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To scholar, Compare women status bet Christianity and Islam

Reader comment on item: Islamophobia?

Submitted by Lisa (Canada), Nov 17, 2005 at 16:54

Dear Scholar

I have provided you with my reference about Hind Bint utbah but you didn't accept it. I will not waste my time discussing whether Hid Bint Utbah led a war or not, I just gave this as an example, because Muslims always brag about the fact that Aysheh led a war and makes it look as if it is sign of freedom that Islam brought to Women.

You have ignored all of what I have said and picked this specific point and started to discuss it.

Lets forget about what your Mullah tells you and what is the situation in the Muslim world or the West, we can go forever discussing what is right and what is wrong in both worlds.

FYI, Your point will not be convincing by quoting how many western girls are being raped, because your Muslim women are raped in the name of your religion on a daily basis in the dark, they can't even say anything about it because they will be considered whores.

It is hilarious when muslims try to convince the west that a Muslim woman can share her husband with 3 more women and still be happy and can still keep her dignity and integrity. A Muslim man can divorce his wife by saying one word only. A Muslim woman can be beaten according to you Quran, her word is worth half of what her husband says in a court of law, a muslim women should be covered in order to protect men from commiting adultery.

And stop quoting me on what people's opinion are about women and their value. Lets discuss what Muhammad said and what Jesus said with regards to marriage, divorce, women rights, etc

1. Marriage

In the Lord, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. (I Corinthians 11:11)

It is known in Christianity that marriage is a familial relationship - a holy relationship, the purpose of which is the creation of a live nucleus within a living society. In a sense then, marriage is like a tent whose walls shelter a man and a woman - ONE man and ONE woman - the one consecrated to the other. It is a full life of respect, appreciation and reciprocal human emotions.

Undoubtedly the Koran allows a Muslim to marry four wives. However, if he is afraid of not treating them equally then marry one only. The actual text reads: If you fear that you will not act justly towards the orphans, marry such woman' as seem good to you, two, three, four; but if you fear you will not be equitable, then only one, or what your right hands own; so it is likelier you will not be partial. (Women vs.2)

I am sure you know that at the time this verse came down Muhammad himself was legally married to nine wives!

But he doesn't stop here; he goes well beyond these limits when he attributes to God the permission to marry any other woman he fancied. Here is the relevant text from the Koran:

Oh Prophet, We have made lawful for thee thy wives whom thou hast given their wages and what thy right hand owns, spoils of war that God has given thee, and the daughter of thy uncles paternal and aunts paternal, thy uncles maternal and aunts maternal, who have emigrated with thee, and any woman believer, if she give herself to the Prophet and if the Prophet desire to take her in marriage, for thee exclusively, apart from the believers --
(The Confederates vs.49 ff.)

So we see Muhammad allowing himself any wives, exclusively even if they were bound by law to another man. And this is actually what happened with Zainab. The principle at issue is fairness among the wives, But one sees the Koran legislating a special provision for him without regard whatever for the opinion of the woman. if he fancies a woman he acquires her with appropriate authority! He then obtains whatever enjoyment he desires after which he decides whether to bring her into his inner circle or desert her without fear of injustice in the matter...

In the same sura, verse 50 he says:

Thou mayest put off whom thou wilt of them,
and whom thou wilt thou mayest take to thee;
and if thou seekest any thou hast set aside there is no fault in thee. etc.

It suffices to note that there are contradictions in the Koran when it comes to the value and place of women; it is clear that marriage in Islam favors the husband more than the wife. In fact, it is wholly preoccupied with the feelings of the man and his needs, while largely overlooking the woman's emotions and rights. By contrast, the Bible teaches us that the married man is concerned how he might please his wife while the latter is concerned with how to please her husband.

The Bible also teaches us that the man has no mastery over his body but his wife has; likewise the wife has no mastery over her own body but her husband has. (see I Corinthians chap.7). In this way an equality and complementarity follows, yes a harmony results in the sense in which God decreed. They come together to become one body.

And when the wife gives her husband his rights whether they be respect, esteem, love, even her own body, the husband responds by giving his wife an equal measure no less!

The husband is not to deceive or cheat her with diplomatic words so that when he gets his desire he can banish her from his face...

One can give as an example an incident in Muhammad's life: the Prophet had let his wife Hafsa leave in order to visit her father. He seized this opportunity to invite Maria the Copt (who was a concubine in the house not a legal wife) to go to Hafsa's apartment and he slept with her in Hafsa's own bed... It so happened that Hafsa had to return to the house for something. Then when she saw the couple in bed she was afraid to enter. She sat down and wept bitterly. There was nothing else she could do ... He came out and implored her not to cry, promising her that he would abstain from intercourse with Maria. Unfortunately he broke his promise, arming himself with yet another Koranic text, this time from The Forbidding:

O Prophet, why forbiddest though what God has made lawful to thee, seeking the good pleasure of thy wives? And God is All-forgiving, All-compassionate.

