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alidu78

women status in Zoroastrianism ?

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Salam,

There is book in Farsi ,that exposes the human tragedy from a very unbiased perspective thru out the centuries in Iran... Starting from Zoroastisim... 

If you could read Farsi it would be helpful.

This book was not allowed to be published, but is available in digital format...

One of the Excerpt from this book I just translated for your reference:

" Enforcement of women marrying their brother/ father etc in the Zoroastrian religion:

In the 20th fatwa from the fatwas from the priest of Azar far nabagh farookhzad, it was asked from him, if a daughter or sister, does not agree to get married to the man, can a man marry her thru force, and have her as his wife?

 The priest answered: The man cannot be forced to get married, but a woman can be forced.

Specially if it your sister or daughter, so that you can both take them by force and also reap the reward of marrying the maharem ( incest ).

ref: The events of Azar far nabagh farakhzadan, translated by Hassan rezaei bagh bidi, tehran , 1384, pg 16."

And many many more...

Edited by certainclarity

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From the same book:

 The ancestry of women in Zoroastisim: 

In the Zoroastrian Pahlavi script of " bandhesh " it has been mentioned, that since Ahuramazda could not find a creature that could not give birth to a human ( male ) he chose a demon prostitute for this job. 

The female demon was Ahriman, and was a called " female " or  " jehi "

ref: nagreed beh; far nabagh dadghi, bandhash,

translation: mehrdad bahar, tehran, 1380, ninth chapter, about women.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, certainclarity said:

Salam,

There is book in Farsi ,that exposes the human tragedy from a very unbiased perspective thru out the centuries in Iran... Starting from Zoroastisim... 

If you could read Farsi it would be helpful.

This book was not allowed to be published, but is available in digital format...

One of the Excerpt from this book I just translated for your reference:

" Enforcement of women marrying their brother/ father etc in the Zoroastrian religion:

In the 20th fatwa from the fatwas from the priest of Azar far nabagh farookhzad, it was asked from him, if a daughter or sister, does not agree to get married to the man, can a man marry her thru force, and have her as his wife?

 The priest answered: The man cannot be forced to get married, but a woman can be forced.

Specially if it your sister or daughter, so that you can both take them by force and also reap the reward of marrying the maharem ( incest ).

ref: The events of Azar far nabagh farakhzadan, translated by Hassan rezaei bagh bidi, tehran , 1384, pg 16."

And many many more...

Wow . No unfortunately I dont speak farsi very well . But do you have other exemple like that ?

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27 minutes ago, certainclarity said:

Yes... It's a whole book ! I just translated parts of it... It is an unbiased book of all the human tragedies Iranians faced thru out Iranian history, specially pre Islam and Arian/ Pahlavi/ Hakhamenshi era...

Well could you say to me other facts about women condition in pré islamic persia according to this book ?

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Roles of women[edit]

Women of the Sasanian society were viewed as role models displaying good behavior. Women were expected to accept domesticity as daughters, wives, and mothers, rather than to seek out public recognition. Although women had to be completely obedient to men, they were also allowed certain legal rights and responsibilities. These included the right to enter into contractual agreements and commercial transactions, access to their inheritance, to meet all debts, and they were held responsible for the violations of the law.[5]

The Persian conception of royalty was strictly masculine. The Zoroastrian church did not have any female clergy. Women were presumably always under the authority of a guardian—whether father, husband, son, or other male relative. However when it came time to choose a new leader, the nobles and priests would not accept as king anyone who was not a member of the royal family. Therefore, two sisters ended up ruling the Sassanid Empire for a short period of time when no other members of the royal bloodline were available.[6]

Queen Boran (630 AD - 631 AD)[edit]

In 628 AD, Khusrau II and eighteen of his sons were assassinated by one of his own sons Kavadh II, who became the successor. After only a few months, he was also killed and a period of civil war broke out. Kavad's son Ardashir, then took the throne at a very young age. Ardashir was murdered by General Sarwaraz. Sarwaraz was the first king to take the throne that was not from the royal family. He was then murdered. This vacancy on the throne was then filled by Husrav's first daughter, Boran (Borandukht). No other woman, in her own rights, had ascended the Sasanian throne before. Boran and her sister were considered to be the only two legitimate heirs left of the royal family.[7] When Boran came to power the power of the central authority was very weak due to civil wars. It was Borans' goal to once again bring stability to the empire as her father once had. To accomplish this, Boran offered a peace treaty with the Byzantine Empire. This would revitalize the empire through the implementation of justice, reconstruction of the infrastructure, lowering of taxes, and the minting of coins.[8]

