Further Topic Research:
Syntax help

Rebuttal to Sam Shamoun on "Women in the Bible - Part II"

By Abdullah Smith

[Part I] [Part II] [Part III] [Part IV] [Part V] [Part VI]

 

 

 

HE WROTE:

Some erroneously assume that the Holy Bible does not give women a share in their fathers’ inheritance. They even go so far as to assume that women only inherit when there are no sons, as stated in Numbers 27:8.

To begin with, if these persons had bothered reading the entire context of Numbers 27 they would have seen that the inheritance spoken of there is in reference to the LAND DISTRIBUTION. It has nothing to do with the bequeathing of money to family members:

"Then the daughters of Zelophehad son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, the son Joseph came forward. Now these are the names of his daughters: Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. And they stood before Moses and before Eleazar the priest and before the leaders of the whole assembly at the entrance to the tent of the meeting and said, ‘Our father died in the wilderness, although he was not part of the company of those that gathered themselves together against the Lord in the company of Korah; but he died in his own sin, and he had no sons. Why should the name of our father be lost from among his family because he had no son? Give us a possession among the relatives of our father.’ So Moses brought their case before the Lord. And the Lord spoke to Moses: ‘The daughters of Zelophehad have a valid claim. You must indeed give them possession of an inheritance among their father’s relatives, and you must transfer the inheritance of their father to them. And you must tell the Israelites, If a man dies and has no son, then you must transfer his inheritance to his daughter; and if he has no daughter, then you are to give his inheritance to his brothers; and if he has no brothers, then you are to give his inheritance to his father’s brothers; and if his father has no brothers, then you are to give his inheritance to his relative nearest to him from his family, and he will possess it. And it will be for the Israelites a legal requirement, as the Lord commanded Moses.’" Numbers 27:1-11 NET

As the reader can see this particular passage is dealing with a situation where a man died and left behind only daughters. According to the prior chapter God had given the following instructions regarding land distribution:

"These were those numbered of the Israelites, 601,730. Then the Lord spoke to Moses: ‘To these THE LAND MUST BE DIVIDED AS AN INHERITANCE according to the number of the names. To a larger group you will give a larger inheritance, and to a smaller group you will give a smaller inheritance. To each one his inheritance must be given according to his enumeration. The land must be divided by lot; and they will inherit in accordance with the names of their ancestral tribes. Their inheritance must be apportioned by lot among the larger and smaller groups.’ And these are those of the Levites who were numbered, after their families: from Gershon, the family of the Gershonites; of Kohath, the family of the Kohathites; from Merari, the family of the Merarites. These are the families of the Levites: the family of the Libnites, the family of the Hebronites, the family of the Mahlites, the family of the Mushites, the family of the Korahites. Kohath became the father of Amram. Now the name of Amram’s wife was Jochebed, daughter of Levi, who was born to Levi in Egypt. And she bore to Amram Aaron, Moses, and Miriam their sister. And to Aaron were born Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. But Nadab and Abihu died when they offered strange fire before the Lord. And those numbered of them were 23,000, all males from twenty years old and upward; for they were not numbered among the Israelites; no inheritance was given to them among the Israelites. These are those who were numbered by Moses and Eleazar the priest, who numbered the Israelites in the plains of Moab along the Jordan River opposite Jericho. But there was not a man among these who had been among those numbered by Moses and Aaron the priest when they numbered the Israelites in the Wilderness of Sinai. For the Lord had said of them, ‘They will surely die in the wilderness.’ And there was not left a single man of them, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun." Numbers 26:51-65 NET

 

RESPONSE:

The passage Numbers 26:51-56 says the Israelites were 601, 730 during Moses’ time. Yet it was impossible for the Israelites to be this many, as scholarly research disproves the passage.

