Arabic word for ‘nakedness,’ ‘shame’ also means ‘woman’

Do we wonder why there is so much sexism and misogyny in the Arab world and elsewhere? It’s embedded in the language: In Arabic, for example, an important word for “shame” and “nakedness” – which represents a grievous sin in Islam – also commonly connotes “woman,” according to Wikipedia and other sources cited there and below:

Awrah or Awrat (Arabic: عورة‎) is a term used within Islam which denotes the intimate parts of the body, for both men and women, which must be covered with clothing. Exposing the awrah is unlawful in Islam and is regarded as sin. The exact definition of awrah varies between different schools of Islamic thought.

Etymologically, the term awrah derives from the root ‘a-w-r which means “defectiveness,” “imperfection,” “blemish” or “weakness.” However, the most common English translation is “nakedness.”

In Persian and Kurdish (Persian: عورت) as well as Urdu, the word awrat derived from the Arabic awrah, had been used widely to mean “woman.” Consulting Mohammad Moin’s dictionary of Persian, awrah leads to two significations:

1. Nakedness, shame
2. Young woman.

Other derivatives range in meaning from blind in one eye, false or artificial, among others. Traditionally the word awrat, alongside the word za’ifeh (which derives from Arabic za’if, meaning weak) has been associated with femininity and women who lived under the protection of a man. In modern day Iran, using the two words (awrah and za’ifah) to refer to women is uncommon and is considered sexist language. Instead, the words zan and khanum are used. In Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, the word za’if is still used in the Tajik dialect of Persian and its subdialects.

In Urdu, awrat (aurat) is practically the only way to say ‘woman’….

The word awrah is used in the Koran in its meaning of “vulnerable.” A hadith (a purported saying or deed of Mohammed) explains the correlation between the Koranic term and the woman:

Awrah refers to anything which can be easily harmed just like a bare or exposed place. Therefore it becomes clear that the body of a woman is referred to as vulnerable because it is like a house which contains no walls and can be easily harmed and must be covered with the appropriate clothing.

The definition of what is awrah in Islam changes from place to place and sect to sect, with the most extreme positions taken by those who force women to cover up entirely, such as the Taliban and Salafis. In these cases especially, women are perceived as little more than walking genitals/vaginas. In one misogynistic and sexophobic Islamic viewpoint, a woman’s voice is considered awrah, meaning that she must never even speak to an unapproved male. Women under the dominion of these sexist cults have no other value in life than to conceive and raise children, along with serving as household slaves.

Burka and niqab are a ‘choice?’

Yet, many “feminists” would like us to believe that dressing in the burka and niqab constitutes a “choice” for the women. However, it is clear that there is no “choice” here, and women are not viewed as having any say in the matter, as they are barely considered to be human beings. Wearing a burka or niqab is not a choice by any stretch of the imagination, and the Muslim women who make such claims are under duress to do so. Moreover, if a woman’s mere voice is awrah, how could she possibly even express her “choice” to anyone but the male “guardians” lording over her? The same males who, according to the Koran, are allowed to beat her for “disobedience?” Such traditions rank as clearly coercive, and the “choice” argument proves itself disingenuous.

Biblical and Talmudic misogyny

The bigotry, sexism and misogyny engrained in the Arabic terms awrah or awrat evidently emanate from at least Old Testament times. Found in the biblical book of Genesis (9:22), for example, the word in Hebrew for “nakedness,” “nudity,” “shame” and “indecency” is עֶרְוָה or ervah, the root of which, arah, means “to bare” or “to expose oneself.” This Hebrew term ervah also refers to “genitals,” and is evidently cognate with the Arabic awrah, used in a similar manner in Orthodox Judaism to determine rules for covering up. As in the later Islamic derivative, in the Talmud this discussion extends to the point of a woman’s voice being ervah or “shameful” and “indecent.”

Furthermore, the term awrah is used in the Arabic story of Adam and Eve, a biblical myth in which sin, shame, nakedness and loss of innocence are all blamed on the original woman, responsible for the downfall of mankind. This Abrahamic myth has set the stage for an incalculable amount of sexism and misogyny, with an unfathomably ghastly toll in countless places over the millennia.

