By Editorial Staff
As a matter of fact, women’s issues are very controversial topics both in Islam and Christianity since the followers of each faith argue that their religion is more honoring of women. So, let’s know more about women’s status and to which extent they are honored by Islam according to the Qur’an and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad on the one hand, and Christianity according to the Bible, including the Old Testament and the New Testament on the other hand.
- Is Woman’s Honor Independent or Derived from Man’s
- Woman’s Creation from Man’s Rib
- Deficiency in Intellect and Religiousness & Being Most of Hell Inmates
- Woman’s Alleged Likening to Animals
- Man’s Guardianship of Woman
- Woman’s Right to Life
- Woman’s Education (Teaching & Learning)
- Woman’s Early Marriage
- Menstruation, Lying-in & Vaginal Bleeding
- Hijab (Head Veil)
- Woman’s Right to Choose her Husband
- Woman’s Dowry & Marital Dues
- Woman’s Private Ownership
- Woman’s Voice, Advice & Opinion
- Wife’s Discipline
- Woman’s Right to Divorce
- Woman’s Inheritance
- Woman’s Right to Child Custody
- Honoring Mother
- Woman’s Testimony
- Captive Women & Bondwomen
- Woman’s Otherworldly Reward
Is Woman’s Honor Independent or Derived from Man’s
Islam independently honors woman as a human being honored by God, be it a male or a female. In the Qur’an, we read:
And We have certainly honored the children of Adam and carried them on the land and sea and provided for them of the good things and preferred them over much of what We have created, with [definite] preference. (Al-Israa’ 17:70)
In Islam, woman was created in God’s image just like man. Prophet Muhammad’s prophetic statements tell us that Adam was created in God’s image and that those, men and women, of his offspring who will be admitted to Paradise will enter it in Adam’s image.
Abu Hurairah reported that Prophet Muhammad said, “Allah created Adam in His image, sixty cubits (about 30 meters) in height. When He created him, He said (to him), “Go and greet that group of angels sitting there, and listen what they will say in reply to you, for that will be your greeting and the greeting of your offspring.” Adam (went and) said, ‘As-Salamu Alaikum (Peace be upon you).’ They replied, ‘As-Salamu `Alaika Wa Rahmatullah (Peace and Allah’s Mercy be on you) So they increased ‘Wa Rahmatullah’. The Prophet added ‘So whoever will enter Paradise, will be of the shape and image of Adam Since then the creation of Adam’s (offspring) (i.e. stature of human beings is being diminished continuously) to the present time.” (Al-Bukhari)
Abu Hurairah also reported that the Messenger of God said: “If one of you fights against his brother, he should avoid his face for God created Adam in His own image.” (Muslim)
Another report on the authority of Abu Hurairah reads: “If one of you happens to fight, let him avoid the face for God created Adam in His own image.”
In Islam, woman was not created for man. Rather, both man and woman were created for worshipping God alone, without partner, and for having God-consciousness eventuating in piety. In the Qur’an, we read:
I have created Jinn and men solely so that they may worship Me. (Adh-Dhariyat 51:56)
We also read:
O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women. And fear Allah… (An-Nisaa’ 4:1)
Man’s honor in Christianity is intended for man not woman. Woman’s honor in Christianity, if any, is derived from man’s, rather than an independent one. In Christianity, man only is created in God’s image, but woman is not. In the New Testament, we read: “A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man.” (1 Corinthians 11:7)
Woman was created for man in Christianity. In the New Testament, we read: “For man was not [created] from woman, but woman from man; Neither was man created on account of or for the benefit of woman, but woman on account of and for the benefit of man.” (1 Corinthians 11:8-9)
Woman’s Creation from Man’s Rib
Though Islam acknowledges the fact that woman was created from man’s rib, such acknowledgement was not made within the context of woman rebuke or reproof, nor did it give rise to worldly or otherworldly repercussions. Rather, it was given as a reason why man should give kind treatment to woman, bear up with her faults and keep patient with her.
Abu Hurairah reported that Prophet Muhammad said: “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should not hurt (trouble) his neighbor. And I advise you to take care of the women, for they are created from a rib and the most crooked portion of the rib is its upper part; if you try to straighten it, it will break, and if you leave it, it will remain crooked, so I urge you to take care of the women.” (Al-Bukhari)
In the Bible, Christianity confirms that woman was created from man, specifically one of man’s ribs. However, we observe that in the Bible such a fact is associated with the attribution of sin to woman and her responsibility for this sin as well as Adam’s seduction.
In the New Testament, we read: “For Adam was first formed, then Eve; and it was not Adam who was deceived, but [the] woman who was deceived and deluded and fell into transgression.” (1 Timothy 2:13-14)
In the Old Testament, we read: “And He said, who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat? And the man said, the woman whom You gave to be with me—she gave me [fruit] from the tree, and I ate. And the Lord God said to the woman, what is this you have done? And the woman said, the serpent beguiled (cheated, outwitted, and deceived) me, and I ate…” (Genesis 3:11-19)
Thus, in Christianity, woman’s creation from man did not result in a gain for woman like in Islam. Rather, it is taken as a reason for scolding, wronging, and even persecuting women.
Deficiency in Intellect and Religiousness & Being Most of Hell Inmates
While Islam acknowledges the commission of the original sin by Adam and Eve, Islam does not busy itself with blaming man and/or woman for this sin. It rather concentrates on cautioning against the repetition of sinning or following in the footsteps of Satan by warning against such moral deficiencies which lead to frequent sinning.
Such warning is sometimes addressed to all children of Adam, including men and women. It is sometimes addressed to women specifically. As for the general warning to both men and women, here is one instance:
O children of Adam, let not Satan tempt you as he removed your parents from Paradise, stripping them of their clothing to show them their private parts. Indeed, he sees you, he and his tribe, from where you do not see them. Indeed, We have made the devils allies to those who do not believe. (Al-A`raf 7:27)
As for the warning addressed to women specifically, here is one instance: It is related that Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri said, “The Messenger of Allah, set out to the place of prayer on the Day of Adha or Fitr and passed by the women. He said, ‘O congregation of women! Give alms for I have seen that you will make up the majority of the inhabitants of the Fire!’ They said, ‘Why, Messenger of Allah?’ He said, ‘You call down too many curses and show ingratitude to your husbands. I have not seen anyone more deficient in intellect or religiousness who may sweep away the mind of even a resolute man than one of you.’ They said, ‘In what way is our religiousness and intellect deficient, Messenger of Allah?’ He said, ‘Is not the testimony of a woman worth only half that of a man?’ They said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘That is how your intellect is deficient. Is it not so that when a woman is menstruating, she neither prays nor fasts?’ They said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘That is how her religiousness is deficient.'” (Al-Bukhari)
In the above hadith, there is warning of moral deficiency as well as foretelling of an otherworldly fact. As for the warning, it is a warning against the innate deficiency inherent in the woman’s character which necessarily leads to deficiency in faith and in turn sin.
