Many women live in cultures where religion is a male dominated system. Utilizing Chapters Thirteen, Fifteen, and Eighteen along with the articles in the reader: India’s Widows and the article Rosh Chodesh write an essay comparing and contrasting the religious lives of these women within the context of the male dominated system that they find themselves. All these women are found in religions that are patriarchal and it appears in religions that try to alienate them.
1. In Chapter thirteen, on Islam and the Tribal women, we discovered that the Mullah the religious leader, labeled the women as bad Muslims, even calling them heathens. He did not even consider them worthy of education. This poses a problem for the women as they will not be able to read the Quran and know what God wants of them. How has such treatment of the women affected them psychologically? How are the women coping with the situation? What are your thoughts on their religious situation? What would you do in this situation to make it better for yourself?
2. In Chapter Eighteen on the Jewish women, we learned that for centuries, women were not accepted to be part of the Minyan. A Judaic Sabbath cannot begin without a minyan. Women were not able to be Rabbis. Today there are still branches of Judaism in which women are not part of the Minyan or Rabbis. In Contrast to what the men deem appropriate for the women to do in a religious manner, God has given women rituals like the Rosh Chodesh for their faithfulness. Also, God has chosen women as prophets and leaders. What are your thoughts on what seems to be a contradiction from what God has allowed these women to do in a religious manner as opposed to what the men allow the women to do in a religious manner?
You may choose from the four questions listed above and choose two of the questions to answer. Then complete a comparison/contrast of the women.
Some other thoughts that could be developed in your response for the above questions. For example, discuss how each of these women has responded to the criticism heaped upon them. Where do they worship? What avenues are open to them? Have they created new avenues or do they work within the avenues open to them? Discuss how each group views religion and their place in it. What would you do if you found yourself in such a situation? Would you leave, or try to improve on what is there? What do you think the reason would be for some of the women not doing anything about their situation?
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