Sunday, 19 March 2017

Mustafa Ahmed Responds to Lizzie Schofield on Women's Rights in Islam and Christianity.

Lizzie Schofield, a member of Pfander Ministries based in the UK managed by Jay Smith, has written a misleading article on Islam.  This article is a response to her article and not a personal attack on her. She wrote and I quote:

“The Qur’an teaches women are not equal with men, according to Suras 4:11, 24, 34, 2:223, and 230; and while your husband is allowed to have up to 4 wives (Sura 4:3) you just get the one husband. He can exclude you from your bed and beat you if he suspects ‘ill conduct’ (Sura 4:34)".

I’m very disappointed in Lizzie, her article is a misrepresentation of Quranic verses which are taken out of context.  Firstly, none of the verses she mentioned in her article teach that women are not equal to men.

Surah 4:11 speaks about inheritance and not equality.  This alone is a huge subject which cannot be summarised in one verse. Here is a link to an excellent article written by Br. Ansar Al-Adl on Islamic Inheritance Surah 4:24 which if you are reading in context, v23 speaks about marriage specifically the prohibitions on who you can & cannot marry. There is no mention of equality. Now surah 2:223 again reading in context v222 tells us how to behave towards women who have started their menses. In all fairness, this is a difficult time for them here Allah Swt is instructing the believer to stay away from them i.e. have no sexual contact until they have completed their cycle. However, after this period is over man should approach his wife freely without any hesitation, note v223 is expressed metaphorically, once again there is no mention of equality. One wonders why Lizzie Schofield didn’t mention surah 2:187 in her article regarding the equality of men and women (“Permitted to you, on the night of the fasts, is the approach to your wives. They are your garments and ye are their garments.” Surah 2:187). I believe this verse shows men and women are equal refuting Lizzie's argument. 

Surah 4:3 again reading in context in v2 "God directs the guardians of the orphans to spend out of the latter's property while they are still minors” (Islamic studies tahfeem commentary), not to cheat them or take advantage of their vulnerability  purely to devour their property, rather restore it to them when they reach maturity. This also applies if you marry them as mentioned in v3. You should not marry an orphan who is under your guardianship just because she is attractive or has a large amount of wealth which you can take for yourself. That’s complete injustice towards the orphan so in that case marry others of your choice two, three, or four but if you cannot do justice to them all then marry only one.

If Lizzie is consistent she should first look into her Bible before coming to the Quran. Is she not aware that women are degraded and disgraced in the Bible? Husbands are the rulers of their wives. Take for example this verse To the woman he said, "I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you" (Genesis 3:16). Notice how women will suffer child pain and on top of that her husband will rule over her, talk about equality.

How about this statement from Paul, Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God” (Titus 2:4-50). Here we read women should love their husbands look after their children and be busy at home i.e. busy with house work. Doesn’t this tell us men and women are not equal according to the God of the Bible? how about when a woman gives birth to a female she is defiled much longer than if she gave birth to a boy? (Leviticus 12:1-5).  I’m curious to know if Lizzie finds the inheritance law in the Bible fair and equal. If she does then, she may have to reconsider the books of Moses. It’s clear from Deuteronomy 21 and Numbers 27 that men and women are not equal when it comes to sharing inheritance. Let’s also not forget how the Bible restricts women from speaking in church or preaching (Paul's letters to the Corinthians). How about polygamy according to the Jewish Bible there is no prohibition on polygamy. Some of the Old Testament prophets had more than one wife. Moses had 2 wives, Jacob had 2 wives, & 2 concubines, David had 8 wives, Abraham had 2 wives, Solomon had hundreds of wives & concubines etc.. How about this statement from Yahweh “in that day seven women will take hold of one man and say, "We will eat our own food and provide our own clothes; only let us be called by your name. Take away our disgrace!, " Isaiah 4:1, a supposed prophecy where seven women will have one man. I wonder what Lizzie has to say about that? The Talmud also doesn’t restrict Jewish men from having multiple wives, it says in the Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Yebamoth Folio 65a.

Now coming to Surah 4:34 men can beat their wife if they suspect ill conduct. This is one of the most misinterpreted verses cited by Christians. Below is an excerpt from Dr. Shabir Ally's talk-show, let the Quran speak:

Prophet Muhammed Pbuh is our role model and he never beat anyone with his hands This is found in Authentic hadith:

“Aisha reported that Allah's Messenger, may Allah bless him, never beat anyone with his hand, neither a woman nor a servant, but only, in the case when he had been fighting in the cause of Allah …” (Sahih Muslim, Hadith 4296)

This is another Hadith from  Prophet Muhammed  Pbuh where he is teaching us to love our wives and never to raise our hands on them:

Narrated Mu’awiyah al-Qushayri: “I went to the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) and asked him: What do you say (command) about our wives? He replied: Give them food what you have for yourself, and clothe them by which you clothe yourself, and do not beat them, and do not revile them. (Abu-Dawud, Book 11, Marriage (Kitab Al-Nikah), Number 2139 recorded in Ibn Majah as well, and others. Verified to be Authentic by Al- Albani, As sahihah Number. 687).