As for foretelling, Prophet Muhammad foretold the awful destiny of many women. In fact, women constituting the majority of the population of the Hellfire was an actual scene which Prophet Muhammad watched during his miraculous night journey (Al-Isra’) and which will take place and be witnessed by everybody of us at the end of the world.
The above hadith has nothing to do with a good, pious woman. It does not drive any such woman to despair. It just involves a warning against deficiencies in religiousness and encourages women to deepen their faith by doing more good deeds, specifically alms-giving.
If a woman avoids the stated deficiencies in faith, she will be admitted to Paradise. `Abdul-Rahman ibn `Awf reported that the Messenger of God said: “If a woman prays her five prayers, fasts her month, guards her chastity, and obeys her husband, then it will be said to her: ‘Enter Paradise from whichever gate you wish.’” (Abu Dawud)
Christianity lays a lot of emphasis on the original sin. It often blames woman as represented by Eve and holds her responsible for this sin. As such, woman is seen in Christianity as deficient in faith and intellect and doomed to enter the Hellfire as a punishment for the sin she committed.
For example, in the Old Testament, we read: “And He said, who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat? And the man said, the woman whom You gave to be with me—she gave me [fruit] from the tree, and I ate. And the Lord God said to the woman, what is this you have done? And the woman said, the serpent beguiled (cheated, outwitted, and deceived) me, and I ate…” (Genesis 3:11-19)
In the New Testament, we read: “For Adam was first formed, then Eve; and it was not Adam who was deceived, but [the] woman who was deceived and deluded and fell into transgression.” (1 Timothy 2:13-14)
We observe that the Bible, including the Old Testament and the New Testament, always blames woman for the original sin without prescribing remedies for redressing and preventing the recurrence of sin.
It is ironic that woman’s deficiency in intellect and religiousness as represented by having her testimony equal to the half of man’s and giving up worship during her periods and even more is also substantiated by the Bible where woman’s testimony is mostly unacceptable (Exodus 1:23), (Leviticus 1:5) and she has to give up worship during her periods (Leviticus 12:1-8)
Woman’s Alleged Likening to Animals
Some people claim that Islam likens woman to the donkey and the dog based on a misunderstood hadith reading: “…his prayer would be cut off by (passing of an) donkey, woman, and black dog…”
However, we find the reply to those misunderstanding this hadith in the Al-Bukhari’s Sahih. Masrouq reported that it was mentioned in the presence of `A’ishah that prayer is cut off by the dog, the donkey and the woman. So she remarked: “Do you make us (women) equal to donkeys and dogs? By God, I saw the Prophet offering prayer while was lying in bed between him and the Qiblah (prayer direction)…” (Al-Bukhari)
`Urwah ibn Az-Zubair reported that `A’ishah, Prophet Muhammad’s wife, said: “The Messenger of God used to get up at night and offer prayer while I used to lie across between him and the Qiblah on his marriage bed.” (Al-Bukhari)
The right meaning of the first suspicious hadith may become clear if it is cited in its wider context.
It was reported on the authority of Abu Dhar who said, “The Messenger of God said: When any one of you stands for prayer, let there be a thing before him equal to the back of the saddle that covers him. In case there is not before him (a thing) equal to the back of the saddle, his prayer will be cut off by the (passing of an) donkey, woman, and black dog. I (the narrator) said: O Abu Dhar, what feature is there in a black dog which distinguishes it from the red dog and the yellow dog? He said: O, son of my brother, I asked the Messenger of Allah as you are asking me, and he said: The black dog is a devil.” (Muslim)
This hadith means that a man has to have in front of him such a barrier which prevents the passage of anyone or anything directly in front of him. Prophet Muhammad made clear that direct passage in front of the one offering prayer cuts off prayer, that is to say affects the submissive mood a worshiper is supposed to get in according to some scholars or even actually nullifies prayer according to other scholars.
There is no doubt that a marriageable woman’s direct passage in front of a man in prayer distracts him and affects his concentration on prayer. Likewise, a donkey’s direct passage interferes with the submissive mood in prayer given the donkey’s very unpleasant sound. Similarly, the black dog’s look is so hideous that it may distract one during prayer, not to mention Prophet Muhammad’s referral to it as a devil, either as a real dog-shaped devil or devil-like animal out of ugliness.
Accordingly, the hadith does not mean that a woman is or even resembles an animal. The intended meaning is rather that she will have considerably distractive, disruptive impact on man if she passes directly in front of him without a barrier.
The reason why a marriageable woman, donkey and black dog are specifically mentioned is that they are more disruptive to prayer than anything else. While submissiveness in prayer is influenced by the passage of anything ahead, disruptive influence is maximized in case of utmost beauty represented by a marriageable woman or utmost ugliness represented by the donkey and the dog.
Needless to say, there is much evidence for woman’s honor and equality in Islam. Suffice us to cite the following hadith of Prophet Muhammad: “Women are men’s twin siblings.” (Ahmad, At-Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud)
Therefore, Lady `A’ishah objected to the misunderstanding of the above hadith, and indicated that she used to lie in front of Prophet Muhammad while he was praying as a refutation of woman’s likening to animals in terms of prayer disruption as misunderstood by some people. She implied that it is not the woman in general but the likely arousal a marriageable woman may cause that disrupts prayer if she passes directly in front of man while he is offering prayer without a barrier in between.
Another allegation of woman’s likening to animal in Islam is Prophet Muhammad’s addressing `A’ishah as “Humayra”. `A’ishah reported: “The Abyssinians came in and kept playing. Thereupon, the Prophet said to me: ‘O Humayra, do you like to watch them?’ I said: ‘Yes.’” (An-Nasa’i)
Some ignorant people claim that “Humayra” is a description which means a young female donkey.