The amazing thing is that most sources emphasize the positive qualities of this female king. There is nothing negative about her that is related to her sex. Boran's reign is said to have been marked by benevolence. She behaved kindly and justly to all of her subjects. She was also said to be very creative and energetic. Boran ordered the rebuilding of bridges made of boats in order to improve the catastrophic economic situation in the empire.[6] Just after a year of being queen, Boran died in 631 AD. It is not known how Boran actually died. Many sources say she passed from natural causes, and Christian sources says that she was murdered by a general seeking to be king.[9]

Queen Azarmedukht[edit]

After Boran's death, her sister Azarmedukht (Azarmigduxt) succeeded the throne for a short time. The only reason that she was able to become King of the Sasanian society was because she was of royal bloodline. Thus, Azarmedukht "possessed the main prerequisite for the sacral kingship and xwarrah to be" hers.[2][7]

Marriage practices[edit]

In the Sasanian society, young women were deemed ready for marriage when they reached the age of fifteen or sometimes even younger, and marriage was highly regarded. It was seen as the father's religious obligation to find a suitable husband for his daughter and was recommended that the husband be intelligent, well-brought up, and have productive land.[2][4] Furthermore, it was the father or guardian's duty to represent the bride and negotiate a marriage contract. The contract stipulated the money and property that belonged to the bride, defined the clout of the husband, and characterized what restrictions could be placed on the wife.[2]

Types of marriage[edit]

Privileged[edit]

The contract, or lack of, also dictated which of the three types of wives the women would be. If the woman did have a contract, she was considered a privileged (patikhsahi) wife. This was the highest position for a wife because there were precise, mutual requirements between husband and wife. The women and her children from this marriage were fully incorporated into the man's agnatic group if he died, and they were also entitled to inherit from the deceased husband.[2] However, if it was proven in court that a woman disobeyed her husband, the court would then issue a "certificate of disobedience" and the wife lost all of her privileges that were given in her contract.[1] Otherwise, the wife received the same amount of inheritance as the sons, while daughters received half of what the sons received in inheritance. The wife was in charge of her children if her husband died, but when her oldest son reached the age of fifteen, he became the guardian. A privileged wife was allowed to have relative independence. She had complete authority over "the internal running of the house, the upbringing of the children, and the organization of the other members of the household." [4] Each man could only have one patikhasi wife; any other wives were considered subordinate (chagar) wives.

Subordinate[edit]

A subordinate wife lacked the same privileges as the patikhasi wife, for her husband had the right to acquire her property once they married.[2] Moreover, if a woman was widowed, an adult son or the closest agnate of her deceased husband became her guardian [1]and neither her nor her children were entitled to her husbands wealth.[2] However, she did receive a "small annual income as long as she was of service in the house."[4] On the other hand, her authority over her own children was even limited.[2] Additionally as a subordinate wife, a husband could loan her to another man without her consent. This was done when a widower could not afford to take another wife, but needed a woman for sexual needs and to care for his children. Any children the woman bore were not considered her own, instead they completely belonged to the husband because the Sasanians believed that a "woman is a field....All which grows there belongs to its owner, even if he did not plant it." [1]

A woman was also considered a chagar wife, if she was an unmarried woman forced to marry to conceive a child for a deceased relative. Though technically the woman was considered a privileged wife of the dead relative and her first male child belonged to the dead relative too. Furthermore, half the children produced by the woman were entitled to the deceased relative. This responsibility could impede a woman's chances at marrying "the most suitable husband" because she would always be a secondary wife to whomever she married.[2] This also caused disadvantages for her children because they were not considered members of their real father's group. However, male children had a better chance of receiving support because they could be adopted to become an heir, while the female children's only hope was for the father to provide for them. All in all, subordinate wives and their children didn't have means of actual support, unless the husband or relatives were kind.[2]

Self-entrusted, self-dependent[edit]

Without being penalized, a woman could choose not to marry the man that her father picked out. If this occurred and the woman's father had not found a suitable husband for her by the time she reached the age of fifteen, the woman could marry whom she wished without the consent of her father. Moreover, the father was not allowed to disinherit his daughter for doing this, but if the daughter still preceded in marriage her inheritance could be reduced.[2][4] This made up the third type of wife, a self-entrusted, self-dependent (khwasray) wife. The husband of a khwasray wife wasn't duty-bound to support his wife. However, a khwasray wife would become a privileged wife after she produced a male child and he reached the age of fifteen.[2]

Divorce[edit]