Nowhere in the entire bible is wife beating prohibited, rather disciplining your wife and family is urged.:

Whoever heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray. (Proverbs 10:17)

To keep thee from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman.
(Proverbs 6:24)

What happens if you have an evil wife?  The Bible gives you the answer 

Beatings and wounds cleanse away evil, and floggings cleanse the innermost being. 
(Proverbs 20:30)

As we can see from the above verses the only way to get rid of evil is to beat it out, what should a husband do when his wife seeks for another God, again Bible gives us the answer: 

Whoever sacrifices to any god other than the LORD must be destroyed.
 (Exodus 22:20 )

 Again prohibitions on wife beating are not found anywhere in the Bible.

Lizzie asked where is your guarantee for salvation in Islam. Unlike Christianity, Islam does not require human sacrifice. Below are two verses from the Quran which refutes her point (I.e. Islam doesn't guarantee salvation):

Allah states:

Allah has promised to the believers -men and women, - Gardens under which rivers flow to dwell therein forever, and beautiful mansions in Gardens of 'Adn (Eden Paradise). But the greatest bliss is the Good Pleasure of Allah. That is the supreme success. (Surah 9:72)

Allah also states:

Verily, Allah never breaks His Promise (Surah 3:9)

Lizzie Schofield also said, “once you’re in, you can’t get out. Sura 4:89 says of apostasy: “They wish that you reject Faith, as they have rejected Faith…” again Lizzie is misquoting texts from the Quran. Reading in context this verse is speaking of the hypocrites, here’s a quote from ibn kathir tafsir: 

 “The Two Sahihs also recorded this Hadith. Al-`Awfi reported that Ibn `Abbas said that the Ayah was revealed about some people in Makkah who said they embraced Islam, yet they gave their support to the idolators. One time, theses people went out of Makkah to fulfill some needs and said to each other, "If we meet the Companions of Muhammad, there will be no harm for us from their side.'' When the believers got news that these people went out of Makkah, some of them said, "Let us march to these cowards and kill them, because they support your enemy against you.'' However, another group from the believers said, "Glory be to Allah! Do you kill a people who say as you have said, just because they did not perform Hijrah or leave their land Is it allowed to shed their blood and confiscate their money in this case'' So they divided to two groups, while the Messenger was with them, and did not prohibit either group from reiterating their argument. Thereafter, Allah revealed,

(Then what is the matter with you that you are divided into two parties about the hypocrites) Ibn Abi Hatim recorded this Hadith. Allah said,

(Allah has cast them back because of what they have earned.) meaning, He made them revert to, and fall into error. Ibn `Abbas said that,

(Arkasahum) means, `cast them' . Allah's statement,

(because of what they have earned) means, because of their defiance and disobedience to the Messenger and following falsehood

(Do you want to guide him whom Allah has made to go astray And he whom Allah has made to go astray, you will never find for him a way.) meaning, there will be no path for him, or way to guidance. Allah's statement,

(They wish that you reject faith, as they have rejected, and thus that you all become equal.) means, they wish that you fall into misguidance, so that you and they are equal in that regard. This is because of their extreme enmity and hatred for you.

I don’t know where Lizzie got apostasy from? In fact, here is a verse from the Quran where the freedom of religion is given to everyone:

And say, "The Truth is from your Lord; so whoever decides, then let him believe, and whoever decides, then let him disbelieve." Surely We have readied for the unjust a Fire whose canopy encompasses them; and in case they call for succor, they will be succored with water like molten metal that will scald their faces. Miserable is the drink, and odious is it (as) a resting place! (Surah 18:29)
As you can see there is no mention of killing apostates in either of the verses. Here is a video of Dr. Shabir Ally dealing with the subject of apostasy in Islam.
If Lizzie is so concerned about killing apostates, then she should be the first to condemn the Bible for its ruling on dealing with apostates. I would like to urge Lizzie to read Deuteronomy 13:6-15, Deuteronomy 17:2-7, 2 chronicles 15:13 and explain them.
I hope Lizzie Schofield will read my response and correct her article as she is misleading innocent truth seekers.

Peace be upon you all

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