Islam and Christianity (Part 1) - Status of women

SERMON TOPIC: Islam and Christianity (Part 1) - Status of women

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 9 March 2014


Sermon synopsis: At face value, Islam appears to share common roots with both Judaism and Christianity. But the teachings of the Quran are sharply contrasted to the Bible when it comes to the status and treatment of women.

Men are superior to women. (Sura 2:228)
Your wives are like a field. Plow them as often and anyway you wish. (Sura 2:223)
Husband, discipline your rebellious wives, beat them and deny them sex (Sura 4:34)
In one hadith Muhammad advises husbands to, “Hang up your whip where your wife can see it.”

The Bible says:
Eph 5:25-29 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her...
Prov 18:22 He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favour from the LORD.
1 Tim 5:1-2 ... Treat... older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.
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The revelations (or Ayats, literally “Signs of God”), which Muhammad had continued receiving till his death, form the verses of the Quran, regarded by Muslims as the “word of God”, around which the religion is based. 1

The Quran contains 114 Suras (chapters) each referred to by either its sequential number or by its unique name. In contrast the Bible contains 66 books each divided into chapters (1,189 chapters altogether). The Quran (about 78,000 words) is about ten times shorter than the Bible (about 780,000 words).

Besides the Quran, Muhammad’s life (sira) and traditions (hadith) are also upheld by Muslims. 1

1 SOURCE: Wikipedia - Muhammad



At face value, Islam appears to share common roots with both Judaism and Christianity.

Muslims believe in a single, personal Creator God.

Islam too is an Abrahamic religion and honours Adam, Noah, Moses, Abraham, Solomon and Jesus as prophets.

Muslims also claim to accept the Old and New Testament writings and look forward to the return of Jesus (Isa) to judge the earth.

But the teachings of the Quran are sharply contrasted to the Bible when it comes to the status and treatment of women, infidels (i.e. non-believers) and other races (in particular Jews).


The Quran says that men are superior to women:

Men are superior to women. (Sura 2:228)

Men are managers of the affairs of women because Allah has made the one superior to the other. (Sura 4:34)

53.21-22. Are yours the males and His the females? That indeed were an unfair division!

Women are inferior because they are deficient in both intelligence and matters of religion:

“Allah’s Apostle once said to a group of women : ‘I have not seen any one more deficient in intelligence and religion than you.’” (Hadith No. 301)


The Bible says male and female are one in Christ:

Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

And men and women complement and need each other:

1 Cor 11:11-12 In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman.



On the treatment of wives, the Quran states:

Your wives are like a field. Plow them as often and anyway you wish. (Sura 2:223)

A husband’s rights are so vast that Egyptian religious scholar Suyuti (c. 1445–1505 AD) comments on Q. 4:34

“If blood, suppuration, and pus, were to pour from the husband’s nose and the wife licked it with her tongue, she would still never be able to fulfil his rights over her.”


But wives do have rights, including the provision that they can only be slapped and insulted in the house and not in the general public. You must also feed and clothe her, provided of course that you have first fed and clothed yourself:

“O Messenger of Allah ! What right has the wife of one among us got over him?” He said: “It is that you shall give her food when you have taken your food, that you shall clothe her when you have clothed yourself, that you shall not slap her on the face, nor revile her, nor desert her except within the house.” 1

1 Sunan Ibn Magah, Kitab al-Nikah, Hadith No. 1850


In contrast the Bible says:

Eph 5:25-29 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her… In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church.


In Islam, a Muslim woman can only have sex after her ‘nikah’ - a proper marriage contract - with one Muslim man; sex is permitted to her only with her husband. The woman’s husband, may however, marry and have sex with more than one Muslim woman, as well as have sex with non-Muslim slave girls who are unmarried or married to non-Muslim men. 1

1 "http:// wiki/ Women_in_Islam">http:// wiki/ Women_in_Islam


The hadith states:

A wife should never refuse herself to her husband even if it is on the saddle of a camel.”

The prophet of Allah said: “When a man calls his wife to satisfy his desire, let her come to him though she is occupied at the oven.” 1

This thoughtless behaviour from women annoys the angels:

The messenger of Allah said: “Whenever a man calls his wife to his bed and she refuses, and then he passes the night in an angry mood, the angels curse her till she gets up at dawn.” 2

1 Mishkat al-Masabih, English translation, Book I, Section 'Duties of husband and wife', Hadith No. 6 2 Ibid., Hadith No. 54


But on the other hand the Quran tells husbands, “Husband, discipline your rebellious wives… deny them sex” (Sura 4:34).