And so, returning to verse 2 of sura Women we see that there is no place for justice or harmony in the polygamous marriage. No wonder God wisely decreed that for the true Christian, for reasons of fairness as well as health, "One man for One woman", enabling them to be truly One body, unified, holy without blemish. He called that institution MARRIAGE.

2. Marriage with 'People of the Book'
Sheltered & Unsheltered Women
The Table verse 4. A Muslim can take to himself a wife from the People provided he can pay her dowry fully!! However, no mention is made in the text nor even in that sura, or the Koran, for that matter, about allowing a man from the People of the Book to marry a Muslim wife. One asks: "Does not the Muslim woman have the right to accept a Christian or Jewish man as a husband? Of course not! This is totally forbidden her by God, the Prophet and those in authority; it is common knowledge.

3. The Rights of Women in Islam
Muhammad himself declared that woman is deficient, both mentally and religiously.

Mentally, because Islamic jurisprudence does not accept the witness of one woman whom it considers incapable of a reliable testimony. Therefore, where necessary it prescribes the witness of two women to be equivalent to one man.

This is how the text reads: and call to witness two witnesses of your people; but if there be not two men, let there be a man, and two women of those whom ye shall judge fit for witnesses: if the one of them should mistake, the other may cause her to recollect. (The Cow verse 281).

Once the Prophet was asked about this subject: "What rights does the woman have with the man?" He replied: He should feed her if he eats, clothe her when he dresses, avoid disfiguring her or beating her excessively or abandoning her except at home.

These then are her rights: To be beaten but not enough to disfigure her (even though it might disfigure her spiritually and mentally) and to abandon or desert her at home - meaning shunned confinement in bed - at times when she is in most need of her only man.

4. The Veil
Jesus said that our bodies are temples of GOD, we should respect our bodies and not treat them as sex objects, neither a woman should intimidate a man nor a man should intimidate a woman.

A Christian woman should have a neat appearance, careful what she wears, choosing only dresses not to be a temptation for other men, and so on. However that doesn't forbid women from practicing sports like swimming, running, etc. If you live in the west you will see a big difference between a woman who wears a swimming suite to tempt a man and a woman who dresses the swimming suit simply to swim.

Viel was first known, as Muhammad began to marry one wife after another it gave rise to a certain jealousy from his distant followers vis a vis his wives. Such jealousy is not uncommon when a man has that number of spouses and since he cannot be with them a lot of the time... We have already alluded to the fact that Muhammad used to spend most of his time in his main house with Aiysha his favorite wife. It therefore became necessary to provide sufficient protection for his other wives by way of keeping them confined in their houses and not allowing them to venture out at all without permission. One day, a follower and relative of the Prophet named Talha was discovered visiting one of Muhammad's wives. This angered the Prophet and he ordered him not to be seen there again, to which the man responded: "She is my cousin and, by God, nothing improper took place between us!" The Prophet retorted: "None is more jealous than God and none is more jealous than me!" This sentiment was repeated more clearly on another occasion when he forbade his followers from entering his house without a specific permission from him. It is recalled that his servant 'Ans who was one of his honored followers stalked him about something he needed. Muhammad asked him to desist and forbade him from entering his house. This is how the sure reads: O believers, enter not the houses of the Prophet, except leave is given you for a meal, without watching for its hour. But when you are invited, then enter; and when you have had the meal, disperse, neither lingering for idle talk; that is hurtful to the Prophet, and he is ashamed before you; but God is not ashamed before the truth. And when you ask his wives for any object, ask them from behind a curtain; that is cleaner for your hearts and theirs. It is not for you to hurt God's Messenger, Neither to marry his wives after him, ever; surely that would be, in God's sight, a monstrous thing (Sura The Confederates vs. 52 ff.)

The fact is that no matter how many layers of clothes a woman may wear, even thick cloaks, etc. covering all that may give rise to lust in the beholder, the problem remains with the person of the woman herself. How many well draped ladies from all denominations and sects do not possess a draped or hidden spirit! If a woman does not fear God and has not his presence in her life, neither a veil nor doors or locks will stop her from doing what she wants, barriers notwithstanding... There have been many examples of this phenomenon.

However, if the heart of the woman is graced with the fear of God and filled with his wonderful light, one finds the believing woman without order or threat will reverence God's presence in her life. She will always appear as an honorable lady whether at home or abroad, preserving within her the meekness of the holy Lord and remaining faithful to her family to the end of her days.

5. Divorce
Some Pharisees came and tested Jesus by asking, "Is if lawful for a man to divorce his wife?"

"What did Moses command you?" he replied. They said, "Moses permitted a us to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.