“The Abrahamic myth of Adam and Eve has set the stage for an incalculable amount of sexism and misogyny, with an unfathomably ghastly toll in countless places over the millennia.”

The association of nakedness, shame, imperfection and sin with women represents a pathological viewpoint largely found in dangerous and lawless desert regions, where kidnap and rape have been common. Such prejudice, bigotry and sexism are entirely inappropriate for other cultures, eras and places. In an enlightened, sexually healthy and truly peaceful perspective of sexuality, women could go naked, and there would be no uproar.

On the contrary, such relaxed nudity has been a natural, not “sinful,” state that no one has noticed. Men in such eras or cultures have not been obsessed perverts looking for anything to relieve their sexual tension, as they have been sexually fulfilled instead. There is less violence, rape and sociopathy in societies or groups in which adults are sexually fulfilled. Abrahamic religion has completely corrupted this natural and healthy perspective and way of life, and the constant violence and misogyny committed by fervent followers of the Abrahamic cultus represent the result of this corruption.

The black stone in the Kaaba at MeccaOddly enough in consideration of this virulent women-hatred and oppression, one of the most sacred objects in Islamic tradition, the black stone in the Kaaba at Mecca – smashed into pieces at some point in the past, possibly because it originated as a shiva lingam or phallus sacred to Hindus – is surrounded by a vesica piscis or yoni-shaped frame of silver that represents the female vulva. This past reverence of the divine female has been destroyed by male-dominant Islam, which appears to be founded largely upon the suppression of all things female.

Further Reading

Awrah – Wikipedia
Muhammad: A Misogynist
The Origins of Islam
Kol Isha – the Voice of Woman
Man Made God
Saharasia: The 4000 BCE Origins of Child Abuse, Sex-repression, Warfare and Social Violence, In the Deserts of the Old World

32 Comments

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  1. Shame, women and biblical sources
    Mentioning the vesica piscis as a destroyed portion of the ancient pre-Moslem Arab focus of worship at Kaaba suggests the virulent religious hatred of women was copied from out of the Jewish sources that were the foundation of Muhammadanism and not native to original Arab cultures. It is the same pattern with the same Jewish sources being copied into the earliest Christianity as a means of co-opting and compromising pre-existing Western Mediterranean cultural values.

    The common element is always Jewish hatreds and prejudices introduced to enslave the new acolytes. The god pushed off on other cultures as the ‘one god of all’ hates his own work, the work of others and hates and test ‘those that love him’. Clearly the god in question is a psychopathic entity best described by the NeoPlatonic philosophers as ‘the Demiruge’.

    Early Christians fought hard to keep Judaism out of Christianity but failed. In the end, Christianity, like the later Islamic efforts, was turned into a cult of intellectual slaves helots serving blind political obedience of a self-appointed group of ‘experts’ interpreting ‘the law’.

    Just because someone says, ‘There is one god, only’, doesn’t mean that is the ‘Creator of All’. It has been demonstrated that the Jewish tradition of Yaweh is really only the insertion (via biblical descriptions) of a false god, falsely elevated to a position of sole authority.

    If Spirit is ‘pure awareness’, then it is totally self-sustaining and requires NOTHING from that Mind which It created (awareness which is not self-sustaining). When a so-called ‘monotheistic supreme being’ is described as requiring sacrifices, regretting the creations of its design (imperfection) etc, etc. it is shown to simply be a false idol, albeit a ‘monotheistic’ false idol. This is the false idol at the core of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

