alone can help him to solve rationally and permanently the problems of his life.
Lastly, it sets forth the Social System of Islam which is indeed the Way of Nature herself as it is based on Divine Guidance, and gives a note of warning that man cannot prosper on the earth by fighting against Nature but by living in complete harmony with her.
As for the great style of the Maulana, I sincerely feel that no translation can claim to reproduce the effect of the original Urdu. That is why I have again and again felt and wished that some better hand had attempted the translation of “Purdah” into English. The present attempt, however humble, has been made in all sincerity and faithfulness to the original.
In conclusion, I must express my gratitude due to Ch. Muhammad Akbar (late) for making useful suggestions in general and for the English translation of the verses of the Qur’an and Traditions of the Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him) in particular.
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
Four years ago, I wrote a series of these articles on the problems of Purdah and published in several issues of the “Tarjuman-ul-Qur’an”. At that time, some aspects of the discussion were purposely left untouched and some others were not fully dealt with, for these were meant to be articles and not the chapters of a book. Now the same series is being presented in the book form with necessary additions and explanations. Though it cannot be claimed even now that it is the last word on the subject, it is at least hoped that the people who sincerely want to understand the significance of Purdah will find enough material and arguments in it for their satisfaction.
“And with Allah is the grace and He alone is the Helper”.
22 Muharram, 1359 A.H. ABUL ALA
Nature of the Problem
The first and foremost problem of man’s community life on whose fair and rational solution depends his real advancement and well-being is the proper adjustment of the mutual relationships which provide the real basis for man’s social life and on their strength and stability depends his future well-being.
Important as the solution of this problem is, its intricate nature has baffled philosophers and sages from the earliest times. In fact, one cannot be expected to offer its just and fair solution unless one has acquired a complete and comprehensive view of the whole human nature. But this is not an easy thing for man is a world in himself. His physical and mental make-up, his energies and capabilities, his desires and demands, his emotions and feelings, and his active and passive relationships with countless things outside him, these constitute a world in themselves. Man cannot be completely understood unless each nook and corner of this vast world is fully brought within a clear view. Conversely, the basic human problems cannot be solved unless man himself is first completely understood.
The enigma of human nature has defied solution by man since the earliest times and it still remains unsolved. The truth is that man has not yet been able to discover and explain all the facts and phenomena of this world. None of the sciences has so far attained that stage of perfection where it could claim to have encompassed all knowledge pertaining to its own particular sphere. Even those facts and phenomena that have been discovered and explained are so vast and complex in themselves that no man (or men) can have a complete view of all their facets simultaneously. If one tries to concentrate on one facet, the others recede into the background. Sometimes one is not able to give all one’s attention to it and some-times personal inclinations and whims distort its view. On account of these inherent weaknesses, man with all has ingenuities has failed to solve the problems of his own life. His own growing experience brings out flaws in his best thought out solutions. Real solution is indeed impossible without attaining a balanced view of the whole human nature, and a balanced view of it is impossible unless all the aspects of the known facts at least, are kept in view at one and the same time. But when the field to be viewed is too vast, and one’s personal whims, likes and dislikes, too powerful to allow an unbiased picture, one cannot possibly attain a balanced view of things. Any solutions under such conditions as these will naturally be based on one extreme or the other.
In order to illustrate this, let us go back to history. We come across various exaggerated notions based on the conflict of the two extremes. On the one hand, we find that the woman, who gives birth to man as mother and accompanies him in all the ups and downs of life as wife, has been reduced to the position of a maid, rather bondwoman. She is treated as other chattels, she s deprived of all rights of inheritance and ownership, she is regarded as embodiment of sin and misfortune, and is refused all opportunities for developing and unfolding her personality. On the other hand, we find that the same woman is raised to prominence in a manner and with the result that a storm of immorality and licentiousness follows in her wake. She is made a plaything for carnal indulgence, she is actually reduced to the position of the Devil’s agent, and with her rise to “prominence” starts the degeneration of mankind in general.
These two extreme are merely theoretical but they exist in practice as well, and it is because of their evil consequences in the practical life that we pronounce them as immoral extremes. History testifies that when a community shakes off barbarism and advances towards civilization, its woman follow its men as maids and bondwomen. Initially the community gains momentum from the store of energies that accrue from the wild life of the desert, but at a later stage of development it begins to realize that it cannot go any further by keeping half of its population in a state of bondage. Thus, when the community finds the pace of advancement being retarded, the feeling of necessity compels it to enable the neglected half also to keep pace with the advanced half. But it does not rest content with making amends only, it bestows undue freedom upon the fair sex with the result that the latter’s excessive freedom deals a fatal blow at the family life which is the very basis of civilization. More than that, the free intermingling of the sexes brings in its wake a flood of obscenity, licentiousness and sexual perversion, which ruin the morals of the whole community. Along with this moral depravity starts the gradual wakening of the intellectual, physical and material energies of the community, which eventually leads it to total collapse and destruction.
Status of Woman in Different Ages
It is not possible to recount here in detail all the instances of this from history, but a few illustrations are necessary.
Let us take the case of the Greek civilization, which has been regarded as the most glorious of all the ancient civilizations. In its early stages, woman was looked down upon morally as well as socially, and she had no legal rights. According to Greek mythology, an imaginary woman called Pandora was the source of all human ills and misfortunes, like the Eve of Jewish mythology. Just as the concocted story about the Eve had deeply influenced the Jewish and Christian conception of the woman and adversely affected their law, social customs, morals as well as their general attitude towards life, so was the impact of Pandora fiction upon the Greek mind. The Greeks regarded woman as a sub-human creature whose rank in society was in every way inferior to that of man, for whom alone was reserved honor and a place of pride.
This notion and attitude with minor modifications remained in vogue during the early stages of the Greek cultural development. The enlightenment brought by civilization and knowledge did not affect woman’s legal position, but it won for her a comparatively higher status in society. She became the queen of the Greek home, her duties being restricted to four walls where she held a position of authority. Her chastity was a precious thing which was held in high esteem. Women of the Greek nobility observed Purdah, the female apartments in their houses were segregated from the male apartments, and their womenfolk neither sat in mixed gatherings nor were they prominently brought out in public. To be united with a man in wedlock was a privilege and mark of honor for a woman, and her living of life of a prostitute was held in disgrace. At this time of the Greek nation on the whole was vigorous and energetic and was rapidly climbing the ladder of advancement. Though the moral weaknesses were there, these were within certain limits. Men, unlike women, were exempt from the demands and requirements of chastity, purity of character and moral uprightness. Nor was it expected of them that they should lead a morally clean life. Prostitution was embedded in the Greek society and relations with corrupt women by men were not considered improper.
Gradually the Greek became overwhelmed by egotism and sexual perversion. With this change in the outlook, the corrupt female element gained such prominence that has no parallel in history. The house of the prostitute became the focus of attention of all classes of the Greek society, and attracted their philosophers, poets, historians, literary men and servants of art. She not only patronized literary functions but political affairs of great consequences also were decided under her influence. It may seem strange, the council of one who did not remain faithfully attached to one man even for two consecutive nights was eagerly sought and respected in matters on which depended life and death of the nation. Their aesthetic taste and worship of beauty aroused in the Greek people a thirst for sensual pleasures, and their indulgence, in sex began to find expression in the creation of nudes which spurred on their sexual feelings to the extent that they soon lost all senses whether sexual indulgence involved a moral turpitude. They became so degraded and depraved that even their philosophers and moral preceptors did not regard adultery and licentiousness as base and worthy of censure. The common man looked upon matrimony as an unnecessary restriction and considered fornication as perfectly lawful and right. So much so that eventually these became a part of their religion, and the worship of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, spread throughout Greece. And, according to their mythology, this goddess who was legal wife of one god, had developed illicit relations with three other gods as well as with a mortal. The result of this last illicit relationship was the birth of another god, Cupid, the god of love. The very fact that Aphrodite was an ideal goddess worthy of worship was an index of their depravity. After such a moral decline, no nation in the world has ever been seen to rise again. The cults of Bam-marg in India and Mazdak in Iran emerged during similar periods of decline, and similar were the conditions in Babylon that helped prostitution gain religious holiness and sanctity. After its downfall, Babylon has never been heard of except in legends of past. With the worship of goddess of love in Greece, houses of prostitution became places of worship, prostitutes were considered like pious girls dedicated to the temples, and adultery was raised to the status of piety and invested with full religious sanctity.
Another aspect of sexual lawlessness was the prevalence of the unnatural act among the Greeks, which was welcomed and patronized by religion and morality. Though no trace of this practice is found in the times of Homer and Hesiod, it spread with the advancement of civilization. When nudity and indulgence in the pleasures of the body came to be called by the civilized names of art and aesthetic, these aroused the erotic passions of the people to an extent that transgressing the natural bounds they began to seek satisfaction in the unnatural ways. Artist manifested this craving in statues. Moral preceptors described it as an index of the “bond of friendship” between two persons. Harmodius and Aristogiton were the first two Greeks who won their countrymen’s approbation and high regard on account of their unnatural connection with each other and were symbolized in statues to be remembered forever.
History bears evidence that after the passing away of its period of grandeur and pride, the Greek nation could never get a second opportunity of retracing its steps into glory.
In the case of the Romans who were the next to achieve glory and greatness after the Greeks, we witness a similar phenomenon of the rise and fall of empire. When the Romans emerged from darkness on the bright horizon of history, their social traditions recognized man as the chief of the family unit, possessing full authority and power over the members of his family; so much so that he could take the life of his wife.
As the Romans shook off savagery and advanced towards civilization, the family system remained unaffected, but its undue rigors practically softened down to moderation. When the Roman democracy was at its zenith, their women did not observe Purdah like the women of the Greek nobility, but the womenfolk and the youth were kept under and unrelenting family discipline. Chastity, especially of the female, was highly valued and considered as a criterion of the nobility of character. They had such a high moral standard that when a Roman Senator once kissed his wife in the presence of his daughter, it was considered derogatory to the national moral character and a vote of censure was passed against him on the floor of the house. There was no other legitimate and proper form of relationship between man and woman than through marriage. A woman was held worthy of respect only when she was the matron of a family. Though prostitution existed and men were free in a restricted way to have illicit relations with the prostitutes, the average Roman abhorred it and looked down upon men having such relations with contempt.
With the advancement on the road to civilization, the Roman concept about the position of the woman underwent a serious change. Rules and regulations governing marriage and divorce and the structure of the family system gradually suffered such a complete metamorphosis that conditions changed for the worse. Marriage was reduced to a civil contract which was held at the sweet will of partners, which rendered the responsibilities of married life very light. Moreover, the woman was given full proprietary rights over inherited and other property and the law made her free of the authority of the father and the husband. Thus the Roman women not only became economically independent, but gradually a good portion of the national wealth also slipped into their control. They lent money to their husbands at high rates of interest with the result that husbands of wealthy wives virtually became their slaves. Divorce became easy and wedlock was ended on flimsy grounds. Seneca (4B.C.—65A.D.), the famous Roman philosopher and statesman, has severely criticized his countrymen for the high incidence of divorce among them. He says:
“Now divorce is not regarded as something shameful in Rome. Women calculate their age by the number of husbands they have taken.”
Women in those days used to take several husbands one after the other. Martial (43 A.D.—104 A.D.) Has mentioned a woman who had changed ten husbands. Juvenal (60 A.D.—130 A.D.) has written about a woman who changed eight husbands in five years. St. Jerome (340 A.D.—420 A.D.) makes mention of a wonderful woman whose last husband was the 23rd in succession, and she was herself the 21st wife of her husband.
During this age, extra marital relations between man and woman began to be gradually disregarded with the result that even their moral preceptors looked upon adultery as a minor offence entailing no punishment. Cato (234—149 B.C.) who was appointed censor in Rome in 184 B.C. for taking cognizance of offences against public morality openly held juvenile delinquency as justifiable. Even Cicero (106-43 B.C.) pleaded for granting moral laxity to the youth. Epictetus (1st cent. A.D.) who was known to be morally strict and thoroughgoing Stoic advised his pupils:
“Avoid the company of women before marriage but refrain from castigating those who cannot resist the temptation”.
When the checks on public morality became weak, the flood of sexual licentiousness, nudity and promiscuity burst upon Rome. Theaters became the scenes of moral perversion and nude performances; dwelling places were decorated with nude and immoral paintings; and prostitution became so widespread and popular that Caesar Tiberius (14 A.D.—37 A.D.) had to enforce a law prohibiting women of the Roman nobility from adopting prostitution. Flora became a popular Roman sport in which naked women competed in race contests. Males and females took bath together in public baths. Roman literature became replete with immoral and immodest themes with the result that no literary work devoid of such themes could become popular with the common people or the intelligentsia.
When the Romans became so overwhelmed by animal passions, their glory completely faded away leaving not even a trace behind it.
To cure the West of its moral ailments came Christianity. In the beginning it served the purpose well: it put an end to immoral customs, cleansed the various aspects of life of immodesty, made efforts to eradicate prostitution, retrieved corrupt women and dancing girls, and inculcated moral teachings on the people. But the concepts held by the Christian patriarchs of woman and conjugal relationships were not only opposed to human nature but unnatural to the extreme.
Their basic doctrine was that woman was the mother of sin and root cause of all evil. She was the primary cause of stimulating man towards sin and corruption and thus led him to Hell: all human ills and troubles emanated from her. The mere fact of her being a woman was enough to render her detestable. She should feel ashamed of her beauty and charms, for these served as means to Satanic temptations. She should, therefore, keep on atoning constantly for her inherent sins, because she was responsible for causing all human ills and misfortunes in the world.
Tertullian (A.D.150) who was an early Father of the Christian Church has expounded the Christian doctrine about woman thus:
“She opens the door to Satanic temptations: leads man to the forbidden tree, breaks the law of God, and corrupts man—the image of God”.
St. John Chrysostom (C. 345407), one of the Greek Fathers of Church says:
“She is an inevitable evil, an eternal mischief, an attractive calamity, a domestic risk, a charming and decorated misfortune”.
Their second doctrine was that the sexual relation between man and woman was in itself an objectionable, dirty affair, even if it was established within legal marriage. This monastic conception of morality was already taking root in Europe under the influence of neo-Platonism. The Christian Church led it to its logical extreme. Consequently, celibacy and spinsterhood became the criterion of nobility of character, and married life came to be regarded as a necessary evil. Avoidance of marriage became a symbol of piety and holiness and a sign of sound moral character. To live a clean and pure religious life, therefore, one was either not to marry at all, or was to live apart from one’s wife in complete abstinence of conjugal relations. Rules were passed in religious conference baring the Church officials from meeting their wives in seclusion. They could, however, see each other in public in the presence of at least two other persons. The concept of the conjugal relationship as a dirty affair was inculcated on the Christian mind by various devices. For instance, it was enjoined that the man and wife who had shared bed during the night before a Church festival could not participate in it. They were too polluted to be allowed to associate themselves with a religious function. This monastic conception affected adversely the relations of love and blood, even those between mother and son, because all relations resulting from the bond of marriage were held as vicious and sinful.
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These two doctrines not openly caused the downfall of the woman from moral as well as social points of view, but they also undermined the traditions underlying the community life to the extant that, on the one hand, married life became a headache both for men and women; and, on the other, the social status of the woman was in every way degraded. Following are the main features of the legal injunctions that were enforced in the West under the influence of the Christian Church:
The woman was crushed economically and made to depend wholly on man permanently: she was given limited rights of inheritance, and even more limited of acquiring and holding property; she had no control over her own earnings, as these were all seized by the husband with full proprietary rights.
Divorce and Khaul’a were totally prohibited. The man and wife were compelled to remain together, both by religion and law, though they might be fed up with each other. The maximum that could be done in extreme circumstances was to cause separation between the spouses, and that was all. In such a case, neither the man nor the woman was entitled to remarry. Obviously, this measure was even worse, for after separation they were left with no other choice than to become monks and nuns or resort to a life of sin.
It was considered vicious, rather sinful, for the spouses to remarry after the death of their life partners. According to Christian scholars, remarrying was nothing but a means of satisfying animal passions and lusts of the flesh. They called it “civilized adultery”. Remarrying by the priest was particularly looked upon as a crime under the Church law. Law of the land had also prohibited it in certain places, and where it was allowed by law, public opinion which was deeply colored by the religious prejudices, did not recognize it as lawful.
When in the 18th century the European philosophers and writers raised their voice in favor of the individual’s rights against the society and began to blow the trumpet of liberty they in fact were attacking the anti-social system of morality and life that had been brought in by the unholy alliance of the Christian moral doctrines and the prevalent feudal system. This had suppressed and crushed the human urges and blocked the way of progress for a long time. The destruction of this anti-social system at the hands of the European architects of renaissance paved the way for the French Revolution, after which the Western civilization steadily grew on the lines leading to and culminating in the modern age of progress and enlightenment.
In the beginning of the modern age, efforts made to raise the womenfolk from virtual slavery brought about wholesome effects in the community life. Rigorous regulations relating to marriage and divorce were moderated. Economic rights of women of which they had been completely deprived were almost restored. Moral doctrines which held women low and contemptible were reformed. Social concepts which had reduced them to virtual slavery were modified. Portals of higher education and training were opened to them also along with men. These reforms gradually helped to bring out their hidden capabilities suppressed by wrong social laws and moral concepts. They beautified the houses, lent charm and sweetness to social life and undertook welfare works. Under their good influence and care, public health was improved, new generations brought up better, patients nursed and home science was rapidly developed. These were the initial fruits of the awakening brought about in the lives of women by the new civilization. But there is another side of the picture. The doctrines that gave birth to this awakening were inclined towards an extreme from the very beginning. This inclination rapidly increased during the 19th century, until with the advent of the 20th century the pendulum of social life in the West had already swung to the opposite extreme.
Three Doctrines of Western Society
The doctrines underlying the Western society may be divided under three heads:
Equality between the male and the female;
Economic independence of woman; and
Free intermingling of the sexes.
The result of building and developing social life on these bases was inevitable. It led Europe to the following consequences:
Equality between the sexes was taken to mean that the man and the woman were not only equal in moral status and human rights, but that the woman was also free to undertake the same sort of jobs as were done by the man, and that moral restrictions on her needed to be slackened as they were for him. This wrong concept of equality led women astray and made them unmindful of their natural functions on the performance of which depends the very existence of human race and civilization. She became wholly absorbed in her economic, political and social pursuits. Her electioneering campaigns, service in offices and factories, competition with men for commercial and industrial vocations, sports and physical exercises, social entertainments, and her absorption in the club, stage and musical concerts, besides several other engagements, so overwhelmed her that she became utterly indifferent to the responsibilities of married life. The bringing up of children and the organization and care of the home ceased to be her special care. Besides, she developed an abhorrence for her natural duties, affecting ultimately the family system, which is the basis of civilization. The result is that home life on which depends man’s efficiency is fast disappearing in the West. The bond of marriage which is the practical form of man and woman’s co-operation in the service and development of civilization is rapidly weakening. The increase in population is being checked by birth control, abortion and destruction of the offspring. The wrong concept of moral equality has come to establish immoral equality between the sexes. Those vicious and sinful acts which were once held shameful even for men, now do not bring any shame or disgrace on women.
The economic independence of woman has made her independent of man and the great time-honored principle, “Man for the field and woman for the hearth”, has been flung to the winds. The new principle is that both man and woman should earn and leave the running and maintenance of the home to the hotel. After such a radical change, man and woman have been left with no common interest that could bind them together except the satisfaction of their sexual desires. Obviously, the mere satisfaction of the sexual desires is not a thing that can tie the male and the female together for a lifelong companionship and compel them to live a family life with common interests. Why should a woman who wins her own bread, supports herself economically and does not depend on anyone for security and maintenance, remain faithfully attached to one man only for the sake of satisfying her sexual desires? Why should she be prepared to subject herself to so many moral and legal curbs to shoulder the responsibilities of family life? Especially, when the concept of moral equality has cleared her way of all obstacles for satisfying sexual desire freely, why should she forsake the easy pleasure-giving in alluring way of satisfying them and choose the antiquated way that is not only laden with responsibilities but demands sacrifices also? With the banishment of religion from life, the fear of committing sin was automatically destroyed. The fear of society is no more there, because the society now does not regard a prostitute with disfavor but welcomes her. Lastly, there was the danger of illegitimate children; this has been guarded against by the contraceptive devices. If these devices fail, abortion may be resorted to. If abortion cannot be procured, the baby may be quietly disposed of forever. If, however, the motherly instinct (which is not yet dead) saves the child, no compunction is felt for being an unmarried mother. “Spinster mother” and “illegitimate child” have so freely and favorably been talked about that no society can now dare regard them with disfavor, unless of course, it is prepared to brave the charges of obscurantism and backwardness.
This state of affairs has shaken the very foundations of social life in the West. Hundreds of thousands of young women in every Western country like to live unmarried lives, which they are bound to pass in immoral, promiscuous and sinful ways. A still greater number of them marry under the temporary impulse of physical love, but since there does not exist any relation of inter-dependence between the man and the woman that may permanently bind them together except the sexual relation, the bond of marriage has also lost most of its strength and stability. The man and the woman, who have grown almost wholly independent of each other, do not generally find themselves inclined to any kind of mutual concession or compromise. Transient and short-lived as emotional-sexual love is, a marriage based on it cannot stand the strain of even the most ordinary difference of opinion, not to speak of real indifference that more often than not becomes the cause of separation. It is for this reason that most marriages end in divorce or estrangement. Contraceptive devices, resort to abortion, destruction of offspring, falling of the birth rate and the high incidence of illegitimate births, all points to the same root cause. Immoral and promiscuous living and the spread of venereal diseases can also be traced back to the same state of affairs.
The free intermingling of the sexes has brought in its wake an ever-growing tendency towards showing off, nudeness and sex perversion. Sexual attraction which naturally exists between the sexes as a strong instinctive urge becomes all too powerful even rebellious, to transgress all limits with every impetus it receives from the free intermingling of the men and women. This freedom of mixing together naturally gives rise to an urge to appear as attractive to the opposite sex as possible. In the absence of any moral restraint this urge is satisfied with increasing keenness and both the sexes begin to show off and display their physical charms without any consideration for decency. This tendency sometimes touches nudeness. Such is the condition of the Western civilization today. To develop a magnetic attraction for man has become a mania with the woman there. When, however, she cannot satisfy this mania in spite of bright and dazzling dress, powders and lipsticks, and a thousand other ways of beautifying herself, the poor disgusted soul jumps out of her clothes. Men, on the other hand, are growing more and more voracious in their sexual appetite, because the fire of base emotions burning within them flares up instead of being quenched with ever-increasing intensity with every new gesture of display from women. These poor people in fact suffer from an insatiable thirst which tends to become even more insatiable with every drop of water passing down their throats. To satisfy this extraordinary sexual urge they are ever busy inventing and designing new ways. The nude pictures, sexual literature, love romances, nude ballroom dancing, sex-inciting films, all are means of intensifying the same fire which the wrong social system has kindled in every heart. To save their faces, they call it “art”.
This disease is eating fast into the very vitals of the Western nations. No nation in the past has survived it. It destroys all the mental and physical capabilities of man that God has endowed him with for his well-being and prosperity. Obviously, the people who are surrounded by sex stimulants on all sides, who have to face a new temptation and a new spur every moment, who are submerged in an emotionally wrought-up environment, and who perpetually remain in a feverish condition on account of nude pictures, cheap literature, exciting songs, emotionally erotic dances, romantic films, highly disturbing scenes of obscenity and ever-present changes of encountering members of the opposite sex, cannot possibly find that peace of mind and tranquility of heart that is so essential for constructive and creative work. More than that, such an environment that prevails in the Western world today is not at all conducive to that calm and peaceful atmosphere which is essential for the full development of the mental and moral qualities of the coming generations. As soon as the young people attain maturity, animal passions lay complete hold of them with the result that the moral growth of their personalities is almost wholly impeded.
Miserable Failure of Human Intellect
This is the historical background of the rise and fall of civilizations over a period of three thousand years or so. It is related to a vast area that has been the cradle of two great civilizations of the past, and which again boasts of the most prominent civilization in the world of today. Similar is the story of Egypt, Babylon, Iran and other countries. The sub-continent has also been suffering from one excess or the other for centuries. Here, on the one the hand the woman is made to worship the man who becomes her master and lord: she has to sub serve her father as a maid in childhood, become a chattel of the husband in youth and submit humbly to her children in widowhood. She is required to sacrifice herself over the burning bier of her husband; she is deprived of her right to inherit and acquire property; she is subjected to extreme laws in marriage under which she is made over to a man without her consent; and she is compelled to live willy-nilly under the thumb of that husband till her death. She is regarded as an embodiment of sin and moral and spiritual depravity as in Judaism and Christianity, and she is not supposed to have an independent personality. On the other hand, when she is regarded with love, she is made a plaything for animal passion, she overrides the man, ruins herself and leads the whole community to decay and disintegration. Worship of the male and female organs, naked and genitally united statues in temples, religious prostitutes, frivolous scenes at the festival of Holi, all are manifestations the same malady. These are indeed the impious remnants of the movements started by Bam-marg, which spread like plague in India at the zenith of her civilization. Just as it brought ruins to Iran, Babylon, Greece and Rome, so it led the entire Hindu nation to the lowest ebb of its decline.
If we study these instances carefully, we shall see how difficult it is for man to attain a balanced and just view with regard to woman, grasp it fully and practice it in life. A balanced view can only be the one which, on the one hand, allows the woman an opportunity for developing her personality and capabilities fully, and enables her to play her due role in the cultivation of human civilization with full-grown capacities and skills, and, on the other, prevents her from becoming a means of moral decay and disintegration. Her partnership with man should be so adjusted that co-operation of one with the other produces wholesome results in the building up of community life. Man has been trying hard for centuries to attain this balanced and just view but has not yet succeeded. Sometimes he, swings to one extreme and renders one half of humanity useless; sometimes he swings to the other extreme and whole of the humanity becomes paralyzed.
This balanced and just view is not imaginary, it exists. But man’s faculty of judgment has become so blunted by continuously shifting his position between the two extremes for centuries that now he does not even recognize it. Indeed he spurns it, speaks disparagingly of it, and tries to put to shame those who happen to possess it. He may be linked to child who is born in a coal mine and bred and brought up there. Obviously, he will take the dark atmosphere of his place of birth for the real and natural world. But when he is brought out of it and confronts the bright, pure and clean world of nature, he will naturally feel ill at ease in the beginning. But man after all is man. He cannot possibly keep his eyes closed to reality and refuse to discern between a coal ceiling and the star-studded sky. His lungs cannot refuse to distinguish between the pure air and the impure dust for long.
Purdah of the Muslims of Today
The Muslim was the one who could save the world from the evil of extremes, because he alone possesses the correct solution of all the problems of man’s community life. But the tragedy of man’s misfortune has been that the one possessing the beacon of Light has himself gone night-blind. Not to speak of guiding others to the Right Path, he himself has got lost and is running after the other blind people in search of light and truth.
The word “Purdah” is used as a title for the set of injunctions which constitute the most important part of the Islamic system of community life. If these injunctions are viewed in their right perspective against the structure of this system, every person who has not wholly lost his powers of discernment will readily admit this to be the only balanced and just view in regard to man’s social life. Then if this system is shown to work practically in its true spirit, the whole woe-stricken world will rush towards this fountainhead of peace and security and seek its help in curing its social maladies. But the question is: Who will undertake such a demonstration? The one who could do this has himself been taken ill for a long time. Therefore, before proceeding further let us have a look at him and try to diagnose his ailment.
It was the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th century when Western nations’ hunger for the territorial expansion assumed the proportions of a deluge on the horizons of the Muslim countries and before the people could fully wake up to the impending disaster, it took the whole world of Islam, from the east to the west, by storm. Consequently, by the middle of the 19th century most of the Muslim nations had been subdued by Europe. Even those nations which apparently held their own had in fact been subdued mentally and spiritually. When this subjugation was complete, the Muslims began to cast off slumber. The national pride that they had developed through centuries of rule and conquest was shattered and like a drunken one who is brought to sense by continuous strokes of a powerful enemy, they began to examine the causes of their humiliation and defeat and those of European domination. Though the state of intoxication was over, they had not yet fully regained their senses and balance. On the one hand, their feeling of extreme humiliation was impelling them for the change. On the other, their love of ease and comfort which they had developed during the past centuries forced them to choose the path of the least resistance to bring about this change. Then their intellectual powers which they had not cared to exercise for decades had also grown rusty. Besides, they soon developed a slavish mentality and fear which naturally afflict a nation that has been politically routed. All these various factors combined to mislead the Muslims into grave pitfalls. Most of them were indeed at a loss to understand the real causes of their downfall vis-à-vis Europe’s rise to power. But even those who understood these causes lacked the necessary courage and muscle as well as the spirit to fight for their freedom. On top of that mental subjugation afflicted both the classes. Being degenerate the way they choose to climb the ladder of progress was the one offering the least resistance. They decided to imitate the ways and manners of the Western civilization in their lives and develop the quality of a mirror that faithfully reflects a garden in full bloom but in reality is without it.
It was during this state of crisis that the Western dress, Western ways of living, Western etiquette, even Western manners of moving about, were imitated and all-out efforts made to mould the Muslim society after the Western patterns. Heresy, atheism and materialism were accepted as a fashion. Any idea, good or bad, that came from the West was accepted without question and favored publicly to show broad-mindedness. Drinking, gambling, lottery system, horseracing, theatre, music, dancing and other evils of the Western civilization were adopted most eagerly. All the Western theories and practices pertaining to culture, morality, social life, economics, politics, law, even religious beliefs and worships, were accepted blindly without ascertaining their validity, like a Divine Revelation, which has to be believed and obeyed. Even the events of Islamic History, injunctions of the Islamic Sharia, and the Commandments of the Qur’an and Hadith, that were objected to in the spirit of faultfinding by the enemies of Islam, began to shame the Muslims into apologizing. The Europeans objected to Jihad and Muslims readily expressed their indignation against it; they found fault with slavery and the Muslims averred that it was absolutely unlawful in Islam; they objected to polygamy and the Muslims at once closed their eyes to a clear verse of Qur’an; they said that man and woman should enjoy perfect equality between them, the Muslims said that was their faith; they objected to the Islamic laws governing marriage and divorce, the Muslims were bent on mending and modifying them; they said that Islam disfavored art, the Muslims stated that Islam has always been patronizing music and dancing, painting and sculpture; so on and so forth.
How the Problem Arose
At this most shameful period of Muslim history, Purdah system also came under fire. If the question had been; How much freedom had woman been allowed in Islam? It was not difficult to tackle. The most one could differ in the matter was whether the hands and the face were to be a covered or left uncovered; and this was in no way a basic difference. This question however, was a different one. This question arose among the Muslims because Europe regarded “harem”, Purdah and veil with disfavor. The European writers portrayed these in loathsome and ugly colors and, while enumerating the demerits of Islam, they mentioned the “confinement” of women prominently. As usual the Muslims felt ashamed, and, they reacted and behaved in the matter of Purdah exactly as they had done in the matters of Jihad, slavery, polygamy, etc. They turned over the pages of the Qur’an, Collections of Hadith and religious opinions and verdicts of the early doctors merely with a view to collecting some material with which they could wash off the “ugly blot” of shame. They found that certain scholars had allowed uncovering of the hands and the face, and also that a woman could go out as and when required under necessity. Again they found that a woman was permitted to go to the battlefield to look after the wounded and thirsty soldiers. She could also visit mosques for offering prayers and for learning or imparting knowledge. With this material in hand, they came out with the claim that Islam had granted full liberty to woman. Purdah was a custom of ignorance which had been adopted by the narrow-minded Muslims long after the glorious period of Islam. They also averred that the Qur’an and Hadith were devoid of the Purdah injunctions; they only inculcated moral teachings of modesty and chastity; and Islam did not recognize any discipline restricting the movements of women.
The Real Motives
One common weakness with man is that when he adopts an attitude in life, his approach in the beginning is generally emotional and irrational. Later, he tries to prove it to be rational by resort to argument and reason. The same was the approach adopted by the Muslims with regard to the Law of Purdah. It did not arise under the feeling of a rational or religious need, it arose as a result of being overwhelmed by the attractive culture of a dominant power and its vehement propaganda against Islamic culture.