"It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law," Jesus replied.

"But at the beginning of creation God 'made them male and female'.

'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.' So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."

When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. He answered, "Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery."

And in the gospel of Matthew Jesus deals with the same problem in chapter five and verses thirty one and thirty two: "It has been said, 'Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce." But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to commit adultery, and anyone who marries a woman so divorced commits adultery.

Jesus elevated the status of the woman and her value and kept her presence as a wife and not a divorcee... God stressed the inadmissibility of divorce except for a fatal flaw, namely marital infidelity. Therefore the divorces due to anger, incompatibility and inadequate sexual performance are not legitimate divorces in God's sight. Any man or woman who divorces for such reasons, then remarries is viewed as an adulterer by God. Therefore this is the Bible's view of divorce. What about it in Islam? It is common knowledge among all sects of Islam that a man can divorce his wife for any reason notwithstanding it being in God's eyes a most hateful remedy.

In Islam, For example, a man can divorce his wife twice without her knowledge and take her back. If he divorces her the first time and leaves her he can return to her whenever he wants without seeking her opinion. This is known as 'Al Bainoona as Sughra' i.e. Minor Separation. However, if he divorces her the second time it is incumbent on both parties to wait a while. If no signs of love or returning to the marital home are evident, the wife has to observe a probationary period of three months for fear she may be pregnant. That is called 'Al Bainoona al Kubra' i.e. Major Separation. Should the wife be pregnant the husband must bear the expenses of her confinement if he insists on leaving her. After the childbirth they will divorce. If she returns to him and he divorces her again she is no longer permissible to him since she is now in a major separation.

If the divorcees insist on returning to one another the woman has to first consummate a marriage with another competent man who will then divorce her through a minor separation. In that case she can return to her first husband. And so the same cycle is repeated if the man divorces her again she finds herself going through a minor separation, and so on!

In the sure The Cow in verses 225-232 there is a description of this process. It is worth mentioning that a certain man named Rufa'a al Kurthi had a wife who went to complain to Muhammad. She said that her husband divorced her 'by the three', that is by repeating orally the words: "I divorce you" three times. After that she married Abdul Rahman ibn Al Zubair but they had not consummated the marriage yet. After hearing her, the Prophet smiled then said: "do you want to return to Rufa'a, you cannot do so till after you have had your honeymoon with your new husband!" This principle is clearly enunciated in that same sure verse 229 where it says: If he divorces her finally, she shall not be lawful to him after that, until she marries another husband. If he divorces her, then it is no fault in them to return to each other, if they suppose that they will maintain God's bounds. This kind of remedy has created many problems in society. The man who divorces his wife in a fit of anger by uttering 'the three' finds it hard for himself to see his wife physically subject to another man overnight, then being re-united to her again... Muslim scholars are in agreement about this phenomenon of 'muhallel'. The term usually refers to any man who consents to marry a divorced woman for one day only then divorces her the second day so that she can return to her former husband. However, many do not permit their newly divorced wives to go to bed with the 'mohallel'... It may well be that they are right because in the sight of God she is still her husband's wife. It is known that in a fit of anger a man may say something he does not mean. If that should result in the sudden loss of his spouse to another man she would have committed adultery and that is brazen godlessness. As a result she is no longer fit to return to her original husband since she has become an adulteress, deserving indeed of divorce!!

Islam also permits a man to divorce his wife in order to offer her to another as was the case between Zaid bin Haretha and the Prophet. You may recall that once Muhammad needed something from Zaid so he went to his house. There he saw Zeinab, Zaid's wife, cleaning the house. Noticing the beauty of her body he was strongly attracted to her. He exclaimed, "Praised be God who changes men's hearts!" Zeinab reported the incident in detail to her husband. He was very upset and went at once to the Prophet and asked him permission to divorce her. Muhammad concealed what he felt in his heart and urged Zaid to keep his wife. Now this was a noble posture. However, Zaid could not bear to see his adoptive father so infatuated with his only wife. He went ahead and divorced her and Muhammad quickly married Zeinab. Thereafter she would boast among the other wives of Muhammad that God married her to him despite all the odds... Let us allow the Koran to tell us this story in the surat Confederates verses 36-37: When thou saidst to him whom God had blessed and thou hadst favoured, 'Keep thy wife to thyself, and fear God, and thou wast concealing within thyself what God should reveal, fearing other men; and God has better right for thee to fear Him. So when Zaid had accomplished what he would of her, then We gave her in marriage to thee, so that there should not be any fault in the believers, touching the wives of their adopted sons, when they have accomplished what they would of them; and God's commandment must be performed. It follows that his is God's adjudication of this matter: lifting the ban from Muhammad, therefore from all Muslim men to marry the divorced wives of their adopted sons or a servant or follower if the master fancied her! When one examines these texts closely one notices here that the matter is: "...fear God" originating from the lesser (the Prophet) to the one beneath him (Zaid bin Haritha). In truth, there is nothing more generous, more chaste or even more detached than this! The Prophet here wanted to preserve his follower's family from ruin and appeared to be helping to build up the family instead of destroying it... But what really puzzles me is the command issuing from the higher authority (God Almighty) to the lesser (Mohammed), without hiding what was in his heart of strong desire for that follower's only wife. He is not satisfied with that but goes on to chide him over the bounty and grace he was receiving from God and his Prophet. We do not know just the depth of emotional pain Zaid underwent during that tragedy but certainly his strange behavior proves that he was greatly distracted and fearful. He even went himself to notify his divorced spouse of the Prophet's intention to wed her.. He told her: "Rejoice oh Zeinab, for the Messenger of God has betrothed you to himself." That showed his complete impotence in the face of the bounties and graces which the Prophet bestowed upon him when he adopted him as a child. But we do know that man is a sinner by nature and therefore is bound to commit sin wherever he is found because he was born with it. So we can understand the Prophet's reproach to his follower. However, I stand amazed at God's reproach to that simple servant and why he should permit another to take his wife. Truly this is a baffling situation.

