The role of women in society of Dar al-Islam in the 14th century and the world of Utopia have some similarities and many differences. The attitude toward the women of both societies differs for the most part. The location, different centuries and different religious backgrounds tend to account for the differences in opinions of the roles of women. The role of women in the 14th century society of Dar al Islam is limited to very few tasks. Under the guise of the patriarchal society, the males do not feel that the women can manage work, marriage, free choice and the right to make independent decisions. The women are domestic workers preparing food for many men to eat, preparing rooms for these men to meet in and sleep in, raising children and fulfilling men’s desires. Many of the women are slaves and do many menial tasks. They do not seem to have any free time nor do they seem to be able to further their education. Ibn Battuta observes different customs as to the treatment of women. He did not agree with many of the local practices concerning women. He thought they were inconsistent with Islamic rectitude. In many cases he is very critical of women having a high status or being able to meet socially with men. He is also critical of women who in his view are not modest in dress, going “topless”, and not having their faces covered. He praises women who cover up and are thereby “modest”. Ibn is extremely strict, as a Muslim qadi would be about adultery and prostitution. One of Ibn Battuta’s greatest aberrations was the women’s modesty and the male’s acceptance of it. While Ibn was in Iwalatan he commented that,”most of the inhabitants belong to the Massufa, and as for their women they are extremely beautiful and are more important than men” (Battuta, 37). This seems to differ from the beliefs Ibn was raised with. The women in his life and religious settings were not more important then men. They wore clothes that covered most of their bodies and faces. While Ibn was still in Iwalatan he continued to learn more about their people and their way of life. “With regard to their women, they are not modest in the presence of men; they do not veil themselves in spite of their perseverance in prayers”(Battuta, 37-38). Ibn was not accustomed to this type of behavior. The women in his religious society wore clothing covering their bodies around males especially when they were praying. Ibn mentioned several times his dislike of women going naked. Often the women were made to go naked in front of others. Sometimes this is required when being forgiven. “It is their custom when they go in to the sultan to strip themselves of their clothes and enter naked”(Battuta, 56). Other times, women and little girls, usually slaves would serve the commanders and the sultan naked. “Everyone of them has his food carried in to him by twenty or more of his slave girls and they are naked, everyone”(Battuta, 59). The sultan’s daughters were also asked to serve food naked to their father and others. The sexual freedom of these people were also different. The women do not travel with their husbands. The family of the wife, who wanted to travel with her husband, would stop her. Both the men and women had friends and companions outside their families, and either one would not disapprove of that conduct. Ibn Battuta had encountered a few circumstances of men and women together who were not married. He witnessed the wife of a man of the Massufa and her male companion conversing on a bed while her husband was sitting on a mat. He asked the husband about the situation and about the relationship that the man was to his wife. The husband answered that the male was her companion, and Ibn Battuta asked him if he accepted this after living in his country and knowing of the “divine law.” The husband replied,”Women’s companionship with men in our country is honourable and takes place in a good way. There is no suspicion about it. They are not like the women in your country”(Battuta, 39). Ibn Battuta never went back to visit at this man’s house though he was invited several times. Ibn also found that often a man is married to more than one woman. Often a man is married to more than one woman. This man also has more women who are not wives, but will perform the same duties as a wife. This is stated when a sultan is holding sessions during a festival. “The farariyya (commanders), the qadi, and the preacher sit according to custom, the interpreter Dugha brings in his four wives and concubines, who are about a hundred in number”(Battuta, 52). The food the women get to eat is not the same as that of the men. Usually the women would eat the non- traditional foods such as dogs and donkeys. In some areas the only nourishment the women got was from milking cows. “They drink it at that time and in the morning, but as to (normal) food they do not eat it nor know of it”(Battuta, 70). Ibn mentions this as he was at a house in Yanatibun for six days. While he was there he ate roast sheep everyday. He watched on while the women drank only the milk of the cows in the morning and in the evenings. In Utopia, on the other hand, everyone is treated as an equal. The only exception is to the priest. They have a basic democratic system in which people are elected to offices. Men and women both work at special trades. Families are the most important aspect of the Utopian life. Free time is given to everyone throughout the workday. Marriages are seen as a sacred bond that is not to be broken. Adultery is considered a crime and slavery is the sentence to anyone found guilty. Women are trained in the same areas as men. For example, when describing society, More writes “Agriculture is a science common to them all in general, both men and women, wherein they are all expert and cunning” (More, 82). Often women will do the work that takes less labor. Both men and women work the same number of hours and are contributing to the whole community in whatever job they are given. Both men and women are given free time throughout the workday. There are no rules or laws on how this free time and or leisure time is to be used. During this free time women can also study and work toward becoming more educated. “And the better part of the people, both men and women, throughout all their whole life do bestow on learning those spare hours, which we said they have from bodily labors” (More, 107). Families are the most important aspect of Utopia. They consist of a wife, husband, and children. “For the women, when they are married at a lawful age, go into their husbands’ houses” (More, 90). The family is ruled by the eldest male. A family may consist of up to three generations. Meals consist of families eating together. In the towns, the families eat in community centers with several other families. The males sit on one side of the table while the females sit on the other side of the table and the ages of the families are intermixed. As with the daily activities the men and women work together and they eat together. In Utopia, women are not married before the age of eighteen. The custom of choosing a wife or a husband is different in Utopia. Like a farmer who is buying a cow, he looks at all parts of the animal before purchasing to see if it has any deformities and so on. The same goes for future wives and husbands in Utopia. The wife to be or the husband to be are presented naked to the other. “And yet in choosing a wife, who shall be either pleasure or trouble to them all their life after, they are so reckless that while all the rest of the woman’s body is covered with clothes, they judge her by scarcely on hand-breadth (for they can see no more than her face), and so join her to them not without great peril of evil agreeing together, if anything in her body afterward offend and displease him” (More, 130). They are given an educated choice in choosing a mate. Marriage is take most seriously. It is a life long commitment to only one person. It is not accepted to have more than one companion of the opposite sex. Adultery is punished by the adulterer being sentenced to slavery. There are some similarities and differences of the roles of women in both Ibn Battuta and Utopia. Both books talk mainly about the males and the roles they have in that particular culture. Women are mentioned in both but only briefly which shows how little importance was placed on their roles in society. Ibn Battuta takes place in the 14th century in many countries throughout Africa. It is a different religion and it is talking about numerous cities and countries that Ibn has traveled to. The women are portrayed as less than equal to the men. They are often treated with disrespect and many are slaves. These women have very little control of what may or may not happen in their lives. They are very rarely given the chance to be educated, they eat alone (without their husbands), do many more work related jobs throughout the day, and often are asked to do what we today consider as degrading tasks such as serving food to men in high positions with little or no clothing on. Utopia is written in the 15th century, and takes place in the fictional state of Utopia, set in Europe. It has the role of the female very much an equal to the male. There are your basic male role models. The males are the heads of the families, usually in the role of the clergy, prince, and other higher officials. The females live with the paternal side of the family. Trades that the males in the house have learned are passed down or inherited by the children. In Utopia, marriage and women are much more sacred than in Ibn Battuta. Women are given respect and have a voice in what happens in their life. They get to participate in the same daily activities as the men. Women in Utopia are given the opportunity to get an education and to have a choice on what they would like to be educated in. They are not given only the domesticated jobs to fulfill. Nor are they made to be degraded and put in the position to go naked in front of others. There are some similarities of the roles of women in 14th century society of Dar -al-Islam and the roles of women in Thomas Mores’ Utopia. Both women did many of the same tasks. They took care of children, prepared food, and kept house. The males were still considered the head of the families or households. Differences are more widely noticed. The women in Utopia had a sense of freedom compared to those of Dar-al Islam. They could choose what they wanted to do with their life as in what job they would like to learn. They lived with a family unit that included the males as in the husband and often the grandfathers. They were married to only one mate and that was considered a sacred union. Very few divorces or adultery took place in Utopia. Women had the same time frame for labor jobs and were given opportunities to be educated more in the areas of their choice. Utopia is a democratic region with everyone being treated as equals. The women in More’s Utopia are given more options and are treated with a different type of respect than that of Ibn Battuta’s African women. In conclusion, the role of women in the 14th century time of Ibn Battuta and in the 15th century of Thomas Mores’ Utopia have some similarities and many differences. The religious affiliation, location, and the time eras that these stories were written in, account for what some of the differences and similarities are. The different religious backgrounds showed how women were treated differently. The location of where the stories took place tend to show that Europe had changed its attitude toward women and they were given more freedom of choice in many areas of life. The European religions viewed women as more of an equal. The African countries were still following a religion that kept women on a lower social position than men.