When our so-called reformers saw with dazed eyes the European ladies in their full make-up moving freely and participating actively in social life, they could not help longing to see their own actively in social life, they could not help longing to see their own womenfolk also tread the same path of freedom and progress. They were also influenced by the modern concepts of the emancipation and education of women and the propaganda of the equality of the sexes that was incessantly being carried out by powerful logic and the printing machine. The literature thus produced was so attractive and powerful that it adversely affected their powers of thinking and discrimination. It forced them to believe in these concepts without question, and propagate them by all possible means. They were convinced that enforcing these concepts in the practical life was absolutely essential for one who liked to be called “enlightened and broadminded” as against “rigid and old-fashioned”. Therefore, when modestly dressed veiled women were dubbed “moving tents and shrouded funerals”, these so-called reformers felt shamed into disgrace. Obviously, they could not put up with this disgrace and humiliation for a long time. They were, therefore, impelled to wash off this shameful blot from the face of their social life as soon as possible.
Such were the feelings and trends that gave birth to the movement for the emancipation of women among the Muslims towards the end of 19th century. Some people who did not know why they felt inclined towards this movement had these very sentiments lurking in their subconscious. They were in fact laboring under self-deception. Others who were fully conscious of their inclinations could not dare express them openly. They did not deceive themselves, they tried to deceive others. Both the classes, however, made it a point to conceal the real motives behind their movement and tried to project it as a rational, instead of an emotional movement. The various pretexts that were brought in support of it were all imported directly from Europe. Among these were women’s health considerations, growth of their intellectual capabilities and practical skills, protection of their natural birth rights, safeguarding their economic independence, their deliverance from man’s bondage and apathy and, above all, the necessity of their progress as on it alone depended the cultural advancement of the whole community. These pretexts were put forth with a view to hoodwinking the common Muslims and keeping them in the dark about the real motives of the guiding and directing the womenfolk to follow in the footsteps of the Western women and moulding them into the social patterns prevalent in the West.
A Great Hoax
The greatest hoax that has been played in this connection is that efforts were made to prove from the Qur’an and Hadith that this movement was in perfect conformity with Islam. The fact, however, is that Islam and Western civilization are poles apart in their objectives as well as in their principles of social organization. Islam, as we shall see later, aims at canalizing man’s sex energy by moral discipline so as to render it conducive to the building up of a clean and pious culture instead of wasting it in dissipation and erotic passions. In contrast to this, the Western civilization aims at speeding up material progress by encouraging equal participation of man and woman in the affairs and responsibilities of life, and at the same time sublimating sex energy in arts and other channels with a view to getting relief from the bitter hardships of the life-struggle. This difference of objectives necessarily leads to a fundamental difference in approach and methods of social organization as adopted by Islam and Western civilization. Thus the object of Islam is to establish a social order that segregates the spheres of activity of the male and female, discourages and controls the free intermingling of the sexes, and curbs all such factors as are likely to upset and jeopardize the social discipline. On the contrary the object before the Western civilization requires, and naturally so, that both the sexes should be drawn into the same field of life and activity, that all such hindrances and impediments should be removed as are likely to obstruct their free promiscuous intermingling, and that they should be afforded unlimited opportunities to enjoy each other’s beauty and charm of physical perfections.
Now, an intelligent person can see how sadly mistaken are those people who, on the one hand, feel inclined to follow the Western civilization and, on the other, cite Islamic principles or social life is support of their trends. According to the social system of Islam, a woman at the most can uncover her hands and her face if necessary, and can go out of her house for genuine needs. But these people take this last limit as their starting point. They set out from the point where Islam comes to halt and transgress all limits of decency and modesty without hesitation. Not to speak of the hands and face, beautifully parted hair on the head bare arms to the shoulders and semi-covered breasts are also displayed. Rest of the bodily charms also covered in gauzy attires as to satisfy the hungry sexual gaze of men. More than that, taste fully dressed wives, sisters and daughters in full make-up, are brought face to face with friends, not to speak of near relations and are encouraged to mix freely and have good time with them in a manner and to an extent unimaginable for a Muslim lady even in company of her real brother. Permission to leave the house that was conditional on the genuine need and observance of perfect modesty and full covering of the body is being abused for license to roam aimlessly on the road-side, stroll in the parks, visit hotels and go to picture, in glamorous saris and attractive blouses that hardly cover their nakedness. The limited and conditional freedom that women had been allowed by Islam in matters other than home science is being used as argument to encourage the Muslim women to abandon home life and its responsibilities like the European women and make their lives miserable by running after political, economic, social and other activities shoulder to shoulder with men.
Things in the sub-continent have so far reached this state, but the condition of the people of Egypt, Turkey and Iran, who are politically free but mentally servile, is even worse. To vie with European women, the “Muslim” women of these countries have started wearing exactly the same sort of dress as is worn in the West. Turkish ladies have taken to beach bathing in the one-piece bathing suits, the dress which hardly covers one-fourth of the body and that also in a manner as to reveal all the outlines of the female figure.
One wonders how people can seek justification for such a shameless way of life from the Qur’an and Hadith. If some people feel like adopting it, they should boldly do so and declare their desertion of Islam and its law unequivocally. This would indeed be the height of hypocrisy and dishonesty on their part if they openly adopted in the name of the Qur’an that system and way of life whose basic principles, objectives and practices have been condemned, one and all, as unlawful by the Qur’an. By citing the Qur’an at the outset they perhaps want to deceive the world into believing that they are following the Qur’an in their entire lives.
The Objective Before Us
Such being the condition of the “Muslims” of today, our object in this book is two-fold:
· First, we propose to present before the people at large, Muslims or non-Muslims, the entire Social System of Islam and explain to them the necessity and importance of the Purdah injunctions in it.
· Second, we want to present before the “modern” Muslims the injunction of the Qur’an and Hadith as against the doctrines and results of the Western way of life with a view to helping them to give up their hypocritical attitude towards life. This will enable them to choose one of the two alternatives with a clear heart: Either they will have to live in accordance with the Islamic injunctions if they want to remain Muslims, or they will have to discard Islam if they are prepared to face those disgraceful results towards which the Western way of life will inevitably lead them.
Western Concept of Morality
Arguments that are put forward against Purdah are not merely negative but have a positive and affirmative basis also. People who advance these arguments do not merely regard the women’s remaining within the four walls and her going out in veil as an unnecessary restriction, and want to remove it; they have in their mind a totally different way of life for her. They indeed possess an altogether different concept of the relationships between the male and the female. They want the female to follow one particular way and not the other. Thus, their main objection against Purdah is that if the woman remains confined to the house and veiled, she cannot follow that particular way, nor can she do “that” which is expected of her.
Let us now find out what is that “something”: what are the concepts and principles underlying it, whether it is right and reasonable in itself and what are its consequences in practical life. Obviously, if these concepts and principles are taken for granted, then Purdah and the social system of which it is a constituent part are automatically proved to have been wrongly conceived. But the question is: Why should these concepts and principles be accepted without being subjected to pragmatic tests of reasons and experience? Is the mere fact of their being modern and prevalent in the world today enough to make one accept and adopt them uncritically?
18th Century Concept of Liberty
As I have pointed out above, the philosophers, scientists and literary men who raised their voice for reform in the 18th century had in fact to grapple with a social system which was overflowing with undue restrictions, which was highly inflexible and which was replete with senselessness customs, rigid regulations and unreasonable, unnatural diversities. Centuries of decline and decay had rendered this system the stumbling-block in the way of progress. On the one hand, the new awakening and enlightenment was impelling the middle class (the bourgeoisie) to emerge on top by struggling hard. On the other, people of the upper class and the churchmen were sitting tight and tightening upon them the knots of custom and tradition. Administration of the churches and defence forces, management of the courts of justice and royal places, maintenance of agricultural lands and financial and business centers, and the running of the other spheres of social life was such that a few privileged classes were taking full advantages of already established rights and appropriating the fruits of the labors and capabilities of the emergent middle class. Every effort that aimed at reforming the conditions was foiled by the selfish and hideous motives of the people in authority. This caused disgust among the people who longed for the change and better times and filled them gradually with a blind urge for revolution. Consequently, the whole social system with each of its constituent parts was revolted against, eventually giving rise to an extremist concept of personal freedom which aimed at bestowing complete liberty and absolute freedom on the individual as against society. It was pleaded that that the individual ought to be privileged with the right to do anything that he liked and have the freedom to refrain from anything that he disliked. Society had no right to restrict or curb his personal freedom. The government was there mainly to see that the individual’s freedom of choice and action was safeguarded, and the social institutions were meant to help the individual to attain his goals and objectives.
This exaggerated notion of liberty which was in fact the result of retaliation against the prevailing inhuman social order contained in it germs of a greater iniquity. People who had initially propagated it were themselves not fully aware of its logical possibilities. Had they foreseen the results in which the unrestricted freedom and unbridled liberty of the individual was going to culminate, they would perhaps shuddered with disgust. They in fact had aimed to remove undue severities and unreasonable restrictions imposed on contemporary society. But eventually the ideas took root in the Western mind and began to grow unhampered.
19th Century Changes
The French Revolution came in the wake of this concept of freedom. Its repercussions were far reaching. It shattered to pieces most of the moral concepts and cultural and religious traditions. When the revolutionaries saw that the destruction of the old concepts and traditions led to progress, they concluded that each one of the already established concepts and ways of life was a stumbling block which must be removed to make any headway towards progress. Therefore, as soon as they had destroyed wrong principles of Christian ethics they turned their attention towards the basic concepts of human ethics: they questioned chastity; they objected to the restrictions of piety on the youth; and they did not see any harm in having love and sex relations outside marriage. After marriage, they argued, one could not be denied the right to love for one still possessed a heart. Such were the doubts and objections that hat were raised in the post-revolution society on all sides, especially by the Romantic School of writers. George Sand (1804-1876) was their leader in the beginning of the 19th century. She herself violated all those moral principles of conduct on which is based human nobility of character, especially of the female. Being the legal wife of one husband, she established illicit relations freely with others. At last she separated from her husband and changed several “friends” successively, but did not stay with anyone for more than two years. In her biography at least six men have been mentioned, with whom she had open and regular illicit relations.
Alfred de Musset (1810-1857), French poet of the Romantic School, was also one of her lovers. He was so much disgusted with her faithlessness that he willed that George Sand would not attend his funeral. This was then the personal character of the woman who deeply influenced the new French generation by her charming and romantic works for as long as thirty years. In her novel Lelia, the heroine writes to Stenio:
“The longer I live the more I recognize that the notions adopted by our young people, with regard to the exclusiveness of the love’s ardor, the absolute possession which it demands, and the eternal rights which it claims, false, or at least fatal. All opinions should be allowed, and I would grant that of conjugal fidelity to exceptional souls. The majority have other needs and other capabilities; they need reciprocal freedom, mutual tolerance, exclusion of all jealous egoism…. All loves are true, whether impetuous or peaceful, sensual or ascetic, lasting or transient: whether they lead men to suicide or to pleasure”.
(Paul Bureau, p. 106)
In another of her novels entitled Jacques she presents the character of an ideal husband. The wife of the hero (Jacques) establishes illicit relations with another man, but the husband is too large-hearted to censure and hate her. Accounting for this liberal attitude, he says that he has no right to trample under foot a rose which desires to spread its sweet smell to others, beside him. At another place she expresses through Jacques the following ideas:
“ I have not changed my opinion, I have not made peace with society, and marriage is always according to my judgment one of the most barbarous institutions ever imagined. I have no doubt that it will be abolished, if the human race makes any progress towards justice and reason; a bond more human and not less sacred, will replace it, and will secure the existence of offspring who will be born of a man and a woman, without ever fettering the liberty of either. But men are gross and women too cowardly to demand a nobler law than that which rules them: heavy chains must bind beings who lack conscience and virtue”.
(Paul Bureau, PP.107-108)
Such were the ideas propounded in and about 1833. George Sand did not go further. She could not dare take these ideas to their logical conclusions. In spite of her liberal mindedness and `enlightenment`, she had not been able to shake off wholly the dirt of traditional morality. Thirty-five years later, the thesis was taken up again by another School of dramatists, literary men and moral philosophers whose chiefs were Alexander Dumas (1802-1870) and Alfred Naquet. These writers vehemently propagated the ideas that freedom and satisfaction of the pleasures of the body were in themselves the birthright of every individual. To curb this right with moral and social restrictions was cruel on the part of society. The foregoing writers had demanded freedom of action for the individual in love affairs only: The new writers felt this emotional basis for freedom to be too weak. Therefore they tried to establish the demand for individual liberty, moral lawlessness, and unbridled freedom on the more sound basis of philosophic reasoning. Thereby they wanted to encourage young men and women to do whatever they pleased with full satisfaction and approval of the conscience. Moreover, they wanted to educate the society not to mind the lustful behavior of the youth but to regard it as morally right and laudable.
Towards the end of the 19th century, Paul Adam (1862-1920), Henry Bataille (1872-1922), Pierre Louys (1870-1925) and many other writers spent all their art and skill on imbuing the youth with blind courage and dash so as to remove completely all shadows of hesitation and inhibition caused in the minds by the out-moded moral ideals. Paul Adam in his book, Le Morale de L`amour, has censured the youth for committing the folly of making their sweet hears believe that they are passionately in love with them and cannot live without them. He writes:
To walk together in the moonlight by the woodland path, repeating to each 0ther banal and unchanging trifles, to swear emphatic and empty lies, to promise each other a life less capable of separation than they believe other people’s to be, to exchange empty promises and lyric hypocrisies, …; this is what destroying, alas! The best of our French youth.
“All this to conceal, under empty verbiage, the healthy longing for simple bodily union at the will of a natural and innocent appetite.
“It is a great evil among the Latin races that lovers refuse to admit plainly and candidly their relish for voluptuousness, and for the joyous companionship of the sexes”.
(Paul Bureau, p.111)
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He advises the youth:
“Then be refined and sensuous savants, not building a temple to the servants of your pleasures nor lazily falling asleep at their feet, but choosing a new guest for each moment of pleasure”.
(Paul Bureau, p.112)
Pierre Louys went still further. He emphasized the ideas that mortal restrictions in fact hindered the proper growth of man’s intellectual, scientific and spiritual development. In his Aphrodite, he has tried to establish the hypothesis that civilization was at its zenith in Babylon, Alexandria, Athens, Rome, Venice and other centers at the time when sensuality, moral lawlessness and sexual licentiousness flourished unchecked. “As the beauty of the soul illuminates all the face, so corporal virility alone fertilizes the brain”. But as soon as moral and legal restrictions were imposed on human urges, human soul was also doomed to fetters.
Pierre lousy was a prominent literary figure of his time. He set anew style of writing and established an independent school in literature. In his wake appeared a whole constellation of novelists, dramatists and writers on morality, who propagated his ideas ceaselessly. Pierre himself made every possible effort with his pen to establish that nudity and promiscuous intermingling of the sexes were perfectly justified, rather laudable. In the same book, Aphrodite, he eulogizes Greece for her best period thus:
“… the time when naked humanity, the most perfect from that we can know or even conceive, since we believe it to be made to God’s image, can unveil itself under the lineaments of a consecrated courtesan before the twenty thousand pilgrimage …; where the most sensual love, the divine love from which we were born, was without defilement, without shame, without sin;…”
(Paul Bureau, p.115)
At another place, he has expressed himself more explicitly. He proposed:
“To combat by the most energetic moral teaching the abominable opinion that motherhood can be under any circumstances dishonorable, illegitimate, or disgraceful”.
(Paul Bureau, p.112)
20th Century Developments
Thus far had developed ideas in the 19th century when writers of the 20th century appeared, who aspired to roar even higher than their forerunners. In 1908, a play entitled, Le Lys, was published by Pierre Wolff and Gaston Leroux, in which two girls have been shown explaining to their father the horrors of their position and their right to free love, in the presence of their brother. Their main contention is to show how terrible it is for a young girl pass life without engaging in “free love”. The old father censures his daughters for having illicit relations with a young man. The daughter replies:
“Yet I could not make you understand, because you have never understood that one has not always the right to ask a girl, though she may be your sister or your daughter, to become an old woman without having loved…” (P. 117)
World War 1 not only provided impetus to this freedom movement but also it took it to its extreme logical conclusions. The anti-conceptionist movement had affected France in particular. For over forty years birth rate in that country had continually been falling. Only 20 out of 87 French districts birth rate was higher than death rate. In the remaining districts, the case was just the reverse; so much so that in certain areas, the average death rate was high as 130, 140, even 160, against every 100 births. When the War started, the French nation was already in the throes of life and death. This was a rude shock for the French statesmen to learn that the nation lacked in a sufficient number of fighting-fit young men. If, for the time being, they tried to save the nation by sacrificing the available few at the front, how would they counteract the next onslaught? The whole nation was in a fix. It could not survive, the leaders thought, except by raising the national birth rate by all possible means. This gave the campaign another direction. The writers, journalists, speakers, even scientists and politicians came out and raised one universal cry requiring the people to bring forth more and more children without bothering about marriage formalities. Any spinster or widow, they said, who offered her womb voluntarily in the service of motherland, deserved to be honored rather than censured. Lovers of freedom seized this opportunity for spreading among the people all their devilish ideas. A distinguished journalist of the time, who edited La`Lyon Republican, wrote while discussing the question: why should rape be a crime?
