Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Message for Muslims: A Woman’s Place

In many ancient cultures (and in many cultures even today), women knew exactly what their roles were. They were expected to marry, to serve their husbands and to bear and raise children.

In such a culture, women had two primary concerns. First, they were anxious to be chosen to be some man's wife. Women who were not chosen often remained in their parents' home for their entire life. Second, they were anxious about whether or not they could have children. When a married woman was barren, she felt unfulfilled and less than other women. She was often pitied and disdained. Her husband might divorce her. If such a woman were desperate enough, she might even choose the self-defeating life of being a prostitute. In that way, she might feel a temporary sense of worth.

What happens when God begins to act in such a culture? God’s ways are not our ways. He values women as individual persons, regardless of the roles society gives them. In each society where God's word is honored, the status of women is elevated. Some women have been given a very special role in God's plan for mankind.

One woman in particular stood out in religious history as a unique person, specially chosen by God for a very important task. Her culture might easily have ignored or pitied her. She was unmarried. Like other women of their day, she was illiterate, with no hope and no desire for advancement. Her family was of no importance. She was neither famous nor rich . Yet God chose her to have a central place in His plan. That woman’s name was Mary.

According to the Qur'an, Mary was so important in God's eyes that the angels argued about who would have the privilege of guarding and caring for her. They chose the winner by casting lots.

"This is part of the tidings of the things unseen which We reveal unto you by inspiration, you were not with them when they cast lots with arrows as to which of them should be charged with the care of Mary, nor were you with them when they disputed." (Sura 3:44)

The angels informed Mary that God had honored her, choosing her from among other women, purifying her. In the Qur'an, we read that an angel told Mary that she would bear a very special son, whose name would be Christ Jesus (Isa al Masih, or Jesus the Messiah---"Messiah" means “the anointed one”).

The angel described Jesus. God Himself would teach him. He would be honored in this world and the next. He would be among those nearest to God. He would be a prophet, giving his message both as a child and as an adult. He would be righteous. He is God's Word, a Spirit sent from God and an apostle to the children of Israel.

"Behold! the angels said: "O Mary! Allah hath chosen thee and purified thee- chosen thee above the women of all nations. "O Mary! worship Thy Lord devoutly: Prostrate thyself, and bow down (in prayer) with those who bow down." This is part of the tidings of the things unseen, which We reveal unto thee (O Apostle!) by inspiration: Thou wast not with them when they cast lots with arrows, as to which of them should be charged with the care of Mary: Nor wast thou with them when they disputed (the point). Behold! the angels said: "O Mary! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honour in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah; "He shall speak to the people in childhood and in maturity. And he shall be (of the company) of the righteous." (Sura 3:42-46)

(See also Sura 19 for details of Mary's trip into the wilderness, the appearance of the angel, etc.)

Mary asked the angel how she could have a son, since a man had never touched her. The answer was that God would create the son as He had created Adam, an easy thing for God to do.

God often chooses unmarried, childless women for special roles in His plan for mankind. Their destiny was selected for them just as Mary's was. Some of the world’s greatest scientists, politicians, doctors and social workers have been women. Consider Madam Curie, Mother Teresa and others.

Because God respects, honors and often chooses women for special places in His world's history, His true prophets must also honor women and teach others to do so. Mary's son, Jesus, certainly did. As he is revealed in the Bible, Jesus held women in high regard, no matter what their status in society. He was even kind to the adulteress and the prostitute. Their downfall was partly caused by the negative way others thought of them.

Once, while Jesus was teaching in the temple, some religious leaders brought a disheveled woman to him, accusing her of adultery and demanding that she be stoned to death, as the law required. Jesus calmly told them:

"Let any one of you who is without sin be the first a throw a stone at her." Being convicted of their own sins, her accusers left the woman alone with Jesus. Jesus told her, "God now, and leave your life of sin." (John 8:4-11)

The value of each woman is raised, and she is given dignity by Jesus' words. If you are a woman, whether you are unmarried or married, fertile or barren, God places a high value on you. You deserve respect and honor. You are a woman!

The Bible expresses the words the angel used when he spoke to Mary:

"Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you."

