Friday, May 23, 2008

Islam and The West-6

- Women in the time of the prophet were treated as property. They were inherited along with the sword, the tent and the horse. Islam gave them unprecedented rights. Recently converted men objected against the so-called inheritance verse, which gave to women and children and parents the right to inherit. Their view was that only fighting men should inherit as they defend their clan and tribe. My understanding of the history of that early period of Islam is that women in Mecca inherited , which explains Khadijah’s wealth, while women in Medina did not, possibly under Jewish influence there. The Koran says: Allah (thus) directs you as regards your children’s (inheritance): to the male, a portion equal to that of two females: if only one, her share is a half. For parents, a sixth share of the inheritance to each, if the deceased left children; if no children, and the parents are the (only) heirs, the mother has a third; if the deceased left brothers (or sisters) the mother has a sixth…(Surah 4, Al Nisa, verse 11)

)يُوصِيكُمُ ٱللَّهُ فِىٓ أَوۡلَـٰدِڪُمۡ‌ۖ لِلذَّكَرِ مِثۡلُ حَظِّ ٱلۡأُنثَيَيۡنِ‌ۚ فَإِن كُنَّ نِسَآءً۬ فَوۡقَ ٱثۡنَتَيۡنِ فَلَهُنَّ ثُلُثَا مَا تَرَكَ‌ۖ وَإِن كَانَتۡ وَٲحِدَةً۬ فَلَهَا ٱلنِّصۡفُ‌ۚ وَلِأَبَوَيۡهِ لِكُلِّ وَٲحِدٍ۬ مِّنۡہُمَا ٱلسُّدُسُ مِمَّا تَرَكَ إِن كَانَ لَهُ ۥ وَلَدٌ۬‌ۚ فَإِن لَّمۡ يَكُن لَّهُ ۥ وَلَدٌ۬ وَوَرِثَهُ ۥۤ أَبَوَاهُ فَلِأُمِّهِ ٱلثُّلُثُ‌ۚ فَإِن كَانَ لَهُ ۥۤ إِخۡوَةٌ۬ فَلِأُمِّهِ ٱلسُّدُسُ(…

(also verses 12 and 176). And she gets half a man’s right of blood money and is half a witness.

In other verses:

…And women shall have rights similar to the rights against them, according to what is equitable; but men have a degree (of advantage) over them…(Surah 2, Al Baqarah, verse 228)
(…(وَلَهُنَّ مِثۡلُ ٱلَّذِى عَلَيۡہِنَّ بِٱلۡمَعۡرُوفِ‌ۚ وَلِلرِّجَالِ عَلَيۡہِنَّ دَرَجَةٌ۬‌ۗ

… Never will I suffer to be lost the work of any of you, be he a male or female…
(أَنِّى لَآ أُضِيعُ عَمَلَ عَـٰمِلٍ۬ مِّنكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ أَوۡ أُنثَىٰ...)

And in nowise covet those things in which Allah hath bestowed His gifts more freely on some of you than others: to men is allotted what they earn, and to women what they earn ...(Surah 4, Al Nisa, verse 32)
(وَلَا تَتَمَنَّوۡاْ مَا فَضَّلَ ٱللَّهُ بِهِۦ بَعۡضَكُمۡ عَلَىٰ بَعۡضٍ۬‌ۚ لِّلرِّجَالِ نَصِيبٌ۬ مِّمَّا ٱڪۡتَسَبُواْ‌ۖ وَلِلنِّسَآءِ نَصِيبٌ۬ مِّمَّا ٱكۡتَسَبۡنَ...)‌ۚ

The believers, men and women, are protectors, on of another ...(Surah 9, Al Tawbah, verse 71)
(وَٱلۡمُؤۡمِنُونَ وَٱلۡمُؤۡمِنَـٰتُ بَعۡضُهُمۡ أَوۡلِيَآءُ بَعۡضٍ۬‌ۚ...)

…He that works a righteous deed - weather man or woman - and is a believer - such will enter The Garden (of bliss) ...(Surah 40, Ghafir, verse 40)
(...وَمَنۡ عَمِلَ صَـٰلِحً۬ا مِّن ذَڪَرٍ أَوۡ أُنثَىٰ وَهُوَ مُؤۡمِنٌ۬ فَأُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ يَدۡخُلُونَ ٱلۡجَنَّةَ...)

Still, Islam did not make women equal to men. That paper in Georgetown produced an unexpected result, something new to me and Professor Sharabi who was very secular. In the New Testament, the role of the Virgin Mary is very limited. After delivering Jesus she all but disappears. As she was married to Joseph, the Gospel according to Mark tells us that she gave Jesus half brothers: “Is not this the carpenter, son of Mary, the brother of James and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” (6:3) Mathew simply refers to “Jesus and his brothers.” In the Koran Mary has a whole sura, or chapter, named after her, and she is mentioned in other suras, by name or as in Issa (Jesus) and his mother. The Koran has her speaking to Archangel Gabriel who in Islamic traditions speaks only to prophets. As a result, Andalusian ulema, like Ibn Hazm, considered her a prophet, a position never accorded her in the Holy Book.
- The laws of Islam and Judaism are similar and at times identical, both in the Koran and the Old Testament, and also in Sharia and Talmud. Tithe is like Zakat. Kosher is the equivalent of Halal. Minyan is a quorum of ten men required for a Jewish prayer and is similar to the prayer of “Jama’a” for Muslims. While Muslims are required to pray five times a day Orthodox Jews pray three to four times a day, a practice called Shema Yisrael. Their women cover their hair after marriage, and a few are seen in a veil, or even niqab. When the laws of the two religions differ it is almost always far more strict in the Old Testament. Some of the punishments are not found in the Koran. In the five Books of Moses, Leviticus presents the laws in detail and Deuteronomy is a late edition of the law, probably written about 500 BC. I will now include laws from Deuteronomy chapters 12-26 and a Muslim will immediately realize that many of them are almost identical to material throughout the Koran which does not include the punishment of stoning as in the Bible.

To be continued...


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