Contradictions Part 2 – Equality Of Men & Women

Q3. Are Male and Female Plants and Animals Equal or Do They Have Distinctions?

`Abdu’l-Bahā: There is no doubt that the male is superior and stronger even in animals. Look at the peacock, the sparrow, and the pigeon.

“Although women and men share the same capacities and abilities, there is definitely no doubt that men are superior and stronger. Even in animals like pigeons, sparrows, peacocks, and other [birds] this advantage is visible,”

Reference: Maḥmūd Zaraqānī, Badā’i` al-āthār, vol. 1, p. 153.

`Abdu’l-Bahā: There is no distinction between male and female plants and animals and there is complete equality.

“The tenth principle of his Highness Bahā’u’llāh is the unity of men and women; for in the view of God men and women are equal. They are all from the human race and the descendants of Adam. Because being male or female is not specific to the human race. Plants have male and female and animals too have male and female and there is no distinction. Look at the plant kingdom. Is there any distinction between male plants and female plants? Rather there is complete equality; and in the Animal kingdom too, there is no distinction at all,”

Reference: `Abdu’l-Bahā, Khaṭābāt (Tehran), vol. 2, pp. 149–150.

`Abdu’l-Bahā: Female is important and stronger, look at the palm tree, look at the mare, look at the lioness.

“‘Abdu’l-Bahā smiled and asked: “What will you say if I prove to you that the woman is the stronger wing?” The answer came in the same bright vein: “You will earn my eternal gratitude!” at which all the company made merry. ‘Abdu’l-Bahā then continued more seriously: “The woman is indeed of the greater importance to the race. She has the greater burden and the greater work. Look at the vegetable and the animal worlds. The palm which carries the fruit is the tree most prized by the date grower. The Arab knows that for a long journey the mare has the longest wind. For her greater strength and fierceness, the lioness is more feared by the hunter than the lion.”

Reference: `Abdu’l-Bahā, `Abdu’l-Bahā in London, pp. 102–103.

 

Q4. Must We Tell Women That They Are Weaker and Inferior?

`Abdu’l-Bahā: Do not tell women that they are weaker and inferior.

“On the contrary, we must declare that her capacity is equal, even greater than man’s. This will inspire her with hope and ambition, and her susceptibilities for advancement will continually increase. She must not be told and taught that she is weaker and inferior in capacity and qualification,”

Reference: `Abdu’l-Bahā, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 76.

`Abdu’l-Bahā: He himself tells a women that men are superior and stronger.

“A woman’s question was referred to him who had asked why hasn’t God made any woman Prophets and why have all Divine Manifestations been men. He answered: “Although women and men share the same capacities and abilities, there is definitely no doubt that men are superior and stronger. Even in animals like pigeons, sparrows, peacocks, and other [birds] this advantage is visible,”

Reference: Maḥmūd Zaraqānī, Badā’i` al-āthār, vol. 1, p. 153.

 

Q5. Men and Women Are Equal in All Ranks, but Women Lack Capacity and Competency!

`Abdu’l-Bahā: Men and women are equal in all ranks.

“Men and women are both humans and the servants of one Lord. In the presence of God there is no such thing as man and woman. Whoever has a purer heart and better actions is closer to God, whether he is a man or a woman. The differences we see now are caused by differences in nurturing because women are not nurtured like men. If they are nurtured like men they will become equal in all ranks, because they are both humans and share the same ranks. God has made no distinction,”

Reference: Riyāḍ Qadīmī, Gulzār-i ta`ālim Bahā’ī, p. 283.

`Abdu’l-Bahā: Oh women, don’t be sad that your capacities and competencies are low. My father can make up for these deficiencies for he can turn the lowliest things into the most exalted creatures.

“Oh dear divine slave-maids! Do not pay attention to your [lack of] capacities and competencies. Rather, rely on the grace and kindness of the Blessed Beauty, because that everlasting beneficence will turn a shrub into a blessed tree, will turn a mirage into cool water, will turn a lost speck into the essence of existence, will turn a perishing ant into a tutor of the school of knowledge,”

Reference: `Abdu’l-Bahā, Makātīb, vol. 7, pp. 135–6.

 

Q6. Is There Distinction between Men and Women in the View of God?

`Abdu’l-Bahā: In the view of God, there is no such thing as man or woman.

“In the presence of God, there is no such thing as feminine or masculine. Whoever has better deeds and greater faith is closer to God. In the Divine world, there is no male or female. They are both the same,”

Reference: `Abdu’l-Bahā, Khaṭābāt (Tehran), vol. 2, p. 220.

Bahā’u’llāh: God considers some men as women, and some women as men.

“Today, whoever amongst the slave-maids (meaning women) succeeds in recognizing He Who is the Goal of the World, will be considered a man in the Divine Book (dar kitāb ‘ilāhī az rijāl maḥsūb),”

Reference: `Abd al-Ḥamīd Ishrāq Khāwarī, Payām-i malakūt, p. 232.

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