The Bible mentions the presumably exact number when it refers to a census that was taken in the wilderness of Sinai: “All the Israelites twenty years old or more who were able to serve in Israel’s army were counted according to their families. The total number was 603,550 ” (Num. 1:45-46), excluding Levites. This huge number of men only means that the total number of the Israelites, men, women and their children, who left Egypt with Moses was in the region of two to three million. Although this huge number of the Israelites failed to bother the writers of the Biblical text, it has remained a persistent problem for modern exegetes of the Bible (Houtman, 1993: 231-234). Cornelis Houtman, Professor of Old Testament at the Theological University in Kampen in the Netherlands, has pointed out that the historical value of the several hundred thousand figure was rejected since 1862 by J. W. Colenso, one of the fathers of modern Biblical criticism (Houtman, 1993: 70). In fact, the German H. S. Reimarus had already ridiculed the 600,000 figure a century earlier (Hayes, 1977: 50). The problem with the 600,000 figure is that it is at the center of a number of contradictions in the Bible, including its conflict with the combination of the following other two Biblical statements: (i) the total number of Jacob’s descendants, except his sons’ wives, who settled in Egypt was 70 in all (Ge. 46:26-27; Ex. 1:5); (ii) the Israelites lived in Egypt exactly 430 years to the day (Ex. 12:40-41). In other words, in only 430 years the population of the Israelites rocketed from less than one hundred to two to three million!

Some Biblical scholars have attempted to account for the population increase by appealing to extraordinary claims of ancient authors who suggested that Egypt’s natural environment would make its inhabitants very fertile that a pregnancy could result in up to seven children! Rabbinical literature has attributed such fertility to the Israelite women in Egypt. However, Houtman notes that it is not obvious from the Bible whether its writers viewed Egypt as “a land that was particularly suitable to produce a great nation in a short time” and that all that the account in Genesis allows us to conclude is that “Egypt was the land that enabled the forefathers to survive the famine, so that Israel did not prematurely perish”. Houtman also notes that the increase in the Israelite population was regarded by the writers of the Biblical text as “a fulfillment of the promise” of God to the Israelites (Houtman, 1993: 232). Such a religious justification, however, does not compensate for the Biblical figure’s lack of historical foundations. (Louay Fatoohi, History Testifies to the Infallibility of the Quran)

 

Therefore, the book of Numbers is not very historical; it was tampered by the scribes. Scholars agree Ezra recomposed the Torah in 458 BCE after returning to Jerusalem; several changes were made because he wrote from memory.  The Torah itself was not authored by Moses, but composed after his death by unknown scribes.

 

There is hardly a biblical scholar in the world actively working on the [authorship] problem who would claim that the Five Books of Moses were written by Moses." (R.E. Friedman, Who Wrote the Bible? p. 28)

"For almost two millennia the Pentateuch attributed to Moses as author by both Jewish and Christian tradition. Although significant questions about his authorship were raised along the way, it was not until the eighteenth century that the question was seriously broached. Today, it is commonplace that he did not write the Pentateuch, but as we shall see the formation of these books is still shrouded in mystery."  (The New Jerome Biblical Commentary, p. 4)

 

 

HE WROTE:

The land that God was going to give Israel was to be divided amongst the twelve tribes. Tribal affiliation was determined from the father’s side, i.e. if your father was from Judah than you were a Judean. Hence, ownership of the land was transferred over to the sons so that it would remain within the possession of that particular tribe and family. Zelophehad’s daughters were concerned about their father’s property being lost seeing that he had no sons to pass it on. God intervenes and permits his daughters to keep the land within his line.


RESPONSE:

 

Shamoun fails to realize that if Zelophehad had any sons, even at least one, the daughters would get nothing. Only the sons inherited the possessions because tribal affiliation was determined from the father’s side. Basically, the Bible restricts the daughter from sharing the possessions if they have brothers. There is no such law in the Holy Quran and Sunnah. 

