Page:Satires and profanities -microform- (1884).djvu/131

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122
SATIRES AND PROFANITIES.

wives are proud of the restraint as showing that the husbands value them highly, looking upon themselves as hidden treasures. To such an absurd extent do Muslims carry their feeling of the sacredness of women that entrance into the tombs of some women is forbidden to men; and a man and woman are never buried in the same vault, without a wall between them—as if their very corpses might get up to mischief. For adultery on the part of the woman the Kur-an prescribes death by stoning, but drowning is generally substituted. Unless detected by an officer of justice four eye-witnesses are required; failing these, the accuser is to be scourged with eighty stripes. This extraordinary law is traced to an accusation of adultery against the Prophet's favorite wife "A'isheh," who was thus absolved from punishment, and subsequent revelations established her innocence. If we had a similar Law here we might close our Divorce Court. If a husband without any witnesses accuses his wife of adultery, he must swear four times by God that he speaks the truth, and the fifth time imprecate God's curse on himself if he is a liar; but the wife can counterbalance this by swearing four times by God that he is a liar, and the fifth time imprecating God's wrath on herself if he speaks the truth. The commentators and lawyers have agreed that in this dilemma the marriage must be dissolved. When a peasant woman is found to have been unfaithful to her husband, in general he or her brother throws her into the Nile, with a stone tied to her neck; or cuts her to pieces and then throws these into the river. In most instances a father or brother punishes in the same manner an unmarried daughter or sister who has been guilty of incontinence. These relatives are considered more disgraced than the husband by the crime of the woman; and are often despised if they do not thus punish her. Women in easy circumstances are put to bed for from three to six days after childbirth; but poor women in the same case seldom take to bed at all, and after a day or two resume