Women In Islam versus Judaeo-Christian Tradition The Myth & The Reality


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  • Women In Islam versus Judaeo-Christian Tradition The Myth & The Reality



  • 5. Female Education

    The difference between the Biblical and the Quranic conceptions of
    women is not limited to the newly born female, it extends far beyond
    that. Let us compare their attitudes towards a female trying to learn
    her religion. The heart of Judaism is the Torah, the law. However,
    according to the Talmud, "women are exempt from the study of the
    Torah." Some Jewish Rabbis firmly declared "Let the words of Torah
    rather be destroyed by fire than imparted to women", and "Whoever
    teaches his daughter Torah is as though he taught her obscenity" The
    attitude of St. Paul in the New Testament is not brighter: "As in all
    the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in the
    churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission as
    the law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask
    their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak
    in the church." (I Corinthians 14:34-35) How can a woman learn if she
    is not allowed to speak? How can a woman grow intellectually if she is
    obliged to be in a state of full submission? How can she broaden her
    horizons if her one and only source of information is her husband at
    home? Now, to be fair, we should ask: is the Quranic position any
    different? One short story narrated in the Quran sums its position up
    concisely. Khawlah was a Muslim woman whose husband Aws pronounced this
    statement at a moment of anger: "You are to me as the back of my
    mother." This was held by pagan Arabs to be a statement of divorce
    which freed the husband from any conjugal responsibility but did not
    leave the wife free to leave the husband's home or to marry another
    man. Having heard these words from her husband, Khawlah was in a
    miserable situation. She went straight to the Prophet of Islam to plead
    her case. The Prophet was of the opinion that she should be patient
    since there seemed to be no way out. Khawla kept arguing with the
    Prophet in an attempt to save her suspended marriage. Shortly, the
    Quran intervened; Khawla's plea was accepted. The divine verdict
    abolished this iniquitous custom. One full chapter (Chapter 58) of the
    Quran whose title is "Almujadilah" or "The woman who is arguing" was
    named after this incident: "Allah has heard and accepted the statement
    of the woman who pleads with you (the Prophet) concerning her husband
    and carries her complaint to Allah, and Allah hears the arguments
    between both of you for Allah hears and sees all things...." (58:1). A
    woman in the Quranic conception has the right to argue even with the
    Prophet of Islam himself. No one has the right to instruct her to be
    silent. She is under no obligation to consider her husband the one and
    only reference in matters of law and religion.

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