“Science and philosophy, in dealing with the natural will, prove the universal imperiousness of a need, less frequent but not less imperious than hunger and thirst, and of which rape, too often followed by murder, is the enraged expression, as theft is usual result of enraged distress. The attraction of sexes forms part of the system of the universe, no less than gravitation. A healthy man, who is young and vigorous, can no more help his desires than he can his empty stomach listen to reason by a promise of food next week. The man dying love in our cities where everything is abundant ought to be as much of an anomaly as a man dying of hunger. As supplies of bread are distributed gratuitously, so we should seek the means to appease other hungry ones”. (P. 121)
The reader should know that this article was not meant to amuse the people. It had been seriously written and was read equally seriously in France.
About the same time, the Paris Faculty of Medicine approved a doctoral thesis and published it in its official bulletin. It contained the following sentences also:
“We hope the day will come when without cynical boasting or false modesty we shall say: ‘I had syphilis at twenty years old’, just as we say now-a-days, ‘I have been sent to the hills for spitting blood’… Whoever has passed his youth without contracting those troubles which are as it were the price of pleasure, is but an incomplete being who through cowardice, a cold nature, or religious scruple, has missed the accomplishment of what is perhaps the least degraded of his natural functions”. (p. 151)
Before proceeding further let us consider the views that have been advanced in support of the anti-conceptionist movement. When towards the end of the 18th century, the British economist Malthus (1766-1834) presented his ideas on birth control with a view to imposing checks on the fast increasing population, it might not have crossed his mind that his innocent proposals just after one century would be mainly used for spreading adultery and promiscuity on an enormous scale. Malthus had only advised continence and marriage at advanced age in order to check increase in population. But when the neo-Malthusian Movement was initiated towards the end of the 19th century, it was asserted that the sexual urge was to be freely satisfied and its natural consequence, the birth of children, was to be scientifically controlled. This helped also to remove the last impediment from the way of free and promiscuous intermingling of the sexes. Now a woman could freely give herself up to a man, without fear of bringing forth children and enduring responsibilities. The consequences of this tendency will be described later. Here a few instances of the patent views most commonly found in the literature on birth control are presented.
Following is the logically built up thesis of the neo-Malthusian literature:
“Every human being invariably experiences three imperious needs: nourishment, rest and love. Nature has implanted them within us, and has had the foresight to attach enjoyment to their satisfaction. Logic would have man hasten to respond to this natural desire, and such is in fact his conduct with regard to the first two needs. But, on the contrary, it is astonishing to find that with regard to the third, he has adopted a completely different attitude; society has invented the strange institution of monogamic and indissoluble marriage. Social morality forbids in fact every satisfaction of the sexual appetite outside of the marriage bond, and in the married state, which it declares indissoluble; it imposes the duties of fidelity and of non-intervention in the reproductive work of nature.
“But this sexual morality, which we see hangs together, is really absurd; it defies both nature and reason, and, being false in its very principles, produces the worst consequences for humanity”.
(Paul Bureau, pp. 131-132)
Ideas that have been deduced from these premises may also be considered. Bebel, leader of the German Social Democratic Party, frankly says:
“Man and woman are merely animals; can there be any question of marriage, of an indissoluble bond, between animals?”
Dr. Drysdale says:
“Love is, like all our appetites, subject to change. To seek to fix it in one channel is to try to modify the laws of nature. Youth is specially given to this changeableness in conformity with the magnificent logical order of nature which ordains that our experiences should be multiplied… free union represents a higher morality than any other, because it is more comfortable to natural laws, and at the same time because it proceeds more directly from feeling, passion, and disinterested love for “the inclination which determines it has a moral value which is lacking in those mercantile transactions which make of marriage a veritable prostitution… the true guarantee for the becoming maintenance of the children is to be found, not in the empty name of marriage, but in the independence of the parents, especially that of the mother”. (PP.136-137)
It will be noted how concepts are changing, or rather undergoing perversion. At first, efforts were made to make the people throw off their belief that adultery was anything morally bad so as to get marriage and illegal relationship recognized as of equal status. Now a step further has been taken. Marriage is being regarded with disfavor and extra-marital relations as morally superior.
At another place, Dr. Drysdale writes:
“One can only look on prostitution as a valuable and temporary substitute, while awaiting a better state of things. Instead of contempt it is gratitude that the human race owes to the unhappy ones who suffer for the cause of our sexual nature. They are of extreme use to humanity. We must look on them as sexual martyrs”. (p. 140)
Paul Bureau says:
“Under the influence of licentious literature and an immoral stage, diverse and adultery, anti-conceptionist practices and abortion, are acclimatized in our plan of life. Five-and-twenty years ago the very words aroused in the immense majority of people violent feeling of revulsion, even of profound horror and disgust… The automatic reflexes have lost their vigor because the moral atmosphere has changed”. (P. 152)
J.S.Mill famous British philosopher, demands in his book, on liberty, “that the marriage of indulgent person should be forbidden by law, just as many German laws at that time only allowed marriage to those who could show that they had sufficient means”. (pp. 390-391). But when the question of the eradication of prostitution arouse in England, the same philosopher opposed it tooth and nail. His argument was that it was tantamount to curbing personal liberty and insulting the workmen who could not be treated like children.
In other words, personal freedom is meant to enable people to commit adultery. But if somebody wants to take advantage of this freedom for the purpose of marriage, his right to it should be questioned. In this latter case not only will the law be allowed to interfere with the personal freedom of the individual but such an action will also satisfy the moral scruple of the freedom–loving economist. This clearly shows that moral concepts have undergone extreme perversion. Good has come to be regarded as evil and evil as good.
Tragic Consequences - I
Literature shows the way, public opinion follows the lead and finally collective morality, social customs and state law, all give way. Such a change becomes inevitable, especially when all the propaganda device and techniques besides philosophy, history, ethics, science, literature, art, etc., have worked together persistently for a hundred and fifty years or so to mould man’s way of thinking after a particular pattern. Then, it is unlikely that the law of the land remains unaffected by the changing public opinion in a country where government and social institutions are run on democratic principles.
Industrial Revolution and its Impact on Society
Besides this, other cultural factors in the West also became favorable to pave way for Industrial Revolution. The impact of this on the economic and socio-cultural life reinforced the trends, which the revolutionary literature had already given them. The concept of personal freedom, which is the basis of Capitalism, received an extra ordinary impetus from the invention of the machine and the subsequent possibilities of mass production. The capitalist class established big industrial commercial concerns with the results that the new centers of industry and business soon grew into huge cities. Hundreds of thousands of people began leaving the countryside for the cities, and life became expensive. Housing facility diminished and the cost of clothing, food and other necessities of life soared high. Partly due to the cultural advancement and partly to the keenness shown by the capitalists, numerous new luxuries became part of life. But the capitalist system did not distribute wealth equitably so as to enable the common man also to possess the means of affording all those comforts, pleasures and enjoyments of new life. It did not even provide him with enough means to acquire easily the barest minimum necessities of life—house, food, clothes, etc.—in the cities to which he had been attracted. Consequently, maintaining of the wife became burdensome to the husband and rearing of the children became troublesome to the father. Not to speak of maintaining others, it became difficult for individuals even to maintain themselves. Economic conditions forced every member of the family to become an earning member. Gradually all classes of women, married and unmarried and widows, had to come out to earn their bread, and with the increase in the opportunities for free intermingling of the sexes, natural consequences began to follow. At this the society felt very much perturbed. Now the concept of personal freedom and the new ethics came forward to console fathers and daughters, brothers and sisters husbands and wives, telling them not to feel ill at ease, as all that was happening was desirable. It was not degeneration but emancipation; it was not immoral but the enjoyment of life. The pit towards which the capitalist was driving them was not Hell, it was Heaven, real Heaven!
Not only that but the concept of personal freedom on which was raised the superstructure of Capitalism provided the individual with an open and unconditional license to earn wealth by all means, fair or foul. The new ethics taught him that every means by which wealth could be amassed was lawful and fair, no matter whether the prosperity of one individual led to the ruin of many. Thus, the new-emerging social order favored the individual’s interest in every way against those of society, and the latter was not provided with any safeguard against the former’s greed and avarice. This opened new way for the selfish individuals to use society to their advantage. They discovered each weakness of man exploited it for selfish ends in all possible ways. One came forward and gave the people the habit of drinking in order to make high profits on his business, and no one cared to save society this plague-stricken mouse. Another one laid the snare of usury, and no one dared save the people from this blood-sucking leech. Contrary to that, such laws were made as favored the leech so that it could suck as much blood out of others as it could. A third one invented novel ways of gambling, which soon infected all walks of commerce and trade, and no one had the courage to safeguard man’s economic life from the onslaught of this enteric fever. During the impious age of the individual’s revolt and aggressive sinfulness, it was impossible that the selfish people did not think of weakest point of man, his urge for sex, which could be easily exploited for purpose of coining money. And this weakness was full exploited, in diverse ways. Services of beautiful women were obtained for theaters, ballrooms and filmmaking centers. They were made to appear nude before the people in order to arouse their sexual appetite and deprive them of their pockets. Some people hired out women and developed prostitution to the level of an organized international trade. Some others invented new ways and manners to make-up and publicized them widely so as to arouse the female urge for beautification to the point of craze with a view to making money. Others designed sex-arousing, semi-covering dresses and appointed charming women to wear them and go about in society with a view to tempting young men in large numbers. This naturally made these dresses popular among young girls and the designers earned high profits. Some other people thought of printing nude pictures and cheap sensual literature. They helped bring about general moral degeneration among the common people, but were able to fill their purses with gold. Gradually things came to such a pass that no sphere of trade and commerce remained immune from the sex element. Business advertisements were regarded incomplete without a nude or semi-nude female picture. No hotel, no restaurant, no showroom could be imagined without a lady attendant in order to attract men. Poor, helpless society could safeguard its interest only in one way, by counteracting the individualist onslaught by its own moral precepts and thwarting the demon of sexual hunger. But the capitalists system was too broad based to be easily frustrated. It had the support and backing of complete philosophic system and a strong variegated literature which was busy corrupting the moral values and precepts. Obviously, the ideal murderer is the one who can coax the one to be murdered to come forward cheerfully and lay down his head willingly.
On top of that, this concept of liberty gave birth to the democratic system of government in the West. This served as a powerful factor in bringing to completion the revolution in moral values. The main principle underlying western democracy is that people themselves possess the sovereign as well as legislative rights they can frame whatever laws they like and can amend or repeal any laws which they dislike. They do not have above them any higher authority immune from human frailties, whose guidance and instruction may be binding on man and may prevent him from going astray. They do not possess any fundamental law which may be unquestionable and beyond human manipulation, repeal or amendment. They do not have a standard for judging right from wrong, which does not change with every human whim and fancy, but which can stand unimpeachable for all times. Thus, modern democracy looks upon man as wholly independent and unaccountable and makes him his own legislator, and so renders all legislative business dependent on majority opinion.
Obviously, when laws pertaining a community life depend on public opinion for their passage, and when governments become faithful worshippers of god of modern democracy, no power of law and order can save society from moral iniquity. Not to speak of saving, it will rather help ruin it eventually. With every change in the trend of public opinion the law will also change. As the common man’s concepts undergo change, principles and bases of law will accordingly be affected. A mere proposal, however, petty and immoral, which has the public backing to muster just 51 out of 100 votes, can readily attain the status of sacred law. Dr. Magnus Hirsch Feld who has been a president of the World League of Sexual Reform, vehemently advocated the adoption of unnatural act for as long as six years. At last the god of democracy became inclined to regard this unlawful act as lawful, and the German Parliament decided by a majority vote that the unnatural act was no longer a crime, provided that it was carried out with willingness on both sides. If, however, the subject was a minor, his guardian would perform the `giving away` ceremony!
Law has rather been lukewarm in worshipping the god of democracy. It obeys his commands but somewhat indifferently. This lack of keenness is supplemented by the administrative machinery of the government. People who conduct the business of democratic governments fall a prey to influence of the literature, moral philosophies and current trends even before they are accorded legal sanction. Thus the prevailing moral abuses become officially recognized without the result that the public and courts of justice hesitate to practically enforce the law, and the abuses attain lawfulness indirectly. Take for instance the case of procuring illegal abortion. It is prohibited in the Western law, but there is no country where it is not openly and commonly practiced. In England alone at least 90,000 cases of abortion occur annually. According to an estimate, at least 25 percent of the married women perform abortion on themselves, or obtain the services of experts. Among the unmarried, the percentage is even higher. In certain places there are regular clubs to facilitate abortion, which are maintained by weekly subscriptions by women themselves, so that they may obtain services of experts as and when required. In London there exist quite a few nursing homes where most of the patients are generally the women who have had abortion. In spite of all this, abortion is still a crime according to the British law.
Facts and Figures
Now I shall deal at length with the three factors- modern moral concepts, capitalistic civilization and democratic politics and examine how they are working together to disrupt collective morality and the sex relation between the male and the female, and what results they have actually produced. Since I have mostly mentioned France so far which is the birthplace of this movement, I shall again draw on the same source for facts and figures.
When the above-mentioned concepts spread they first deprived the people of their moral sense in sexual affairs. Modesty and the sense of honor began to forsake them. The distinction between marriage and illicit relationship was given up, and fornication was recognized as lawful and clean, which had nothing sinful or vicious about it to be concealed and hushed up.
Towards the end of the 19th century, French people had begun looking upon fornication as an ordinary, natural act for the male. Parents did not at all mind their sons’ moral delinquency, provided that it did not involve them in criminal cases and venereal diseases. Rather they felt pleased if it helped relation with a woman was in no way bad. There are instances to show that parents themselves encouraged their young sons to establish relations with influential and wealthy ladies in order to make their future secure and bright. But as regards women, the concept was quite different. Female chastity was still valued highly. The parents who did not seriously mind their son’s delinquency, youthful pranks, were not prepared to stand any blot of infamy on the person of their daughter. The French society could tolerate a fornicator, but it detested a fornicatress; it loathed the prostitute but it exempted from blemish the man visiting her. Similarly, the moral responsibility of man and woman bound in wedlock was not regarded as equal. A husband could freely go about sowing his wild oats, but a wife’s promiscuous behavior was regarded with disgust.
As the 20th century approached, conditions totally changed. The movement for the emancipation of women, which had propagated moral equality between the sexes, gave the promiscuous couple equal status in society. Now a woman could freely have extra-marital relations with a man without any fear of public disgrace. Paul Bureau says:
“Many young men in the working–class circles of our great towns do not consider they have the right to demand from their fiancée a chastity which they do not possess themselves, and the license of which both avail themselves appears too precious for them to object to it. These new manners begin to penetrate even our country districts. In the Yonne, in certain parts of Burgundy, and elsewhere, it often happens that the girl has contracted several “friendships” before contracting marriage, and no trouble is even taken to hide them. As there is no fear of the complications of pregnancy, still less of the birth of a child, the relations shut their eyes, and the wedding day bridegroom, who knows to what he is committing himself takes care not to find fault with a freedom of which the lads of the village take plentiful advantage during the ten or twelve years before their marriage…”
“Those who attentively follow the modern evolution of our manners know that, during the last fifteen years, one meets more and more frequently, in Paris, the great towns and industrial centers, such a case as this. A girl-modest, dress maker, typist, shop-assistant, bank-clerk, or student-fairly educated, of good character, used to good social environment,…revolves one day to set up housekeeping with a young man. No marriage, not because it is understood there will be no children…but because it is understood that each preserves complete liberty to end the union any moment that friend ceases to please...; an establishment that merely means living together, and does not imply at each moment and engagement for the next. On the other hand, there is no element of fraud or seduction: both are equally aware of the nature and scope of their mutual relationship…”
“…it was inaugurated by the industrial workers; at first it caused surprise and some scandal, then it made way in higher social grades, and has extended continually… This extra legal union is similar in every way to those which every day, and in great number, receive the official seal of the registrar or the minister of religion”. (Pp. 94-96)
Such a “companion” has now earned recognition of the society also. M. Berthelemy, Professor of Law at Paris writes that the “companion” has gradually attained the same legal status as was once monopoly of the lawful wife. She has secured the interest of Parliament, and she is now protected by the administration. A soldier’s “companion” is allowed the same maintenance as is allowed to his wife; after his death she is granted the same amount of pension as is granted to his legal widow.