Linguistically speaking, “Humayra” is the diminutive of “Hamra” which is an adjective describing a reddish white girl. As for the young female donkey, its diminutive in Arabic is “Humayirah” as a diminutive of “Himarah”, which is the female donkey.
Accordingly, Prophet Muhammad used to address `A’ishah as “Humayra” pampering her as “reddish white girl”, not abusing her as “young female donkey” as claimed by some people who are ignorant of Arabic.
More than once, the Bible likens woman to an animal in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. For example, woman is likened to the dog.
In the New Testament, we read: The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” (Matthew 15:25-27)
Woman is likened to the pig. In the Old Testament, we read: “Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.” (Proverbs 11:22)
Man’s Guardianship of Woman
Islam acknowledges man’s guardianship of woman (An-Nisaa’ 4:34). However, such guardianship does not imply man’s right to wrong, subjugate or suppress woman. In Islam, guardianship is just a leading role to be played by man in favor of his family as a whole, especially woman. Man is more qualified for such leadership given the physical and moral qualities with which God favors him to such an extent which qualifies him for leadership.
In Islam, God has given such rulings which ensure that man’s guardianship is in favor of rather than to the detriment of woman. For example, man’s guardianship in Islam involves man’s obligation to give a dowry (An-Nisaa’ 4:4), provide a marital home (At-Talaq 65:6), spend on family including the wife (At-Talaq 65:7), have sexual intercourse as woman’s right which she may claim and demand the termination of marriage when denied (Al-Baqarah 2:187), (Al-Baqarah 2:222) and bear and keep patient with the wife (An-Nisaa’ 4:19).
Thus, in Islam, man’s guardianship is always in woman’s best interests, and he is not allowed to abuse it. Even in case of marital discord, Islam prescribes strict rules to be followed by man when handling such discords, so that he will not use his guardianship for revenge or retaliation. (An-Nisaa’ 4:34-35)
In Islam, man’s guardianship has nothing to do with woman’s private ownership. Man may not usurp woman’s property or even deprive her of any of her legitimate rights or dues (An-Nisaa’ 4:19), (An-Nisaa’ 4:3), (An-Nisaa’ 4:127), (An-Nisaa’ 4:7). Accordingly, man’s guardianship in Islam adds to rather than detract from woman’s material and moral rights.
“Man’s rule or authority over woman” is the Christian synonym of man’s guardianship of woman in Islam. We notice that the authority given in the Bible to man over woman is a retaliatory, suppressive one. For example, in the Old Testament, we observe that man got such authority in retaliation for the temptation into the original sin.
In the Old Testament, we read: To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life.” (Genesis 3:11-17)
The New Testament inspires woman’s suppression and submissiveness to man who is given rule and authority over her. In the New Testament, we read: “Let a woman learn in quietness, in entire submissiveness. I allow no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to remain in quietness and keep silence.” (1 Timothy 2:11-12)
Nowhere in the Bible, including the Old Testament and the New Testament, we come across any rights or gains woman gets from man’s rule or authority over her to the exclusion of a generic call on man to love his wife (Ephesians 5:25) without any material, tangible duties on his part which woman can claim for or any warnings against the usurpation of her private property, as if man’s authority and rule over his wife in Christianity are such rights of man which are not counterpoised by corresponding rights to be got by woman from man’s rule and authority over her.
Woman’s Right to Life
Previous to Islam, woman was denied her basic right to life both at birth and even after reaching puberty.
So Islam came to give woman her basic right to life at all stages of her life unless she commits some offence which strips her of this right.
First of all, Islam prohibited female infanticide which was commonplace in ancient Arabia (Al-An`am 6:140), (Al-An`am 6:151), (An-Nahl 16:58-59), (At-Takwir 81:8-9).
Islam also forbade killing women wrongfully even in Jihad against the unbelievers. Ibn `Umar reported that a woman was found dead at one battle fought by the Messenger of God. Thereupon, the Messenger of God prohibited killing women and children. (Al-Bukhari)
Christianity does not differentiate between man and woman according to the Bible, including the Old Testament and the New Testament (Luke 19:27), (Joshua 8:24-25), (Judges 9:44-45), (Deuteronomy 32:42), (Joshua 11:11-12), (Judges 20:37), (Judges 20:48), (2 Kings 10:27) and (Esther 9:5-12).
Consequently, Christianity denies woman her legitimate right to life for the mere disbelief in it or Jesus according to the New Testament or for being non-Jew or disbelieving in Judaism according to the Old Testament. (Numbers 25:14-18), (Numbers 31:17).
When it comes to female homicide, there is no differentiation between a young girl (1 Samuel 15:3), (2 Chronicles 15:12-13), (Esther 8:10-11) or an adult woman (2 Kings 11:13-16), (2 Kings 11:20), (Chronicles 23:12-15), (2 Chronicles 23:21) according to the Bible.
Woman’s Education (Teaching & Learning)
Islam permits woman’s education, including teaching and learning. Islam even orders this by virtue of many texts from the Qur’an and the Sunnah. For example, woman is addressed by such generic Qur’anic verses which exhort man, male or female, to engage in learning and teaching (Al-`Alaq 96:1-5), remind man of the blessing of education (Al-Jumu`ah 62:2), (Ar-Rahman 55:1-4), and pinpoint the virtues of knowledge and scholars (Al-Mujadilah 58:11).
Aside from the above generic texts, there are Qur’anic verses commanding women to learn and teach, like the command for the mothers of the believers, Prophet Muhammad’s wives, to memorize “wisdom” which refers to the prophetic traditions, including Prophet Muhammad’s statements, acts and tacit approval, and teach it to people, including men and women (Al-Ahzab 33:34).
Prophet Muhammad was very keen on women’s education. Abu Said Al-Khudry reported that some women requested the Prophet to fix a day for them as the men were taking all his time. Thereupon, he promised them one day for religious lessons and commandments. (Al-Bukhari)
Ibn Abbas reported that the Messenger of God once came out with Bilal. He went towards the women thinking that they had not heard him (i.e. his sermon). So he admonished them and ordered them to pay alms. (Hearing that) the women started giving alms; some donated their ear-rings, some gave their rings and Bilal was collecting them at the edge of his garment. (Al-Bukhari)
Islam urges men to educate their wives and female charges. Abu Burdah reported on his father’s authority that the Messenger of God said “Three persons will have a double reward: a person from the people of the scriptures who believed in his prophet (Jesus or Moses) and then believed in the Prophet Muhammad (i .e. embraced Islam), a slave who discharges his duties to Allah and his master, and a master of a slave girl who teaches her good manners and educates her in the best possible way (the religion) and manumits her and then marries her.” (Al-Bukhari)
Islam also urges the education of daughters. Abdullah reported that the Messenger of God said: “He who has a daughter whom he teaches good manners, educates well and passes the blessings of God conferred on him will have her as a curtain and screen protecting him from the Hellfire” (At-Tabarani & Abu Nu`aym)
Christianity prohibits woman from both learning and teaching on the pretext that this contradicts the very state of subordination and subjection to man in which she is supposed to be according to the law.