    1. What utter BS. “Fought hard to keep Judaism out of Christianity” – it was the Church-defined Christians who attempted to anchor their hodge-podge of dualist dogmas to the Hebrew scriptures – which hadn’t even been fully codified yet anyway – and spent hundreds of years trying to iron out the inconsistencies of thier doctiine based on their ignorance of the Hebrew traditions. The so-called Gnostic heresy that callled their blufff again and again, in itis insistence on creation being by a Hebrew demiurge that only created misery, easily moves from law-hating to misogyny to misanthropy because of libido-hatred when let out of its cage. The so-called Western gnostic-hermetic traditon with its sado-macochistic overtones of sucking up to angels and deities to advance ione’s own will to power is nothing more than Might Makes Right that Crowley and Aquino and the rest of their lot makes into the sex magic of cruelty-as-transcendence. There was no Jewish religion until the Hebrew temple cult was snuffed out and some intellectualls creatively reinterpreted thier pre-apocalyptic scriptures as a counter to the death-worship of the apocolypse-obsessed Christians.

  2. “In Urdu, awrat (aurat) is practically the only way to say ‘woman'; this is also true in Hindi.”

    A small correction is needed on this. The word ‘aurat’ in Hindi is not native or original to it but only used as another word to refer to a woman. You can say somewhat like the word ‘jungle’ used in English for forest. The proper word for woman in Hindi is ‘Stree’ which is of proper Sanskrit origin.

  3. your knowlege is very short
    Contributing Writers – Acharya S …..you need to work on first and then post the knowlege which is not hurt any relgious views of the people. Thank you for your interst about the women in ISLAM…. you need to work more on it and come back with the proper reference… not to write

    1. Thank you. It sounds as if you did not even read the article. It should be obvious not only that I do know what I’m talking about but also that I have provided the evidence of my contentions, about which you are apparently ignorant.

      In any event, we are not concerned with not hurting “religious views of the people.” Most people’s religious views are offensive to ME – please respect MY religion.

  4. I think this all just goes to show how the behaviour advocated by Islam (and, for that matter, Abrahamic teachings in general) is just plain unnatural and will inevitably have negative consequences.
    If there is indeed “less violence, rape and sociopathy in societies or groups in which adults are sexually fulfilled” then it would certainly be a good idea if the rest of the world could learn to live like this and stop living in the unnatural manners proscribed by the old teachings of the Abrahamic religions.

    Also, that Saharasia link was rather intriguing. While I do not currently know enough about that book to agree or disagree with its points, it still looks like something that could be worth looking into.

  5. Great posting !
    Even though “Awrat” is used in hindi but it is not a hindi/sanskrit word. It was introduced into Hindi by Arab plunderers of India, “Aadmi” from the arabic for Adam and Awrat for women both arabic words

    The proper word in Hindi/Sanskrit would be Mahila which I think means “great light” as in fair or as in refulgence, shining , bright, glowing.

    There are other words in Hindi and Sanskrit for women such as “Naari” which means fragrant or one with fragrance and “Stri” which literally means feminine

  6. Thank you. The highlighted part about the Hindi word is set aside in a blockquote because it is from WIKIPEDIA, and I had nothing to do with it; nor can I correct it. I can only delete it, which I have done. You could, however, go to Wikipedia and try to correct the claim there.

  7. please correct the text about the use of awrat in
    Dear Acharya,

    I really appreciate and respect your work!
    But I have to say like Balu and swami_beyondananda:

    Aurat is definitely NOT the only way to say woman in Hindi

    Like the aformentioned posters mentioned before, we have words such as Nari, Stri and perhaps the most frequently used word: ladki/larki. These are 3 actual hindi words, not loan words from other cultures. So could you please edit that bit of text as it is inaccurate?

    I do have to say that unfortunately, the word aurat is used in Hindi films (what people know as Bollywood) As an Indian woman I get angry every time I hear that word, because that word came from barbaric invaders who probably viewed all us Indian infidel women as mere aurats. Therefore I think the word is not only anti-woman but also racist! The sad part is that many Indians don’t know the meaning nor the origin of the word.

  8. Gimmesometruth
    Hi Gimmesometruth,

    Just to point out, I was not trying to criticize Acharya in any way with my “correction” of the use of the word “Awrat”. My attempt to point out alternate “Indian” words as opposed to “Arabic ” words for woman was merely academic.

