Gender and Religion

Since the time of the Prophet Mohammad and his 12 successors, male imams have assumed the leadership roles in Shi'a Islam. However, when Imam Husein, grandson of the Prophet, and other males were martyred at Karbala, his sister Zaynab led the womenfolk of the group as they were taken captive to Damascus. Her mourning and speaking kept the memory of Imam Husein and his martyrdom alive as the central Shi'a myth. The highest religious leaders, the ayatollahs, take charge of guiding Shi'a Muslim believers. Very few women have qualified to be ayatollahs, and men are the clerics and preachers or mullahs. However, women may lead women's home rituals of Qur'an study, mourning commemorations for the Karbala martyrs, or gatherings featuring food provided in honor of the martyrs or saints. Women make pilgrimages to local shrines and make contracts with the saints in the interests of family members. Older women, especially, may make government-run religious pilgrimages even to Damascus, although men still predominate in making the haj, the pilgrimage to Mecca required of Muslims who can afford it. Since the institution of the Islamic Republic in 1979, women have increasingly entered into public religious activities. Now they teach and study religion and some even attend seminaries, formerly a male prerogative. Women sometimes speak in mosques and mixed gatherings and lead neighborhood women's gatherings to discuss the Qur'an and religious issues (Kamalkhani, 1997). Despite these advances, males control the Islamic Republic, its executive positions, and policy formation. Men sit on the Council of Experts who rule on who may become candidates in elections and on other proposed political moves. But many women are now studying religious sources themselves and questioning male interpretations of Islam.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

If Pregnancy Is Something That Frightens You, It's Time To Convert Your Fear Into Joy. Ready To Give Birth To A Child? Is The New Status Hitting Your State Of Mind? Are You Still Scared To Undergo All The Pain That Your Best Friend Underwent Just A Few Days Back? Not Convinced With The Answers Given By The Experts?

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