Islam treats women as equals... HUH? - 11/25/2005
I would urge you to remove the blinkers from your own eyes and examine Christianity's portrayal of women before you undermine Islam. Wasn't Eve responsible for the fall? As a child my mother was taught by nuns that the monthly menstral cycle is a punishment for the utter evil that the woman is (please correct me if I am wrong). Islam actually treats women as spiritual equals. They can attain high spiritual positions in the community and always have been able to.
I recently read a biography of Mohommad, written by a slightly misoginistic writer. He could not deny the fact that Mohammad appointed female Imams. He appointed those in the community who seemed the most capable of assuming the position: Umm Waraqah bint 'Abdallah ibn al-Harith in the year 2H wanted to participate in the battle f badr as a nurse. So highly gifted was she intelllectually that she became hafiz of the quran. Mohammad had such a high esteem for her that he appointed her as imam of the mosque of her locality, where she lead the services of prayer of even men.
This peice of history (his-story) has survived despite the tendency for men to recount only the work of men. Muslims are still looking forward to gaining hitorians who attach special study to muslim women in the history of islam.
Indeed, Narcissus drowned in his own refliection. I urge you to tread carefully and focus on the many similarities between the faiths and promote harmony rather than agreesion as there is already enough hostility in the world.
CONTENDER MINISTRIES RESPONSE:
Hi Kate. Thanks for writing. We don't have any "blinkers" to remove from our eyes, but I'm afraid you might have some blinders on. Before we discuss the role of women in Islam compared to Christianity, let me address the role Eve played in the fall of man. It is true that she originally fell for Satan's lies and ate the forbidden fruit, but her husband Adam also sinned in this regard. The Bible records God telling Eve that the results from her sin would be pain in childbirth (Genesis 3:16). Some people interpolate that menses is also a result, but the Bible doesn't explicitly say such. For Adam's sin, God told him he would be required to work hard for his food (Genesis 3:17-19). When the Apostle Paul recounts the introduction of sin to the world, he doesn't blame Eve. He blames Adam (Romans 5:12-21).
All through the Bible you will find stories of faithful women who had favor in God's sight and the sight of others. Throughout the Old Testament and New Testament, you will find women serving (ministering) in a variety of roles. Women were among Jesus' most faithful disciples. History records women holding prominent ministerial positions in the early Christian Church. The only function that the Bible prohibits women from serving in is that of elder or pastor. When end-times prophecies are examined, we find God's promise that both men and women will prophesy (Acts 2:17-18, quoting from the Old Testament). When Paul wrote to the Church in Rome, he wanted some women who served in the church greeted, "Greet Tryphena and Tryphosa, those women who work hard in the Lord. Greet my dear friend Persis, another woman who has worked very hard in the Lord" (Romans 16:12). Again in Philippians 4:13 Paul said, "Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life." Obviously, Paul looked equally at his female colleagues as he did to his male colleagues. The Bible tells men to treat their wives with love and respect (1 Peter 3:7; Ephesians 5:25,28; Colossians 3:19).
One thing you won't find in the Bible is an instruction for men to beat their wives if they refuse to obey their husbands. Yet the Qur'an DOES say that disobedient women may be beaten (Sura 4:34). The Qur'an also states that women may only have an inheritance that is half that of a man (Sura 4:11). In the hadiths (Volume 8, Book 82, Number 794), Mohammad is recorded as having said that there are more women in hell than men, because women are "less intelligent" than men and their religion is "deficient". Nowhere in the Bible are women described as less intelligent than men. As you can see, the Qur'an puts women several steps behind men. Yet we don't need to read the Qur'an to see the fruits of this.
Look at nations where Islamic law is in effect. You'll find women forbidden from education, restricted in medical care, and forced to cover up in burqas. Women are not allowed to drive, or to go out in public without the accompaniment of a male relative in many nations. Should a women disgrace her family, she can be put to death by the male members of her family. In more than one Islamic country, girls have their genitalia mutilated to prevent them from feeling sexual pleasure. Even Muslim women in Western countries can be seen walking several paces behind their husbands. Women are forced to retreat to a back room so as to not be seen by male visitors. Indeed, women are treated horribly and cruelly under Islamic law, where they have very few rights. Can you name a Christian society in which women are subject to genital mutilation, honor killings, forced wear of burqas, etc., as they are in Muslim societies? In spite of what book you may have read, the Qur'an and the fruits it bears speak loudly and clearly. Women are not shown the love and respect that the Bible commands.
Furthermore, I urge you to read our website thoroughly. You'll find we don't call for aggression. We call for sharing the truth with love. This is not aggression. Aggression is people who could justify strapping on explosives and blowing up innocent civilians in a wedding party or at a market. There is no violent Christian intifada or jihad. Yet you will find this in Islam. If you wish to put an end to the aggression, I hope you'll plead with Muslims in your community to speak out against it.