    I absolutely adore Acharya’s intellect and depth!!

    I had a bitter argument with an Indian muslim woman recently over the use of the word “awrat” in a multi-faith seminar, I attended at the university here in the US. As an “atheist”, I was all riled up and naturally appalled by her inability to understand the offensive origins of the word. She refused to accept “awrat” as an arabic word and refused to accept the meaning that Acharya provided in this blog!

    I grew up in the UK and have dealt with Indian muslims. They often try to be more muslim than the Arabs!

    So, no way was I upset at Acharya for this post. Kudos to you for rejecting that awful word “awrat”.

    I lap up her pearls of wisdom with wild abandon!

    1. I’m with you pal!
      Hi Swami,

      I’m a fan too! I didn’t think of your post as criticizing, nor did I intend my post to be some sort of critique towards Acharya!

      But when there is an error in an article, it needs to be corrected. It’s as simple as that ;-) I wasn’t upset with Acharya, but with the false statement about the use of aurat in the hindi language (which was actually copy-pasted from Wikipedia!)

      I agree with your statement about Indian muslims trying to “outmuslim” the arabs. I live in the Netherlands and see that both Indian muslims and more so Pakistani do some serious ass kissing to the Arabs and Turks here. It’s like they have to prove themselves or something. Very unsightly.

      Yeah usually when I explain the meaning of aurat I see that people are shocked! And then they don’t use it anymore :-)

  9. In Arabic, for example, the word for “woman” is equivalent to the term for “shame” and “nakedness,” which represents a grievous sin in Islam.

    That’s simply not true. The word ‘awrah’ does not mean woman in Arabic.

    1. Thank you. Apparently you did not even read the rest of the article, in which I demonstrate the original contention. My article did not stop with that sentence, and there’s little reason for me to repeat the rest of it here, but I will add supportive evidence. If you disagree with the sources that make this contention, it would be good if you took up this issue with them.

      In the first place, Iranian professor Dr. Mohammed Moin’s Dictionary of Persianevidently states that ‘awrah means “nakedness,” “shame” and “young woman,” which is what the title of my article stated, precisely and accurately. This Persian usage is quite obviously well known, since Persians reject the word as being derogatory towards women.

      Here’s another source that states عورة or awrat/aurat means, among other things, “woman” – an definition site (http://www.definition-of.net) clearly stated that the term aurat refers to male and female genitalia, as well as “woman.”

      In one place, the site specifies that aurat or awrat means “woman” in Urdu, as my article also asserted, through a quote from Wikipedia. In any event, the word is originally Arabic, and it connotes “genitalia” and sinful “nakedness,” as well as “woman,” as passed down through Urdu, for one. As we can see from this book as well, the originally Arabic word aurat in Urdu means “sister,” “wife” and “daughter” – these are all women. (Ulrike Zeshan, Sign language in Indo-Pakistan, 33)

      If the Persians and Pakistanis have got the meaning of the Arabic term aurat wrong, then they need to be informed. Moreover, you will need to correct the hadith likewise cited above, which clearly associates aurat as used in the Koran to mean “vulnerable” as also referring to a woman’s body. One hadith, in fact, states outright that “the woman is ‘awrah – when she leaves her house, the devil welcomes her.” (Ihy’a ‘Uloum ed-Din by Ghazali, Dar al-Kotob al-‘Elmeyah, Beirut, v. 2; Kitab Adab al-Nikah, p. 65. “Reported by Tirmizi as a true and good Ahadith.”) Here, ‘awrah is clearly associated with the woman, which is likely where the Urdu and Persian speakers gathered the meaning from.

