So, before I first started reading the
Quran, I thought I knew all about Islam—and it was very demeaning
to women. Naturally, I assumed the Quran would bear this out. I was in
for quite a surprise! According to the Quran, men and women are equal….
There are areas where Islam, as traditionally practiced, is unfair
to women. But it is crystal clear that those practices are not from the
Quran. As in all religions, the practice does not always match the revelation
from God. In fact, we will see that the practices often go against the
principles of the Quran. The Quran was (and still is) an emancipating
document for women!...
Lisa tackles all the major issues of women today. Some examples are
Clearly, the circumstances need to be unusual to warrant polygamy.
Whatever those circumstances, if the husband is not certain that he can
be perfectly fair to all parties, he should not take the chance of going
against the Quran, thus harming his soul and bringing pain to his family.
The definition of exactly what modesty means is different in each
culture. To me, walking down most Western streets in full hijab is not
actually modest because you are drawing attention to yourself. Likewise,
dressing as you would in the United States would not be covered enough
in most of the Muslim world. Once again, we are face to face with our
old friend culture….
I might add here that the Muslim men
I know who are following the Quran alone also dress modestly. It only
makes sense; the best way for all of us to stay out of trouble is not
to invite it!
Men in charge:
Knowing that a husband can have that power, a believing woman needs
to be especially careful about who she chooses to marry. If all women
are careful to marry only men who will treat them with dignity, eventually
abuse will die out…. The criteria for a good mate also change when
one looks at it from this perspective. A man’s spiritual, moral
and emotional character becomes much more important than his looks or
profession or standing in the community. In fact, they become the only
really important things.
Why is marriage so divinely sup-ported? From these verses [24:32-3],
and our common sense, we know that marriage discourages immorality and
encourages morality. Thus, God validates the concept of the family,
the core unit of all societies….
You need to be sure you are choosing someone for the right reasons,
and that you are not being fooled by sexual attraction, or your own daydreams….
The person you marry must be someone with whom you fully intend to live
out the rest of your life.
But I was told I could not perform the Contact Prayer when I was
menstruating, because I was not clean.
Unhappily I accepted this indignity, not
knowing what else to do. However, this edict kept a friend of mine from
becoming Muslim. She simply would not accept that she could not pray
during the time of the month when she needed it the most…. In vain
I looked for verses in the Quran that told me not to pray. Instead I found
verse after verse telling me just the opposite, and making it very clear
that I must pray regularly.
Studying the Quran:
When I first started reading the Quran, I was very blessed that I
had not been told that I could not read it when I had my menstrual period.
Otherwise, it is quite likely that I would never have bothered to try
and read it at all. To be forbidden from reading the scripture for about
one quarter of the time because my body was doing what it was designed
to do would have made me furious.
There are also sections on dowry, divorce, inheritance, witnessing,
religious practices and women in society. All of Lisa’s concepts
are supported with Quranic verses. She uses both Rashad Khalifa’s
translation and the more traditional Yusuf Ali, and it becomes clear
that whatever the translation, the message is the same: men and women
are equal as far as righteousness is concerned. This is God’s message.
Many of the chapters are capped with personal stories from sisters around
the world. These are women who have been subjected to both the best and
the worst of Islam, and their experiences enlighten, sadden and amuse
the reader. Cont’d on Page 3