Chapter Four

Status of Women


Preface and Comparison with the Bible

The general perception is that Muslim men treat women as if they are inferior. Is this behavior a cultural problem or is it based squarely on the teaching of the verses Mohammed recited, which are recorded in the Qur'an? The twenty-nine verses gathered in this chapter make it obvious that Islam teaches that men are not only superior, and thus have authority over women, but they are even commanded to beat them if they are rebellious.

There are many instances of women being mistreated by men in countries that have a Christian heritage as well. The difference is that the Bible primarily promotes the dignity of each individual regardless of their gender. History shows that where the gospel is embraced, human rights gradually improve. There are significant reasons for this trend.

Christians believe their lives should be modeled after that of the Lord Jesus who spent time teaching women, which broke with the customs of his day (Luke 10:38-42). His respect was demonstrated even toward sinful women who turned to him for compassion (Luke 7:36-39). He crossed racial and cultural barriers to reveal his true identity to a Samaritan woman (John 4:1-42). After his resurrection, Jesus honored the female disciples by appearing to them first (Matthew 28:8-10).

Many Christians interpret various Biblical passages to mean that men and women have different roles to play in the home and church, even so, Christians agree that the Bible clearly teaches the equality of the sexes. In the beginning of the Bible it reveals that God created “man” and created “him” as both “male and female.” They were both created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). In God’s eyes a husband and wife become one person in marriage (Genesis 2:24). In the New Testament, it is written that, as Christians, there is equality among all believers. It reveals that, in the church, there is no longer male or female, Jew or Greek, slave or free but they are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28).

The Qur'an Says ...

Inferiority of Women   Men have authority over women because they were made to be superior and because men spend their resources to take care of women (4:34). Men have a higher status or are considered a degree above women, so in matters of divorce, the man has more rights (2:228).

Possessions   The things men are tempted to covet are women, sons, gold and silver, horses, cattle and fields. These are the possessions of this world but the most important thing is a righteous life (3:14).

Superiority of Men and Wife Beating   Men are in charge of women because they have been created superior to them and because they support them. Good women are obedient. Women who are suspected of disobedience must be scolded, made to sleep alone and beaten. When they return to obedience, no further punishment should be administered (4:34).

Fields to Plow   Women are fields for men to own and plow whenever and however they wish (2:223).

Enemies   Wives and children are enemies of believers. Beware of them. If the believer forgives their offenses then Allah will also. Wealth and children are a temptation. One’s first obligation is to pay attention to Allah, obey him and give generously to charity (64:14-17).

Value and Nature of Women   Having sons is of greater value than having daughters since women grow up wearing cheap jewelry and are unable to speak logically in an argument. Those that think that the angels are female will have to answer for this belief. Those who believe that Allah has daughters who are goddesses are wrong and unfair. He does not! Why would Allah have daughters when sons are preferable (17:40, 43:16-19, 53:19-22)?

Trustworthiness of Women   Two men are required to witness a loan agreement. If two men can not be found, then one man and two women will suffice. The women are to be chosen carefully. Two are required so that if one of them makes a mistake or forgets something the other may remind her (2:282).

Inequity In Financial Matters   Males are to inherit twice as much as females. If only two or more daughters survive, they may split two-thirds of the estate. If only one daughter survives, she may only inherit half of the estate (4:11). If a woman dies, her husband will inherit half of her estate if there are no children. On the other hand, a widow will inherit only one fourth of their husbands estate (if there are no children) (4:12). If a man dies childless and he has a sister, she may inherit half of his estate. If a woman dies childless, her brother may inherit all of her estate. If a man dies childless and he has both brothers and sisters, the share of each male will be that of two females (4:176).

Covering   The wives of Mohammed and Muslim women are to cover themselves with their cloak when away from home in such a way that they may be recognized but not harmed (33:59).

Potential Slaves   Muslims are those who abstain from sexual relations beyond their wives and slave girls they have captured in battle. Such relationships are blameless (23:5-6). Slaves do not share equally the riches Allah gives their owners. Their owners do not fear their slaves as they do their fellow Muslims (30:28).

Sons are a Blessing   Wives, sons and grandsons are rewards for believers (16:72).

Women Confined for Indecency   If a woman is accused by four witnesses of indecency and she confesses to it, confine her to her home until she dies or until Allah finds another way. If two men are convicted for the same thing they should both be punished but if they repent leave them alone (4:15,16).

Adulterers 100 Lashes   Both the male and female who are guilty of adultery or premarital sex are to be flogged with one hundred lashes. Absolutely no mercy is to be given. It is to be witnessed by a group of Muslims. They can only marry a person who has been found guilty of the same crime or an unbeliever in Islam (24:2).

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