      Thus, the tradition of associating ‘awrah with “woman,” to the point where a derivative word awrat or aurat is equivalent to “woman” in Persian and Urdu, is apparently very old and quite clearly emanates from Arabic usage. In his book Women and Islam (81-82), Haideh Moghissi states:

      ‘Awrah, a term mentioned a few times in the Qur’an and more in the Hadith, is among Islamic notions subjected to lay and expert interpretations considered unfavorable to Muslim women. The term’s most common English translation is “blemish,” and the reference is to a woman’s body, parts of which are characterized in these interpretations as a blemish that must be concealed…. Etymologically, the term derives from the root ‘a-w-r. Consulting Wehr’s Arabic-English Dictionary (1994) leads to two signications:

      (1) (sing.) defectiveness, imperfection, blemish, flaw; (2) (pl. ‘awrat) (a) pudenda, genitals; (b) weakness….

      Moghissi next cites Quran 24:31:

      …and male slaves or eunuchs or underage boys not yet sexually mature for contact with women’s ‘awrat [genitals] in intercourse…

      He next says, “In the above text ‘awrat connotes women’s genitals.” (Note that Moghissi later attempts to argue against this interpretation; however, not only does he not deny but also he clearly states that it is the common connotation.)

      Again, this contention was already demonstrated in the original article, which you evidently did not read.

  10. Is the word awrah associated with women in Islam? Yes. That much is clear to me as an ex-muslim.

    However, the word awrah does not mean woman in the arabic language. Period.

    As an arabic speaker, if I replaced the word woman with the word awrah people wouldn’t know what I meant.

    I don’t care what the meaning is in Urdu or Farsi, I was specifically commenting on the sentence where you said awrah and the word for woman are equivalent in Arabic (which I notice you changed).

    I hope this is clear in what I was objecting to and what I was commenting on. I don’t take issue with your contention on the meanings of awrat in Urdu or Farsi (and nor do I know any Urdu or Farsi to really comment).

    1. Thank you. Yes, although the original sentence was accurate, in that I specified the word for “woman” was “equivalent to” the term for “shame” – I did not say they were the exact same word – I rewrote it to make that fact more discernible.

      However, what is clear is that the word ‘awrah is of Arabic origin and that its connotation of “woman” has been passed along through the spread of an Arab religion, Islam, which would indicate that the connotation was already extant at the time when the religion was spread. Apparently, this association has been lessened in modern Arabic but remains in the languages that classical Arabic affected by way of Islam.

      Despite the hairsplitting, the root of much misogyny in such a term is clear.

  11. You are absolutely right about how misogynistic this term is. I have to take issue with your saying that pre-Islamic religions were not equally misogynistic. Just because some people worshiped a silver vulva shape, doesn’t change the fact that women were considered property and female infants were often murdered. Islam was founded on, among other things, the oppression of women; but this was inherited from pre-Islamic paganism and other cultural traditions in addition to Judaism and Christianity. In fact, Islamic law is less misogynist that the way women were treated before (which is really saying something, considering how misogynist Islamic law is). For instance, under Islamic law women are considered people who can inherit property. Obviously this is not the same as equality. But you are saying that Islam is more misogynist than other cultures or religions of the time. This is not true. You are absolutely right to condemn the misogyny which exists in Islam (and Judaism and Christianity) but you also seem to state that other religions and traditions are not misogynist, which is nonsense. Almost every society, including ones which had no contact with Abrahamic faiths, throughout history, has been misogynistic. Many atheist internet forums even are home to people who post violent misogynist statements. It is one thing to say “Islam is misogynist, and so are Judaism and Christianity.” It is another thing entirely to pretend that the rest of the world is enlightened and non-misogynist, which you do here.

    1. Natalie, you should’ve read the whole article or maybe you just missed it or skimmed to fast but, there’s an entire section in bold titled:

      Biblical and Talmudic misogyny

      And she then goes on to state:

      “The bigotry, sexism and misogyny engrained in the Arabic terms awrah or awrat evidently emanate from at least Old Testament times. Found in the biblical book of Genesis (9:22)…”

      “…Furthermore, the term awrah is used in the Arabic story of Adam and Eve, a biblical myth in which sin, shame, nakedness and loss of innocence are all blamed on the original woman, responsible for the downfall of mankind. This Abrahamic myth has set the stage for an incalculable amount of sexism and misogyny, with an unfathomably ghastly toll in countless places over the millennia.”

      1. I did read that. It doesn’t contradict what I said in any way. Maybe you only skimmed my reply, but I didn’t say that Abrahamic religions aren’t misogynist. In fact I specifically said they are. What I object to is this contention that other cultures aren’t. Here’s a quote from the Hindu Bhagavad Gita: “In overwhelming chaos, Krishna, women of the family are corrupted, and when women are corrupted, disorder is born in society.” This is a quote from a religion that has nothing to do with Abrahamic religion, but there is the same idea that when women are corrupted, or eat the apple or so on, this causes “the downfall of mankind.” This quote, like the story of Adam and Eve, did not emerge from a vacuum. You seem to imply that before this story, there was not misogyny. But clearly, this story was created by misogynists. The story, like many other misogynist myths, was created out of attitudes about women that already existed, and used to justify them. The myth of Adam and Eve perpetuated misogyny. It did not create it.

    2. But you are saying that Islam is more misogynist than other cultures or religions of the time. This is not true. You are absolutely right to condemn the misogyny which exists in Islam (and Judaism and Christianity) but you also seem to state that other religions and traditions are not misogynist, which is nonsense.

      I have never said any such thing, so you’ve raised a strawman to rail against. On the contrary, I have continually written about the misogyny in all its forms all over the world, in every culture and religion, as I come across it.

      It is another thing entirely to pretend that the rest of the world is enlightened and non-misogynist, which you do here.

      Utter nonsense – I have never “pretended” such a thing. All I have done here is to write one article that is about a particular subject. This article is not meant to be an exhaustive treatise on global misogyny.

  12. Typical, hate it but stick their heads in it and kiss it. ;-)
    Hasn’t it also been speculated that the stone might be a meteorite? From the moon, of course.

  13. “The Abrahamic myth of Adam and Eve has set the stage for an incalculable amount of sexism and misogyny, with an unfathomably ghastly toll in countless places over the millennia.”

    “Abrahamic religion has completely corrupted this natural and healthy perspective and way of life, and the constant violence and misogyny committed by fervent followers of the Abrahamic cultus represent the result of this corruption.”

    These are all quotes from your article. The last one especially is what I am arguing (not “railing”- way to delegitimize me by implying I am being emotional) against. You are saying that Abrahamic religions, in particular, corrupted an otherwise healthy and non-misogynistic way of life. This is what I mean when I say that you are saying that Abrahamic religions are more misogynistic than other cultures. Then you contradict yourself, saying that “The association of nakedness, shame, imperfection and sin with women represents a pathological viewpoint largely found in dangerous and lawless desert regions.” So which is the cause of misogyny? The climate, or Abrahamic religion?

    The only causes of misogyny that you identify are Abrahamic religion and the desert. I am questioning the logic of this argument, because clearly misogyny has existed in places that were neither deserts, nor followers of Abrahamic religion. Again, to reiterate: if you had said something like “Abrahamic religions are misogynist” I would be agreeing completely with you. But what I got from this article is that you think Abrahamic religions *caused* misogyny. That is completely different.

    It is because you write that Abrahamic religion is the (or an) *origin* of misogyny that I brought up other cultures. Clearly, if other non-Abrahamic cultures are misogynist, then Abrahamic religion cannot be the ultimate cause of misogyny. If you say that it is, you *are* implying that other cultures are non-misogynistic, as when you take a silver vulva as evidence that the pre-Islamic society was less misogynistic.

    “This past reverence of the divine female has been destroyed by male-dominant Islam, which appears to be founded largely upon the suppression of all things female.” There is no evidence that worshiping a vulva makes men not misogynist. Many cultures have worshiped goddesses yet still treated women terribly.

    I am not saying you have to write “an exhaustive treatise on global misogyny.” If you are simply pointing out that a certain religion is misogynistic, and showing evidence that supports that, ways in which that misogyny is expressed, and ways that misogyny is connected to other, related religions, then you don’t have to discuss other cultures too. But when you argue that a single family of religions corrupted a “natural and healthy perspective and way of life,” you have to show that in cultures which did not encounter this Abrahamic religion (and thus were presumably not corrupted) this “natural and healthy perspective and way of life” actually exists. You have shown no evidence that this non-corrupted, “natural” way of life ever existed in human civilization. Yet you claim it existed, before being corrupted by Abrahamic religion.

