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Anna Leonard 11/27/11 Essay #2 Wives and husbands relate to each other on the basis of mutuality.

For Confucian couples that mutuality is based on the relationship of yin to yang. The husband and wife are held accountable to each other. Although the wife must defer to her husband, she is also the moral guide of her husband. Islam marriages are based on mutuality. Women have certain rights in their marriage. Marriages are built on enhancing each other rather than subjugating the wife to her husband. In Confucian and Islamic marriages, marriages are built on mutual love and respect rather than cruel husbands controlling weak wives. In Islamic marriages, in comparison to Confucian marriages, the woman works in the home, while the man works outside the home. The home is not seen as less important than the workplace. The wife and husband are seen as having mutual responsibilities in different spheres of influence, the home and workplace. In Confucian marriages womans great and important duties in the home are not mutually exclusive from mans place in the workplace. Her place in the home is complementary to the mans place outside. In Confucian and Islamic households the womans sphere of influence is the household, while mans sphere of influence is in the workplace. This is based on a mutual interest in fully utilizing mans assertive nature and womans receptive and gentle nature. For Islamic marriages traditional roles are a base for marriages that enhance the two people, rather than subjugating the wife to the husband. The wife is not obligated to take care of the house; her main role is a companion to her husband. Mutuality is based on harmony between the yin and yang or the husband and wife. This harmony is based on acquiescence and devotion on the part of the wife. When

the husband and wife spend too much time together the wife and husband take liberties with each other. The woman would forget her place. Separation maintains the proper relationship between the husband and wife. This separation maintains a harmonious relationship between the husband and wife without compromising the integrity of the marriage. Much attention is paid to a wifes relationship to her husband. If a Confucian wife expresses contempt for her husband, her husband will not stop short of hitting his wife. The proper relationship between a husband and wife is one of mutual love for each other. If the husband losses his respect or the wife her deference, their mutual love will be broken by division. In Confucianism marriage was primarily undertaken to carry on the patrilineal line.1 Women and men had a mutual interest in producing a boy. If women did not produce a boy they could be sent out of the house. If a mans wife did not produce a son he might not be able to continue that line. The primary relationship in the family was between the sons and their parents. In comparison to Confucianism in Islam extramarital affairs are forbidden and lust is confined to marriages. Because of the strong mutual investment husbands and wives have in each other by virtue of their commitment to each other, women may be forgiven if they repent and return to Allah. Husbands and wives have a genuine interest in each others happiness and mutual relationship with each other.

Fisher, Women in Religion (Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Longman, 2007), 128.

Muslim women had certain rights over their husbands behavior. Muslim men were commanded, to treat their wives with all kindness.2 If women were physically harmed from sexual intercourse they could seek compensation. In Islam there is a mutual responsibility for keeping both parties sexually pure. Women were instructed to not have sex with anyone other than their husband. Though men were allowed to have more than one wife, they would have to compensate any women that they raped. Jen, meaning benevolence, love and humaneness, is one of the most important virtues that contributes to peace and harmony within the family and state. It is written as the Chinese characters human and the number two. Humans exist in relationship to each other in the context of hierarchy. There is a mutual love and respect for each other that exists within the hierarchal relationship. Confucian wives defer to their husbands on the basis of this mutuality. In the same way, Confucian husbands do not abuse their position as the more assertive partner and subject their wives to cruel subordination. In Islam, women obeyed men because they feel that the men deserve to be obeyed. Women were not commanded to obey men. No correlation was made that encouraged men to beat their wives. Men were encouraged to be kind to their wives. Like Confucianism there is a mutual relationship of voluntary respect for the man and kindness for the woman. The men and women have a mutual interest in each other because they complete each other as yin and yang. The yang needs the yin to respect it and to soften its assertive character. When the yang feels that it is being overpowered by yin, it loses control and beats yin. The yin needs yang to direct it towards the production of good. This does not
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Fisher, Women in Religion (Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Longman, 2007), 251.

mean that yin is bad it just means that it is receptive to yangs power to lead it. The yin and yang affect each other in their relationship with each other. The goal of yin and yang is to have balance in yin and yang not overpower yin. Yin does play an important role in the mutual relationship between yin and yang. Yang may lead yin as the more assertive partner, but sometimes yang becomes angry. When this happens yins gentleness causes yang to forsake his anger. This restores harmony in the relationship. An example of this is a harsh administrator had his people killed or punished in order to maintain social order. His mother remained aloof from him when he visited her. She rebuked him for being cruel to his people, and he ended up changing his ways. Women were not represented as social equals, but they were represented as moral equals or morally superior to men. The relationship between the husband and wife in Islam is similar to the relationship between yin and yang. The need for the wife to obey her husband has been done away with for mutual compatibility. The wife and husband recognize each others contribution to the marriage. They work for a middle ground between yin and yang that is not based on subservience or dominance. It is instead based on mutual respect and honor for each other. Islamic marriages are based on respect of the woman. Before a woman and man get married they agree on a contract determining the terms of the marriage. That contract is grounded in mutuality and respect between the couple. Even when a man marries another woman, he does not marry for lust. Marrying for lust establishes selfishness in a relationship that is not in the best interest of the couple. He may marry a widow because he and the widow have a mutual interest in the care of the orphans.

Women are respected in both Confucianism and Islam. Confucian wives participate in a mutual relationship with husbands, even though they might be considered socially subordinate. In Islam, like Confucianism, women work outside the home while men work outside the home. At home they share mutual love and respect for each other, treating each other as compatible partners rather than forcing the wife to be subordinate to her husbands.