This is a reproduction of the the post ‘Repressive Sexualmoral und Heiratsdruck innerhalb der Ahmadiyya‘ on the German edition of this subreddit, which you can find here: https://reddit.com/r/islam_ahmadiyya_de/. You can use a Chrome plugin to provide an English translation. While it’s of course, not perfect, it does come across quite well. This post was written by German subreddit moderator, u/Q_Ahmad. It was also taken from the islam/ahmadiyya reddit.
In many conservative, sexual and love-negative religious communities, ‘sex outside marriage’ is considered a sin. In the purity culture prevailing there, young men and women are taught that any sexual interaction before marriage is wrong. Usually, however, girls are subject to stricter regulations. Boys are always taught that their minds are a gate to sin, but girls are always taught that this gate is their own body that they should cover.
From an early age, girls are told that they are responsible not only for their own spiritual purity, but also for the spiritual purity of the men and boys around them. Girls are sexual “stumbling blocks”, a danger to the relationship between men and God. As a result, sexual purity and upbringing focused solely on abstinence (sexual abstinence) until marriage is emphasized. The belief is that only when women receive their virginity until they marry a man are they holy and spiritually pure. Your own sexuality is associated with corruption and shame. These feelings often follow the relationships of women with their bodies for a lifetime.
Fear is the motivation behind this purity culture. There are, of course, the usual anxiety scenarios associated with the violation: unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections and broken hearts. The actual foundation of fear that is being implemented goes deeper. It is conveyed to you that a single act, a single moment will destroy your future marriage and put your entire life in this world as well as your salvation in the hereafter at risk. [ 1st ] [ 2nd ] [ 3rd ]
There is a peculiarity in the Ahmadiyya community that the ‘red line’ is not drawn only during premarital sex. Any contact between the sexes, even in compliance with the strict veiling rules, is in principle a violation of the red line. Therefore, strict gender segregation / separation is enforced within the community. As a religious minority in Germany, of course, this cannot be established for contacts outside the Jama’at. A greater tolerance for contacts outside the Jama’at is therefore tolerated. But here too, care is taken to ensure that these contacts do not become too friendly, even if they are only of a ‘platonic nature’. In principle, all cross-gender contact is subject to justification. In a society where many areas are still dominated by men, this leads to
The monitoring and enforcement of gender segregation is monitored, documented and enforced by community-internal committees such as Amoomi (“moral police”), Rishta-Naata (marriage) and Tarbiyyati (educational) departments. There is also social control through ‘whisper and rumour networks’ in which (alleged) violations are recorded and punished. All of this comes in a kind of ‘honorary account’ that must be defended within the Jama’at. Therefore, the urge to marry one’s own children begins relatively early in order to anticipate a later ‘dishonour’. The statement of the community for this is that the children “as early as (legally) possible” [ 4th ] should be married. The wedding should not wait until you have finished your school / studies, training, work and are independent. [ 5th ]
The Jama’at recommends that the hijab / purdah regulation be introduced for both sexes from the age of three so that children can get used to it from an early age. [ 6th ] With the onset of puberty, they become mandatory.
At the same time, pressure is being built up within the family and by other community members to marry the children as soon as possible, usually with a partner arranged by the family or community. It is usually an age at which you develop your personality and are probably still completely dependent on your parents.
The choice one is made of is too often, regardless of one’s own will, subordinated to the target or upset the family and even being expelled from it. The possibility of being separated from the people you love the most and having to struggle through on your own seems unthinkable. This gives the parents and the extended family emotional leverage to enforce their will.
If you can marry your children while still under the strong control of their parents, there is no space and time for these young adults to really develop and explore their own identity. As soon as they are married, it is extremely difficult to lead your own life independently.
If you start to be critical of the Jama’at or the Khalifa, it will not only affect you, but also your spouse, children and your spouse’s extended families. Once there is a marriage and children are added, the lifestyle and Jama’at investment is too big to really question, even at the expense of personal authenticity. to really develop and explore their own identity.
With the marriage pressure, the community has an excellent means of being able to control the Jama’at members. Any violation of the municipal rules or a lack of participation in the numerous community events can have a negative impact on the ‘marriage ability’, so that the loyalty and activity in the Jama’at and the marriage ability are mutually dependent. Since there is no real way to get to know each other across genders within the community, potential spouses are selected primarily based on the community’s established reputation, which gives the community additional power to exert pressure. Even the appearance of not living in conformity with the community is enough to endanger your own chances of getting married.
Women are also required to only * marry * within the community. Men can marry non-Ahmadi Muslims or members of the other two Abrahamic religious communities (Judaism, Christianity) with the permission of the Khalifa. This leads to an imbalance in the available spouses. The absurd thing is that in western societies Ahmadis have more contact with men and women who are not Ahmadis. The segregation mainly exists within the Jama’at. Depending on the size of the Jama’at in the respective country, the difference can be considerable. In some areas there is a ratio of 1: 5 between men and women. [ 7th ] This exacerbates the problem for women who are under even closer observation and pressure from the Jama’at and her families. There are always women who complain about this fact and the systematic disadvantage. The criticism of the system is usually completely ignored and you are then accused by your parents or other members of not having enough love for your parents, trust in the Jama’at system or loyalty to the Khalifa. You should practice patience and prayer and submit to your destiny. Sometimes, as a solution, these women are advised to enter into a polygamous marriage with an already married man. [ 8th ][archived] Or it is said that one should marry one’s children early so as not to be among those who remain behind. [ 9th ] All things that are not a real solution to systematic problems.
How do you experience the repressive sexual morality in the Jama’at? What can we do against it? How did you experience this marriage pressure within the Jama’at and how did you deal with it?
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