For example, in the New Testament, we read: “let the wives remain silent when the congregation meets; they are certainly not permitted to speak out. Rather, let them remain subordinate, as also the Torah says; and if there is something they want to know, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for a woman to speak out in a congregational meeting.” (1 Corinthians 14:34-35)
We also read: “Let a woman learn in quietness, in entire submissiveness. I allow no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to remain in quietness and keep silence.” (1 Timothy 2:11-12)
Woman’s Early Marriage
Marriage is a social institution established by a man and a woman who have reached the age of puberty. Whenever a male and a female reach puberty, he/she may get married for there is nothing which may hinder that.
If a male or a female is able to give birth to a human being, what can prevent him/her from getting married?
The description of “child” cannot be given to a mature human being who can beget another human being. There is no criterion of man’s adulthood which is better than man’s ability to marry and reproduce.
No age may be set for adulthood simply because states and governments themselves differ over this age. As for the physiological adulthood, there is no difference over it.
There is a difference between the conclusion of marriage contract and marriage consummation. Under Islam, a marriage contract may be concluded between any male and any female who may legally marry each other.
However, consummation may not take place until a male becomes a mature man and a female becomes a mature woman. There is no specific age for the husband or the wife or even for the difference in age between them. The present-day stipulation which requires closeness in age between the husband and the wife is just a recently started tradition, which had not existed before.
Therefore, Prophet Muhammad concluded the contract of his marriage with Lady `A’ishah when she was just six years old, but he consummated his marriage with her only when she reached puberty at the age of nine years.
`A’ishah reported: “The Prophet married me when I was six years old, but he consummated his marriage with me when I was nine years old.” (Al-Bukhari & Muslim)
It is remarkable that people during Prophet Muhammad’s lifetime did not blame him for marrying `A’ishah for this just so happened at the time.
We do not find in the Bible, including the Old Testament and the New Testament, any specification of the age of the husband or the wife or even the difference in age between them. Rather, Christians tell us that Mary was a 12-year-old young girl who was betrothed to Joseph the Carpenter who was an old man, and she gave birth to Jesus when she was 14 years old according to the New Advent website:
That is why Joseph the Carpenter is often portrayed as a very old man in the Christian drawings as follows:
Thus, in the past, people used to get married at a very young age and there was no minimum age for the husband or the wife, nor was there a specified difference in age between them.
Menstruation, Lying-in & Vaginal Bleeding
In Islam, menstruation, lying-in and even vaginal bleeding do not mean women’s total isolation. Rather, they just mean abstention from sexual intercourse only.
Prophet Muhammad used to sleep with his wives without penetration during their menstrual periods, and they used to wash his head while he was on religious retreat and they were menstruating. Prophet Muhammad also used to take a bath with his menstruating wives from the same vessel.
`A’ishah reported: “I used to take a bath with the Prophet from the same vessel while both of us were in a state of ceremonial impurity. He would order me to put on lower body clothing to sleep with me while I was menstruating, and he would bring his head out for me to wash his head while he was on religious retreat and I was menstruating.” (Al-Bukhari)
Menstruating and confined women have lightened rulings in Islam. They may stop fasting during their menstruation or lying-in period in Ramadan and may make up for the days on which fasting is broken after Ramadan. They may also stop offering prayer without making up for the missed prayers. They are recommended to witness the feast prayers.
As for the vaginal bleeding outside usual menstrual periods, a woman has only to purify herself for each prayer by performing ritual ablution (wudu’).
The Bible considers a menstruating woman impure and so is whoever lies with, touches her or her bed, and such a person has to take a bath and wash one’s clothes. Everything on which a menstruating woman sits or lies becomes equally impure. (Leviticus 15:19-24)
As for lying-in, the Bible considers a confined woman as impure as the menstruating woman. So, she may not touch any hallowed thing or go to the sanctuary. A confined woman’s impurity is multiplied if she has given birth to a girl. Since lying-in is a crime in the Old Testament’s sight, a woman has to atone for it. (Leviticus 12:1-8)
As for the vaginal bleeding, it is like menstruation in the Bible in terms of the woman’s impurity and need for atonement for a crime which she did not commit. However, the suffering of the woman having vaginal bleeding is much longer and greater. (Leviticus 15:25-33)
Hijab (Head Veil)
Islam commands woman to put on hijab. Such a command is associated with certain reasons, of which one reason pertains to woman alone, and another reason pertains to both man and woman altogether.
As for the woman-specific reason, it is all about her protection from very likely harm on the part of man. For example, in the Qur’an, we read:
O Prophet! Tell thy wives and thy daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks close round them (when they go abroad). That will be better, that so they may be recognized and not annoyed. Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful. (Al-Ahzab 33:59)
As for the reason pertaining to man and woman altogether, it is the purification of the hearts of both men and women from temptation and seduction. In the Qur’an, we read:
And when ye ask of them (the wives of the Prophet) anything, ask it of them from behind a curtain. That is purer for your hearts and for their hearts. (Al-Ahzab 33:53)
Christianity commands woman to put on hijab as well, but not for her sake, rather for man’s sake. According to the New Testament, she is the glory of man, from and for whom she was created. In the New Testament, we read:
“But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled brings shame to her head — there is no difference between her and a woman who has had her head shaved. For if a woman is not veiled, let her also have her hair cut short; but if it is shameful for a woman to wear her hair cut short or to have her head shaved, then let her be veiled. For a man indeed should not have his head veiled, because he is the image and glory of God, and the woman is the glory of man. For man was not made from woman, but woman from man; and indeed man was not created for the sake of the woman but woman for the sake of the man.” (1 Corinthians 11:5-9)
Woman’s Right to Choose her Husband
Islam gives woman absolute freedom to choose her life partner. Abu Hurairah reported that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “A previously married woman should not be given in marriage except after consulting her; and a virgin should not be given in marriage except after her permission.” People asked, “O Messenger of God! How can we know her permission?” He said, “Her silence (indicates her permission).” (Al-Bukhari & Muslim)
If a woman happens to be divorced or widowed, she is allowed to remarry and choose her new husband. (Al-Baqarah 2:228-232)
In Christianity, the Pauline epistles discourage man and woman from getting married (1 Corinthians 7:1), (1 Corinthians 7:8), and (1 Corinthians 7:25-28).