    My argument is that the plainly misogynist Abrahamic religions would not have arisen in such a “natural and healthy” society. Such profoundly misogynist traditions must have arisen from a misogynist society. So there must be other, earlier causes of misogyny-ones that are common to the whole world, because misogyny exists across the entire world.

    1. Again, you are reading too much into my article here and do not know my work in any detail, as I have covered these various subjects many times before. So, yes, you are “railing” when you put words into my mouth and thoughts into my head, and then try to castigate me by insinuating that these thoughts/words you have fabricated are “nonsense” and so on.

      I am referring to the fact that wherever the Abrahamic cultus has spread, it most assuredly has often destroyed a more natural and healthier impression of reality. That’s simply a fact, countless examples of which I can name, such as the numerous cultures of Europe.

      Nowhere have I claimed that these non-Abrahamic and pre-Abrahamic cultures were all perfect and didn’t contain some of the typical human pathology towards sexuality, but there is no doubt that wherever Abrahamic cultus is proselytized, previously more enlightened and healthier attitudes towards sexuality and women have been destroyed.

      You would be correct that I don’t have time for such discussions over known facts. If you are interested in this subject, you may wish to read the book Saharasia by Dr. James DeMeo, for one.

  14. Acharya,
    You have refused to publish my comments. At first I thought you might simply be busy, but you have published other comments on the same page. At no time have I attacked you, or even disagreed with the main substance of your article. I simply pointed out what appeared to me to be a leap of logic which you did not provide evidence for in the article. Rather than simply answer me by providing that evidence, or clarifying what you meant, you refused to address my comment and instead simply attacked me. You accused me of “railing”–apparently a synonym for not taking everything you say on faith-and characterized my understanding of your article as a “straw man,” even though I substantiated it with quotes taken directly from your writing. I would appreciate it if you provided an explanation for this. I am accustomed to religious people refusing to discuss their beliefs, to listen to criticism, or to acknowledge questions. I am surprised at such behavior from a fellow skeptic.

  15. Overall reply
    Always remember Islam is the true religion for all mankind. Islam has been bestowed for the almighty Allah for the benefit of mankind.

    The Arabic language is very pure and was especially selected by the Allah. The Quran in Arabic is the book of Allah’s words.

    The Arabic language has nothing to do with other languages.

    There is no vulgarity in Islam. Women has been awarded respectable roles. one among is mother. Islam teaches respect and rights for non Muslims.

    The black stone at the Kaaba has no importance of worship. All mankind has been created only to worship Allah. The black stone has been sent down to earth from the paradise only to show the miracles of Allah. Muslims in the Kaaba are required to kiss the black stone to follow the steps of prophet Muhammad(Peach be upon him), prophet Muhammad had kissed the black as per Allah’s order.

    Please refer the Islamic history from any part of the world’s libraries that before kissing the black stone the prophet Muhammad(peace be upon him) has made declaration that this is just a stone and it has no power either to harm or benefit to the mankind but to follow Allah’s order.

    Anyone can freely refer/study/investigate Islam, Quran and teachings of prophet Muhammad(peace be upon him) for guidance from Allah.

  16. I beg to differ, Islam is the OPPOSITE of a “true religion for all mankind” it’s a heinous religion that deserves absolutely no respect whatsoever. It belongs in the dark ages.

    The black stone at the Kaaba is just a meteor and they know it. It was not from paradise. That’s why they won’t allow any scientists to study it.

  17. While toroughly ‘researched,’ this article assumes that a) the (supposed) ancient origin of a word deliniates its function contemporarily, and that b) words and their ‘essences’ hold some sort of social power over peoples. I suspect that if the author knew more about how language functions in society through time, this tired argument that acient Quranic or Biblical passages somehow magically determine the limits of what a society might look like would be much harder to make.