The angel described the son Mary would bear in this way:

"Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High." (Luke 1:28-32)

In gratitude for God's favor, Mary sang:

"My soul praises the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me - holy is his name." (Luke 1:46-49)

When Mary's kinswoman, Elizabeth, received Mary into her home for a visit, her first words were:

"Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!" (Luke 1:42)

Like Elizabeth, all of us can rejoice that God chooses to use humble women in His world for His purposes. Women have a very important place in God's world.

(This information is from the book, “Jesus Gives Peace: Jesus in the Qur’an and the Bible,” by Yusuf Abdallah)

Also see:

Comparing Islam to Christianity, Part 7 (The Role of Women)
Islam and Women
Oppression of Women

28 comments:

thekingpin68 said...

Thanks for the quick comments, Jeff.

Jeff said...

You're welcome, Russ.

thekingpin68 said...

'In many ancient cultures (and in many cultures even today), women knew exactly what their roles were. They were expected to marry, to serve their husbands and to bear and raise children.'

In the West, feminism has allowed women to better define their own roles.

From research, Western women have more power in dating/relationships than men typically.

thekingpin68 said...

'In gratitude for God's favor, Mary sang:

"My soul praises the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me - holy is his name." (Luke 1:46-49)'

A good example. It can be difficult to accept a role God has in mind for a servant.

Jeff said...

I see Jesus as being the first one to free women from being second-class citizens.

As far as feminism, when taken to its evolved form as it exists today, I think it has blurred the role between sexes, to where men try to take the woman's role, and women try to take the man's role, generally speaking and in a somewhat limited sense. So, although it may have started out by giving women more freedom, I think it has gone too far.

But yes, I agree that women in the West have more freedom than women in the Middle East.

Jeff said...

A good example. It can be difficult to accept a role God has in mind for a servant.

Thanks, Russ.

thekingpin68 said...

Yes, I support women's rights as opposed to sexism. I am not a feminist.

Burger time, I have been called!

Jeff said...

Yes, I support women's rights as opposed to sexism. I am not a feminist.

That's good.

Burger time, I have been called!

LOL!

satire and theology said...

Related was sent to me today

Also please check out my Revolver Maps on blogs.

thekingpin68 said...

Fox News

Yesterday I heard Albert Mohler interview this man, but the interview is not up on Mohler's site (yet?).

thekingpin68 said...

You Tube: Son of Hamas leader converts to Christianity Part 3

thekingpin68 said...

Son of Hamas

thekingpin68 said...

I am hoping for some Friday night funny on the blogs, who knows?

It has been sloooooow.

Jeff said...

Thanks very much for your comments, Russ! Yeah, I noticed I was the only one commenting recently on at least one of your blogs. I would rather not have it be only a conversation between you and me, as I'm sure you would agree.

thekingpin68 said...

Numbers are important, but yes I hope more people will soon comment, but it goes up and down and people come and go.

thekingpin68 said...

I won't write a new post until I get my quota.:)

Literally I would wait weeks.

I figure if people are not commenting a newer post probably will not help as my topics are fairly related. Especially on thekingpin68 where I use humour less than satire and theology. It is more difficult to write a super popular academic post but I try by making posts shorter and adding other secondary 'thinking' topics.

thekingpin68 said...

I am glad you posted the Hamas material on FB and promoted your blog...

I thought of THE JEFF right away...

Okay, refill time...bye bye.

Jeff said...

I won't write a new post until I get my quota.:)

LOL

I'm not sure why you are not at the moment receiving comments as much as you usually do. If you were on Twitter, maybe you could advertise your blogs there? Or maybe you could print out flyers advertising your blogs and hang them up or pass them out at the local pubs? Not sure how many would be interested in theology and philosophy there, but I suppose it couldn't hurt. You could also include the URL to your blogs in everything you mail out---bills, letters, cards, etc., on the outside of the envelope, or below the signature of any letters you mail out. Just some ideas to consider or disregard as you please.