How ordinary and minor a thing has fornication come to regard in the French moral code can be seen from the following instances. In 1918 a schoolmistress was found pregnant, being unmarried. Some old-fashioned people in the Education Department demanded her dismissal. Then a deputation comprising some responsible people waited on the Education Ministry and their following arguments were found so convincing that the case involving the mistress was shelved:
“Private life concerns nobody”
“What has she done wrong”?
“Is not illegitimate maternity more democratic”?
Among other important things taught to French soldiers, as part of their training one necessary lesson is how to use contraceptive devices and protect oneself against venereal diseases. Obviously, such lessons are imparted on the presumption that every soldier shall commit fornication. On the 3rd of May 1919, the Commander of 127 Division issued an instruction to his soldiers which read as follows”.
“ Monopoly of Public Brothels by Tirailleurs. The General has received various anonymous letters from chasseurs, infantry, and cavalry, complaining that they cannot find accommodation in the `maisons de tolerance`, which are monopolized by the tirailleurs in great crowds, who remain too long and have caused frequent disturbances. The High Court of Sarre and the municipal authorities are taking measures to increase considerably the effective force of the prostitutes. But, until this can be done, the tirailleurs must be more expeditious over their pleasures”.
One should remember that this instruction was officially published by the defence department of a most civilized national government. This shows that the society, the law, the administration, all had wholly lost the sense of fornication being a sin”.
A short time before World War1, an agency was established in France on the principle that every woman, whatever her condition, her surrounding, her fortune or her habitual moral conduct, could always be persuaded for “a new experience”. It announced that any man who wished to have relations with a lady should only take the trouble of communicating her address and send twenty five francs for expenses. Then, persuading the lady for the “business” was the agency’s business. The registers maintained by the agency revealed that a large number of people from all classes of the French society had carried out “business” through it, “under the official protection of the police and the municipal authority”. (P. 16)
Let it be enough to say that immorality between near relatives, even sometimes between father and daughter, and between brother and sister, are not very uncommon in certain districts of France and certain populous quarters of our great towns”. (P. 35)
Prevalence of Obscenity
M. Bulot who was the Attorney-General of France before World War1, estimated at half a million the number of women who sold their body. French prostitutes cannot be compared to the prostitutes here. They belonged to a cultured and civilized country, so their business is conducted in a more orderly and modern fashion. They avail of all the facilities provided by the art of advertising. Newspapers printed and illustrated cards, telephone, personal calls, in short, all “civilized” ways to attract the people’s attention are fully employed by them; and public conscience is not picked. On the contrary, the women who attain extraordinary success in their business are highly esteemed, so much so that they begin to dominate political and financial affairs as well as the administration. It will be recalled that such a triumph had once upon a time been achieved by the women of the same class in the Greek society also.
Mr. Ferdinand Dreyfus, member of the French Senate, stated a few years ago that prostitution was no longer an isolated fact, but had become a full-fledged business and an organized industry on account of its being a great money-yielding agency. It has its recruiting agents who gather the “raw stuff”, its travelers who move from place to place and its markets which deal in the import and export of young, little girls, especially those under ten years old.
Paul Bureau says:
“Here again we find ourselves facing, not isolated acts, the result of chance meetings or inexperience; but a powerful organization, duly officered and systemized with the object of putting itself at the disposal of unmarried men who wish to use their sexual activity without incurring the responsibilities which nature has attached to that function. A numerous body of publicists and lecturers, physicians and apothecaries, midwives and commercial travelers, using the most up-to-date methods of advertisement and demonstration, has assumed as its special mission the instruction of an ever-growing clientele in the vast apparatus which a perfectly developed techniques places at its disposal. (Pp. 21-22)
Besides this, prostitution is rampant in hotels, cafes and dancing halls, where women sometimes are subjected to inhuman treatment. Once in 1912 a mayor of Eastern France had to intervene and rescue a girl who had been subjected to sexual gratification by forty-seven customers during the day, and there were others eagerly waiting their turn in the queue.
Besides commercial houses of prostitution, “charity brothels” were opened during World War1. Those patriotic women who “served” the War heroes defending France were rewarded with fatherless children and honored with the title of “War godmothers”, an idea which cannot be suitably rendered into Urdu. These women adopted prostitution in a systemized way and the clients felt morally bound to “help” them. Leading dailies of France, especially Fantasio and La vie Parisienne, the two illustrated journals, served them most by drawing the people’s attention to them. At the beginning of 1917, a single number of the latter journal had as many as 199 such offers advertised.
Sexuality and Indecency
Such a prevalence of obscenity and licentiousness is in fact the result of emotional excitement which is caused by literature, picture, cinema, theater, dancing and nude and immoral public performances.
There is a horde of selfish capitalists who are doing their worst to arouse the people’s sexual appetite with a view to making money. Dailies and weeklies, illustrated journals, fortnightlies and monthlies, all publish highly exciting articles and shameful pictures, for they can thus ensure quick increase in their circulation. Intellectual capabilities, artistic skills, and psychological tact are used to entrap and influence people. Besides, highly impious literature in the shape of pamphlets and books on sex problems is regularly published in editions as large as 50,000 each, most often running into scores of reprint. Some publishing houses have specialized in the publication of such literature. Many a writer has climbed the ladder of eminence and glory in this way. Now it is no longer disgraceful for an author to write a licentious book. If it runs into many editions, its success may lead to a chair in the Academy, or at least to the Croix d’honneur.
The government looks on these shameless, sex-arousing activities with unconcern. Very seldom has it happened that some highly obscene thing is published and the police reluctantly register a criminal case. But then, there are liberal courts of law who deem it is sufficient just to admonish the defaulters, for the people who preside over these courts are themselves accustomed to draw pleasure out of such literature. Even some of the judges themselves are writers of obscene books. If by chance a magistrate happens to be old-fashioned and the writers smell “injustice” at his hands, re-nowned scholars and litterateurs come out and raise one universal voice through the press, calling for a free and unfettered atmosphere for the progress of art and literature. They vehemently oppose all sorts of moral restrictions for these according to them reflect the mentality of the dark ages, and are imposed with a view to curbing fine art!
Now let us see how this fine art is developed. It is developed mainly by means of nude pictures and illustrated albums, which are prepared in millions and offered for sale not only in the market, hotels and cafes but also in schools and colleges. M. Emile Pouresy who presented a report to the Second National Congress against immorality, remarked:
“These filthy photographs produce an incredible disturbance of the senses, and tend to urge the unfortunate people who buy them to the most monstrous crimes. Their disintegrating action upon boys and girls is fearful, and have seen many colleges ruined morally and physically by their means. For girls there is no more powerfully destructive agent”. (P. 42)
The same fine arts are being developed through recreational activities at theaters, cinema and music-halls, and cafes. The dramas that are presented on the French stage and are witnessed keenly by high-class French society, and whose authors, producers and artistes receive universal applause, are one and all replete with sexuality and obscenity. The salient feature of such performances usually is that the morally worst character is presented by the French dramatists can only give a cultural onlooker the impression that married couples in France are by and large deceitful and disloyal matrimonially. He says:
“Who does not know, in France or among foreigners how perseveringly our dramatic authors have devoted themselves, these last thirty years, to place on the stage all the most scandalous passages of adultery and free love of licentious life and divorce? Under the pretence of representing the manners of time, one would imagine that France had none but unfaithful spouses, no husbands expect boors and fools,… it goes without saying that the impulse to which the leading character yields is irresistible, and the playwright would be disgraced if he introduced on the boards people capable of respecting the laws of traditional morality”. (P.43)
From this may be judged the condition of the theaters and the recreation meant of the people at the large. The language, the coquettish behavior and the nudeness that can satisfy these wretched, licentious people emotionally is presented freely on the stage. “It goes without saying that the obscenity of the bills and advertisements announces and ensures that obscenity of the performance. This is what is called free or realistic stage”. Emile Pouresy has presented in this report several instances, which he collected from various recreation centers. He has preferred to use alphabetic letters to names:
“At B, monologues and songs are grossly obscene the tableaux and dramatic scenes go so far as to picture the sexual relations. The audience-there are more than a thousand distinguished spectators-applauded frantically. At N, the little songs, the most obscene monologues, and some gestures, which are veritable outrages on chastity, are applauded by children and young people under the approving eyes of their parents. At L, a very numerous audience calls five times the `cabotin` who ends his turn with the most lascivious little song imaginable. “… at R, a mixed audience noisily recalled the singer of an exceptionally obscene item. On this occasion the, `cabotin` grew angry, and in middle of her performance, called out indignantly: “Dirt that you are… you don’t see that there are children here”, and, without finishing, retired to the greenroom. (P. 45) “At X, the performance at a café-chantant are put into a lottery; they themselves offer tickets at ten centimes each; the winner can keep the woman and her room for the night; the key is outside the bargain”. (P. 16)
Paul Bureau writes that most often utterly naked women are presented on the stage who form the chief part of these performances. M. Adolphe Brisson once protested against such performances in the famous French newspaper, temps, remarking:
“We are driven to wish that the sexual act might take place on the stage…” (P. 46)
Indeed the perfection of “art” will be achieved only then!
The so-called scientific and medical literature on contraception and sexual science has also helped to spread obscenity and pervert public morality. Conception and related matters, and the use of contraceptive devices are so freely described by lectures and the magic lantern in public meeting, and by illustrative notes in publications, that nothing remains hidden or unexplained. Similarly, books on sex treat in detail of all aspects of sex anatomy under the cover of science, so as to remain above censure. Now the propagation of such things is being labeled as the “service of humanity”. The writers and publishers say that they want to save the people from sexual lapses. But the fact is that this literature and this mass training have caused the spread of extreme forms of obscenity among men, women and the youth. The result is that a young girl in school who has not yet attained full physical maturity possesses such knowledge about sex as could never be imagined by married women before. Same is the case with young, immature boys. Their base emotions become aroused before time and they begin craving for sexual experience. Thus, before they attain puberty, they become accustomed to sexual gratification. There is an age limit prescribed for marriage, but for such ventures there is no age limit. The youth begin embarking on these from 12 or 13 years onward.
Signs of National Collapse
When moral depravity, self-worship and sensual indulgence have touched such extremes; when man and woman the young and old, have got lost in sexual craze; and when man has been completely perverted by sex incitements, natural consequences leading a nation to total collapse will inevitably follow. People who witness the progress and prosperity of such declining nation, which indeed “stand on the very brink of an abyss of fire“, are led to conclude that their self-indulgence is not impeding their progress, it is rather accelerating it. They think that a nation is at the peak of its prosperity when its people are highly self-indulgent. But this is a sad conclusion. When the constructive and destructive forces are both working side by side and the constructive aspect on the whole seems to have an edge over the destructive aspect, it is wrong to count the latter among factors leading to the former. Only an insane person can draw such an influence.
Take for instance the case of a clever merchant who is earning high profits by dint of his intelligence, hard work and experience. But at the same time if he is given to drink, gamble and lead a care free life, will it not be misleading to regard both these sides of his life as contributing to his well-being and prosperity? As a matter of fact, the first set of qualities is helping him to prosper, whereas the second set is pulling him down. If on account of the positive qualities he is flourishing, it does not mean that the negative forces are ineffective. If one cares to look a little deeper one will see that these forces are in fact eating into his very vitals as well as into his fortune. They are indeed laying in ambush for a chance to make a surprise and decisive attack on him. It may be that the devil of gambling brings his whole fortune to naught in a moment, and he is lying in wait for such a chance. It may be that the devil of drinking leads him to commit a fatal mistake rendering him bankrupt in no time, and he is lying in wait for such a chance. It may be that the devil of sexual indulgence leads him to commit murder or suicide, or to some other calamity. One cannot imagine how prosperous and triumphant he would have been had he not fallen a prey to these devils.
Similar is the case with a nation. In the beginning it receives impetus from constructive forces, but then due to lack of proper guidance it takes but a few steps in the right direction, and begins gathering round it the means of its own destruction. For a while the constructive forces drag it along under the momentum already gained. But the destructive forces that are working simultaneously weaken it so much that one stray shock can send it sprawling to its doom. Here we shall briefly mention the main causes of the French nation’s decline, which were the direct result of its wrong social system.
Decay of Physical Energy
In the first place, the French people’s sexual indulgence has gradually resulted in the loss of their physical strength. Ever-present emotional situations have broken down their power of resistance. Craze for sexual pleasures has left them with little or no forbearance, and the prevalence of venereal diseases has affected their national health fatally. Ever since the beginning of the 20th century, after every couple of years or so, the French military authorities have had to lower standards of physical fitness for new entrants, because young men coming up to the previous standards have day by day become rarer. This measure, with the accuracy of a thermometer-precisely indicates how fast has the French nation been loosing its physical strength. Venereal diseases are a major cause of its decline. During the first two years of World War1, the number of French soldiers who had to be hospitalized on account of syphilis was estimated at 75,000. In a garrison town of average importance, 242 soldiers were found suffering from this disease simultaneously. Imagine for a while the predicament in which the French nation was involved. On the one hand, it was facing a life and death situation and stood badly in need of the sincerest effort by every single soldier for its survival: each franc was precious, each second of time and each ounce of energy valuable, and all possible resources were called for in national defence. And on the other, thousands of young men lay useless for months together on account of sexual dissipation, and were thus becoming instrumental in squandering national wealth and resources on treatment at such a critical time.
According to Dr. Leredde, a French specialist, about 30,000 deaths are caused every year in France by syphilis and its immediate or ultimate results, which is the second biggest cause of death after tuberculosis. And syphilis is not the only venereal disease.
Disruption of Family System
In the second place, free sexual indulgence and licentiousness has disrupted the family system in France. It is marriage that gives birth to family life, binding the man and the woman together permanently. It is from the matrimonial bond that individuals draw peace of mind, firmness and steadfastness in life. It is this bond, which diverts their individualism into collective channels and presses the anarchic trends into the service of cultural and civilization. It is the family relationship that creates an atmosphere of love and peace and fellow feeling so essential for the proper development of morality, right conduct and character among the new generations. But the family system can neither be established nor can it work in a country where men and women have completely lost sight of marriage and its purpose, where sexual relation is aimed at gratifying sexual urge only, and where hosts of pleasure-seeking men and women are keenly and constantly going about sucking juice from every flower. In an environment such as this, the people are soon deprived of their capabilities to shoulder responsibilities of matrimony, its obligations and rights and sustain the moral discipline that it brings. This mental and moral state leads to and results in the deterioration of caliber with every new generation. Individuals become so selfish and self-conceited that community life begins to disintegrate. They become so fickle-minded that their national as well as international behavior begins to suffer from a lack of confidence and stability. Without the peace of mind that accrues from home life, lives of individuals become devoid of sweetness and light, and a state of perpetual restlessness deprives them of all peace and tranquility. This indeed the torment of this-worldly hell that man goes in for in a fit of senseless pleasure seeking.
Hardly 7 or 8 per thousand people in France enter wedlock annually. This low percentage clearly indicates that there are big chunks of French population that are unmarried. Among the few married ones there are even fewer who live chaste or marry with a view to live a morally clean life. Apart from this, they have all sorts of motives while entering matrimony, one common motive being to legitimize the child born or conceived before marriage. Paul Bureau rights that it has almost become a custom among the French working classes that a woman, before marriage, must have the assurance of her would-be husband to recognize a child who is not his. In 1917, a woman stated before the Civil Tribunal Seine:
“By these present I declare to my husband. That in our union I have only the object of legitimizing the children born of our “free” union, and that of resuming our life together. I leave him on the day of our marriage at 5.30 p.m., in order to escape from conjugal duties which I have no intention of fulfilling; I give him by these present a deed of separation, to serve towards what is necessary in order to obtain a divorce”. (p. 55)
The Principal of a great college of Paris told Paul Bureau:
“At the present time any young men see in marriage nothing but the means of securing a mistress at home…. For ten or twelve years they have roved a little in all directions, tasting various forms of licentiousness in various degrees. A day comes when they ire of this restless and irregular life; they take a lawful wife convinced that with he will be combined they advantages of safety and tranquility with those of a licentiousness modified indeed but still sufficient and refined, to suit a less executing appetite”.(P.56)
Fornication in France has come to be regarded as an act that does not entail any censure at all. If a man keeps a mistress besides his wife he need not conceal her. The society does not at all mind it, for individuals are within their rights to do so.