No matter what type of wife a woman would become, there was always a dowry and bride-price for her. The husband was required to "give a marriage gift of stipulated amount to his new bride." This gift was fully in her possession, including in the case of separation, and the husband could not decline to pay the bride-price.[2][4] The establishment of this practice had great significance in negotiations and requirements in marriage.[4] For divorce to occur, both parties had to be in agreement, though there were exceptions.[1][4] The husband could call for divorce without the wife's consent if the wife was guilty in committing certain activities such as "prostitution, sorcery, refusal to obey an order concerning one of her duties, sinful refusal to sleep with her husband, not abstaining from intercourse during menstruation, concealment of the fact she was menstruating, adultery, or committing a deliberate sin which could afflict the body or soul."[4] Additionally, divorce was enforced when the woman had to produce heirs for a deceased relative because she would then marry an agnate of that dead relative.[1] Furthermore, a man was legally required to marry a woman if she was unmarried and he slept with her.[4]

Other marriage information[edit]

Zoroastrian religion in the Sasanian society also led to the rise of next-of-kin marriage (khevtuk-das).[2] Men were allowed to marry their daughters, sisters, and mother. It was "not merely tolerated, but indeed regarded as acts of piety and great merit, and even efficacious against the demonic forces."[1] The religious leaders of the time promoted marriage within the family, claiming it imitated the creation. Moreover, priests claimed that incestuous marriage "produced stronger males, more virtuous females, and higher quality and quantity of children, and it protected the purity of the race and propagated it."[2] This was met by much resistance, led to more conversions from Zoroastrians to Christianity, and is thought to have led to the downfall of the Zoroastrian religion.[2] Finally, The number of wives a man had, was reliant on the means of the man. Thus, there wasn't as much polygamy in the lower classes as in the wealthy class because men could not afford it.[4]

All in all, women could be three different types of wives in the Sasanian society. Which wife a woman was, decided what privileges she would get, what restrictions could be placed on her, and how much support she would get from her husband and his agnatic group. Women also had to give consent to be married.[2] For women to divorce, they needed mutual consent from their husbands, but husbands could divorce their wives without consent when certain actions were committed. Moreover, women had to be completely obedient to their husbands.[1][2][4]

The role of the woman in the Sasanian family[edit]

According to Skalmowski, The Matiyan i hazar Datistan is a text that describes the laws of the Sasanian family. Skalmowski says that there are many laws that have to do with who inherits and succeeds things that belong to the family and he says these laws are important for keeping the family belongings together. According to Skalmowsky, members of the family have clearly defined positions and the family stays close in order to produce successors to the male family members.[10]

He says that the master of the house is the guardian of his wife or multiple wives, his children and siblings. Skalmowski says, there was no law that specified who shared the family property so the brothers of the master of the family shared it. Skalmowsky says that if a father dies, the brothers enter a partnership so the land doesn't get broken up and can stay large and profitable. He says that Women have important positions as part of the family because they provided children and helped keep the family together. He argues that women are so close to their families because husbands are allowed to divorce their wives and if that ever happened the family still wants to have legal ties to her.[10]

According to the Matiyan i hazer Datistan:

  • If the man of the family has only one daughter left and no wife or sons and if the daughter's husband breaks up the marriage and doesn't give the wife back to the man of the family, then the "brothers next of kin" can be her guardian. If the sister has a brother, then the brother will become her guardian and she will obtain the ayoken (gain all rights) and her guardian will be the brother's relatives.[10]
  • If two brothers and one sister are in a family the younger brother must be the guardian of the sister. If the younger brother dies before the older brother or they both die at the same time the daughter will obtain the ayoken.[10]
  • If the women enters into a contract with a man that says he will be with her for 10 years and the father (guardian of the women) dies, a stur will be appointed for those 10 years. When the 10 years are up the women's relationship is ended and she will obtain the father's ayoken.[10]
  • A sister inherits akokenih for the brother of the partner she is with.[10]
  • If the brother dies and he has a wife and kids, the sister of the brother becomes akyoken for the "brother with whom she has been co-inheritor or the one who was her guardian." [10]

Skalmowski sums up the Matiyan i hazar Datistan by saying that the succession goes from father to son and if there is no son, from father to daughter to daughter's son or through a stur (replacement) to the son. He says the daughters are important because they have connections through both their fathers and brothers. He says that if a father or brother needs his daughter/sister as an ayoken her family takes over the guardianship.[10]

Skalmowski talks about the term "hambayth" which means partnership. He says that this contract of hambayth says that a son and daughter can co-own their inheritance. He says that inheritance is often land ownership so it benefits the family to have the brother and sister keep the land together in one large plot. He explains that this was a very important relationship and that the brother ended up being his sister's guardian.[10]

Skalmowski says the ayoken keeps the inherited substance in the family versus having to appoint a stur who is paid a salary and his son would inherit the property.[10]

He says that the eldest brother, who would normally be the guardian of the sister, would have his sister as ayoken. He claims that sisters and daughters were very important in the family as successors because the mortality rate of men was high since they had to fight in wars.[10]

 

 

Source:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_in_the_Sasanian_Empire

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