 

"Say to the Israelites, 'If a man dies and leaves no son, turn his inheritance over to his daughter.  If he has no daughter, give his inheritance to his brothers. If he has no brothers, give his inheritance to his father's brothers. If his father had no brothers, give his inheritance to the nearest relative in his clan, that he may possess it. This is to be a legal requirement for the Israelites, as the LORD commanded Moses.' "(Numbers 27:8)

 

The daughters of Zelophehad were not treated justly; they were tricked by their uncles to forfeit the inheritance.

 

The scholar Elizabeth Stanton comments:

IN a former chapter there was a sense of justice shown towards the daughters of Zelophehad, but here a new complication arises. The uncles of these girls had their eyes on the property and perhaps feared that their sons had not found favor in the eyes of their cousins, as they might have seen and admired some fine looking young men from other tribes. So the crafty old uncles moved in time to get a statute passed that would compel daughters to marry in the tribe of their fathers and got a direct command from the Lord to that effect, then the young women, compelled to limit their predilections, married their cousins, setting the laws of heredity quite aside; property in all ages being considered of more importance than persons. Thus, after making some show of justice in giving the daughters of Zelophehad the inheritance of their fathers, the Israelites began to consider the loss to their tribe, if peradventure the five sisters should marry into other tribes and all this property be transferred to their enemies. {p. 124}

They seemed to consider these noble women destitute of the virtue of patriotism, of family pride, of all the tender sentiments of friendship, kindred and home, and so with their usual masculine arrogance they passed laws to compel the daughters of Zelophehad to do what they probably would have done had there been no law to that effect. These daughters were known by the euphonious names of Mahlah, Tirzah, Hoglah, Milcah and Noah, and they all married their father's brothers' sons. Cousins on the mother's side would probably have been forbidden.

If Moses, as the mouthpiece of God, aimed to do exact justice, why did he not pass an ordinance giving property in all cases equally to sons and daughters.

Moses gave what appears to be, in the light of this Christian era, a just judgment when he decided that the daughters of Zelophehad should inherit their father's property, but he gave as the law of inheritance the direction that "if a man die, and have no son, then ye shall cause his inheritance to pass unto his daughter;" thus, as I think, unjustly discriminating between women who have brothers and women who have none, and he goes on further to deal unjustly with women when he directs that the daughters of Zelophehad marry so that the inheritance justly awarded them should not go out of the family of the tribe of their fathers.

"Let them marry to whom they think best," and those words seemingly recognize their righteous freedom. But immediately he limits that phrase and informs the five women they must only marry in their father's tribe, and were limited also to their father's family. The result was that each married her own cousin. If this was contrary to physiological law, as some distinguished physiologists affirm, then they were compelled by the arbitrary law of Moses to break the law of God. (online Source)

The Biblical Law of inheritance is clearly male-centered; Islam gives justice to women by allowing keeping their last names. Yet Christian women are forced to adopt the husbands’ last name. Furthermore, Islam blessed woman with the right of ownership, it was denied before Islam during the period of ignorance.

 

The Mishnah states that sons are superior to the daughters:

 

"If a man dies and has no son, then they cause his inheritance to pass to his daughter; a son is before a daughter, and all that descend from the son are before the daughter; the daughter is before the brethren (of her father), and those that descend from the daughter are before the brethren; the brethren (of a man) are before his father's brethren (or his uncles); and they that descend from his brethren are before his father's brethren: this is the general rule, everyone that is before in the inheritance, those that descend from him are before others, and a father is before all that descend from him." John Gill (online Source)

 

Let us quote Numbers 36:6-9

This is what the LORD commands for Zelophehad's daughters: They may marry anyone they please as long as they marry within the tribal clan of their father. No inheritance in Israel is to pass from tribe to tribe, for every Israelite shall keep the tribal land inherited from his forefathers. Every daughter who inherits land in any Israelite tribe must marry someone in her father's tribal clan, so that every Israelite will possess the inheritance of his fathers. No inheritance may pass from tribe to tribe, for each Israelite tribe is to keep the land it inherits."