In such circumstances as these, the marriage bound has become too weak to stand any stress and strain. Sometimes it does not even last for more than a few hours. A French dignity who had several times held ministerial rank obtained divorce from his wife just five hours after the marriage ceremony. Sometimes very minor and silly things cause divorces. For instance, snoring by one of the partners or one’s disliking a dog. Once the Civil Tribunal of the Seine nullified 294 marriages at one sitting in a single day. In 1884, when the new divorce law was passed, four thousand divorces were decided. In 1900 the number went up to 7,500, in 1913 it was 16,000, and in 1931, 21000.
Bringing up of children is a highly moral responsibility. It calls for self-discipline, steadfastness, endurance and a high altruistic spirit. Selfish and egoistic people who are completely possessed of individualist and animal desires cannot reconcile themselves to undertake such a responsibility.
For the last twenty years or so, France has been in the grip of anti-conceptionist propaganda. Consequently, each French man and French woman is now fully aware of all those devices by which they can enjoy all the pleasures of the sexual relation and yet escape the natural consequences thereof, i.e. conception and procreation. There is no city, no town, no village, where contraceptive drugs and appliances are not sold in open market and made available to all and sundry. The result is that not only the sexually promiscuous people use them freely but also the married couples have taken quite a fancy to them. Now every man and woman desire that they should somehow avoid a child, the bugbear of their comfort and pleasure. From the constantly falling birth rate in France, experts have estimated that on the average 600,000 births are prevented annually in that country by contraceptive devices.
Conceptions that take place in spite of these devices are precipitated by abortion, and thus another 400,000 births are prevented. Abortions are not only procured by unmarried women but married women also go in for these in large numbers. Morally this act is regarded blameless and right for women. Though it is still a crime according to law, the law has ceased to look upon it seriously. Hardly one case out of three hundred odd cases is registered, and 75 percent of the culprits are acquitted by the courts. Medical devices for performing abortion have been so much simplified that most women can themselves perform abortion; and those who cannot are readily provided with expert aid. Destroying the young one in the womb has become as simple and common a thing for the people as getting an aching tooth extracted.
This craze has so corrupted maternal feelings that the mother whose love has always been proverbial has become fed up with her own offspring. If in spite of the contraceptive devices and attempts at abortion, some babies do succeed in seeing the light of the day, they are given inhuman treatment. Paul Bureau expresses this tragic fact in the following words:
“From time to time the newspapers report the martyrdom of children whom their parents ill-treat, torture or cripple; but besides these cases there is the suffering, of which neighbors are aware, of those other unwanted little ones who are blamed for having come into the world, for having disturbed the pleasure and selfishness of the others. For lack of courage people shrink from abortion in order to stop a pregnancy which “ought not” to have occurred, but the innocent child will pay for the misadventure”. (P. 74)
This malicious attitude has touched extreme limits. Once a working girl was so much delighted at the death of her six-month-old child that she danced and sang out of sheer joy by its corps and exclaimed:
“We certainly won’t have another. My husband and I are greatly relieved by this one’s death. Think what a little baby is; it cries all the time, it dirties its clothes, and one is never done with it”. (P. 75)
The more tragic part of it is that this calamity is spreading fast, and the government and law courts are not taking due notice of it but are treating it lightly like the cases of abortion. For instance, in February 1918, two girls were produced before the Court of Assize from the Loire district on the charge of killing their babies, and both were acquitted. One of them had drowned her infant, though her relatives had offered to bring up the child, as they had done in the case of another to whom she had previously given birth. But the mother was determined not to let it live. The Court let her off observing that her crime was pardonable. The other girl had strangle her baby, and when she found it was yet living she had knocked it against a wall. This woman was also acquitted by the French judges and jury. In March 1918, a dancer was put before the jury of Seine. She had tried to tear out her infant’s tongue crushed its skull and cut its neck. She was also held innocent both by the judges and the jury!
A nation that develops such hatred and hostility against its own offspring cannot be saved from annihilation even by a miracle. New generations are necessary in order to continue the physical existence of a nation. If it turns against its own seed it is in fact turning against itself; it is committing suicide.
Even if there is no external enemy it will annihilate itself in due course of time. As I have pointed out above, birth rate in France has constantly been falling for the last seventy years or so. Sometimes death rate exceeds death rate, sometimes they are equal, and sometimes birth rate exceeds birth-rate hardly by one per thousand. As against this, immigrants in France are on the increase. In 1913, out of a total population of 418,000,000 in France, 2,890,000 were foreigners. If this state of affairs persists, it is not unlikely that by the close of the 20th century the French nation might well have been rendered a minority in its own homeland.
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Tragic Consequences - II
Only for the sake of historical continuity we have dwelt on the moral concepts of French and their consequences there, but France is not isolated in this matter. Indeed all the countries that have adopted these concepts and the irrational, unnatural principles of community life are involved in a similar predicament. Take for instance the case of the United States of America where this social system has almost reached its zenith.
Sexual Delinquency Among American Children
Judge Ben Lindsey who in his capacity as President of the Juvenile Court at Denver availed himself fully of the opportunity to collect first hand information about the moral condition of the American youth, writes in his book, The Revolt of Modern Youth, that American children are attaining maturity prematurely.
“Sex overwhelms them before their minds and their powers of restraint and judgments are mature enough to cope with it… We made a special study of 313 girls. We found that 265 of 313 had come to physical maturity at 11 and 12 years, more of them maturing at 11 than at 12… Such children, at 11 or 12 years, may have the desires and needs of the girl of 18 or older”. (Pp. 81-82)
Dr. Edith Hooker writes in her book, Law of Sex, that even in the cultured and well-to-do classes of society it is not uncommon to find girls, seven years old or so, involved in clandestine love affairs with boys of their own age group with whom sometimes they have sex relations also. She relates the case of a seven years old daughter of a respectable family who had her first sex experience with her own elder brother and some of his friends. Another group of five children, two girls and three boys, who happened to live next door to each other, were found having sex relations between them, and they also exercised similar influence over other children of their age. The oldest among them was just ten. Another 9-year-old girl who apparently lived under the care and protection of her parents had the privilege of being the sweetheart of a number of “lovers”. (P. 328)
A physician of Baltimore has reported that within a year or so, more than a thousand cases of fornication with girls under 12 were tried in that city. (P. 177)
This is the then first fruit of the social environment charged with sexual excitement and licentiousness. An American author says that the social system under which most of the American population is living is so unnatural that boys and girls between ten and fifteen years age start feeling that they are in love with each other. This results in grave consequences. Such premature sexual interest has always led to unfortunate happenings. The least that can happen is that adolescent girls run away with their friends, or get married in young age; and if they fail in love they commit suicide.
Children whose sexual feelings are awakened prematurely gain their first experiences while at elementary schools meant for boys or girls only or schools of co-education.
In the first type of schools the abuse of homosexuality and masturbation is fast spreading. For the feelings that are aroused in childhood and are incessantly stirred by incentives all around must crave for satisfaction. According to Dr. Hooker, many instances have come to notice in such schools, colleges, training schools for nurses and religious institutions, where members of the same sex have been found involved in homo-sexuality to the extent that they have lost all interest and desire for the opposite sex. She has mentioned in detail a great many cases where boys were found with boys and girls with girls attached in homosexuality. Some other books also reveal how widely has homosexuality spread. Dr. Lowry has stated in his book, Herself, that once the Headmaster of a school confidentially informed forty families that their sons could not be kept at school as they had been found involved in “a highly dreadful immorality”. (P. 179)
Take now the case of the second type of schools that have adopted co-education. Here, the incentives as well as the means of gratification are readily available. Sexual feelings that were awakened in childhood are further aroused here. Boys and girls read dirty sex-exciting literature. Love romances, pamphlets on so-called “art”, cheap books on sex, articles providing contraceptive information, such is the reading material craved for by the young male and female students of these schools and colleges. Hendrich Von Loon, famous American author, says that the literature which is in great demand in the American universities is so obscene, licentious and indecent that the like of it was never so freely presented before public in history.
The information drawn from such literature then becomes the subject of frank and free discussion among young people of both the sexes, and thus equipped they advance towards practical experience. Boys and girls go out for petting parties where they freely drink and smoke and enjoy dancing and music. According to Judge Lindsey, at least 45 percent of the high school girls become sexually experienced before leaving school. This percentage is even higher in the later educational stages. He says:
“The high-school boy is much less dramatic figure than the high-school girl. Generally she sets the pace, whatever it is to be, and he dances to her piping”. (P. 66)
Three Powerful Motives
In the schools and colleges there exists some sort of discipline which hinders free inter-play of emotional activity. But as the young people leave the educational institutions and enter the world, their stirred up emotions and degenerate habits refuse to be bound by any restrictions. They find ever-present situations to excite them emotionally as well as means to gratify their desires.
An American magazine has analyzed the causes of this un-precedented prevalence of immorality. It says that a trinity of the following devilish forces has dominated the world of today and these are now working together to turn it into hell:
Licentious literature which has increased in obscenity and circulation at a tremendous speed and spread un-usually fast after World War 1.
The movies which not only arouse sexual hunger but also teach practical ways of satisfying it, and
The depraved moral condition of women which is reflected by their attire, nudity, increasing smoking habits and their free and unrestricted intermingling with men.
These forces are becoming stronger day by day and they now seem to augur destruction for the Christian civilization and society. If these forces are not checked in time, the history of the West will not be any different from that of Rome and the other nations which lost their all on account of their sensual indulgence and licentiousness.
Prevalence of Sexual Promiscuity
Women in America who have adopted prostitution as a career have been estimated at five lacs. An American prostitute cannot be compared to her Indian counterpart. She is not a professional prostitute but a woman who was till recently an employee some-where. She became sexually promiscuous on account of bad company and came to settle in the brothel. She will do her “Business” here for a few years, and then revert to employment in some office or factory. Detailed case-study has shown that 50 percent of American prostitutes were once domestic servants; the remaining came after giving up service in hospitals, offices and shops. Mostly they enter upon this career between 15 and 20 years of age, and after attaining 25 to 30 years of age they generally leave the brothel to join some free profession. This brings out the significance of the presence of five lac prostitutes in America who have adopted prostitution as a permanent career.
As has been pointed out above, prostitution in the West has been organized as a business on international level. New York, Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires are the great centers of this business in America. The two principal houses of New York have their own separate administrative councils whose presidents and secretaries are regularly elected. These councils have appointed their legal advisers who safeguard their interests in the court of law. There are thousands of agents who go about with a view to enticing away girls for business. Sometimes these agents do roaring business. Once the President of the Immigrants’ League of Chicago received during fifteen months the addresses of 7,200 girls who were coming to settle in the United States. On enquiry, it was found that 1,700 had reached their destination. The other 5,500 could not be traced!
Apart from brothels, there are plenty of assignation and call houses which are specifically maintained to enable gentlemen and ladies to have calls on each other. Investigations have shown that there were 78 such houses in one city, 43 in another, and 33 in a third one. These houses are not only visited by unmarried ladies, but married women also throng them regularly. According to a famous reformer, at least one-third of the married population of New York is unfaithful matrimonially both from moral and physical points of view. And these conditions are peculiar to New York, they hold true for every city and town in the United States.
An American committee of moral reformers popularly known as the Committee of Fourteen is earnestly engaged in tracing centers of immorality, studying the country’s moral condition and devising practical measures for reforming morals on a large scale. Reports published by it have revealed that almost all ballrooms, nightclubs, beauty saloons, manicure shops, message rooms and hair-dressing shops in America have turned into houses of prostitution; nay, their condition is even worse on account of the unspeakable wickedness being committed there.
Prevalence of sexual promiscuity has resulted in the prevalence of venereal disease. According to an estimate about 90 % of American population is afflicted with these diseases. Encyclopedia Britannica reveals that in the government dispensaries an average of 200,000 cases of syphilis and 160,000 cases of gonorrhea are treated annually, 65 dispensaries have been set apart for each cases. But people by and large prefer private doctors to government dispensaries with the result that 61 percent of the syphilis cases and 89 % of the gonorrhea cases have to be treated as attended to by them. (Vol. XXIII, p.45).
Thirty of forty thousand infant deaths every year are caused by hereditary syphilis. Total deaths caused by syphilis alone are more than those caused by all diseases other then tuberculosis. According to gonorrhea specialists, about 60 % of the young men and women, both married and unmarried, suffer from this disease. Specialists of female diseases are agreed that operations performed on the genitals reveal 75 % gonorrheal infections.
Divorce and Separation
In such conditions as these it is unlikely that the family system and the sacred marriage bond could survive. Women who earn their own bread, who do not stand in need of men except for sexual gratification, and who can easily have them without entering wedlock, look upon marriage as a useless institution. Modern thought and materialistic trends have rid their conscience of the feeling that having extra-marital relations with a man is anything vicious or sinful. This has rendered society also so insensitive that it does not abhor such women nor holds them worthy of censure. Judge Lindsey represents the feelings of the average American girl in this regard as follows:
“Well Marry”, I put in, “why don’t you and Bill get married?” “Married!” she said derisively, “Why Judge, out of ten girls in my set who have gotten married in the last two years more than half are divorced or separated from their husbands…” (P.124).
“We believe we have a natural right to companionship and an intimacy which we instinctively crave; we have a knowledge of contraception which precludes the likelihood that unwanted babies will complicate the situation; we don’t admit that such a course on our part imperils the safety of human society; and we believe that this effort to replace tradition with what we think is common sense will do good rather than harm”. (P.139).
One thing that can ever bring shameless women with such ideas round to marriage is the sentiment of love. But more often than not, this sentiment is only skin-deep, the result of momentary attraction. As soon as desires have been satisfied, the man and wife are hardly left with any attraction for each other. So mere difference of temperament or habit causes indifference between them, leading generally to lawsuit for separation or divorce. Judge Lindsey says:
“For every marriage in Denver during the year 1922 there was a separation. For every two marriage licenses issued there was a divorce suit filed. These figures are not limited to Denver alone. They are approximately correct for many cities of United States”. (P.211).
Then he says:
“So far Denver is concerned I am sure, from a fairly reliable survey, and from information constantly coming to the officers of the Juvenile Court concerning social conditions in Denver, that the number of separations, including divorces, is now annually equal to the number of marriage licenses granted. And what is true of Denver is, as I have already said, just as true of other cities”. (P.214).
Some time back an article appeared in The Free Press, Detroit, containing the following ideas:
Neglect of legal matrimony, increase in the divorce rate and the prevalence of extra-material relations between men and women show that man is reverting to animality. The natural urge of procreation is dying out, children are being less cared for, and the conviction is dying out, children are being less cared for, and the conviction that family and home life are indispensable for well-being of civilization and independent polity is fast leaving him. On the contrary, one finds that man is becoming more and more unmindful, and very painfully so, of the tragic consequences confronted by civilization and society today.
To remedy the abuse of divorce and separation `companionate marriage’ has been proposed but the remedy is worse than the disease. A companionate marriage means that a man and a woman should live together for some time without being married in the “old fashion”. If they find themselves agreeable to each other; they should solemnize marriage; otherwise they should separate to search for new companions. However, while they live together, they should avoid having children. Unluckily if they get one they will have to be bound in wedlock. This is called “free love” in Russia.
Self-indulgence, avoidance of matrimonial responsibilities, indifference to family life and instability of the marriage bond have combined to almost kill the natural mother love, spirituality the purest and highest of the female sentiments, the basis of not only civilization but of the survival of human species itself. Contraceptive devices, abortions and destruction of offspring could become popular only after the death of this sentiment. In spite of all legal restrictions every young boy and girl in the United States possess anti-conceptionist information, and contraceptive drugs and appliances are freely sold in open market. Not to speak of common free women, school and college girls also keep these things in readiness with them, so that if their friend by chance forgets these, a pleasant evening does not go un-enjoyed.
Judge Lindsey says:
“Out of 495 girls of high school-though not all of them were in high school-who admitted to me that they had sex experience with boys, only about 25 became pregnant…The others avoided pregnancy, some by luck, others because they had a knowledge of more or less effective contraceptive methods-a knowledge, by the way, which I find to be more common among them than is generally supposed”. (P. 64)
Spinsters use these devices so that their freedom is not marred, married women use them so that they are not encumbered with the responsibility of rearing children, so that they can divorce their husbands any time they like. Women in general use them because they have begun to abhor the very idea of motherhood, because they are prevented from enjoying life fully, and because they think their physical charm is ruined after bearing children.