Whenever a woman gets married under Christianity, she will not be entitled to divorce except for adultery (Matthew 19:3-9). If a woman happens to be divorced or widowed under Christianity, she will not be entitled to remarry since Christianity dissuades divorcees and widows from getting married and discourages men from marrying them. (Matthew 5:31-32), (1 Corinthians 7:8)
What is more, the Bible obliges a widow to marry her brother-in-law (Deuteronomy 25:5) and makes it binding on a rapist to marry his female victim (Deuteronomy 22:28-29). According to the Old Testament, a divorcee may not remarry her ex-husband after getting widowed or divorced from a later husband. (Deuteronomy 24:1-4)
Woman’s Dowry & Marital Dues
Islam entitles woman to dowry from her husband upon the conclusion of the marriage contract (An-Nisaa’ 4:4). After divorce, she is entitled to the deferred portion of her dowry, if any, unless she willingly waives it (Al-Baqarah 2:229).
In addition, a divorcee is also entitled to alimony (Al-Baqarah 2:241), maintenance and even housing throughout her waiting period if she is revocably divorced, that is to say divorced once or twice (At-Talaq 65:6-7)
According to the Bible, woman is solely entitled to dowry before consummation (Exodus 22:16-17), (1 Samuel 18:25), and (1 Kings 9:16).
Woman’s Private Ownership
Islam entitles woman to private ownership. Neither a father, a brother, a husband, nor anybody else may usurp a woman’s property. For example, during the pre-Islamic era of ignorance, men used to take women as inheritance, and they used to devour women’s property.
So, Islam came to prohibit taking women as inheritance and devouring their property (An-Nisaa’ 4:19). Moreover, Islam forbids devouring orphan girls’ property and dowries (An-Nisaa’ 4:3), (An-Nisaa’ 4:127). Furthermore, Islam prohibits devouring the shares of inheritance of widows and orphan girls (An-Nisaa’ 4:7).
In Islam, the dowry given to woman becomes her own property, and her husband may in no way take any part of it except by mutual agreement (Al-Baqarah 2:229), (An-Nisaa’ 4:20-21).
According to the Bible, woman has no claim on private ownership. On the contrary, we notice that woman herself is such a commodity that is sold (Exodus 21:7), (Genesis 31:14-15), bought (Ruth 4:5), and inherited (Deuteronomy 25:5).
Woman’s Voice, Advice & Opinion
The widespread belief that woman’s voice in Islam is too private to be heard by men is an unfounded belief which is not supported by the Qur’an or the Sunnah. Under Islam, woman is just prohibited from “softening her voice suggestively” (Al-Ahzab 33:32)
As a matter of fact, in Islam, woman has the right to speak up, make her voice heard, express herself, and air opinions and is entitled to have her opinion adopted if it is deemed good enough, so long as decency is observed.
Historically speaking, Islam pioneered woman empowerment, including the political, social and religious engagement. Women’s Pledge of Allegiance was woman’s first political, social and religious participation in the human history, where Prophet Muhammad was keen on meeting the female members of his community to take a separate pledge of allegiance which was independent from men’s (Al-Mumtahanah 60:12)
Besides, at both social and religious levels, Prophet Muhammad was also concerned about woman’s religious and social involvement in the ceremonial occasions, especially the feast prayers. He was also very keen on talking to and admonishing them independently and listening and replying to their questions and concerns.
As for woman’s opinion and advice, it is historically established that Prophet Muhammad listened to, heeded, and acted on woman’s opinion and advice.
For instance, Prophet Muhammad followed Umm Salamah’s advice in the wake of Al-Hudaybiyah Peace Agreement which provided that Prophet Muhammad should have returned to Medina without making minor pilgrimage in the same year and he could have made minor pilgrimage in the next year, a provision which went against the wishes of Prophet Muhammad’s Companions who were very eager to make minor pilgrimage this year.
`Umar reported: Prophet Muhammad said to his Companions, “Get up and’ slaughter your sacrifices and get your head shaved.” By Allah none of them got up, and the Prophet repeated his order thrice. When none of them got up, he left them and went to Umm Salamah and told her of the people’s attitudes towards him. Umm Salamah said, “O Prophet of God! Do you want your order to be carried out? Go out and don’t say a word to anybody till you have slaughtered your sacrifice and called your barber to shave your head.” So, the Prophet went out and did not talk to anyone of them till he did that, i.e. slaughtered the sacrifice and called his barber who shaved his head. Seeing that, the Companions of the Prophet got up, slaughtered their sacrifices, and started shaving the heads of one another, and there was so much grief that there was a danger of killing each other (by razors). (Al-Bukhari)
Christianity obligates woman to keep silent and subordinate. In the New Testament, we read: “let the wives remain silent when the congregation meets; they are certainly not permitted to speak out. Rather, let them remain subordinate, as also the Torah says; and if there is something they want to know, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for a woman to speak out in a congregational meeting.” (1 Corinthians 14:34-35)
We also read: “Let a woman learn in quietness, in entire submissiveness. I allow no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to remain in quietness and keep silence.” (1 Timothy 2:11-12)
The Bible suggests that the original sin came as a result of the acceptance of woman’s opinion and advice. In the New Testament, we read: “For Adam was first formed, then Eve; and it was not Adam who was deceived, but [the] woman who was deceived and deluded and fell into transgression.” (1 Timothy 2:13-14)
In the Old Testament, we read: He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree from which I ordered you not to eat?” The man replied, “The woman you gave to be with me — she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.” (Genesis 3:11-12)
Under Islam, marriage is such a social institution which is based on the concept of “guardianship” (An-Nisaa’ 4:34). By virtue of this concept, husband assumes numerous, heavy material liabilities, which are not counterpoised by equally material liabilities on the part of wife. She rather mostly takes on moral liabilities as represented by obedience to husband coupled with a few material liabilities.