The daughters who possessed the father’s inheritance had to marry someone from their tribe; they cannot transfer the inheritance to another tribe. The money must stay in the tribe, yet Muslim woman can marry whom ever they please.

Ibn Abbas reported that a girl came to the Messenger of God, Muhammad (P.), and she reported that her father had forced her to marry without her consent. The Messenger of God gave her the choice . . . (between accepting the marriage or invalidating it). (Ibn Hanbal No. 2469). In another version, the girl said: "Actually I accept this marriage but I wanted to let women know that parents have no right (to force a husband on them)" (Ibn Maja, No. 1873).

Besides all other provisions for her protection at the time of marriage, it was specifically decreed that woman has the full right to her Mahr, a marriage gift, which is presented to her by her husband and is included in the nuptial contract, and that such ownership does not transfer to her father or husband. The concept of Mahr in Islam is neither an actual or symbolic price for the woman, as was the case in certain cultures, but rather it is a gift symbolizing love and affection.  (Jamal Badawi, The Status of Woman in Islam, online Source)

The Bible established the law of forced marriage, or forced to marry within the tribe. The Holy Quran disallows marriage by force, the Prophet granted freedom of choice to the girl who was forced to marry without her consent. Historically, Arabia was divided into dozens of warring tribes; they were allowed to marry outside the tribe.

 

The woman is forced to marry the man who has sex with her:

 

"If a man seduces a virgin who is not pledged to be married and sleeps with her, he must pay the bride-price, and she shall be his wife. If her father absolutely refuses to give her to him, he must still pay the bride-price for virgins. (Exodus 22:16-17)

 

The raped woman is forced to marry the rapist:

 

If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay the girl's father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the girl, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives. (Deuteronomy 22:28-39)

 

The raped woman gets nothing, she is forced to marry the rapist, and she cannot divorce him. Also, the father is granted fifty shekels of silver, yet it’s the raped girl who should inherit the silver. There is no Biblical law of equal inheritance; the raped girl’s compensation is rejected! 

 

The widow is forced to marry her husband’s brother:

 

If brothers dwell together, and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the dead shall not be married outside of the family to a stranger. Her husband’s brother shall go into her, and take her as his wife. (Deuteronomy 25:5)

 

 

 

HE WROTE:

Furthermore, the Holy Bible sets the precedence for daughters receiving an inheritance from their fathers’ wealth:

"And the LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; and he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she-asses. He had also seven sons and three daughters. And he called the name of the first Jemi'mah; and the name of the second Kezi'ah; and the name of the third Ker'en-hap'puch. And in all the land there were no women so fair as Job's daughters; and their father gave them inheritance among their brothers." Job 42:12-15

Job giving his daughters a portion of his inheritance demonstrates that the Holy Bible in no way denies the rights of daughters to receive a share of their father’s wealth. In fact, the next passage from Paul actually shows that it is the parents’ responsibility to save up for all the children:

 

RESPONSE:

Shamoun quotes from the Book of Job, but let us see what Job says about woman:

How then can a man be righteous before God? How can one born of woman be pure? (Job 25:4)

Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes.  His wife said to him, "Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!"  He replied, "You are talking like a foolish woman, Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?"  (Job 2:8-10)

The footnote regarding verse 10 says:

The Hebrew word rendered foolish denotes moral deficiency.  [1]

Here is the lexicon for Job 2:8-10.

Strong’s Number: 05036

Transliterated Word:

Nabal

 Phonetic

naw-bawl'  

Definition: foolish, senseless, fool 

(online Source)

Obviously Shamoun never bothered reading Job to verify the position of woman. Job clearly said women are inferior.