Motives may be any, but the fact is that in 95 percent of cases natural consequences of man and women’s sexual relation are stopped by anti-conceptionist devices. As regards the remaining 5 percent cases, conception takes place just by chance and to counter-act it one can freely resort to abortion, or even destroy the offspring. According to Judge Lindsey, at least 1,500,000 abortions are performed annually in America, and thousands of babies are disposed of for good as soon as they see the light of the day. (P. 118)
The Case of England
I do not wish to dwell on these unpleasant details any longer, but it would not be proper to end this part of the discussion without reproducing a few excerpts from George Ryley Scott’s “A History of Prostitution”. This author, being an Englishman, has mostly dealt with the moral state of his own country. He says:
“In addition to the women who are entirely dependent for their bread and butter on their earnings from the hire of their bodies, there are large and ever-increasing numbers who have other means of earning part or all of their livelihood, and who indulge in promiscuous sexual intercourse as a means of supplementing their incomes. There are prostitutes in all but name. And for the purpose of this work they may be aptly described as amateur prostitutes. (P. 131). “But paradoxically as it may seem, there are far more amateur prostitutes today than ever were before. They exist in every strata of society, and the fact that these girls would burst into hot anger at the mere suggestion that they were, prostituting their bodies, does not alter the fact that they are, in every thin except name morally indistinguishable from the most brazen harlot of Piccadilly… It must be remembered that it is now fashionable for adolescent girls to be sophisticated, daring, and even vulgar; just as it is fashionable for them to smoke cigarettes, to drink cocktails, to use lipstick, to avow knowledge of sex and birth control, to discuss obscene literature… Thus girls, in ever-increasing numbers, are indulging in sexual intercourse before marriage; so much so, in fact, that the girl who goes to the altar a virgin in any true sense of the word is becoming a rarity”. (Pp. 132-134)
Then the author analyses the causes, which have worked to bring things to such a pass. Let us have the analysis in his own words:
“In the first place the desire for smarter clothes and accoutrements has a lot to do with it. Anyone who cares to use his eyes can see, in every city, working girls by the hundred who are dressed in clothes they could not possibly afford if they were dependent solely on their wages. The saying that “ men buy their clothes” is as true today as it was a quarter of a century ago. The clothes which the girls wear and which the men buy for them are better and smarter-that’s the only difference. Then the emancipation of woman, with the concomitant tremendous increase in their freedom, has had a lot to do with it. The decline of parental control over so many young girls has been so great in the past few years that one can justifiably say the girl of today enjoys a greater degree of freedom from parental restriction or regulation than did the young man of same age a couple of decades ago”. (P. 132)
“Another factor is the entry of women, in such overwhelming numbers, into the business world and into the profession in competition with men. This has led to an increase in the promiscuity of women, a lowered standard of morals generally, and a decrease in the resistance offered to man’s erotic advances. It has led to all these things in two different ways. Before women’s emancipation, as was evident from the inquiry in a preceding chapter, into the reasons for women taking to prostitution as a profession, a girl in any but the peasant class had one profession to her, and one only, that of marriage. Her whole aim in life was to make a good match; in other words, to find a man who would provide her with home for life. For this reason she prized her virginity as she prized a rare and expensive jewel. And it was this very prize which she everlastingly dangled in front of man. Today marriage is no longer the big and important thing it was. True, most normal girls look upon a successful marriage as the culmination of their careers but they no longer are obsessed with the urgency and necessity of it, they no longer spend all their working hours in the rigorous pursuit of it. To the contrary, in most cases, they defer any serious contemplation of marriage until they have had that “good time” which now a days is on every girl’s lips, as at one time was on every man’s. All of which means that, while matrimony is relegated to the shadowy future, sex adventure looms up more importantly than ever. Virginity is laughed at as something terribly old-fashioned. So much so that those who stress its importance are in danger of being accused of worse practices than normal sexual promiscuity. The modern girl’s credo is to drink her fill of enjoyment while she is young. To this end she frequents dance halls, nightclubs, restaurants, drinking saloons; she goes joy rides with young men whom she scarcely knows from Adam. In other words, she puts herself deliberately and repeatedly into environments and circumstances designed to induce and to develop sexual excitement; and she indulges increasingly in promiscuous intercourse as the inevitable aftermath.
The Decisive Question
The people who oppose Purdah in our country and in other Eastern countries have somewhat similar concept of life in their minds. Its outward glare has dazzled them, and its immoral principles, material gains and sensual pleasures have overwhelmed them. They abhor Purdah because the ethics underlying it is radically opposed to the Western ethics, which they have accepted blindly. Moreover, it prevents them from seeking and enjoying those pleasures of life for which they have developed a craze. Now the question is: Are these people prepared to face the dark side of this system of life and its practical consequences also? Opinion seems to be divided on this point.
One section of the people fully understand the possible consequences and seem prepared to face them. They in fact look upon these consequences as reflecting the bright, and not the dark, side of the Western way of life.
The other section, contrary to the former, look with grave concern upon these consequences and do not feel disposed to face them. But these peoples have become so enamored of the material gains accruing from the Western way of life that they cannot easily ignore it altogether.
There is a third section of the people who neither understand the underlying concepts nor seem to be aware of the consequences thereof. They do not feel even the necessity to understand the casual relationship between the concepts and their results. Their only concern seems to be to go on following blindly the current trends of the world.
These three sections are so mixed up together that it is often difficult to distinguish the people one is speaking to. This confusion is sometimes highly misleading. It is, therefore, necessary that the three sections be clearly distinguished one from the others and dealt with separately.
The Oriental “Occidentals”
The first section has intellectually accepted the philosophy, moral concepts and social principles on which Western civilization and culture are based. They consider life and its problems from the same viewpoint as was adopted by the architects of modern Europe, and now they want to mould the social pattern of their respective homelands also after the same Western pattern. They sincerely believe that the real aim of education for the woman is to enable her to earn her living and to acquire the arts of appearing attractive to male. Her real position in the family according to them is that like the man she should also be an earning member so as to subscribe fully her share to the common family budget. They think that woman is meant to add charm and sweetness to community life by her beauty, elegance and attractive manners. She should warm up people by her sweet musical words, she should send them to ecstasy by her rhythmic movements, and she should dance them to the highest pitch of pleasure and excitement. They think that the woman’s role in national life consists in doing social work, attending municipal councils, participating in conferences and congresses, and devoting her time and abilities to tackle political, cultural and social problems. She should take part in physical exercises and sports, compete in swimming, jumping and race contests, and set new records in long distance flights. In short, she should do anything and everything outside the house. This is their ideal for womanhood. It leads to worldly prosperity and all the moral concepts that run counter to it are devoid of sense and meaningless. To suit the purposes of the new life, therefore, these people have changed the old moral concepts with the new ones, just as Europe did. For them material gains and sensual pleasure are of real worth, whereas the sense of honor, chastity, moral purity, matrimonial loyalty, undefiled lineage, and the like virtues, are not only worthless but antiquated whims which must be destroyed for the sake of making progress.
These people are indeed true followers of the Western creed. They are now trying their utmost to spread and propagate it in the Eastern countries also by the same techniques and devices as have already been adopted in the West.
Modern Urdu Literature
Let us first take literature, which is by the large the most powerful factor of moulding people’s minds. Every effort is being made through this so-called literature to present the new moral philosophy before the new generations in as attractive a manner as possible with a view to uprooting the old moral values even from the reader’s subconscious. To illustrate this I shall reproduce below a few extracts from the modern Urdu literature.
In a famous Monthly which is held in high esteem in the literary circles of the country, an article entitled “Shirin’s Lesson” has been published. The writer is a man of high education, is quite well known and well-placed in the Government. The theme of the article is as follows:
A young girl is sitting before her teacher, learning her lesson. During the lesson she brings out a love-letter from her boy friend for the teacher’s perusal and advice. She had chanced upon this friend in a “tea party” where “a lady had kindly introduced him to her”. Since then they had been meeting and exchanging correspondence between them. Now the girl wants the teacher’s help and guidance to write “a courteous reply” to the love-letter. The teacher tries to bring her attention back to the lesson, but the girl says:
“I do want to study but those things only which help me to realize my dreams, not those which render me old too soon!”
The teacher asks, “Do you have other friends also?”
And pupil says, “I have, but this friend has a special manner of snubbing which is simply fascinating”.
The teacher says, “How will you feel if your father comes to know of this correspondence”.
The girl retorts, “Might not father also have written such letters in his youth? He is fashionable, maybe he still writes. God forbid, he is not yet old”.
The teacher says, “Fifty years back nobody could even think of writing a love-letter to a lady”.
The girl exclaims, “Did people in those days love low-born women only? How fortunate then must have been the low-born and how roguish the nobility of those days!”
The last words of Shirin indicate the “high moral” drawn by the author:
“We young people have a double responsibility to shoulder. We have to revive the moments of joy and bliss lost by our elders, and we have to bury deep the habits of lying and anger that still persist”.
In another famous literary magazine, a short story entitled “Remorse” was published a year and a half ago. The theme ran thus:
An unmarried daughter of a respectable family falls in love with a young man. She invites him home in the absence of her father and without her mother’s knowledge. Their relationship results in the natural consequences. The girl quietly argues to justify her sinful act:
“Why am I worried? Why does my heart throb?… Is it the prick of conscience that makes me uneasy? Am I ashamed of my act? Perhaps yes! But the event of that romantic moonlit night is written with gold in the book of my life. I still hold precious the memory of those blissful moments of ecstasy. Am I not prepared and willing to sacrifice my all in order to recapture those moments?
“Why then does my heart throb? Is it due to the sense of guilt? Did I commit a sin? No, I didn’t. Whom did I sin against? I only made a sacrifice for him! I wish I could make more sacrifices for him! I am not afraid of sin, but I am surely afraid of this cruel society. How suspiciously and distrustfully it looks at me…
“But why am I afraid of this wretched society?… Perhaps on account of my sin? But what is my sin? Will not any other girl have done the same as I did?… That romantic night and that solitude! How handsome he looked! How he planted his lips upon mine, pulled me unto him, pressed me! How surrendered myself into his warm scented embrace! I denounced the whole world and sacrificed my all to the few moments of pleasure. What happened then? What would any other couple have done? Would any woman have rejected him at that moment?
“Sin? - I have not sinned. I am not penitent. I am prepared to do the same again… Chastity? - What is chastity? Is it virginity or the purity of ideas? I am no longer virgin, but have I lost my chastity?…
“Let the inhuman, cruel society do whatever it pleases. It cannot harm me. Why should I feel small at its foolishly suspicious looks? Why should I turn pale and fear its whispers? Why should I hide my face in shame at its meaningless, satirical remarks? I have a clear conscience, I am guiltless. Then why should I have a guilty conscience? Why shouldn’t I publicly declare that whatever I did, I’m proud of it!”
This is the argument and way of thinking which the modern Urdu writer wants every girl-perhaps his own sister and daughter also-to learn. He seems to suggest that a young girl should readily surrender herself into anybody’s warm embrace on a moonlit night, for that is the only alternative for her in such a situation. Any woman who is thus caught cannot act otherwise. This is no sin, it is a sacrifice, and it does not harm one’s chastity. How can chastity be harmed if one willingly sacrifices one’s virginity keeping intact the purity of thought? It rather glorifies chastity, and it is an act which should be written in gold in a woman’s life history. As regards society it is diabolic and wicked, because it looks upon chaste ladies with suspicion. The society is to blame for distrusting such selfless girls, and not the girl who does not mind being pressed in an open embrace on a moonlit night. A cruel society which regards such a noble act as bad does not deserve any respect; it does not deserve to be feared by the one who performs such a charitable act. Nay, every girl should publicly and fearlessly perform such `highly moral acts` and should try to put society, instead, to shame.
Such bold shamefacedness was never expected even of the prostitutes. These wretched souls in fact were never acquainted with the moral philosophy that could turn evil into good and good into evil. The prostitute would sell her body but with a sense of guilt and sin. But the new literature wants every girl in every home to outstrip even the prostitute by means of the new moral philosophy which it is propagating to support obscenity and sexual lawlessness.
In another magazine which is quite popular in our literary circles, a short story, entitled “The Brother-in-Law”, has been published. The writer’s father was man who had earned distinction for producing the best moral literature in Urdu for the womenfolk of the Indo-Pak subcontinent, and was highly esteemed by them as a favorite.-In this short story the young writer has taken pains to present the character of a young girl, as a model for her sisters, who even before her marriage used to get “excited” merely by imagining “the youthful charms and passionate behavior of her finance’s younger brother”. This girl, while still unmarried, firmly held the view that `youth that passes calmly and quietly does not differ much from old age. Youth must be riotous, it must grow exuberant by drawing inspiration from the conflict between love and beauty”. With such notions she was married, and when she saw her bearded husband “she felt emotionally shocked”. At this, according to plan, she made up her mind to pay particular attention to the “brother-in-law”. For this an opportunity soon came her way. The husband left for England for higher studies and in his absence abroad, the wife and the “brother-in-law” passionately enjoyed each other to their hearts’ content. The details of their promiscuous indulgence are written by the wife herself to one of her unmarried girl friends in a note in which she describes fully her experiences through all stages till the culmination of her sexual relations with her love. Her description is so complete that no feeling and no experience of the sexual act has been left unrecorded. Only she has not painted a word picture of the actual union, which has been left to the reader’s imagination.
If this literature is compared with the French literature extracts from which have been reproduced in the foregoing pages, it will be seen that it is heading for the same destination. It is preparing our people mentally and morally for the same system of life, with particular attention to the womenfolk, so as to destroy all sense of modesty and honor even from their subconscious.
This moral philosophy and concept of life is not working alone, it is being reinforced by the capitalistic system and the Western democracy. All these forces are operating together to produce the pattern of life that has already been established in the West. Highly obscene literature on sex is being published which is freely falling in the hands of the male and the female students. Nude pictures and photographs of ignoble women are printed in newspapers and journals and pasted on the walls of every house and every shop. Gramophone records containing cheap, filthy songs are being played in every house and every street. The whole business of cinema is run by playing upon base emotions, and by presenting on the screen every evening highly obscene and immoral scenes which so much fascinate the young boys and girls that they take actors and actresses as model for imitation. After witnessing such exciting performances in the cinema halls the young people passionately set about looking for opportunities of lovemaking and romance. Due to the capitalistic devices to make money, conditions in the big cities are rapidly changing and it is becoming more and more pressing for women also to earn their living with the result that the need of propaganda for contraceptive drugs and devices is becoming all the more necessary.
The modern democratic system whose so-called blessings have reached the Eastern countries also, mainly through England and France, has on the one hand opened new avenues for women of participating in political and social activities, and on the other, it has established institutions that have created countless opportunities for the free intermingling of the sexes. Besides, it has rendered law so flexible that in most cases expression of obscenity, even the practical commission of sin, is not held as a crime.
Lives of the people who have intellectually adopted this way of life have been almost wholly revolutionized in so for as moral, and social aspects of life and concerned. The dress their women are wearing is such that they can easily be mistaken for film actresses. They have given up modesty. Their semi-nude attire, their fondness for showy colors, and their keenness for make-up reveal that they have no other object before them than to become sex magnets. They have become so immodest that now it is no more a matter of shame for them to bathe along with men in bathing-costumes and get themselves photographed for newspapers. This is now no question of shame for according to modern concepts of morality no part of the human body is private. If the palm of the hand and sole of the foot can be displayed, what harm is there in uncovering the thighs and the breasts? Hedonism that manifests itself in “art” is above morality and has a moral criterion of its own. It is on this account that fathers and brothers feel delighted when they see their young daughters and sisters give musical and dancing performances on the stage and win applause from excited audiences of hundreds and thousands. Material success which for these people is the sole object of life is more valuable than anything else in the world. A girl who has acquired this object and has mastered the art of winning popularity in society has attained great success in life, though she may have lost her chastity. That is why these people cannot understand why a young girl’s studying along with boys in a school or college, or her going to Europe by herself for studies be held as objectionable.
What do the “Occidentals” say?
