Afghanistan Culture According to Barfield,“The outstanding social feature of life in Afghanistan is its local tribal or ethnic divisions.People’s primary loyalty is respectively to their own kin,village,tribe or ethic group,generally glossed qawm” …
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Even though Muslims constitute the majority of population in Afghanistan, it doesn’t mean that all Afghanis have same customs, traits and beliefs. It should be noted that Afghan Muslims are divided into different groups based on their belongingness in different tribes and ethnic groups. Perhaps Afghan Muslims are the most fundamentalist religious group in the world which is evident from the incidents happened in Afghanistan under Taliban regime. The story of a teenage girl called Ayesha Bibi was caught the attention of the media in recent times because of the atrocities committed to her by the Taliban leaders. Muslims in other parts of the world follow comparatively more civilized life than the Muslims in Afghanistan. This paper analyses Afghan culture from the views of two prominent authors; Thomas Barfield and John Esposito. The living condition of women in Afghanistan is worst in the world. Barfield (2010) pointed out that “Afghan women cannot attend any public functions and they have a strict code of conduct in public places. Moreover, they are banned from getting proper education” (Barfield, p.262). Esposito (2002) also expressed similar opinions about the pathetic life of Afghan women. He has mentioned that while women in most societies have access to education, Afghan women were not able to get education under Taliban regime (Esposito, p.100). Afghan culture treats women as second class citizens. It never allows Afghan women to come out form home take part in social activities as do by the men. In other words, the status of men and women in Afghan culture holds huge differences. Because of the adherences to religion, Afghan Muslims believe that girls must stay home and it is right to men to beat women if they disobey them. The story of a teenage Afghan girl called Bibi Ayesha, aged only 18, is relevant here. “At the age of 18, Aisha had her nose and ears hacked off by her husband as a punishment for trying to flee the arranged marriage, before being dragged to a mountainside to die” (Brave Bibi: The Time cover girl whose nose was cut off by the Taliban takes the New York subway). Stoning of adulteresses and the amputations of the hands and feet of thieves was part of Afghan culture under Taliban regime (Esposito, p.149). Stoning of criminals was an uncivilized punishment in the ancient period. However, it is practiced in Afghanistan even in the twenty first century. It should be noted that men who commit adultery may not get any punishment in Afghanistan whereas women who establish relationship with males other than their husband may get cruel punishments. Afghan Tribes are type of ethnic groups that defines its membership through the unilineal descent from a common ancestor, real or assumed. In Afghanistan, such descent is through male line (Barfield, p.22). It should be noted that a family with no male children has no significance in Afghan culture. In other words, Afghan people like to know their successors in the name of their father rather than that of their mother. Male dominance is visible in every aspect of Afghan culture. Esposito also expressed similar opinions. He has pointed out that “In Afghanistan, crimes are punished at the discretion of a male Muslim judge or qadi” (Esposito, p.187). In other words, it is impossible to see a woman judge in Afghan courts. Afghan people believe that only the males have the abilities and intelligence to segregate between good and evil. Because of the above perception, only the male candidates are appointed in Afghan courts. Unlike other parts of the world, no groups in Afghanistan make mythical claims of having always been on the same plot of lands since creation. Instead one listens gravely to the stories of how the ancestors of one group conquered the land
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