WHAT MUSLIMS BELIEVE
The Perspective of Muslim Women
Muslim women generally consider themselves protected and satisfied within their culture. Their fulfilling social life is usually gender-separated and happens primarily within extended families and some close neighbors.
The Protection of Muslim Women
Women are valued in Islam. In fact, Muhammad brought an end to the practice of female infanticide, widely practiced before his time. The honor of women is a major concern in Muslim societies. The reputation of the family is linked with the women. Islam helps maintain roles and expectations that predate Muhammad. The modest dress code is to protect women. If seen without loose clothing or a veil, men might judge a woman based on her appearance or may try to abuse her. Muslim women do not need to wear a veil or loose clothes at home or when only women are present.
Since marriage and child bearing are highly valued in the Middle East, polygamy is allowed and yet controlled. Islam limits a man to four wives and requires equal treatment for each.
WHAT CHRISTIANS BELIEVE
The Perspective of Christian Women
Christians believe that the Bible teaches that both man and woman were created in God’s image, had a direct relationship with God, and shared jointly the responsibilities of bringing up children and ruling over the created order.
“Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." (Genesis 1:26-28)
Christian husbands and wives are to mutually submit to one another. Women are to respect their husbands; husbands are to sacrificially and selflessly love their wives, just as Jesus Christ loves His church.
“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, His body, of which He is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” (Ephesians 5:21-25)
The Protection of Christian Women
Christian women are to dress modestly.
“I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes.” (1 Timothy 2:9)
And all followers of Jesus are to flee from sexual immorality.
“Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.” (1 Corinthians 6:18)
Not Conforming to the World
Followers of Jesus believe that they must be transformed by renewing their minds and avoid conforming to the patterns of the secular world.
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)
Problems arise when Christians adapt to the Western secular culture more than to the Bible. When this happens, there is a decline in morality, which leads to an increase in sexual immorality, drunkenness, deceit, selfishness, rage and other sins.
How to Correct Misunderstandings
Western values conflict with Muslims regarding women perhaps more than any other category. There are several problems in Muslim societies in regard to women. However, secularism and women’s liberation have brought the “Christian” West several problems as well.
Correcting the Misunderstandings
Christians, often focused on the plight of Muslim women, fail to see that many Western “solutions” are more to be feared than the problems they address. Many Muslim women prefer their lifestyle to lonely singleness, sexual exploitation, and the desire for money that makes home and family unimportant.
Societies long dominated by Islam have problems that need to be addressed, but before Christians can address these issues, they must deal with their own cultural problems. As Jesus said, “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:5)
Information is from “Islam & Christianity,” Rose Publishing
Islam and Women
Oppression of Women