Muslim women have rights, too To the Editor
Guyana Chronicle
October 31, 2001

I've noticed a number of letters in your "letter to the editor" column debating the issue of women's rights or lack of rights in Islam. As a result, I think this letter is long overdue.

It should be noted that women in Islam are not subjected, ignorant, uneducated and without rights. In fact, it is the opposite. Women in Islam have received their rights more than 1400 years ago, long before the Western women even realized they were entitled to any.

The media have misunderstood and misreported this topic because of their ignorance and over generalization. Below are just a few of the many rights enjoyed by Muslim women. These are by no means exhausted. For more information on this topic, the Holy Quran and the Hadith are good sources.

Islam decreed a right, of which women were deprived both before and after it, (even as late as the last century), the right to independent ownership. According to Islamic law, women's right to her money, real estate or other properties is fully acknowledged. This right undergoes no change whether she is single or married. She retains her full rights to buy, sell, mortgage or lease any or all her properties and her money does not transfer to her husband after marriage.

There is no decree in Islam, which forbids women from seeking employment. This is not compulsory on her behalf, but if she chooses to work, she is free to do whatever she wants with her money. It is the duty of the husband to take care of the wife and his family. Islam permits women to keep her maiden name after marriage.

Islam also gives women the right of election as well as the nomination to political or public offices. To educate a woman is like educating a whole nation since it is often her primary role of taking care of the children and give them a strong foundation for life. It is therefore impossible for anyone to justify any mistreatment of woman by any decree or rule embodied in the Islamic law, nor could anyone dare to cancel, reduce or distort the clear-cut legal rights of women given in Islamic law.

It is also worthwhile to state that the status, which women reached during the present era, was not achieved due to the kindness of men or due to natural progress. It was rather achieved through a long struggle and sacrifice on woman's part and only when society needed her contribution and work, more especially during the Second World War and due to the escalation of technological changes.

In the case of Islam such compassion and dignified status was decreed, not because it reflects the environment of the seventh century, or under the threat or pressure of women and their organizations, but rather because of its intrinsic truthfulness.

Taken with a grain of salt
Balwant Prasad's letter in the Chronicle (12.10.01) captioned "Jesus in the Himalayas" should be taken with a grain of salt.

Mr. Prasad points out that the Travel Channel of the United States showed a documentary headlined, "Jesus in the Himalayas" which details the story of a thirteen-year old Palestinian boy who lived in the area until the age of thirty, and who "returned to the area after surviving a crucifixion". This sounds exactly like the balderdash that is contained in Holger Kersten's eye-catching book, Jesus lived in India!

Having a "documentary" shown on TV or having a book published does not make one's claims legitimate. What is important is for one to document and substantiate one's claims with facts and figures, not by one's mere wishful thinking or romanticising.

I have studied in India, lived in the foothills of the Himalayas and travelled extensively in that part of the world. Having resided in that country for a few years I have come to appreciate and love that land dearly. I have also done some research into the claims by some that Jesus lived in India and have quickly concluded such claims are a total farce.

There is no historical or substantiated proof that Jesus lived in India. However, there is ample proof that Jesus Christ was born, lived, died and resurrected in Palestine, just as it was prophesied hundreds of years before he was born.

Devanand Bhagwan