These are the people who mostly object to Purdah. They look upon Purdah as something detestable, to be straightway rejected. They think that ridiculing Purdah and taking of it in a disparaging manner is enough to refute the argument supporting it. But this attitude is similar to the attitude of a person who does not recognize the necessity of the nose on the human face, and who therefore starts ridiculing every person whom he finds having a nose on his face. Such an attitude can impress ignorant people only. These people, if they have any sense, should realize that the values they recognize differ radically from the values we cherish. Things that we value, have no value for them. As a result, the way of life that we cherish according to our standards of values should be absolutely worthless from their point of view. But in the presence of such basic differences only a foolish person would disregard the real issue and choose to attack the side issues. The only criterion that can help determine human values are the Laws of Nature. A value which according to these Laws satisfies the demands of human nature and leads man to real success and well-being will be the real value worthy of our regard. Let us, therefore, judge our respective values against this criterion and see who is in the right. Let us present our respective arguments and decide impartially and rationally which arguments are weightier. Thus, if we prove our set of values to be of real standard, people may accept them as rationally and scientifically founded, or they may continue to follow those values, which they have adopted solely on account of base motives. In this case, however, they will soon realize that their own position has become ridiculous.
The “Lip-Service” Muslims
The first section comprises the non-Muslims and the so-called Muslims only, but this section consists wholly of the professed Muslims. Women of these people neither observe full Purdah nor or wholly unveiled. Their behavior is illustrative of the mentality of “the irresolute people who neither follow this way nor that…” On the one hand, these people claim to cherish the Islamic standards of morality, culture and nobility of character. They want their women to be chaste and modest, and their homes free from immorality. They are also not prepared to face the consequences that should naturally follow from the principles of Western civilization and pattern of life. But, on the other hand, they are violating the principles of the Islamic way of life and taking their wives, sisters and daughters, though hesitatingly, on the way of Western civilization. These people in fact, are harboring the misconception that by combining half-Western and half-Islamic ways they will be gaining the advantages of both the civilizations. In other words, they will be able to preserve Islamic morals in their homes, keep intact the family discipline, and at the same time, benefit by the charms and pleasures and material gains of the Western way of life also, remaining immune from its abuses. But this attitude is irrational in more than one way. In the first place, it is wrong to graft together mutilated parts of two civilizations which are diametrically opposed to each other in ideals and structure, for such an unnatural combination is more likely to gather the demerits of both rather than their merits. Secondly, it is equally wrong to allow relaxation in the sound moral principles of Islam, give people the habit of violating the law, and then try to stop them within the “harmless” bounds. The prevalence of semi-nude dresses and craze for beautification, the initiation ceremonies and the increasing interest in the cinema, nude pictures and love romances, and the education of girls on the Western pattern may not entail immediate consequences; these may not even seem to harm the present generation. But cherishing the hope that the future generation also will remain immune from their evil effects is a grave folly. All wrong customs have an innocent beginning in the community life. But as they are handed down by one generation to the other they assume unusual dimensions. Even in Europe and America, consequences of the reorganization of community life on wrong bases did not appear forthwith; they have fully appeared now after three or four generations. Therefore, the blend of the Western and Islamic ways and observance of the so-called Purdah is not solution at all. It indeed reflects a strong inclination towards extreme Westernism. People who are treading this path should clearly understand that the beginning they have made may not bring them to grief, but it will surely lead their children or the children of their children to grave consequences.
The Decisive Question
In a situation as this, these people should pause for a while and consider as best as they can the following basic question: Are they prepared to face the natural and logical consequences of the Western ways of life which have already appeared in Europe and America? Do they really want: that their social environment also should be charged with sexual and emotional excitements? That their nation also should abound in immodesty, corruption and sexual promiscuity? That divorces and separations should become common? That men and women should freely indulge in the gratification of their sexual desires? That new generation should be prevented by contraceptive devices, abortion and genocide? That young boys and girls should dissipate their energies and ruin their health? That young children should develop sexual appetite prematurely, and that their mental and physical growth should be hampered in the very beginning?
If they are prepared to face all this only for the sake of material gain and sensual pleasures, they may freely follow the Western way and leave Islam alone. But before they go the Western way they will have to declare their desertion of Islam so that they may no longer use it to deceive people and their misdeeds do not reflect on Islam and the Muslims.
But if they are not prepared to face these consequences, if they want to have a clean and pure community life, they should not even look towards the Western way. For the Western way leads just to the opposite direction and cannot take them to the desired goal. Indeed it is only Islam which can provide wholesome atmosphere for the development of high morals and noble traits of character, which can guarantee true progress of man’s intellectual, spiritual and physical abilities. Again it is the Islamic atmosphere alone in which men and women can perform their social functions to the best of their abilities, uninterrupted by the lusts of flesh, in which family system, the cornerstone of civilization, can be firmly established, in which lineage can remain pure and uncorrupted, in which the family life can be source of peace and comfort for man, a cradle of educational training for his offspring and an association for co-operative action for all the members of the family. If they really cherish these objectives, they should sincerely follow the way of Islam.
Bt before they choose the way of Islam they will have to give up all desire for material gains and sensual pleasures that has been created by the fascinations of Western civilization; they will have to cleanse their mind of all those concepts and ideas that they have borrowed from Europe; and they will have to cast off all those principles and ideals that they have imbibed from the Western culture and way of life. Islam has its own principles and ideals and its own social concepts in accordance with which it has built its own system of life. It protects and safeguards this system by a specific discipline that has been devised with utmost wisdom and with full consideration for human psychology. It is no Utopia like Plato’s Republic. It has stood the test of time through more than thirteen and a half centuries. During this long period its impact has not produced even one-tenth of the evils and abuses that have been caused by the Western civilization during a century or so. Therefore, if they want to benefit by this strong and tried out system of life, they will have to abide fully by the discipline that it brings. Then they will not be allowed the choice to transplant in it half-baked, untested ways which are the product of their own thought or have been borrowed from others and are wholly opposed to it in content and spirit.
As for the third section, it consists of the foolish and thoughtless people who cannot think and form independent opinion. These people do not deserve attention and may, therefore, be ignored.
Laws of Nature
Nature has created man, like other species, as male and female, each possessing a strong natural urge for the other. The study of other animal species has shown that their division into male and female and the natural urge in them for the opposite sex is confined to the propagation of the particular species only. That is why their sexual urge is just proportionate to requirements to that end. Moreover, this urge has been so controlled in them instinctively that they never transgress sexually the limits set for their nature. Contrary to this, man has been endowed with this urge in a liberal, unparallel measure, knowing no discipline whatever. Man knows no restriction of time and clime and there is no discipline that may control him sexually. Man and woman have a perpetual appeal for each other. They have been endowed with a powerful urge for sexual love, with an unlimited capacity to attract and be attracted sexually. Their physical constitution, its proportion and shape, its complexion, even its contiguity and touch, have a strange spell for the opposite sex, their voice, their gait, their manner and appearance, each has a magnetic power. On top of that, the world around them abounds in factors that perpetually arouse their sexual impulse and make one inclined to the other. The soft murmuring breeze, the running water, the natural hues of vegetation, the sweet smell of flowers, the chirping of birds, the dark clouds, the charms of moonlit night, in short, all the beauties and all the grace of nature, stimulate directly or indirectly the sexual urge between the male and female.
Then if we examine the physical system of man we shall find that nature has reserved in it great store of energy which is at once the source of vitality for life, for action and for sexual coitus. The same glands which provide hormones for his limbs and activate them also produce for him sexual energy. Moreover, they develop in him the impulse to utilize this energy, lend special charm, elegance and grace to his body to excite this impulse, and furnish his eyes, his ears and his senses of smell and touch, even his imagination, with the quality of being stimulated and allured by these enchantments.
The same endowments of nature can be seen at work in the psychic life of man. All his mental forces seem to be governed by two main urges of his self: the urge for self-preservation, and the urge for establishing relationship with the opposite sex. In youth when the practical powers of man are at their zenith, the latter urge, being the stronger one, generally dominates the former. Sometimes it so overwhelms man that he would be prepared even to lay down his very life in order to satisfy it.
Role of Sex Appeal in Civilization
The question arises: what is all this for? Is it merely for the propagation of the species? No, for the human species has not to depend on sexual intercourse as much for its propagation as fish and goats and other animals do. Why then has nature endowed man with an extra ordinary inclination to sex and also provided around him means which arouse and excite it continually? Has this all been arranged for the pleasure and enjoyment of man? - No, not even that. Nature has nowhere made pleasure and enjoyment as an end it itself. It has always had some higher and nobler end in view for the achievement of which it impels man and animal to strive from within. Pleasure and enjoyment are there, but these in fact serve as an allurement so that effort is made earnestly and with devotion. Let us then consider what is that noble object before nature in this regard. The more one thinks the more will one be convinced that nature intends to make the human race, unlike other species, a civilized race used to community life.
That is why the heart of man has been infused with an unusual urge for sexual love and attachment which demands not only physical union and matting but also an enduring and sincere spiritual fellowship. That is why man has been endowed with sexual inclination in a degree greater than what is requisite for the purpose of mating. The sexual urge and appeal in him is so great that if he begins to gratify it in the sexual act even in the ratio of 1:10, he will soon ruin his health and exhaust his energies prematurely. This is a clear indication of the design of nature that the great measure in which sexual urge and appeal has been placed in man is not meant to enable him to perform the sexual act more often than animals, but it is meant to unite man and woman in a lifelong companionship.
That is why woman has been endowed, besides sexual desire and appeal, with modesty, resistance and escape more or less generally. This quality of resistance and escape is found in the females of other species too; but in the human female it is stronger and keener by far and it has been rendered all the more intense by the feminine sense of modesty. This also shows that the real object of sex magnetism in man is to secure permanent companionship between man and woman, and not that every sexual impulse in them is meant to lead to and culminate in a sexual act.
That is why the human child has been created the tenderest and weakest of all young ones in the animal kingdom. The human baby, unlike the young ones of other species, has to depend on its parents for protection and upbringing for quite some years, and it takes a considerably longer time to develop self-sustenance. This also implies that the relationship between man and woman should not only be of a sexual nature, but as a consequence of this relationship they should develop mutual regard and co-operation in the wider sphere of life.
That is why love of offspring is strongest in man. Animals nurse their young ones for a brief period only, and then break all relations of love and blood with them, so much so that they do not even recognize each other. Contrary to this, man remains emotionally attached to his offspring even after its early stage of development. He transfers his love even to the offspring of his offspring, and in most cases it so overwhelms his selfish animality that he gladly sacrifices his personal desires to the desires of his children. He wishes from his innermost heart that he may provide the best possible means of life for them and leave behind the fruits of his labors for their comforts and enjoyment. The existence of this intense sentiment of love in the human heart clearly shows that nature wants the sexual urge between man and woman to bind them in an enduring fellowship, to make this fellowship the basis for family life, to knit several families together by the love of blood relations, to lay foundations for co-operation and mutual dealings by common loves, and finally to create a society and system of community life.
Basic Problem of Civilization
This shows that the sexual desire that has been infused in each nerve-cell of the human body and soul for the motivation of which stimulants have been scattered throughout the world, aims at turning his egotism into collective channels. Nature has made this desire the chief motivating force for the purpose of establishing community life. It leads to companionship between the sexes, which in turn result in the social life of man on the earth.
It must by now have become clear that the problem of man and woman’s mutual relationship is indeed the most fundamental problem of civilization, and on its right and rational solution depends the well-being, prosperity and stability, or otherwise, of man’s community life on earth. One kind of relationship between the sexes is of animal or purely sexual nature: its only object is the propagation of the race. The other relationship is the human one, which aims at bringing the two sexes together for co-operation in attaining the common goals of life according to the inherent liabilities of each. To secure this co-operation sexual love acts as a binding force between the male and the female; and, thus, the animal and human factors not only impel man to work for the advancement and preservation of civilization but also to supply individuals to continue this function. Hence, the prosperity and stability, or otherwise, of civilization wholly depends on a balanced and proper co-ordination of the two elements.
Requirements of a Clean Community Life
Now let us examine and analyze the question: what is the right and rational proportion in which the animal and human elements in man and woman’s relationship can be combined to create a pious and clean community life, and what are the disruptive factors which generally corrupt it?
Control of Sexual Urge
In this regard the foremost problem is how to keep a check on the sexual urge and appeal. As has been pointed out above, the urge of sex is strongest in man, not only are the internal motives in man for sex stimulation very powerful but the world around him also abounds in all sorts of sex stimulants for him. This urge for stimulation of which nature herself has extensively arranged did not indeed stand in need of further stimulation by him. But if man also starts devising means of promoting it by use of his ingenuity, and adopts a way of life in which the sexual appetite goes on increasing and to satisfy it facilities are also multiplied, it will surely transgress all limits. In such a case the human side of his nature will soon be dominated by his animal side, and his animality will eventually suppress both his humanity and civilization.
The sex relation along with each of its preliminaries and motives has been made pleasure-yielding by nature. But as has been pointed out above, the element of pleasure has been provided to allure man into the service of the real ideal, viz., the creation of a civilized community life. On the contrary, if pursuit of pleasure becomes a craze with man it may result, as it always has resulted in the past, in his ruin. Historical and other evidence about nations which have met their downfall clearly shows that pursuit of the pleasure of the body among them had transgressed all limits. Their literature abounds in sensational themes; their concepts, their legends, their poetry, their palaces, all bear evidence of the same. The nations which are heading for a similar catastrophe present a similar phenomenon. They may conceal sexual perversion under cover of art, romantic literature, aesthetics and such other fine and innocent labels, but reality does not change with the change of interpretation. After all, how is it that in modern society a woman feels more at home in the company of men than of women, and a man more at home in the company of women than of men? Why is the craze for make-up and beautification among men and women on the increase? Why, in the present-day mixed society, is the woman gradually casting away her clothes and becoming more and more inclined to expose each part of her body before man who is becoming more and more crazy about female nudity? Why are nude pictures and images and semi-nude dances becoming more and more popular? How is it that cinema picture is not appreciated unless it contains a love romance punctuated with dialogues and actions concomitant of sex relations? What do such affairs indicate if not sexuality and sex hunger? A civilization that abounds in such affairs and trends cannot but be destined to a tragic end.
In such an emotional and sexually charged environment it is inevitable that new generations become physically weak, their intellectual development be retarded, and their mental energies dissipated; it is inevitable that obscenity prevails, venereal diseases spread, movements for contraception, abortion and genocide thrive and men and women being mating like animals. Such a sensual craze cannot but ruin all human civilization, even man himself eventually, and lead the people involved in it into such depths of moral depravity as may not allow them a second opportunity of rising again.
Similar will be the fate of the civilization, which follows the other extreme. Just as a dissipation of sexual energy is harmful, so is the tendency to curb and suppress it unduly. The civilization that leads man into retirement, towards celibacy and monasticism, fights against nature. But nature has never been defeated by any opponent; it has rather crushed its opponents. Pure monasticism can never become the basis of a civilization; it is indeed the negation of civilized and community life. However, it is possible to create a civilization with a non-sexual atmosphere by inculcating monastic ideas in the minds, and by educating the people to look upon the sex relation as something base, despicable and filthy, keeping away from which may be a criterion of morality and curbing which by all possible means an act of piety. But curbing the sexual urge is in fact curbing humanity itself. If we suppress that urge we are suppressing along with it the intellectual as well as the practical powers of man, his ability to reason and think, his courage and will power, his valor and perseverance. Thus, the suppression of the sexual urge is tantamount to suppression of the intellectual and physical powers of man. It is subduing and crushing all his capabilities leaving no hope of their regeneration, for the chief motivating force in man is his sexual power and ability.
Thus the primary function of a clean community life is to prevent the sexual urge from running wild, to moderate and regulate it in a system. The social system should, on the one hand, curb motives leading to abnormal and sensual tendencies. On the other, it should open ways for the satisfaction of the normal urges in accordance with the requirements of nature.
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|Posted: 19 April 2005 at 1:39am|
"Towards the end of the 19th century, French people had begun looking upon fornication as an ordinary, natural act for the male. Parents did not at all mind their sons’ moral delinquency, provided that it did not involve them in criminal cases and venereal diseases. Rather they felt pleased if it helped relation with a woman was in no way bad. There are instances to show that parents themselves encouraged their young sons to establish relations with influential and wealthy ladies in order to make their future secure and bright. But as regards women, the concept was quite different. Female chastity was still valued highly. The parents who did not seriously mind their son’s delinquency, youthful pranks, were not prepared to stand any blot of infamy on the person of their daughter. The French society could tolerate a fornicator, but it detested a fornicatress; it loathed the prostitute but it exempted from blemish the man visiting her. Similarly, the moral responsibility of man and woman bound in wedlock was not regarded as equal. A husband could freely go about sowing his wild oats, but a wife’s promiscuous behavior was regarded with disgust."
Many people would point to polygamy and say exactly the same thing.
The only difference is the marriage license.
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Note: The 99 names of Allah avatars are courtesy of www.arthafez.com