The social standard of women’s evaluation in the different ancient ages varied to great extent and swing between negligence and excessiveness, deprived of any state of moderation. Woman, first, was regarded as lowly, imperfect creature. Then, she was regarded as a devil that inspires with sinning and evil. Then, she was regarded as the mistress of the society who has absolute control over everything. Then, she was regarded as a worker that must be exerting all efforts for saving her livelihood.
During most of these ages, woman used to suffer misery and humiliation, since her rights were usurped and her soul was enslaved by man who had the right to use her for any purpose.
During the Roman civilization, woman’s values were unstable. First, she was decided as a slave and servant of man, who had all the freedom to domineer her. Then, she was overestimated when she was freed from the fist of fathers and husbands and granted all rights of possession, heritage, divorce, indecorum, and indecency to the degree that a Roman woman used to marry a number of men shamelessly.
A Roman writer mentioned the story of a woman who moved in the laps of eight men in less than five years. Another saint referred to the story of that woman whose last marriage was the twenty-third to the man who married twenty times before her.1
Furthermore, the Roman woman was allowed to practice sexual deviation freely, and that was the main reason beyond the corruption that affected the Roman society.
In the custom of the Greek civilization, woman was added to the rubbish. She was sold, purchased, and regarded as devilish infection.
The ancient codes of India decided that epidemic, death, hell, poison, snakes… etc. are better than woman. Hence, the Indian women’s rights to live were ceased with the death of their husbands who were their absolute masters and lords. Hence, they had to throw themselves in the fire in which the bodies of their husbands were thrown; lest, the eternal curse would befall them.
From the viewpoint of the Torah, the rank of woman can be noticed through the following words that are recorded in the Exodus, Chapter 14, paragraph 17:
(My heart and I wandered so as to know, search, and seek wisdom and reason, and to know that evil is ignorance and idiocy is insanity. I found that woman who is snare and whose heart is trap and hands are fetters, is bitterer than death.) 2
Christianity, in the Middle Ages, considered woman as a devilish, profane creature that should be kept away.
In his book titled ‘History of Ethics of Europe’, Liki says that people used to escape women’s shadows and deem sinful to approach or meet them. They also believed that to meet by chance in the way or talk to any woman, including mothers, wives, or siste rs, abort righteous deeds and spiritual efforts.
Thus, the Western society used to underestimate women. In 586 A.D., a conference was held in France to decide whether woman is human being or not! After discussions, they decided that woman is human being that is created for serving man!
In England, Henry VIII deemed unlawful for women to recite the Holy Scriptures. Until 1850 A.D., women were not regarded as citizens, and until 1882, they had no personal rights and had no right to possess anything. Hence, women were dissolved in the personalities of their fathers or husbands. 3
* Adopted from the book: "Matrimonial Rights" by: "Sayyid Mahdi as-Sadr"
1- Quoted from Mr. Al-Mawdoudi’s book titled al-Hijab; page 22.
2- Quoted from Dr. Ahmed Chalabi’s Comparison of Religions; 3/196.
3- Quoted from Dr. Ahmed Chalabi’s Comparison of Religions; 3/200.