Volume 4 Issue 2 Fall 2018

S p i r i t ua l i t y S t u d i e s 4 - 2 Fa l l 2 0 1 8 9 Monika Zaviš 1 Introduction The question of the sex of the child is very widespread in the history of the religions of the world, although it is not given the necessary attention in the literature and is usually mentioned only marginally. Male preference could be analyzed in the context of all five current world religions, regardless of the theoretical anchoring of sex equivalence in their holy scriptures. For Arabic tribes of the pre-Islamic period, the practice of infanticide of girls in the form of burial alive was a matter of course. The Qur’an also hints at this practice: “… when the souls join their bodies and burried alive will be asked, because of what sin she was killed” (Qur’an 81:7–9). Adnan sets out two key reasons that have led to the widespread practice of girls’ infanticide in pre-Islamic times: fear of poverty and fear of dishonour. Girls were considered less executive and useful for family life than boys and they had the status of persons connected to ornaments (see Qur’an 43:16–19), which was a picture of the negative female qualities and vanity. At the time of the wars and the capture of the daughters of the proud Arab fathers by the enemies who invaded their territory, the infanticide of the girls was done immediately after their birth, so that later there was no rape, the abuse by the enemies, which would always mark families in the sense of defamation of their honor (Adnan 2004, 30–31). Prophet Muhammad addressed the Arab tribes in particular with two revolutionary ideas: that God is the only one and that the infanticide of the girls is not to be done because it is evil, wrongful act. In the early Meccan Surah 16 it is written: “And when one of them is informed of [the birth of] a female, his face becomes dark, and he suppresses grief. He hides himself from the people because of the ill of which he has been informed. Should he keep it in humiliation or bury it in the ground? Unquestionably, evil is what they decide” (Qur’an 16: 58–59). The question of the formation of a particular sex in a future child has already been dealt with in Islam in Muslim’s Hadith, which originated in the 9th century. The Hadith informs that one Jew came to Muhammad and asked him, how the fertilization works in the case when a boy or a girl is conceived: “He [the Jew] said: I have come to ask you about a thing which no one amongst the people on the earth knows except an apostle or one or two men besides him. He [the Holy Prophet] said: Would it benefit you if I tell you that? He [the Jew] said: I would lend ears to that. He then said: I have come to ask you about the child. He [the Holy Prophet] said: The reproductive substance of man is white and that of woman [i.e. ovum central portion] yellow, and when they have sexual intercourse and the male’s substance [chromosomes and genes] prevails upon the About the author Doc. PaedDr. ThDr. Monika Zaviš, PhD., is theologian and religious studies scholar with special interest in current bioethical issues of reproductive health in the world religions and spirituality in the context of psychology of religion and neuroscience. She is the faculty member of Department of Pedagogy and Social Pedagogy at the Faculty of Education, Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia. Her email contact is zavis@fedu.uniba.sk.