I well know that our God is the Father of all Lights. He is also Lord of majesty and bounty and that every good gift from him comes to us from a pure heart free from reproach or partiality. The Apostle James teaches us this lesson clearly in the first chapter of his epistle. He says: If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

Let us return to the heart of the matter in the text. We see that God dealt with the Prophet according to the desire of his heart. He did not, for instance check him or turn him from his path yet he blamed him for hiding the matter, for fear of the people. Evidently the case is reversed here; in Muhammad's lust for Zeinab he did not really fear God but men. Yet he was instrumental in her prompt divorce!!

But beloved, we notice that Almighty God, Lord of all holiness and master of every authority has a different view in the Bible. It is very easy for God to make of His prophet a martyr and pluck him from this earth rather than make a laughingstock of him in the eyes of people. He also had, in addition to His mercy and nobility a justice which had to prevail; spiritual values superseding physical ones, and heavenly issues overruling earthly ones. For the things of earth were created for the One in heaven and not the opposite!

John the Baptist (corresponds to Yahya bin Zacharia in the Koran) was strongly opposed to the marriage of the King Herod to his brother's wife since the latter was still living. He argued with him, in the name of God, denouncing him vehemently at other times. He was quite unafraid in his protest - until it cost him his head, literally. He paid the ultimate price for standing up for the truth. Here, as a simple observer I would say this shows God's justice displayed in His majestic and unique and impartial holiness. There is no compromise. No other position is tenable!

6. Adultery
Both the Christian and Muslim religions rejects the existence of adultery in society. In the Old Testament days the penalty for adultery was death by stoning. The person was considered to have surrendered himself or herself to satan and strayed from the love of God. What follows is a description of the sentence for the sin of adultery, found in Leviticus chapter 20: If a man commits adultery with another man's wife - with the wife of his neighbor - both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death. (verse 10) It is repeated, in the same vein in the book of Deuteronomy chapter 22 and verse 23: If a man happens to meet in a town a virgin pledged to be married and he sleeps with her, you shall take both of them the gate of that town and stone them to death...

This was God's law before Christ who when He came, embodied God's love for mankind. And since He preached love and forgiveness to all people, He forgave the woman who had been caught in adultery and whom the people wanted to stone - in accordance with the law. But God wanted to give this woman another chance to take stock of her life, an opportunity to become a new creature! After forgiving her, Christ told her to go her way but to "sin no more". While we are on this subject, let us see how the disciple John described this incident in the Gospel: The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with His finger. When they kept on questioning him, He straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"

"No one, sir," she said.

Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared.

"Go now and leave your life of sin." (John 8:3-11)

Therefore we see clearly that God's view of this woman differed completely from that of the crowd. They saw her as a criminal, deserving death by stoning. He, however saw her as a victim of that society. The townspeople had apprehended her alone, allowing the other adulterer to escape and find refuge!! Jesus forgave her, giving her another opportunity and the record suggests that this woman was among those who followed Jesus wherever He went, adoring, nurturing in her heart the fear of a holy God

We have already noted that adultery is also forbidden in Islam. The punishment of the parties is unequal: the man's is limited to a flogging while the woman has to be imprisoned until death. This law was later abrogated to just eighty strokes for the man and one hundred strokes for the woman. But this law is not enforced in all Islamic countries.

Christ for he is the Christian's model.

Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature dictates but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace... (Romans 8:5,6).

Peace be with you

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