Just as it is true that religion is everywhere, it is equally true that religious popularity has varied over time and from place to place at any one time. Its popularity has been shaped by its response to three cultural sets of beliefs and values that have appeared during the course of civilization namely the libertarian, socialist, and countercultural ideational sets. Religious popularity is limited by the nature of modern society, within those limits, such popularity results from the way specific religions react to modern ideas. Islam is not only considered as a spiritual and ethical source of guidance and inspiration but also as inseparable from the secular, legal and political realm. Christianity is understood as proving moral guidance in all areas of life, including secular legal discourse while remaining autonomous from the state1. However, both religions directly or indirectly impact all aspects of human and social relations and are particularly influential in questions of gender, sexuality, and family. Islamic and Christianity recognizes the impacts of patriarchal culture and mindset on religion just as they recognize the way religious interpretations and teachings can condone and sanction unjust and oppressive practices towards women in society.
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To a large extent, Islam did liberate women more than Christianity. Islamic religion disagrees with the idea of men owning women as it is with Christianity. It also disagrees with the Christian beliefs that women were created from and for men. According to the Quran, human beings were created to offer companionship to each other. Therefore, Islamic women have been given a chance and permission to teach and have power over men. This shows their freedom and right to express and share views just like men. Unlike in Christianity, women have no right to teach or share ideas because they are overpowered by men. Christianity holds on the belief that women were created for men thus are to be under men in all situations. A counterargument to this is that Islamic women have been allowed the right to own property. In the past years, women were denied the right to own property, but through the establishment and expansion of Islam, women now have the right to property ownership. During the marriage period, a man has to offer a significant part of his property depending on his affordability to the woman he intends to marry as a marriage present. Therefore, Islam has liberated women more than Christianity.
Islam liberation of women
In Islam religion, its teachings focus on the importance of every life, whether male or female of whatever color or nationality. For example, the Quran dictates free life to everyone without distinguishing between male or female. For instance, if a person saves just one human life, it is like saving the entire humankind because each life counts. Therefore, it encourages men to provide protection for women at all times. Islam has liberated women from social harassment by men through a divorce. No act of divorce is to take place in marriages even when the situation seems too tough, they have to find a better solution to the problem.
Women have been liberated by Islam through political rights. Women are allowed to occupy positions of leadership in communities and in government thus sharing equal status with men. The women also play a role beyond that of obedient and passive wife and mother, and women exemplified virtues other than those which the dominant Christian religion teachings associate with woman.
Since the seventh century, Muslim women have been offered the independent personality which was denied from them by the Christian religion2. This means that they now have the right to economic benefits. During marriage ceremony, it’s mandatory for the groom to provide a marriage gift to the bride but the bride and her relatives are not required to do that because they believe that a woman is not a liability, and because of her dignity does not need to give out gifts to attract the man of her dreams or the man to get married to. The marriage gift is her own property and neither the husband nor her relatives have any position or control over it. The gift is retained by the wife in case of divorce later unless she decides to share it out with her husband.
Muslim women have full control over property and for their use alone because both the children and herself are under the husbands maintenance, even when she is wealthy3. It’s not her responsibility to provide for the family unless she does it out of free will. In Islam, married women maintain their legal personality and family names no matter how many times they get married. Their individuality is not taken by that of their many husbands. Unlike in Christianity, women have to change their legal personality once they get married.
Islam has liberated women in the current world by giving them the right to social life. For instance, a Muslim woman has the right to end her marriage through what is referred to as Khula, and she has a right to ask or sue for divorce and can not remain in the marriage or stay with a husband who is mistreating her. Muslim men are encouraged not to divorce their wives even when the circumstances are tough. Divorce is very much disliked by God and it’s better to find solutions that will re-unite the family back together with others than separating forever.
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Islam has liberated women by giving them the right to inherit property at their paternal homes equally as their male counterparts. Christian laws forbid all women from inheriting or sharing with their male siblings in their fathers patrimony. Wives have no share in their husbands property while a daughter is only allowed to inherit if there is no male child. Therefore, women remain under the mercies of their male counterparts according to Christian law4. Fortunately, with Islam, mothers, wives and daughters have been liberated from these discriminations by being given the right to inherit the property equally with their brothers.
Islam has also liberated women from the stigma imposed to divorce and widowhood. It dictates that both the divorcee and the widow have the right and freedom to remarry to any person they wish. This is proved in the Quran where it says that a widow is free to move on with her life after she has fulfilled the requirements concerning the death of her husband. Christianity does not approve of this act because women who have been divorced and widowed are discriminated and undermined in the Biblical traditions.
Women have been liberated by Islamic from molestation. Islam emphasizes on the use of veil by Muslim women as away of protection. The veil is used as a sign of modesty which promotes Islam protection of women, but not a symbol of women subjection to men as it is in Christianity. The Islam implemented strict measures that should be taken incase man falsely accuses women of immorality without providing clear evidence to support his accusation. Therefore, Islam aims at protecting women from being molested.
In conclusion, women liberation movement was reinforced in the twentieth century through the revelation by God to Muhammad a prophet of islam.Therefore, Islam has liberated women to a large extent in that, the women have been provided for different rights that are useful in their lives. For instance, through Islam, women have human right, which emphasizes equal nature of both man and woman since we were both created from the same God. Thus, there is no gender which is superior than the other.They have civil rights, which dictates that all women have freedom to make contributions to the community and in government by sharing views and opinions freely without fear. Through Islam, women have social rights, which encourage working outside the usual responsibilities of housewives and bearing children. They were liberated from illiteracy as the religion promotes women education to enhance skills and knowledge. Islam gave women right to participate in politics, it improved their economic rights which include freedom to earn money, own property and control all shares. Therefore, despite receiving all these rights, women are in return supposed to fulfill their responsibilities as wives to their husbands. According to the Quran, intelligent woman protects her rights in the absence of her husband, protects the marriage, control the home and possessions, and needs to be cooperative with her husband.
Asadi, Muhammed.Islam & Christianity: Conflict Or Conciliation: A Comparative and Textual Analysis of the Koran & the Bible.Yala: Universe, 2001.
McGarvey, Kathleen. Muslim and Christian women in dialogue: the case of northern Nigeria. New York: Peter Lang, 2009. Web.
Krikos, Linda. Women’s studies: a recommended bibliography. New York: Libraries Unlimited, 2004. Web.
- Muhammed Asadi, Islam & Christianity: Conflict Or Conciliation: A Comparative and Textual Analysis of the Koran & the Bible (Yala: Universe, 2001), 465.
- Kathleen McGarvey, Muslim and Christian women in dialogue: the case of northern Nigeria (New York: Peter Lang, 2009), 86.
- Linda Krikos, Women’s studies: a recommended bibliography (New York: Libraries Unlimited, 2004),98. Web.
- Muhammed Asadi, Islam & Christianity: Conflict Or Conciliation: A Comparative and Textual Analysis of the Koran & the Bible (Yala: Universe, 2001), 465. Web.