Let us quote the passage Job 42:15

Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job's daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers. (Job 42:15)

The only reason why Job gave his daughters inheritance is because they were “beautiful”, the verse has nothing to do with Land Distribution, and the daughters are allowed to inherit because of their beauty. The Torah is clear that no daughter would inherit if the sons are alive. (Num 27:8)

The Book of Job degrades the wife of Job:

42:13-17, Job’s New Family. The fantasy world of the tale is evident here. No new wife is mentioned, and the one we met in chap. 2 was the mother of ten grown children. Suddenly, with no reference to the passage of time, she is the mother of ten more, and in a trice, they are grown. Job’s wife deserves better than she receives in this book. Not only does she seem mainly a machine for producing babies, but one of Job’s curses on himself turned her in prospect into the slave and sexual toy of other men (31:0-10). (Harper’s Bible Commentary, p. 432)

See the following articles:

 

http://www.answering-islam.com/abdullah_smith/women_in_christianity.htm

 

http://www.answering-islam.com/muslim1/rebuttal_to_sam_shamoun_12.htm

 

http://www.answering-islam.com/bassam_zawadi/witnesses.htm

 

http://www.answering-islam.com/bassam_zawadi/can_women_be_divorced.htm

 

http://www.answering-islam.com/karim/answering_christian_apologists___the_bible_clearly_prohibits_women_to_teach_men.pdf

 

http://www.answering-islam.com/karim/womens_education.htm

 

http://www.answering-islam.com/karim/pregnant_women_ripped_open.htm

 

 

 

HE WROTE:

The Holy Bible is vastly superior to the Quran in this regard, and has advantage over it. Unlike God’s true Word, the Quran has forever fixed the shares that a woman is to receive, irrespective of the circumstances. Her share is to be less than that of the male:

Allah enjoins you concerning your children: The male shall have the equal of the portion OF TWO FEMALES; then if they are more than two females, they shall have two-thirds of what the deceased has left, and if there is one, she shall have the half; and as for his parents, each of them shall have the sixth of what he has left if he has a child, but if he has no child and (only) his two parents inherit him, then his mother shall have the third; but if he has brothers, then his mother shall have the sixth after (the payment of) a bequest he may have bequeathed or a debt; your parents and your children, you know not which of them is the nearer to you in usefulness; this is an ordinance from Allah: Surely Allah is Knowing, Wise. S. 4:11 Shakir

Thus, one can argue that since Islam has fixed the shares under the guise of a divine legislation, this means that in the case of a daughter she will always get less than her brother, even though it may be the case that the daughter is in greater need or has contributed more to the family than her sibling...

Thus, even Muslim women were not too happy with Allah’s decision to give them only half the amount that men received from the inheritance!

For more on the unfair division of the inheritance amongst men and women, as well as the major problems in dividing the shares due to there not being enough to distribute to all the parties.

 

RESPONSE:

The reason the man gets more inheritance is because he has more responsibilities than the woman. Sometimes they even get an equal share in the inheritance and sometimes even the woman gets more!

Inheritance

The difference between the man and the woman in their respective shares in inheritance established by Allah's statement: " Allah commands you as regards your children's (inheritance); to the male, a portion equal to that of two females. [ Surah 4:11], is clearly due to the difference in the duties and costs that each has to cope with by virtue of the Islamic teachings (shar'a)".

For example, if a man dies leaving a son and a daughter, the son gets married and pays the obligatory bridal money (dower) to the bride and as soon as they live together, he has to provide and pay for their living expenses. On the other hand, when his sister gets married, she receives the bridal money from her bridegroom and when they live together, the husband provides for her without her paying a single penny, even if she is among the richest of people. Poor or rich, her living costs are estimated in proportion to her husband's financial ability. The Qur'an puts it thus:" Let the rich man spend according to his means". [ Surah 65:7] To simplify matters, if the father leaves a wealth of about 150,000 dollars, the son would get 100,000 and the daughter would get 50,000 dollars. Then the son pays the bridal money (dower) gives presents and furnishes a flat which may cost at least 25,000 dollars. If the daughter gets married and has the bridal money and the presents, she would get another 25,000. This makes them about even.

