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

© 2014 Freethought Nation, Acharya S, D.M. Murdock & Stellar House Publishing
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