In Islam, husband, for example, has to give a dowry to his wife (An-Nisaa’ 4:4), provide a marital home (At-Talaq 65:6), spend on his wife (At-talaq 65:7), and meet all of her needs. Sexual intercourse in Islam is even a right for wife to claim. She may demand marriage termination when such a right is not got (Al-Baqarah 2:187), (Al-Baqarah 2:222).
At the same time, Islam discourages husband from going through divorce and urges him to tolerate and keep patient with his wife (An-Nisaa’ 4:19). But, what if a husband cannot be tolerant or patient anymore?
Accordingly, under Islam, husband is between the hammer (marital liabilities) and the anvil (discouragement to divorce). He is required to meet his marital liabilities and, at the same time, dissuaded from going through divorce and commanded to wisely dispose of his right to divorce and his wife’s equal right to divorce which is entrusted to him given the wisdom and prudence with which he is favored and as a moral return for his guardianship.
Therefore, husband must be provided with remedies when he fails to tolerate or keep patient with his wife any longer. Such remedies (An-Nisaa’ 4:34-35) are contained in a gradual, multi-tiered approach to the treatment of the rebellious wife.
At first, a verbal measure, that is admonition, is adopted. Failing that, an actual but passive measure, that is deserting wife, either in the same bed or unto another bed, is taken. Failing that, a husband can then lightly hit his wife as an act of rebuke and reprimand rather than revenge or retaliation. Failing that, a couple is to turn to their families for arbitration, with each of the two spouses represented by one arbitrator. If the arbitrators reach a solution, any such solution will be adopted. Otherwise, if they agree to divorce, divorce will take place, and the two spouses will be separated so that the couple will get rid of an unhappy marriage and be able to search for happiness with another life partner.
Under Christianity, marriage is such a social institution where man and woman are equal in terms of material liabilities. There are no explicit verses in the Bible which command husband to provide a marital home or spend on his wife or obligate him to give her any rights, even her basic right to intercourse.
The marital teachings contained in the Bible are restricted to a command for husband to love his wife (Ephesians 5:25) and an equivalent command for wife to love and obey her husband (1 Corinthians 11:3), (Titus 2:4-5) without any mention of solutions to marital discords.
That is why it is not unusual that many Christian husbands decide to desert their wives and refuse to discharge any of their marital liabilities towards them given the lack of any marital remedies in Christianity in the light of the Bible for marital discords, bearing in mind the impossibility of divorce except for adultery.
Thus, the legislation of marital remedies to be resorted to in case of marital discord is far better than leaving wife frozen, who is neither married nor divorced, which leads to nominal marriages which can neither be really happy marriages meeting woman’s physical and moral needs nor absolute separation which gives woman relief and allows her hope for a better future.
Islam does not make polygamy incumbent but permissible subject to certain conditions. For example, a man cannot have more than four wives at the same time (An-Nisaa’ 4:3), nor can he have a woman and her sister, paternal or maternal aunt as wives at the same time (An-Nisaa’ 4:23).
Moreover, financial capability, good health and equal treatment for co-wives are also stipulated (An-Nisaa’ 4:129).
Thus, historically speaking, Islam pioneered the regulation of the polygamous relationship by means of the specification of a certain number of wives and the stipulation of financial capability, physical ability and equality among co-wives.
Jesus did not deal with polygamy in his teachings contained in the four gospels. Monogamy was rather imposed by Paul in his epistles. As a matter of fact, Paul disliked and even opposed marriage and rather called for celibacy and bachelorhood (1 Corinthians 7:1), (1 Corinthians 7:8). What is more, Paul prohibited widows and divorcees from getting married again (1 Timothy 5:11), (Matthew 5:32).
The Old Testament tells us about polygamy in the lives of the prophets themselves, not to mention other ordinary people. It did not specify a number of wives or stipulate financial capability, physical ability or equality among co-wives (1 Kings 11:2-3), (2 Samuel 5:13).
Woman’s Right to Divorce
Islam permits divorce when good company between husband and wife becomes impossible. Islam entitles woman to divorce when seriously harmed.
And if they decide on divorce – then indeed, Allah is Hearing and Knowing. (Al-Baqarah 2:227)
Christianity does not entitle wife to divorce. It rather gives the right to divorce exclusively to husband in case of adultery by woman. In the New Testament, we read: “It was said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife must give her a get.’ But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of fornication, makes her an adulteress; and that anyone who marries a divorcee commits adultery.” (Matthew 5:31-32)
During the pre-Islamic era of ignorance, the Arabian pagans did not allow women specified shares in inheritance. Previous to Islam, women themselves used to be taken as a part of inheritance. Islam came to entitle woman to a share in inheritance (An-Nisaa’ 4:7).
As a rule, in Islam, the share in and amount of inheritance for both men and women are subject to the following two considerations:
First: the extent of closeness to the deceased, and then second: the amount of material and financial benefit offered by the heir to the deceased. This second consideration is measured by the liabilities imposed by the Islamic law on an heir in favor of the deceased.
Accordingly, a female closer to the deceased gets a bigger share of inheritance than a less close male, who may not get a share at all, especially in case the deceased has sons or brothers and/or daughters and sisters.
If two heirs are equally close to the deceased, then the amount of material and financial benefit offered by each heir to the deceased will be taken into consideration in the light of the legally prescribed material and financial liabilities imposed on each of them.
Consequently, if a male and a female are equally close to the deceased, the male relative will be allotted a bigger share which may amount to a double share.
The above consideration becomes very clear in the cases where heirs are son(s) and daughter(s), grandson(s) and granddaughter(s), or brother(s) and sister(s). In those cases, the share of son(s), grandson(s), and brother(s) will be double that of daughter(s), granddaughter(s) or sister(s) respectively (An-Nisaa’ 4:11).
The stated consideration also applies to the two cases where husband inherits from wife and wife inherits from husband. A husband inherits from his wife double the share she would have inherited from him, though husband and wife are equally close to each other.
The secret behind that lies in the fact that husband assumes material and financial liabilities towards his wife. That is why he gets a bigger share of her estate which amounts to double the share she would have inherited from him.
As for the wife, she does not take on any material or financial liabilities towards her husband. That is why she gets half the share her husband would have inherited from her so that the relatives who are as close to the deceased as the wife or even closer and shoulder material and financial liabilities towards the deceased, like the deceased’s children, siblings and kinsmen, will get such sufficient shares which compensate them for the material and financial liabilities they assumed towards the deceased (An-Nisaa’ 4:12).