The Bible applies the same rule to husband and wife - not to deny each other except by mutual consent:

1 Cor 7:3-5 The husband should fulfil his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control…


The Quran recommends beating wives for discipline:

Husband, discipline your rebellious wives, beat them … (Sura 4:34)


In one hadith Muhammad advises husbands to, “Hang up your whip where your wife can see it.”

Now while to the casual observer this may seem harsh, it’s actually quite thoughtful. You are clearly warning her against disobedience – so she can only blame herself if she gets a beating.


According to Muslim theologians, the husband has the right to administer corporal punishment to his wife if she: 1

Refuses to make herself beautiful for him;

Refuses to meet his sexual demands;

Leaves the house without permission or without any legitimate reason recognized by law; or

Neglects her religious duties.

1 Ghassan Ascha, Du Statut Inferieur de la Femme en Islam (Paris: 1989) pp. 108. Excerpted from Why I Am Not a Muslim by Ibn Warraq (Prometheus Books, 1995).


In Lebanon, as many as three-quarters of all Lebanese women have suffered physical abuse at the hands of husbands or male relatives at some point in their lives. In Afghanistan, over 85% of women report domestic violence; other nations with very high rates of domestic violence and limited legal rights include Syria, Pakistan, Egypt, Morocco, Iran, Yemen and Saudi Arabia. In some Islamic countries such as Turkey, where legal protections against domestic violence have been enacted, serial domestic violence by husband and other male members of her family is mostly ignored by witnesses and accepted by women without her getting legal help, according to a Government of Turkey report. 1

1 "http:// wiki/ Women_in_Islam">http:// wiki/ Women_in_Islam


The Bible instructs husbands not to be harsh with their wives who are physically weaker:

Col 3:19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.

1 Pet 3:7 Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life…


The Bible instructs wives to respect their husbands:

Eph 5:33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

In the hadith Muhammad instructs wives to prostrate themselves before their husbands:

“Had I ordered anybody to prostrate before any one, I would have ordered women to prostrate before their husbands on account of men’s rights over the women ordained by Allah.” 1

1 Mishkat al-Masabih, English translation, Section “Duties of husband and wife”, Hadith No. 70. Reported by Abu Dawood, Ahmad, Tirmizi, Ibn Magah and Ibn Haban.


The Bible teaches us that our wives are a blessing from God:

Prov 18:22 He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favour from the LORD.

The Bible instructs husbands and children to reward the noble wife and mother by praising her:

Prov 31:28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” … Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.


The Quran states, “Marry women you wish two or three or four.” (Sura 4:3)


The Bible (New Testament)

1 Tim 3:2 Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife

1 Tim 3:12 A deacon must be the husband of but one wife

Titus 1:6 An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife


But although Muhammad limits his followers to having 4 wives, he himself took more than 4 wives and concubines. Since polygamy was practiced in the Old Testament by such patriarchs as Abraham, the mere fact that Muhammad had more than one wife is not sufficient in and of itself to discount his claim to prophethood.

The question of the number of women with whom Muhammad was sexually involved either as wives, concubines or devotees was made a point of contention by the Jews in Muhammad’s day. 1

1 islam/ islam-myths-muhammad-sinless-4-wives.htm


Ali Dashti comments: “All the commentaries agree that verse 57 of Sura 4 (on-Nesa) was sent down after the Jews criticized Muhammad’s appetite for women, alleging that he had nothing to do except to take wives” (Ali Dashti, 23 Years, pp. 120-138). 1

1 Ibid


Muslim scholar and statesman Ali Dashti gives the following list of the women in Muhammad’s life: 1


Maymuna (of Hareth)



Asma (of Saba)

Zaynab (of Khozayma)


Asma (of Noman)




Omm Salama


Zaynab (of Jahsh)


Omm Habiba

1 Ibid

Mary (the Christian)


Omm Sharik


Zaynab (a third one)



Several observations need to be given about the list.

The first 16 women were wives. Numbers 17 and 18 were slaves or concubines. 1 The last 4 women were neither wives nor slaves but devout Muslim women who ‘gave’ themselves to satisfy Muhammad’s sexual desires. 1

Mary, the Coptic Christian, refused to marry Muhammad because she would not renounce Christianity and embrace Islam. She bravely chose to remain a slave rather than convert. 1

Zaynab of Jahsh was originally Muhammad’s adopted son Zaid’s wife. The fact that Muhammad took her for himself has been problematic to many people, Muslims included. 1


1 Ibid

The age of marriage in Islam for women varies with country. Traditionally, Islam has permitted marriage of girls below the age of 10, because Sharia considers practices of Muhammad, the Prophet, as a basis for Islamic law. According to Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim, the two authentic hadiths, the Prophet married Aisha, his third wife when she was 6, and consummated the marriage before she reached the age of 10. 1

1 "http:// %0Bwiki/ Women_in_Islam">http:// wiki/ Women_in_Islam


The hadith collections of Bukhari (d. 870) and Muslim b. al-Hajjaj (d. 875) are in general regarded as the most authentic by Sunni Muslims. Both quote Aisha herself claiming she was 6 or 7 at the time of her marriage and 9 when the marriage was consummated. 2

In other words Aisha was only 9 years old when Muhammad took her to his bed. According to Hadith, she was still playing with her dolls. 1

Muhammad was over 50 years old at the time. 1 Ibid 2 Sahih Bukhari Volume 7, Book 62, Number 88 Narrated Urwa: The Prophet wrote the (marriage contract) with Aisha while she was six years old and consummated his marriage with her while she was nine years old and she remained with him for nine years (i.e. till his death).


A marriage of pleasure, where a man pays a sum of money to a woman or her family in exchange for a temporary spousal relationship, is found and considered legal among Shia sect of Islam, for example in Iran after 1979. Temporary marriages are forbidden among Sunni sect of Islam. Among Shia, the number of temporary marriages can be unlimited, for a duration that is less than an hour to few months, recognized with an official temporary marriage certificate, and divorce is unnecessary because the temporary marriage automatically expires on the date and time specified on the certificate. Payment to the woman by the man is mandatory, in every temporary marriage and considered as mahr… Women’s rights groups have condemned it as a form of legalized prostitution. 1

1 "http:// wiki/ Women_in_Islam">http:// wiki/ Women_in_Islam


In Islam, Muslim women may not marry non-Muslim men, a term that includes infidel, apostate, ex-Muslims, other monotheistic (Christian, Jewish, Zoroastrian), non-theistic and polytheistic men (Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and others). Further, a Muslim woman - either by birth or after conversion - is not allowed to leave Islam to marry a non-Muslim, because leaving Islam is a religious hudud crime of apostasy punishable with death. The Quran allows Muslim men to marry women of the People of the Book (Jews and Christians), but the woman must be chaste. 1

1 "http:// wiki/ Women_in_Islam">http:// wiki/ Women_in_Islam


Many Islamic scholars explain this gender difference in marriage restrictions, where men can marry some non-Muslim women while Muslim women may never marry non-Muslim men, is that Islam considers marriage an unequal relationship, where a wife is subservient to her husband in ways similar to a slave being subservient to a master, and Islam forbids Muslim women who are superior because of their religion to place themselves in a subservient position as a wife of men with inferior religions. Sharia stipulates severe punishment for non-Muslim and dhimmi men who marry and consummate their relationship with Muslim women. Hadd punishments are also stipulated for women who marry non-Muslims on their own accord. 1

1 Ibid


If after marriage, the husband leaves Islam or converts to another religion such as Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism or Buddhism, the marriage of the Muslim woman to him is automatically dissolved. This principle was established at the time of the Prophet Ramla bint Abi Sufyan whose husband converted to Christianity, whose marriage was declared void by the Prophet because of the husband’s decision to leave Islam. 1

1 Ibid



According to the hadith, women are a bad omen:

Al-Bukhaari and Muslim, narrated that Ibn ‘Umar said: Mention of bad omens was made in the presence of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “If bad omens are to be found in anything, it is in a house, a woman and a horse.”

Women, dogs and donkeys annul your prayers:

Shahih Bukhari Volume 1, Book 9, Number 490: Narrated ‘Aisha: The things which annul the prayers were mentioned before me. They said, “Prayer is annulled by a dog, a donkey and a woman (if they pass in front of the praying people).”


Women are an affliction to men:

The Prophet said, “After me I have not left any affliction more harmful to men than women” (Bukhari Volume 7, Book 62, Number 33: Narrated Usama bin Zaid)

Usama b. Zaid reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: I have not left after me any (chance) of turmoil more injurious to men than the harm done to the men because of women. (Shahih Muslim Book 036, Number 6603)

“There is no calamity I fear on my nation more than women and wine.” 1

1 Kanz-el-‘Ummal, Vol. 21, Hadith No. 829


They are a hindrance to men spiritually:

“Had it not been for women, God would have truly, truly been worshipped.” 1

“Men perished, the day they obeyed the women.” 2

And on top of it all, women are ungrateful:

“Women are ungrateful to their husbands and are ungrateful for the favours and the good (charitable) deeds done to them. If you have always been good (benevolent) to one of them and then she sees something in you (not of her liking), she will say, ‘I have never received any good from you.’” 3

1 Kanz-e Amal,vol21,Hadith 825 2 Kanz-el-‘Ummal, Vol. 21, Hadith No. 831 3 Sahih Bukhari, Arabic-English translation, vol. 1 Hadith No. 28


Woman are also not trustworthy in keeping a confidence:

Never will a people know success if they confide their affairs to a woman.

Muhammad refers to women as ‘toys’:

“The woman is a toy, whoever takes her let him care for her (or do not lose her).” 1

Like the rib she was made from, women are crooked:

“The woman is like a rib; if you try to straighten her, she will break. So if you want to get benefit from her, do so while she still has some crookedness.” 2

1 Tuffaha, Ahmad Zaky, Al-Mar’ah wal-Islam, Dar al-Kitab al-Lubnani, Beirut, first edition, 1985, p. 180. 2 Sahih Bukhari, Arabic-English translation, vol. VII Hadith No. 113


Honour killings are prevalent in Islamic countries and among Muslims, despite the fact that the Quran does not explicitly condone them. Honour killing of family members, usually girls or young women, is based on the belief that the victim has brought dishonour upon the family, for reasons like refusing to enter an arranged marriage, becoming the victim of rape, being in a relationship disapproved of by their relatives, having sex outside of marriage, or wearing Westernized dress.


Noor al-Maleki, an Iraqi woman, was killed in the US by her father, who ran over her with his SUV. (Source: http:// time/ nation/ article/ 0,8599,2055445,00.html)

Facial mutilation and acid attacks are common in Pakistan and Afghanistan. A refused marriage proposal, in-laws problems, failure to wear a hijab, dishonouring a husband - these are some of the reasons why assailants disfigure women with sulphuric, nitric or hydrochloric acid.


Prior to the US-led invasion of 2001, the Taliban government condoned family members and/ or civilly imprisoned, tortured or executed women for the following violations of Sharia Law:

Refusing an arranged marriage.


Females over the age of 8 receiving an education.

Appearing in the streets without a male blood relative.

Failure to wear a burqa. 1

1 article/ afghan-president-beating-wives-is-the-law-of-all-muslims-and-all-afghans


Wear high-heeled shoes as no man should hear a woman’s footsteps lest it excite him.

Speak loudly in public as no stranger should hear a woman’s voice.

All ground and first floor residential windows should be painted over or screened to prevent women being visible from the street.

The photographing or filming of women and displaying pictures of females in newspapers, books, shops or the home. 1

1 Ibid


Forbidden to appear on the balconies of their apartments or houses.

Banned from radio and television broadcasts or at public gatherings of any kind.

Riding in a taxi without a male escort.

Segregated bus services to prevent males and females travelling together.

Banned from riding bicycles or motorcycles, even with male escorts. 1

1 Ibid


Aisha, an 18-year-old Afghan woman sentenced by a Taliban commander to have her nose and ears cut off for fleeing her abusive in-laws.


The Bible says the following on the general treatment of women:

1 Tim 5:1-2 … Treat … older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.


Note how Jesus treated women as he protects the woman caught in adultery in front of her accusers. (John 8:3-11)

If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.

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?

When the disciples criticized the woman who anointed him, Jesus defends her. (Matt 26:10)

Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me.

Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me.

In John 4, to the surprise of his disciples, Jesus takes the time to give the gospel to a sinful foreign woman.

Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.

1 SOURCE: "http:// wiki/ Muslim_Statistics_-_Women">http:// wiki/ Muslim_Statistics_-_Women

The Global Gender Gap index report, the bottom 10 index nations (excluding Benin), which are all predominantly Islamic nations, represent a population of over half a billion individuals. 1

1 SOURCE: http:// wiki/ Muslim_Statistics_-_Women

2009 Global Gender Gap Population Analysis for 10 bottom nations Predominantly Islamic (excluding Benin)

The Global Gender Gap report for 2013 shows that the 10 lowest scoring countries are all Muslim majority or Islam is the largest religion, and 14 of the 15 lowest scoring countries are all Muslims majority or Islam is the largest religion. Conversely, all 15 countries which scored the highest are secular and/ or devoutly Christian countries. 1

1 SOURCE: http:// wiki/ Muslim_Statistics_-_Women



In a 2013 statement, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation noted that many Islamic member nations restrict education opportunities for girls. UNICEF notes that out of 24 nations with less than 60% female primary enrolment rates, 17 were Islamic nations; more than half the adult population is illiterate in several Islamic countries, and the proportion reaches 70% among Muslim women. Other scholars claim Islamic nations have the world’s highest gender gap in education. The 2012 World Economic Forum annual gender gap study finds the 17 out of 18 worst performing nations, out of a total of 135 nations, are the following members of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation: Algeria, Jordan, Lebanon, (Nepal), Turkey, Oman, Egypt, Iran, Mali, Morocco, Côte d’Ivoire, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Chad, Pakistan and Yemen. 1

1 "http:// wiki/ Women_in_Islam#cite_ref-13">http:// wiki/ Women_in_Islam#cite_ref-13


The Encyclopaedia of Islam defines ‘awrah as pudendum, that is “the external genitals, especially of the female.” In Latin: pudendum (literally) a thing to be ashamed of.

The hadith: “The woman is ‘awrah. When she goes outside (the house), the devil welcomes her.” 1

1 Ihy'a 'Uloum ed-Din by Ghazali, Dar al-Kotob al-'Elmeyah, Beirut, Vol II, Kitab Adab al-Nikah, p. 65. Reported by Tirmizi as a true and good Ahadith.


The hadith says: [The Prophet said] “It is not permissible for a man to be alone with a woman, and no lady should travel except with a Muhram (i.e. her husband or a person whom she cannot marry in any case for ever; e.g. her father, brother, etc.).” - Neither is a woman allowed to travel by herself.” - Bukhari (52:250)

In most Muslim countries women are allowed to drive. However, they are forbidden to drive in Saudi Arabia per a 1990 fatwa (religious ruling). 1 Today, not only are the country’s women prohibited from chauffeuring themselves around, they’re also discouraged from travelling alone or using public transportation. Driver’s licenses are issued only to men. 2

1 http:// wiki/ Women_in_Islam 2 international/ archive/ 2013/ 10/ negative-physiological-impacts-why-saudi-women-arent-allowed-to-drive/ 280343/


According to a 2012 World Economic Forum report and other recent reports, Islamic nations in the Middle East and North Africa region are increasing their creation of economic and employment opportunities for women; compared, however, to every other region in the world, the Middle East and North African region ranks lowest on economic participation, employment opportunity and the political empowerment of women. 1

Ten countries with the lowest women labour force participation in the world – Jordan, Oman, Morocco, Iran, Turkey, Algeria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Syria – are Islamic countries, as are the four countries that have no female parliamentarians. 1

1 "http:// wiki/ Women_in_Islam#cite_ref-13">http:// wiki/ Women_in_Islam#cite_ref-13



The Bible speaks of the noble wife who is a business-woman:

Prov 31:16,18 She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard… She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night.

It was women of financial means who supported Jesus’ ministry:

Luke 8:2-3 … Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.


She went into the field and has worked steadily from morning till now, except for a short rest in the shelter.

Ruth worked in public when she gleaned in the fields of Boaz and was commended by his foreman for her hard work (Ruth 2:7).

It was a business-woman, Lydia, who was Paul’s first convert and supporter in Europe:

Acts 16:14 One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.

Strangely enough, Khadijah who was Muhammad’s first and only wife for the first 25 years of his married life was an extremely wealthy businesswoman. A widow, she was Muhammad’s employer before he married her and after the marriage she became responsible for financing Muhammad’s early activities.

Muslim apologists sometimes point to Khadijah’s independence and success as an example of the great opportunities that Islam grants to women. Typical claims cite her as an example of the “vibrant, liberating spirit of early Islam” or state that the modern-day justifications for “denying girls an equal chance at success lies in archaic interpretations of religion”. 1

1 "http:// wiki/ Khadijah_bint_Khuwaylid">http:// wiki/ Khadijah_bint_Khuwaylid


These claims are illogical, since Khadijah’s career was established before Islam existed. What it really demonstrates is the opportunities that pre-Islamic Arabs (sometimes) granted to women, who not only mingled freely with men in the market-place but were also respected for doing so. Most merchants were men, but among the women were the very pagan Hind bint Utba and the perfumer Asma bint Mukharriba. After Khadijah died, Muslim women were ordered to stay at home and wear veils, and it became impossible for an adherent Muslim woman to conduct any such enterprise. Khadijah had no way of knowing that within a decade of her death, her lifestyle would be forbidden to the women of Arabia. 1

1 Ibid


According to the Quran, in terms of inheritance, women get half of what a man gets:

Sura 4.11 Allah chargeth you concerning (the provision for) your children: to the male the equivalent of the portion of two females.


In the Old Testament, Moses was approached by Zelophehad’s daughters, who in that day were exempt from inheritance rights as they were women.

Num 27:4-8 Why should our father’s name disappear from his clan because he had no son? Give us property among our father’s relatives.” So Moses brought their case before the LORD and the LORD said to him, “What Zelophehad’s daughters are saying is right. You must certainly give them property as an inheritance among their father’s relatives and turn their father’s inheritance over to them. Say to the Israelites, ‘If a man dies and leaves no son, turn his inheritance over to his daughter.’”



The Quran says of women’s dress:

And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband’s fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers or their brothers’ sons, or their sisters’ sons, or their women, or the slaves whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex; and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. (Sura 24:31)


The Hadith says:

Bukhari (6:321) - Muhammad is asked whether it is right for a young woman to leave her house without a veil. He replies, “She should cover herself with the veil of her companion.”

Bukhari (60:282) - After Muhammad issued the command (Quran 24:31) for women to cover themselves, the women responded by tearing up sheets to cover their faces.

Abu Dawud (32:4092) - The Apostle of Allah... said: “O Asma’, when a woman reaches the age of menstruation, it does not suit her that she displays her parts of body except this and this, and he pointed to her face and hands” This was according to Aisha.


Islamic law (Sharia) requires women to cover themselves. The practical application in modern Muslim countries varies with a combination of individual taste and social expectation. The Taliban actually require full burqas (covering everything, including a mesh for the eyes), while the formerly secular governments of Turkey and Tunisia actually banned headscarves in public buildings (the bans have since been lifted following the Islamist ascension). 1

The head covering is interpreted as a symbol of male domination by most critics and by many Muslim women who fight for the right to dress as they please. In December of 2007, a father in Canada beat his 16-year-old daughter to death for refusing to wear the hijab (headscarf). 1

1 " Quran/ 007-veils.htm"> Quran/ 007-veils.htm


Some insist that the veil is not mandated by the religion, although they do not have anything within the sacred texts to counter the passages in which Muhammad instructed its use. In fact, verse 24:60 says that the veil is only optional for unmarried women who are too old to have children, and even then the freedom to uncover the head is discouraged. 1

CAIR’s Jamal Badawi, often held up as a moderate Muslim scholar, insists that the hijab is “a command of Allah to Muslim women” and should be “the duty of the state” to enforce it. 1

1 Ibid



Some women do wear the hijab by choice, but it is impossible to say what percentage, since the pressure to cover ones head can be either subtle or pronounced. In 2011, an imam at a supposedly moderate mosque in Sammamish, Washington claimed that Muslim wives wear the hijab because they want to, but then stated that they may be “punished” if they refuse. In Pakistan, uncovered women are routinely attacked with acid. In Iran, Basij fundamentalists have raped and killed dress code violators. 1

1 Ibid


And women are to blame for rape because of the way they dress:

Clerics, such as Sheik Taj Din al-Hilali, have said that unveiled victims of public rape invited their attackers: “If I came across a rape crime – kidnap and violation of honour – I would discipline the man and order that the woman be arrested and jailed for life.' Why would you do this, Rafihi? He says because if she had not left the meat uncovered, the cat wouldn’t have snatched it... If you take uncovered meat and put it on the street, on the pavement, in a garden, in a park or in the backyard, without a cover and the cats eat it, is it the fault of the cat or the uncovered meat? The uncovered meat is the problem.” 1

1 Ibid


In keeping with this theme, Muslim rapists in the West have been known to credit their motivation to the victim’s choice of dress (one such example being from Australia in 2011). 1

It as claimed by some Muslims that the conservative dress code for women is for their own protection and to reduce their chances of being raped. Yet statistics indicate that rape is at its highest in predominantly Muslim countries. This is possibly because in many Muslim countries the law is soft on rape and often blames the female victim rather than the male perpetrator.

1 Ibid





Countries where the Burqa is commonly worn also have higher rates of domestic violence. In Afghanistan 87 percent of women reported experiencing domestic violence. In Pakistan that number goes as high as 90 percent… In cases of domestic abuse, the Burqa doesn’t just isolate the woman, it also covers up evidence of the abuse. It gives the abuser the freedom to brutalize his partner without worrying that anyone will even notice. This is an especially vital issue in Europe, where spousal abuse is a serious crime, and the abuser has more motivation than ever to cover it up. The Burqa successfully isolates abuse victims, cuts them off from any prospective support networks and prevents anyone on the outside from even realizing what is being done to them. 1

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The Bible requires women to dress modestly:

1 Tim 2:9-10 I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes…

1 Pet 3:3-4 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewellery or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.


In the patriarchal times, prostitutes covered their faces:

Gen 38:15 When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute, for she had covered her face.

In contrast, even strangers had no difficulty in seeing that Abraham’s wife was beautiful:

Gen 12:14 When Abram came to Egypt, the Egyptians saw that she was a very beautiful woman.

And in a public place, Abraham’s servant could see immediately that Rebekah was beautiful:

Gen 24:15-16 Before he had finished praying, Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder… The girl was very beautiful…



The Quran considers the value of a woman’s witness to be half as valuable as that of a man:

.… And call to witness, from among your men, two witnesses. And if two men be not (at hand) then a man and two women… (Sura 2.282)

This is only reasonable because women are of course deficient in intelligence:

The Prophet said, “Isn’t the witness of a woman equal to half of that of a man?” The women said, “Yes.” He said, “This is because of the deficiency of a woman’s mind.” —Sahih al-Bukhari, 3:48:826


In practice, several Islamic countries presently treat a woman’s testimony as half of a man’s, in their Sharia courts. For example, since 1979, Pakistan courts have accepted the principle that a woman’s testimony is half as reliable as a man’s per Islamic guidelines, and adopted it in practice. Similarly, the law in many Arab countries gives a woman’s testimony half the weight of a man’s. 1

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The Bible makes no distinction on the gender of witnesses. It simply states that two or three witnesses are required:

Deut 19:15 One witness is not enough to convict a man accused of any crime or offense he may have committed. A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.


It is significant that it was a woman (Mary Magdalene) who was chosen by Jesus to be the first witness of his resurrection.

Mark 16:9 When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons.



Muhammad states that the majority of people going to hell are women:

Narrated Usama: The Prophet said, “I stood at the gate of Paradise and saw that the majority of the people who entered it were the poor, while the wealthy were stopped at the gate (for the accounts). But the companions of the Fire were ordered to be taken to the Fire. Then I stood at the gate of the Fire and saw that the majority of those who entered it were women.” Hadith (Bukhari) Volume 7, Book 62, Number 124


The sunnah in various hadiths, which record the teachings and actions of Muhammad, are more explicit in comparing Muslim women to Muslim men, in matters of testimony. Of these, Sahih Bukhari, considered authentic and among the most trusted binding hadiths in Islam, two hadiths record the tradition set by the Prophet and his companions: 1

Once Allah’s Apostle went out to the Musalla (to offer the prayer) of ‘Id-al-Adha or Al-Fitr prayer. Then he passed by the women and said, “O women! Give alms, as I have seen that the majority of the dwellers of Hell-fire were you (women).”

1 "http:// wiki/ Women_in_Islam">http:// wiki/ Women_in_Islam


They asked, “Why is it so, O Allah’s Apostle?” He replied, “You curse frequently and are ungrateful to your husbands. I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion than you. A cautious sensible man could be led astray by some of you.” The women asked, “O Allah’s Apostle! What is deficient in our intelligence and religion?” Allah’s Apostle said, “Is not the evidence of two women equal to the witness of one man?” They replied in the affirmative. He said, “This is the deficiency in her intelligence. Isn’t it true that a woman can neither pray nor fast during her menses?” The women replied in the affirmative. He said, “This is the deficiency in her religion.” —Sahih al-Bukhari, 1:6:301


Hell is mainly filled with women, because they are ungrateful to their husbands:

Bukhari Volume 2, Book 18, Number 161: Narrated ‘Abdullah bin Abbas: “I also saw the Hell-fire and I had never seen such a horrible sight. I saw that most of the inhabitants were women.” The people asked, “O Allah’s Apostle! Why is it so?” The Prophet replied, “Because of their ungratefulness.” It was asked whether they are ungrateful to Allah. The Prophet said, “They are ungrateful to their companions of life (husbands) and ungrateful to good deeds. If you are benevolent to one of them throughout the life and if she sees anything (undesirable) in you, she will say, 'I have never had any good from you.’”


Q: How then can a Muslim woman enter Paradise?

A: Obedience to your husband is the key

“Whosoever female dies while her husband is pleased with her, will enter Paradise.” 1

“If a woman offered one of her breasts to be cooked and the other to be roasted, she still will fall short of fulfilling her obligations to her husband. And besides that if she disobeys her husband even for a twinkling of an eye, she would be thrown in the lowest part of Hell, except she repents and turns back.” 2

1 Mishkat al-Masabih, English translation, Book I, Section “Duties of husband and wife”, Hadith No. ii, 60 2 Tuffaha, Ahmad Zaky, Al-Mar’ah wal- Islam, Dar al-Kitab al-Lubnani, Beirut, first edition, 1985, p. 176.


The Quran promises a heaven full of wine and free sex for men (Suras 2:25; 4:57; 11:23; 47:15).

“Verily, for the Muttaqun [righteous], there will be a success (paradise); gardens and grapeyards; and young full-breasted (mature) maidens of equal age; and a full cup (of wine)” (An-Naba 78:31-34).

“Serving [the believers] will be immortal youths with jewelled and crystal cups filled with the purest wine which will neither give them headache nor hangover, with fruits and meats of their desire. They will be fair ones with lovely intense eyes like guarded pearls; A reward for the good deeds of their past life.” (Sura 56:17-24)


“We have created mates for them and made them virgins, matched in age, for the companions of the right hand.” (Sura 56:35-38)

The promise of 72 virgins is not just for suicide bombers, as some suppose, but for all Muslim men:

Hadith number 2,562 in the Sunan al-Tirmidhi says, “The least [reward] for the people of Heaven is 80,000 servants and 72 wives, over which stands a dome of pearls, aquamarine and ruby.”


Men need not be worried about the stamina to handle this amount of women in Paradise:

The Holy Prophet said: “The believer will be given such and such strength in Paradise for sexual intercourse.” It was questioned: “O prophet of Allah! can he do that?” He said: “He will be given the strength of one hundred persons.” 1

Clearly the whole thing is biased toward a male concept of “a good time”. Strangely no mention is made of what reward women get in Paradise, but that may be less of an issue since hell will accommodate the majority of women.

1 Mishkat al-Masabih, English-Arabic translation, Book IV, Chapter XLII, Paradise and Hell, Hadith No.24.


Regarding the kingdom of heaven Jesus told the Sadducees in Matthew 22:29-30.

You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.

What is also unusual is that in the Muslim Paradise you are allowed to indulge in things that the Quran explicitly forbids you on earth, such as alcohol – which you can drink without getting drunk. (“Wine … delicious to those who drink it … will neither dull their senses nor they will become drunk.”)

But if drunkenness and gross immorality is sinful on earth, how can it be right in Paradise?

1 Cor 6:9-10 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.


The carnal idea of all the wine you can drink and a harem of beautiful eternal virgins is in direct conflict with the holiness and purity of the Biblical concept of heaven.

Rev 22:15 Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

Rev 21:3-4 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”



Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from the NIV:

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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. (

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