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Women in Christianity and Islam

Women in Christianity and Islam

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Published by haitham
Women-in-Christianity-and-Islam
Women-in-Christianity-and-Islam

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Published by: haitham on Feb 13, 2010
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09/18/2010

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Women in Christianity and IslamWhenever the topic of Islam is brought up among Westerners, it hasbeen my experience that the first objection that immediately springsinto their minds is: "But women are so extremely oppressed inIslam." And, "But women are second class citizens in Islam." Forexample, they see that Muslim women usually observe modeststandards in their clothing and they automatically equate theirmodesty with oppression. They appear to feel that freedom is in someway directly proportional to how little clothing one wears, and thatoppression is directly proportional to the degree of modesty oneexhibits in their clothing. Although this topic does not directly relateto the main topic of this book, still it seems inevitable to touch on thissubject even if only very briefly due to it's importance.The problem is twofold: First of all, those people who make suchobjections usually only have a very superficial knowledge of what thetrue teachings of Islam, and secondly, they do not realize what TheBible requires of all believing women.I was once passing through Canada with my parent's in law and theirfamily. As we walked down the street a Canadian Christian girl (inher late teens to early twenties) passed by us with a group of herfriends. She looked at my mother in law who was dressed in modestclothing and had a large scarf wrapped around her head such thatonly her face was showing. She then stopped my mother in law andsaid words to the effect of: "Why do you allow your men to oppressyou?. Why do you wear these clothes".?Now, my mother in law is a university graduate, a straight A student,highly respected by her peers, and gainfully employed as an inspectorof the public educational system back in my home country. Mymother in law has also distinguished herself in her study of theEnglish language and it's grammatical structure. However, she didnot have an extensive working knowledge of American and Canadianpronunciation and slang, and thus, she missed the tone with whichthis question was delivered to her.I decided to move a reasonable distance away and let her handle thissituation herself. My mother in law was very happy to answer thisgirl's question and went on to explain to her about our religion andcustoms and how we prefer to dress modestly, and that AllahAlmighty requires us to do this. However, this was not the answer
 
this girl was looking for so she retorted: "Thanks for sharing!," thenspun around and stormed off .Now, in my home country, our elders are quite used to being highlyrespected by those who are younger than them and being served bythem. For this reason, it did not even occur to my mother in law thatthis question could have been anything more than a young girlrespectfully asking an innocent question of a trusted elder, and Ihated to tell her otherwise. I would have hated for her to leaveCanada thinking that all Canadians or all Christians speak this wayto their elders since I know that this is not the true case. However,this episode did indeed sadden me.Many non-Muslims feel sorry for any Muslim women they seeadorned in their modest clothing. They feel that they are deprivedthe freedom to roam around in more scant and revealing clothing.Anyone who lives in a manner other that which they have becomeaccustomed to is seen by them to be oppressed and forced to live inthis manner. There are certain tribes in the Amazon jungle, inAustralia, and in Africa which have become accustomed to walkingaround in a simple g-string around their waist. What would thepeople of the West say if these people were to condemn the Westernhabit of "forcing" their women to wear "excessive amounts of clothing" and to demand that all women in the west immediately stopwearing anything but the simplest g-string around their waist? Whatif they were to say that the Western society should immediately stopunjustly persecuting their women and preventing them from freelyroaming the streets wearing only a pair of socks? They would saythat the people making these demands have no morals or shame.Philosophers would have a field day with such a question.What if someone were to claim that it was immoral, discriminatory,and unjust to separate men and women in different public bathrooms just as it is not just to do so with blacks and whites. What if thisperson were to then call (in the interest of equality, fairness, andconstitutional freedom of course) for a merging of men and women'sbathrooms into one "unisex" or "equal-opportunity" bathrooms forboth men and women? Once again, the philosophers would have afield day. Anyone who follows the news will see that this may indeedbe where the USA is now headed. In the New York Post (31 Aug.1994 or a little before) it was reported that women have now won theright to appear topless in the New York subway system. Where willthe USA be a few years from now? That is anyone's guess.
 
Who has the power to determine what is decent and modest clothing?Who is to determine what is decent and modest behavior? Muslimsassign this right to God alone. This is the essence of "Islam." "Islam"means "The submission to the will of God." What God commands, aMuslim does. They do not demand that God justify his commandsbefore they accept them. Once they have verified that a command isindeed from God then they abide by it without hesitation.We can indeed find this lesson in the story of Adam. In the Islamicversion of the story of Adam (slightly different than that of Judaism/Christianity), Adam and Eve were created by God,educated, clothed, and then allowed to inhabit heaven. They weretold by God that they could have anything their hearts desired exceptthey must not eat from the tree. Out of envy, the devil encouragedthem to eat from the tree and told them that it's fruit would makethem angles or immortal. They ate from the tree and immediately,their bodies were revealed to one another, so they took to scooping upthe leaves off the trees in order to cover themselves. This is whenAllah sent them down to earth. What mankind learned from thislesson is that just because a person does not know the wisdom behinda command of God, and others tell him to disobey it, then if they donot abide by it, by the time the reason for the command is madeapparent to them it may be too late.Well then, what is the Biblical view on these matters? Actually, evenin this day and age there still remains traces in Christianity of thecommon ancestry with Islam with regard to the accepted norms of modest dress for Christian women as ordained by her Creator. In theabove figure we have an example of the sort of dress codes observedby Christian nuns. We are strangely amazed to find that it is almostthe striking similarity it bears to the sort of outfit which most Muslimwomen wear. Why is that? Well, although there are quite a numberof very pronounced differences between Biblical and Qur'anic lawsin this regard, let us start with the Biblical view:What the New Testament has to say:1Timothy 2:11-14 "Let the woman learn in silence with allsubjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authorityover the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, thenEve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was

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