The same argument applies to the childless inheritance, which is inheritance from a childless deceased, in which case a sister inherits half of her deceased brother’s estate. But, he inherits her estate as a whole if she dies childless before him. In childless inheritance, brothers inherit double the shares of sisters. The secret behind that, as set out above, is the fact that a brother assumes material and financial liabilities towards his sister, but she does not assume any material or financial liabilities towards her brother (An-Nisaa’ 4:176).
In spite of the above two paramount considerations, that is closeness to the deceased as well as material and financial benefit to the deceased, a woman may inherit an equal share like the case where maternal brothers and sisters inherit equal shares and the case where mother’s share in inheritance is equal to father’s, though a maternal brother and father assume such material and financial liabilities towards the deceased which a maternal sister and mother do not do.
The teachings of Jesus Christ did not deal with rulings of inheritance (Luke 12:13-14). When it comes to inheritance, Christians are supposed to act on the Mosaic Law.
According to the Mosaic Law as set forth in the Old Testament, woman does not have a specified share, which is neither equal nor unequal. What is more, she herself was a part of inheritance to be inherited by man (Deuteronomy 25:5), (Matthew 22:24).
If woman happened to have a share in inheritance, she would not get such a share except in the absence of brothers (Numbers 27:6-8).
Even if she got a share in the presence of brothers, she would get half the share of the deceased’s firstborn son (Deuteronomy 21:15-17). Even this share would not go to her private ownership so that she would dispose of it as she liked. Rather, she would be given this share provided that she married a Jew from the same tribe so that this share would devolve on a male Jewish heir (Numbers 36:8).
Woman’s Right to Child Custody
Islam entitles woman to child custody unless she gets married. `Abdullah ibn `Amr reported that a woman said: “O Messenger of God, my womb was a vessel to this son of mine, my breasts a water-skin for him, and my lap a guard for him, yet his father has divorced me, and wants to take him away from me.” The Messenger of God said: “you are more entitled to him as long as you do not marry.” (Ahmad and Abu Dawud)
Christianity does not deal with child custody in the Bible either in the Old Testament or the New Testament.
While Islam commands honoring parents, mother still has the lion’s share of her children’s care, attention and dutifulness since mother’s right over her children’s dutifulness in Islam is three times more than father’s (Luqman 31:14-15), (Al-Ahqaf 46:15), “…your mother, next your mother, next your mother, next your father” (Al-Bukhari)
Unlike Islam, Christianity does not pay special attention to mother. When it comes to mother, the Christian teachings are restricted to a command to honor both parents on an equal footing (Exodus 20:12), (Deuteronomy 5:16).
Under Islam, woman’s testimony falls into four main categories based on woman’s average knowledge, acquaintance and familiarity with the subject matter of testimony as follows:
First category: such testimony which is accepted from women only and not accepted from men at all. It is such testimony which pertains to woman’s body.
Second category: such testimony which is accepted from women, but woman’s testimony here is equivalent to half man’s testimony and needs to be corroborated by the testimony of another woman. It is such testimony which pertains to business transactions (Al-Baqarah 2:282)
Third category: such testimony which is not accepted from women, and is accepted only from a number of men. It is such testimony which pertains to punishments (An-Nur 24:13).
Fourth category: such testimony which is accepted from men and women on an equal footing. It is such testimony which pertains to personal affairs like Li`an testimonies and opinion-based testimonies like those given as pledges of allegiance, election etc. (Al-Mumtahanah 60:12).
As for the first category, woman’s testimony is more acceptable than man’s, for woman is more knowledgeable of and familiar with the testimony subject matter.
As for the second category, man’s testimony is equivalent to the testimony of two women, for woman is often less knowledgeable of and less familiar with the testimony subject matter.
As for the third category, woman’s testimony is absolutely unacceptable given the serious consequences resulting from woman’s testimony as represented by the prescribed punishments. So, the testimony of a number of men only is accepted for they are supposed to be more knowledgeable, familiar, discerning, accurate, and neutral in such situations.
As for the fourth category, testimony is based on self-expression, opinion, and personal judgment, a matter where women are equal to men.
The New Testament does not explicitly deal with woman’s testimony. In Christianity, the rulings of woman’s testimony are to be based on the Old Testament, which does not make any mention of woman’s testimony. The Old Testament makes mention only of man’s testimony, using the masculine form only (Exodus 23:1), (Leviticus 5:1).
The Talmud exegetes tell us that woman’s testimony under the Jewish law was tantamount to that of a child and a slave. It would not have been accepted except in a few and certain cases.
Thus, even if woman’s testimony was accepted in Judaism, her testimony would not be equal to man’s. (For example, Talmud, Sanhedrin (Supreme Court) – Chapter III)
Captive Women & Bondwomen
Islam was the earliest faith to command respect and kind treatment for captive women and bondwomen. The first gain captive women and bondwomen got under Islam was their emancipation according to the general command for slave emancipation under Islam (Al-Balad 90:13), not to mention the fact that Islam made slave emancipation an expiation for some sins (Al-Maidah 5:89), (Al-Mujadilah 58:3).
Not only did Islam urge the emancipation of captive women and bondwomen, but it also called for their education, refinement, emancipation and marriage. It offered double reward for that in order to encourage Muslims to do that.
Abu Burda reported on the authority of his father that the Messenger of God said: “Any man who has a slave girl whom he educates properly, teaches good manners, manumits and marries will get a double reward…” (Al-Bukhari)
Prophet Muhammad was a good example to Muslims of how to put the foregoing into practice. He emancipated so many captive women and bondwomen to the extent that about half the mothers of the believers (Prophet Muhammad’s consorts) were originally captive women and bondwomen.
Lady Mary the Copt was a bondwoman with whom Prophet Muhammad was presented by Al-Muqawqis (of Egypt). Lady Juwairiyah bint Al-Harith, Saifiyah bint Huyay and Rayhanah bint Zayd had been originally captive women whom Prophet Muhammad emancipated and married, and so they became mothers of the believers.
The captive women emancipated by Prophet Muhammad were not restricted to the mothers of the believers. Rather, the emancipation of some mothers of the believers eventuated in the emancipation of the fellow captives of their tribes.
