Status of women in Islam and Christianity


Forbidden to open their mouths in the Church:

 

1Co_14:34  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.

1Co_14:35  And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.

 

 

"It was not allowed by God that they should speak in any authoritative manner in the church; nor was it suffered in the churches of Christ; nor was it admitted of in the Jewish synagogue; there, we are told (b), the men came to teach, and the women לשמוע, "to hear": and one of their canons runs thus (c);

 

"a woman may not read (that is, in the law), בצבור, "in the congregation", or church, because of the honour of the congregation;”

 

for they thought it a dishonourable thing to a public assembly for a woman to read, though they even allowed a child to do it that was capable of it.

 

But they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. In Gen_3:16, "thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee". By this the apostle would signify, that the reason why women are not to speak in the church, or to preach and teach publicly, or be concerned in the ministerial function, is, because this is an act of power, and authority; of rule and government, and so contrary to that subjection which God in his law requires of women unto men."

(John Gill, Exposition of the Entire Bible).

 

In the commentary of next verse he says:

 

"for it is a shame for women to speak in the church; it is a shame to themselves, as being contrary to the natural modesty and bashfulness of the sex, and a shame to the church, to the non-members of it, and especially to the elders, and more experienced part of it, to be taught and directed by a woman; it is a disgrace to herself and sex, as betraying uncommon pride and vanity, and an unnatural boldness and confidence; and a disgrace to the church to be under such a ministry and conduct. "

(John Gill, Exposition of the Entire Bible).

 

Matthew Henry also debate on this verse in his "Commentary on the Whole Bible" and gives the reason that the women would be equal or superior to men, so this thing was forbidden. See his comments as following:

 

"that is, praying or prophesying with the head uncovered, which, in that age and country, was throwing off the distinction of sexes, and setting themselves on a level with the men. But here he seems to forbid all public performances of theirs. They are not permitted to speak (1Co_14:34) in the church, neither in praying nor prophesying."

 

He further says:

 

"A teacher of others has in that respect a superiority over them, which is not allowed the woman over the man, nor must she therefore be allowed to teach in a congregation: I suffer them not to teach."

 

He further says about the superiority of men:

 

"Note, As it is the woman’s duty to learn in subjection, it is the man’s duty to keep up his superiority, by being able to instruct her;"

 

He finally concludes:

 

"The woman was made subject to the man, and she should keep her station and be content with it. For this reason women must be silent in the churches, not set up for teachers; for this is setting up for superiority over the man."

 

 

To cut off her hands for saving her husband’s life

 

Deu_25:11  When men strive together one with another, and the wife of the one draweth near for to deliver her husband out of the hand of him that smiteth him, and putteth forth her hand, and taketh him by the secrets:

Deu_25:12  Then thou shalt cut off her hand, thine eye shall not pity her.

 

 

Christianity further degrade the women as her husband to rule over her Gen_3:16, The head of the woman is the man 1Co_11:3, Man can sell his daughter Exo_21:7.

 

 

 

The only reason for all this that women are not superior from men in Christianity. The covering of head was also allowed only for not letting the women to feel superior or equal to men. While the covering of head and other parts of body for a women in Islam is for the protection of women’s own selves. Secondly, Islam does not stop a woman to preach others or to speak in the mosque.

Islam is such a beautiful and a just religion that if we want to write on the status of woman, the books will end and the inks will dry but we can’t explain the status of woman in Islam. Why shouldn’t it be when the Prophet of Islam Hazrat Muhammad (Sal Allahau Alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam) took the heaven and put it under the feet of mother. Our daughters are considered to be our saviours. The wives get that much rights that a man can’t rule the woman unjustly.

But Islam is never in the support of one person and it is a just religion. If Islam placed heaven under the feet of mother, it also told the parents to be kind with your children and fulfill their needs. If Islam gave the daughter such a high status, it also told the children to obey their parents that Qur’an even said that your Parents are your Lords. The only thing Islam forbids is the worship of parents. If Islam gave wives that much rights that they will never have problem in the life of their husband or after the death of her husband or after the divorce, Islam also taught the wives to obey their husbands. Holy Prophet Muhammad (Sal Allahau Alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam) said if the Sajda was allowed for other than Allah Almighty, I would have first commanded the wife to prostrate her husbands.

I wrote a short comparison between the two religions (in fact three religions) about the status of women. Today the Jews and Christians are saying that Islam has degraded the woman by imposing PARDA upon her. But this PARDA was also in their religion and is in their books. The difference between the PARDA in their books and our religion is that Judaism and Christianity impose the PARDA for stopping a woman to stand with the man while the PARDA in Islam is to protect a woman when standing with man. They stopped the woman from teaching too as they thought it’s a superiority of woman over man. While in Islam Prophet Muhammad (Sal Allahau Alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam) didn’t married 13 women for his own self but to teach the Muslim women those matters in which Muslim women would have been reluctant in asking a man. The wives of Prophet Muhammad (SAWAW) not only taught to women but also to men.

Prophet Muhammad (SAWAW) gave women four statuses: as a mother, as a sister, as a wife and as a daughter. The Arabs, before Prophet Muhammad (SAWAW), used to bury the girls alive at their birth and when Islam came, the same Arabs started regarding the woman that many companions of Prophet Muhammad (SAWAW) wanted to undertake a girl after the martyrdom of her father.

Men and women are given equal rights in total. Writing each and every verse of Qur’an or Prophetic Tradition of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Sal Allahau Alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam) is not the main thing but the main thing is to tell what Islam says. This short note was enough to tell the status of women in Islam and also to tell the equality between men and women in Islam.

Forgive me if I have written something wrong. Allah knows everything rightly. Pray for me that Allah should not only increase my knowledge but also provide me mind to understand it and always guide me on His Path. May Allah Bless you all and keeps you in good health and bestows upon you the correct knowledge as well the mind to understand it.

Prayer Seeker,

Syed Shahrukh Kamal Gilani

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