As you know, I used to post a new article every single day. But I read that this is not necessary, and some readers complained that they couldn't keep up. I've read that every 2-3 days is sufficient, though I've been posting articles even less frequently than that, recently. This is largely due to my ongoing conversation with the Muslim guy on Facebook and the Jehovah's Witness guy elsewhere on my blog, plus keeping up with e-mails, Facebook comments and games, and playing online games (R.U.S.E., CounterStrike and Day of Defeat) with my brother and my cousin (both in different cities) just about every night. In addition to all that, I am trying to find a job.

Jeff said...

I am glad you posted the Hamas material on FB and promoted your blog...

MY blog...yeah, right. LOL

"Son of Hamas leader converts to Christianity"-
Thanks to Russ Murray of http://thekingpin68.blogspot.com/

thekingpin68 said...

I think it is temporary.

Chuck and Bobby have not been over yet to comment and it is basically a third in a series. Plus you have not went 'nuts' yet which is always helpful.;)

Basically the blogs are slowly growing. Thanks to God.

A few years ago thekingpin68 was according to Technorati ranked about 600, 000 in the world and now it is around 17, 000. Satire and theology was about 1 million and now it is around 77, 000. Yours has grown much too.

We have helped each other get links but consistency is key, as in more posts slowly over time.

thekingpin68 said...

You should throw your link in there, I will do it for you.

But, if people see your name they should see your blog on your FB page.

satire and theology said...

Well I think, if you have one, you probably have your quota.;)

Fresh air time.

kingpinned said...

I will be happy once I have Silver Surfer 4 VF-NM and both of the Superman-Spidey crossovers VF-NM.

Jeff said...

Plus you have not went 'nuts' yet which is always helpful.;)

Yeah, I think I'm too tired to "go nuts" tonight. I was playing R.U.S.E. with my brother and cousin online earlier, and discussing with the JW and Muslim, so I also have not had a lot of time.

A few years ago thekingpin68 was according to Technorati ranked about 600, 000 in the world and now it is around 17, 000. Satire and theology was about 1 million and now it is around 77, 000.

Wow, that is incredible! Nice job!

Yours has grown much too.

Yes, I am pleased with that.

You should throw your link in there, I will do it for you.

Thanks, Russ.

But, if people see your name they should see your blog on your FB page.

Not sure I completely understand.

I will be happy once I have Silver Surfer 4 VF-NM and both of the Superman-Spidey crossovers VF-NM.

Sounds cool.

thekingpin68 said...

Over on Rick B's food blog:

Rick B:

'This type of person is usually over-sensitive and can't deal with raw truth.'

thekingpin68:

The Church of Last-Day Decaf?

Rick B:

Thats funny.

Jeff said...

Thanks for the humor, Russ.

If you are interested in inviting Nick the Jehovah's Witness to comment on your blog, feel free to leave a link to your blog in the comments (maybe saying something like, "Please visit my blog site for some interesting theological discussion)," HERE.

thekingpin68 said...

Hi Jeff,

I glanced at the comments. I respect you for the ministry work you do.

I am as you know willing to deal with anyone on my blogs (I have debated JWs, LDS, atheists, and non-Reformed in person as well).

I have debated British academics at University.

You know I am willing to put some time into these things, on and offline.

Heck, I have debated with you a couple of times.

But to be honest in general terms, I do not have the time and patience to debate someone I disagree with and will think is largely wrong, for 171+ comments or close. Well before then I would think we would be going in circles.:) It is a reason I do not spend much time on the 'Interested' blog of Rick's friend, and a reason I do not scan the web for blogs that are non-Reformed, JW, LDS, Roman Catholic, atheist, agnostic, satanic, occultic, and that feature scientism and other, looking for debates.;)

I think I need to do other things in life more...soon.

So I will leave it to what happens. I am glad I helped somewhat with research.

Jeff said...

But to be honest in general terms, I do not have the time and patience to debate someone I disagree with and will think is largely wrong, for 171+ comments or close. Well before then I would think we would be going in circles.:) It is a reason I do not spend much time on the 'Interested' blog of Rick's friend, and a reason I do not scan the web for blogs that are non-Reformed, JW, LDS, Roman Catholic, atheist, agnostic, satanic, occultic, and that feature scientism and other, looking for debates.;)

Understood, Russ.