Moreover, Prophet Muhammad emancipated such captive women whom he did not marry, like Safanah bint Hatem At-Tai’ and the captive women from Hawzin tribe. So, Prophet Muhammad would not emancipate captive women solely to marry them.
Islam made for captive women and bondwomen several ways out of slavery. While Islam calls for their education, refinement, and emancipation for free and then their marriage, it also urges those Muslims who cannot do that to charge a material consideration in return for their emancipation (An-Nur 24:33)
Furthermore, Islam made giving birth to a child from the master by a captive woman or bondwoman automatically conducive to the emancipation of this captive woman or bondwoman. In this case, such a captive woman or bondwoman is called Umm Walad, i.e. “the mother of a child”. So, she becomes disposable no longer, that is to say cannot be sold or in any way given to anyone else.
If neither emancipation with/without compensation nor giving birth to a child from the master is possible, Islam guarantees good lives for the captive women and bondwomen thanks to the gains they get under it.
For example, Islam encouraged Muslim men to marry Muslim captive women and bondwomen if they could not afford marriage with free Muslim women and it entitled them to the same rights as free women, including the dowry and seeking their guardians’ permission (An-Nisaa’ 4:25), (Al-Baqarah 2:221).
In clear terms, Islam commanded good treatment for captive women and bondwomen (An-Nisaa’ 4:36). While such good treatment involves countless manifestations and forms, there are certain forms of good treatment which are specifically ordered in Islam, like the prohibition of their exploitation for making money by coercing them into prostitution (An-Nur 24:33) and the call for giving them in marriage if their guardians are unwilling to marry them (An-Nur 24:32).
Out of mercy and compassion for captive women and bondwomen, if they committed punishable offences, they would receive half the punishment free women received (An-Nisaa’ 4:25).
The most basic rights of the captive women, which is the right to life, is not guaranteed in the Bible. The Old Testament tells us about the bloodshed of the captive women and women in general in cold blood.
In the Old Testament, we read: “I will make mine arrows drunk with blood, and my sword shall devour flesh; and that with the blood of the slain and of the captives, from the beginning of revenges upon the enemy.” (Deuteronomy 32:42)
We also read: “Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.” (Numbers 31:17)
We further read: “Now go and attack ‘Amalek, and completely destroy everything they have. Don’t spare them, but kill men and women, children and babies, cows and sheep, camels and donkeys.” (1 Samuel 15:3)
And we read: “And they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and with all their soul, but that whoever would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, should be put to death, whether young or old, man or woman.” (2 Chronicles 15:12-13)
“They wrote in the name of King Achashverosh and sealed it with the king’s signet ring; they sent the letters by couriers on horseback riding fast horses used in the king’s service and bred from the royal stock. The letters said that the king had granted the Jews in every city the right to assemble and defend their lives by destroying, killing and exterminating any forces of any people or province that would attack them, their little ones or their women or would try to seize their goods as plunder.” (Esther 8:10-11)
The utmost gain a captive woman had got under Christianity in the light of the Bible is the least gain she got under Islam, that is the Umm Walad status. Just as Umm Al-Walad, who is the bondwoman who gave birth to a child from her master, is unsalable, a Christian or a believer in the Bible could not sell the captive woman whom he decided to marry if he disliked her.
In the Old Testament, we read:
“When you go out to war against your enemies, and the Lord your God gives them into your hand and you take them captive, and you see among the captives a beautiful woman, and you desire to take her to be your wife, and you bring her home to your house, she shall shave her head and pare her nails. And she shall take off the clothes in which she was captured and shall remain in your house and lament her father and her mother a full month. After that you may go in to her and be her husband, and she shall be your wife. But if you no longer delight in her, you shall let her go where she wants. But you shall not sell her for money, nor shall you treat her as a slave, since you have humiliated her.” (Deuteronomy 21:10-14)
Thus, the right to life for the captive women and bondwomen is not guaranteed in the Bible. The utmost thing warranted for them was letting them go without selling them like the status of Umm Al-Walad in Islam.
Though the New Testament frequently talks about equality between masters and slaves (1 Corinthians 12:13), (Galatians 3:27-28), Christianity did not provide practical mechanisms or explicit, material rulings for the emancipation of or ensuring good life for captive women and bondwomen.
In the New Testament, we only find generic commandments for slaves to submit to and please their masters. In the New Testament, we read: “Tell slaves to submit to their masters in everything, to give satisfaction without talking back.” (Titus 2:9)
We also read: “Slaves, obey your human masters in everything, not serving only when they are watching you, to win their favor, but single-heartedly, fearing the Lord.” (Colossians 3:22)
We further read: “Slaves, obey your human masters with the same fear, trembling and single-heartedness with which you obey the Messiah. Don’t obey just to win their favor, serving only when they are watching you; but serve as slaves of the Messiah, doing what God wants with all your heart.” (Ephesians 6:5-6)
Woman’s Otherworldly Reward
Not only does Islam make mention of man’s otherworldly reward, but it also refers to woman’s otherworldly reward on an equal footing. About the woman’s otherworldly reward in the Qur’an, we read:
And their Lord responded to them, “Never will I allow to be lost the work of [any] worker among you, whether male or female; you are of one another. So those who emigrated or were evicted from their homes or were harmed in My cause or fought or were killed – I will surely remove from them their misdeeds, and I will surely admit them to gardens beneath which rivers flow as reward from Allah , and Allah has with Him the best reward.” (Aal `Imran 3:195)
We also read:
And do not wish for that by which Allah has made some of you exceed others. For men is a share of what they have earned, and for women is a share of what they have earned. And ask Allah of his bounty. Indeed Allah is ever, of all things, Knowing (An-Nisaa’ 4:32)
We further read:
And whoever does righteous deeds, whether male or female, while being a believer – those will enter Paradise and will not be wronged, [even as much as] the speck on a date seed. (An-Nisaa’ 4:124)
Christianity contents itself with the citation of man’s otherworldly reward only in the masculine rather than feminine form. For example, in the New Testament, we read:
Seeing the crowds, Yeshua walked up the hill. After he sat down, his talmidim came to him, and he began to speak. This is what he taught them: “How blessed are the poor in spirit! For the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. “How blessed are those who mourn! For they will be comforted. “How blessed are the meek! For they will inherit the Land!…” (Matthew 5:1-11)
We also read: “Whoever acknowledges me in the presence of others I will also acknowledge in the presence of my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others I will disown before my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32-33)