But this is not all; the man's duties and spending increase as he provides for his children, in some cases his ageing parents, his brothers and sisters who have no income of their own and no one else to provide for them, and further still his relatives who are in similar circumstances-all by virtue of the Islamic Teachings (shar'a) and under certain conditions. For her part, though, the woman is not commanded by the shar'a to furnish aid unless she chooses to do so out of good manners and morals.

Nor is the distinction in any sense absolute. Sometimes the woman's share in the inheritance is equal to that of the man's. For instance, when the two parents inherit from their children; the Qur'an rules that: For parents, a sixth share of inheritance to each if the deceased left children. [ Surah 4:11] The reason in this case is that the parent's needs are often similar. If siblings inherit from a brother who has neither parents nor children, the Qur'an establishes that: " If the man or woman whose inheritance is in question has left neither ascendants nor descendants, but has left a brother or a sister, each one of them gets a sixth; but if more than two, they share in a third". [ Surah 4:12] Thereby, the sister by the mother gets a sixth, which is the same as the brother by the same mother. If there are more than two siblings, they inherit a third to be distributed equally among them. All this is to say that equality of inheritance exists in many cases, and they are well-known to jurisprudents and experts in these matters.

More conclusively, there are cases in which the woman gets a bigger share than the man. For instance, if a woman dies leaving a husband, mother and two brothers and one sister by her mother, the sister alone gets a sixth; whereas only one sixth is given to the two brothers. Also if a woman dies leaving a husband, a full sister and a brother by her father, the husband gets half the inheritance and the sister the other half, whereas the half-brother gets nothing being merely an agnate. But if the half sibling is a sister and not a brother, she gets a sixth, as sustenance.


One more case where the woman gets more than the man follows Ibn "Abbas's interpretation of the verse: " If no children, and the parents are the (only) heirs, the mother has a third". [ Surah 4:11]

This is means for Ibn Abbas that if a woman dies leaving a husband and her two parents, the husband receives a half, the mother a third and the father a sixth. Ibn Hazm relates this statement to Ibn "Abbas via Abdul-Raziq, and to Ali ibn Abi Talib via of Abi "Uwana and to Mu'adh ibn Jabal who were Companions of the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him), known also as experts on such matters. Ibn Hazim relates it also to Shuraih and to Dawud Al-Zahiry, among the jurisprudents, and he quotes the companion Ibn Mas'ud's axiom on the matter: "Allah would not like to see me prefer a father to a mother." Other authorities who concurred are Companions such as `Umar, `Uthman, and Zaid ibn Thabit. From their followers, there are Al-Hasan, Ibn Sirin and Al-Nakh'i. Among the jurisprudents, there are Abu Hanifa, Malik and Al-Shafi, may Allah be pleased with them all. (Yusuf Al Qaradawy, The Status of Women in Islam, Source)

 

Here is the commentary on 4:11 by Mawdudi:

 

This is the first general rule in connection with inheritance, viz., that the share of the male should be double that of the female. Since Islamic law imposes greater financial obligations on men in respect of family and relieves women of a number of such obligations, justice demands that a woman’s share in inheritance should be less than that of a man. (Abul Ala Mawdudi, Towards Understanding the Quran, vol. II, p. 13)

 

Shamoun ignored the following verse in the same chapter:

 

If any do deeds of righteousness,- be they male or female - and have faith, they will enter Heaven, and not the least injustice will be done to them. (4:124)

 

This verse destroys Shamoun’s entire argument, God said man and woman are equal, and no injustice will be done. Can we find a verse in the Bible? The answer is no.

 

Let us compare the law of inheritance with the Bible:

"Say to the Israelites, 'If a man dies and leaves no son, turn his inheritance over to his daughter. If he has no daughter, give his inheritance to his brothers. If he has no brothers, give his inheritance to his father's brothers. If his father had no brothers, give his inheritance to the nearest relative in his clan, that he may possess it. This is to be a legal requirement for the Israelites, as the LORD commanded Moses.' "  (Numbers 27:8-11)

This shows that the daughters would not get anything if the sons were alive unlike Islam, which would give her half of the son’s. Islam upholds the dignity of woman by giving half of the son’s inheritance.

