Women in the Qur'an and the Bible

According to The Almanac Book of Facts, in the past decade Islam increased 235 per cent. In the US, a recent poll determined that 100,000 people per year are converting to Islam in America alone. For every male convert to Islam, four females convert. The vast majority of converts to Islam are former Christians. Muslims believe in the divine origins of both Judaism and Christianity as well as the revelations of the Torah and the Gospels, though they no longer exist on earth in their original and pure forms. Some experts suggest that one reason many Christian women are embracing Islam is because they are discovering the vast differences between what the scriptures of the religions say about the female gender. Orthodox Jewish men, in their daily morning prayer, recite "Blessed be God King of the universe that Thou has not made me a woman." The women, on the other hand, thank God every morning for "making me according to Thy will." Why is it such a shame to be a woman? Where did this aversion to being female originate? Let's look first at the original woman, the mother of us all, Eve. Judaism, Islam and Christianity all teach that she was created from the rib of our father Adam. However, the discrepancies in belief start with the first sin committed by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. The Bible blames Eve for the Original sin, which Christians believe all people inherit and are tainted with at birth. "And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat." (Genesis 3:6) "And the man (Adam) said (to God) The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree and I did eat." (Genesis 3:12) The Catholic Bible states, "No wickedness comes anywhere near the wickedness of a woman.....Sin began with a woman and thanks to her we all must die." (Ecclesiasticus 25:19, 24) In Islamic belief, there is no such thing as an inherent original sin; in fact, Islam teaches that every human is born pure and free from any sin. Muslims also believe that every child is born a Muslim, which means he is in a state of submission to His Lord, The Creator. For that reason, many converts to Islam prefer to call themselves reverts. As far as the first sin, it was Satan who tricked both Adam and Eve. The Qur'an says: "Then Satan whispered suggestions to them both in order to uncover that which was hidden from them of their private parts; he said: 'Your Lord did not forbid you this tree save you should become angels or become of the immortals.' And he swore by God to them both: 'Verily, I am one of the sincere well-wishers for you both.' So he misled them with deception…" (Qur'an 7:20-21) God had warned Adam and Eve not to eat from this tree. Their mistake was listening to Satan, who convinced them by swearing by God. God sent them down to earth to dwell, but the Qur'an

explains that they repented to their Lord and were forgiven."Then they both ate of the tree, and so their private parts became manifest to them, and they began to cover themselves with the leaves of Paradise for their covering. Thus did Adam disobey his Lord, so he went astray. Then his Lord chose him, and turned to him with forgiveness, and gave him guidance." (Qur'an 20:121-122) Should Women Speak Up or Keep Silent? Eve was the first of women and mother of us all but what more do the scriptures say about the position of women in general. The following points illustrate the position of women as it appears in the scriptures, not necessarily as practised by the adherents of these religions around the world today. These verses are quite informative, especially considering the fact that the worldwide media usually presents Muslim women as being oppressed. Delving into the very revelation of the Qur'an, one finds that several verses of the Qur'an were revealed in direct response to the concerns of women. For example, in the Qur'an, Allah, Himself, responds to the complaint of a woman who argues with the Prophet (peace be upon him): "Indeed Allah has heard the statement of her (Khaulah bint Tha'labah) that disputes with you (O Muhammad) concerning her husband, and complains to God. And God hears the argument between you both. Verily, God is All-Hearer, All-Seer." (Qur'an 58:1) This Muslim woman argues with the Prophet (PBUH) and her complaint is acknowledged through divine revelation from the Lord of the Worlds. The Bible, on the other hand, says that women must never speak in church: "Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in church." (I Corinthians 14:33-34) "But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in transgression." (Timothy 2:12-13) How can a woman learn if she is not even allowed to speak? What happens to the rights of a woman if her only source of knowledge is her husband? Islam forbids a man from preventing his wife from going to the mosque, this protects the rights of women by ensuring that they have direct access to knowledge. Women used to approach the Prophet (PBUH) directly and ask him whatever they wanted to know about religious matters. The Catholic Bible states that, "A man who educates his son will be the envy of his enemy." (Ecclesiasticus 30:3) But, if a man has a daughter none will envy him, as this Bible boldly states that "The birth of a daughter is a loss." (Sirach 22:3) The Qur'an, on the other hand, exemplifies the equal blessing of both the male and the female child. "He bestows female (offspring) upon whom He wills, and bestows male (offspring) upon whom He wills. Or He bestows both males and females, and He renders barren whom He wills. Verily, Allah is All-Knower and is Able to do all things." (Qur'an 42:49-50) One of the wickedest customs of the pagan Arabs was to bury their baby daughters alive to cover up the "shame" of having had a female child. What a liberation it was for girls when Islam came to wipe out this practice. God put the shame exactly where it belonged by revealing these verses about Judgment Day, "And when the female (infant) buried alive is questioned for what sin she was killed." (Qur'an 81:8-9).

How to Become Muslim
If anyone has a real desire to be a Muslim and has full conviction and strong belief that Islam is the true religion ordained by Allah (SWT) for all human beings, then, one should pronounce that "Shahada" (The testimony of faith) without further delay. The Shahada can be declared as follows:

The English translation is: "I bear witness that there is no deity worthy to be worshipped but Allah, and I bear witness the Muhammad is His servant and messenger.'' However, it would not be sufficient for anyone to utter only this testimony orally either in private or in public, but rather, one should believe in it by heart with a firm conviction with the teachings of Islam in all his life he will find himself a new born person, (or new man).

Best Wishes na2elll@yahoo.com

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful