Women in Religion

women in religion

The issue of 'Women's Rights' is often highlighted in the media.

The comparison grid below compares verses from Jewish, Christian and Muslim Scripture on womens rights issues.

NOTE: All scripture has context, background and understanding. They should not be interpreted literally.

Bible Quran
1. First Woman
When the woman (Eve) saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband (Adam), who was with her, and he ate it...Then the man (Adam) and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.

But the Lord God called to the man, "Where are you?" He (Adam) answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid." And he (God) said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?"

The man said, "The woman (Eve) you put here with me-she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it." Then the Lord God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate." To the woman he (God) said, "I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you."

To Adam he (God) said, "Because you listen to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it,' "Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.

For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
(God said):"O Adam! You and your wife dwell in the Garden, and enjoy (its good things) as you wish: but do not approach this tree, or you run into harm and transgression."

"Then began Satan to whisper suggestions to them (Adam and Eve), bringing openly before their minds all their shame that was hidden from them (before): he (Satan) said: "Your Lord only forbade you this tree, lest you should become angels or such beings as live for ever."

"And he (Satan) swore to them both, that he was their sincere adviser." "So by deceit he brought about their (Adam and Eve) fall: when they tasted of the tree, their shame became manifest to them, and they began to sew together the leaves of the Garden over their bodies.

And their Lord called to them: "Did I not forbid you that tree, and tell you that Satan was an avowed enemy to you?" "They said: "Our Lord! We have wronged our own souls: if You do not forgive us and do not bestow upon us Your Mercy, we shall certainly be lost
2. Education
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, and if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for woman to speak in the church.
Seeking knowledge is obligatory on every Muslim man and Muslim woman."
3. Inheritance
Say to the Israelites, 'If a man dies and leaves no son, turn his inheritance over to his daughter...'
From what is left by parents and those nearest related there is a share for men and a share for women, whether the property be small or large, -a determinate share.
4. Dress Code
Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head. And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head...If a woman does not cover her head, she should have her hair cut off; and if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut or shaved off, she should cover her head

"I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God

Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

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
O Prophet! Tell your wives and daughters, and the believing women, that they should cast their outer garments over their persons (when abroad): that is most convenient, that they should be known (as such) and not molested. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful

"...they (believing women) should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands' fathers, their sons, their husbands' sons, their brothers or their brothers' sons, or their sisters' sons, or their women...or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex...
5. Sexuality
And if any man's seed of copulation go out from him, then he shall wash all his flesh in water, and be unclean until the even.

The woman also with whom man shall lie with seed of copulation, they shall both bathe themselves in water, and be unclean until the even.
6. Menses
Do not approach a woman to have sexual relations during the uncleanness of her monthly period.
When a woman has her regular flow of blood, the impurity of her monthly period will last seven days, and anyone who touches her will be unclean till evening. anything she lies on during her period will be unclean, and anything she sits on will be unclean.

Whoever touches her bed must wash his clothes and bathe with water, and he will be unclean till evening. Whoever touches anything she sits on must wash his clothes and bathe with water, and he will be unclean till evening. Whether it is the bed or anything she was sitting on, when anyone touches it, he will be unclean till evening.
They ask you concerning women's courses (period). Say: They are a hurt and a pollution: so keep away (of making love) from women in their courses, and do not approach them until they are clean...
Ali asked the Prophet Mohammed if when a man and a woman make love then their clothes stick to them from the sweat of their bodies, or if when a woman has her period her clothes stick to her body, are the clothes considered unclean? The Prophet replied: "No, the uncleanness is only in the semen and the blood."
7. Polygamy
After he left Hebron, David took more concubines and wives in Jerusalem, and more sons and daughters were born to him.

"He (Solomon) had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines...

"And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah.

"If a man have two wives, one beloved, and another hated, and they have born him children, both the beloved and the hated; and if the first-born son be hers that was hated: then it shall be, when he maketh...

"if he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall her not diminish." Exodus 21:10
If you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans, marry women of your choice, two, or three, or four; but if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one... to prevent you from doing injustice.
8. Marriage
Do not take your wife's sister as a rival wife and have sexual relations with her while your wife is living

If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband's brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband's brother unto her
Prohibited to you (for marriage) are: -your mothers, daughters, sisters...and two sisters (the wife and her sister) in wedlock at one and the same time...
9. Divorce
...Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery

...who marries the divorced woman commits adultery

The woman he (the priest) marries must be a virgin. He must not marry a widow, a divorced woman, or a woman defiled by prostitution, but only a virgin from his own people.'
O Prophet! When you do divorce women, divorce them at their prescribed periods, and count (accurately) their prescribed periods: and fear Allah your Lord...

If any of you die and leave widows behind, they shall wait concerning themselves four months and ten days: when they have fulfilled their term, there is no blame on you (marrying widows) if they dispose of themselves in a just and reasonable manner...
10. Child Birth
Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days; according to the days of the separation for her infirmity shall she be unclean.
11. Female vs Male
...if a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days...but if she bear a maid child, then she shall be unclean two weeks...

For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.
To Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth. He creates what He wills. He bestows female children to whomever He wills and bestows male children to whomever He wills

"He who is involved in bringing up daughters, and accords benevolent treatment towards them, they will be protection for him against Hell-Fire."
12. Spirituality
I find more bitter than death the woman who is a snare, whose heart is a trap and whose hands are chains. The man who pleases God will escape her, but the sinner she will ensnare." "Look," says the Teacher, "this is what I have discovered: "Adding one thing to another to discover the scheme of things-while I was still searching but not finding- I found one upright man among a thousand, but not one upright woman among them all.
And Allah sets forth, as an example to those who believe, the wife of Pharaoh: behold she said: 'O my Lord! build for me, in nearness to You, a mansion in the Garden, and save me from Pharaoh and his doings, and save me from those that do wrong," "And Mary the daughter of Imran, who guarded her chastity; and We breathed into (her body) of Our spirit; and she testified to the truth of the words of her Lord and of His Revelations, and was one of the devout (servants).

"Heaven is at the feet of the mothers."
13. Parents
Then he (Jesus) went down to Nazareth with them (his parents) and was obedient to them...

"For Moses said, 'Honor your father and your mother,' and, 'Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.

Each of you must respect his mother and father...
He (God) has made me (Jesus) kind to my mother, and not overbearing or miserable.

"And We have enjoined on man (to be good) to his parents: in travail (pains of childbirth) upon travail his mother bore him, and in two years was his weaning: (hear the command), "Show gratitude to Me and to your parents: to Me is (your final) Goal.

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