The scholar Jamal Badawi states:

With regard to the woman's right to seek employment it should be stated first that Islam regards her role in society as a mother and a wife as the most sacred and essential one. Neither maids nor baby-sitters can possibly take the mother's place as the educator of an upright, complex free, and carefully-reared children. Such a noble and vital role, which largely shapes the future of nations, cannot be regarded as "idleness".

However, there is no decree in Islam which forbids woman from seeking employment whenever there is a necessity for it, especially in positions which fit her nature and in which society needs her most. Examples of these professions are nursing, teaching (especially for children), and medicine. Moreover, there is no restriction on benefiting from woman's exceptional talent in any field. Even for the position of a judge, where there may be a tendency to doubt the woman's fitness for the post due to her more emotional nature, we find early Muslim scholars such as Abu-Hanifa and Al-Tabary holding there is nothing wrong with it. In addition, Islam restored to woman the right of inheritance, after she herself was an object of inheritance in some cultures. Her share is completely hers and no one can make any claim on it, including her father and her husband.

"Unto men (of the family) belongs a share of that which Parents and near kindred leave, and unto women a share of that which parents and near kindred leave, whether it be a little or much - a determinate share." (Qur'an 4:7). (Online Source)

 

The lawless religion of Christianity is responsible for opposing woman’s right of inheritance. The laws of the Church prevailed in the favor of man; the woman’s right was rejected. The Church transgressed beyond the laws of Numbers 27 to completely abolish the right of inheritance, so even if only daughters were born they would get absolutely nothing.

 

Christianity has followed suit for long time. Both the ecclesiastical and civil laws of Christendom barred daughters from sharing with their brothers in the father's patrimony. Besides, wives were deprived of any inheritance rights. These iniquitous laws survived till late in the last century. [1]

 

Muslim woman enjoyed the right of inheritance hundreds of years before the rise of Europe:

 

Muslim mothers, wives, daughters, and sisters had received inheritance rights thirteen hundred years before Europe recognized that these rights even existed. The division of inheritance is a vast subject with an enormous amount of details (Quran 4:7,11,12,176).

 

 

 

HE WROTE:

In fact, Muslim sources state that some women complained about receiving only half the share of the inheritance in relation to men, necessitating the following "revelation" from Allah:

And covet not the thing in which Allah hath made some of you excel others. Unto men a fortune from that which they have earned, and unto women a fortune from that which they have earned. (Envy not one another) but ask Allah of His bounty. Lo! Allah is ever Knower of all things. S. 4:32 Pickthall

Renowned Sunni scholar and commentator Ibn Kathir stated regarding the above reference:

Quoting Mujahid, Imam Ahmed narrated: "Umm Salama said: ‘O Allah's Messenger! Why do men go to war and we do not, AND WHY DO WE RECEIVE HALF THE SHARE OF INHERITANCE?’ Then, Allah revealed: <And wish not for things in which Allah has made some of you to excel others. (4:34) >" At-Tirmidhi, Ibn Abu Hatim, Ibn Jarir, Ibn Mardawaih and Al-Hakim in his Mustadrak also narrated a similar hadith on the authority of Mujahid, that the above verse was revealed concerning the following issue: "Umm Salama said: ‘O Allah's Messenger! We do not fight so that we dies as martyrs AND WE DO NOT RECEIVE FULL INHERITANCE!’" Allah also revealed: <Never will I allow to be lost the work of any of you, be he male or female.> (3:195).