    1. Thank you, but it is not up to us to determine how much a modern culture is affected by ancient terms. The people themselves who continue to utilize them are those who associate meaning to them, and it is clear how modern Islamists feel about women.

      It is not “tired” to bring up the possible root of misogyny and other bigotry, anchored in language that remains in currency and possibly continues such prejudices.

      What is “tired” is the attempt at preventing others from knowing this information – in effect, censorship – by pretenses that it is somehow irrelevant.

  18. I’m a Muslim female and a native speaker of Arabic
    I don’t know about Persian and Urdu but the tittle says “the Arabic word” and that’s not true; awra has nothing to do with shame, and as mentioned in previous comments, awra is not used to refer to women in Arabic.
    About the social role of women and them being household slaves and merely perceived as human beings…Islam respects women, if some Muslims don’t, doesn’t mean you can generalize that way. Sexism has to do with individuals not religions.
    I thank “Guest” for the comment

    1. Thank you. If you actually read the blog itself, instead of simply the title, you will see the proof of my contention:

      Etymologically, the term awrah derives from the root ‘a-w-r which means “defectiveness,” “imperfection,” “blemish” or “weakness.” However, the most common English translation is “nakedness.”

      Yes, we most certainly can generalize about an ideology that teaches sexism and encourages its followers to be sexist. To assert otherwise is simply absurd and false. If we can’t generalize an ideology, then you can’t say “Islam respects women.” Some Muslims do, but most don’t, and it’s because of Islam that they don’t.

      The Quran/Koran itself teaches abject sexism, and its most fervent devotees follow it to the letter, expressing their misogyny and sexism quite abundantly.

      What does the Koran say about women?

      Summary of Koranic quotes regarding women

      Menstruating women are unclean, and men must stay away from them. Women are men’s “fields,” and men can have sex with them whenever they want. Men are superior to women and have authority over them, while women must obey men or risk being beaten. A woman is worth one-half of a man, and men are above women. Muslim men may marry up to four wives, including prepubescent girls, and can own sex slaves. Muslims are not allowed to marry non-Muslims, unless the latter convert to Islam. Women must cover themselves and be seen only by relatives, eunuchs, slaves and children who have not yet had sex with women.

      1. “Summary of Koranic quotes regarding women”

        Well, this is how the quran has been misinterpreted by the mainstream parties… that is, all from islamophobes, to s.c. neutral translators to religious muslims.

        The text of the quran is actually poles apart and totally opposite of that which we call the religion of Islam. If people only knew. If people only wished to know. Unfortunately, either people are blindly in favor of the traditional interpretations, or they are blindly against all called Islam… two extremist points of view… and the third way is not an average of them two. Actually, the quran is against Islam (and other religions)… believe it or not.

        See this place for open-minded and critical discussions:

        (www.free-minds.org/forum)

        1. Thanks, but anyone who uses the bogus term of abuse “Islamophobes” immediately loses credibility. Moreover, we are quoting the Quran, which is being followed devoutly by the worst “extremist” abusers of women, so your apology rings hollow indeed. I suggest you go tell all the “extremist” Muslims – who consider themselves to be the most devout – that they are “misinterpreting” the Quran and are following a religion “poles apart and totally opposite” that book. I’m sure they will appreciate hearing from you.

          We, however, will continue to critique Islam and the Quran based on the fact that both are full of violence, bigotry and hatred. In reality, Islam is the direct manifestation of fanatical belief in the Quran as “Allah’s Word.”

          “About sixty-one percent of the contents of the Koran are found to speak ill of the unbelievers or call for their violent conquest; at best only 2.6 percent of the verses of the Koran are noted to show goodwill toward humanity. About seventy-five percent of Muhammad’s biography (Sira) consists of jihad waged on unbelievers.” Dr. Moorthy Muthuswamy

          There simply is no valid excuse or apology for such texts, frankly. Being against such hatred is not “extremist.” It’s moral.

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