<For men there is reward for what they have earned, for women there is reward for what they have earned.> In this verse, Allah advises that every person shall be rewarded according to his deeds. If he does good, he shall receive a good reward and if he does bad, he shall receive a bad reward. Ibn Jarir said: "It was said that the verse refers TO INHERITANCE, meaning that every person inherits according to the prescribed share." ... (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Part 5, Surah An-Nisa', ayat 24 to 147, Abridged by Sheikh Muhammad Nasib Ar-Rafa'i [Al-Firdous Ltd., London; First Edition, 2000], pp. 45-47; capital emphasis ours)

 

RESPONSE:

 

The Holy Quran disproves of male superiority (81:8-9), it upholds the equality of man and woman (4:19, 3:195, 9:71, 33:35).

 

Regarding the verse 4:32, Mawdudi provides the following Tafsir:

 

This verse embodies a very important directive. By heeding it, man would be able to achieve a great measure of peace and tranquility. God has not created all men alike. Some are handsome, while others are ugly. The voices of some are sweet and those of others repulsive. Some are physically strong others are weak. Some have sound limbs others have inherent deformities. Some possess outstanding physical and mental abilities while others lack them. Some are born in favourable circumstances and others not. Some have been endowed with more resources than others. It is this diversity which gives variety to human civilization, and hence serves a useful purpose. Whenever a man superimposes distinctions of his own over and above this natural inequality he disrupts the natural order of things, and paves the way for corruption. Likewise, when anyone attempts to obliterate all differences between human beings he in fact engages in a war against nature and inflicts wrongs of another kind. (Towards Understanding the Quran, Vol II, p, 34)

 

The commentary of Ibn Kathir is quoting 4:34, which says:

 

Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in (the husband's) absence what Allah would have them guard. As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (Next), refuse to share their beds, (And last) beat them (lightly); but if they return to obedience, seek not against them Means (of annoyance): For Allah is Most High, great (above you all). (Yusuf Ali)

 

Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath men the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them. Lo! Allah is ever High Exalted, Great. (Picktall)

 

The scholar Mawdudi gives the commentary on Picktall’s translation:

 

The verb used here – a derivative of the root fdl – is not used to mean that some people have been invested with superior honour and dignity. Rather it means that God has endowed one of the sexes (i.e. the male sex) with certain qualities which He has not endowed the other sex with…It is the male who is qualified to function as head of the family. The female has been so constituted that she should live under his care and protection. (Towards Understanding the Quran, vol II, p. 45)

 

The scholar Muhammad Imran also comments on 4:34

 

According to the Holy Quran, “men are the maintainers of women because of what Allah has made some of them excel others” (4:34). The superiority of the male in strength, activity and courage saddles upon him the responsibility of maintaining the family and so he enjoys supervisory status in the disposal of its affairs. Thus the precedence of man over woman apart from biological factors; is due to his great responsibilities, being the head of the family. This degree of precedence conferred upon man does not in any way give him the right to ill-treat the women, but it lays heavy responsibilities upon him that he, being stronger, should treat the woman kindly and behave to her with the tenderly feelings of love and affection and show magnanimity in his dealing with her. The idea behind the above quoted Quranic expression is that male and female are counterpart of each other and if a male enjoys superiority over female, it does not necessarily mean the inferiority of the female, for they both are the inseparable parts of each other. (Muhammad Imran, The Ideal Woman in Islam, 1991, p. 23)

 

The Quran is clear and concise; the status of woman is not affect by Shamoun’s false interpretations. God created human beings equal by nature, by essence, yet they possess different qualities. The verses 4:32, 34 does not indicate the superiority of man, it rather teaches that man is different from woman for reasons created by God. Man is endowed with “more” because he has greater responsibilities, Muslim woman are obliged to raise children at home, all her needs are fulfilled. The woman does not have to work, she is not required to strip naked like the Western woman to provide for the family. Only when it’s completely necessary that Islam allows woman to be employed, fully covered. The Holy Quran makes it clear that male and female are equal, but they are differentiated by the qualities God has given them.

 

www.answering-christianity.com/woman.htm

 

http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/humanrelations/womeninislam/


Continuing on with Part V.

 

 

 

 

Rebuttals, and exposing the lies of the Answering Islam team section.

Rebuttals to Sam Shamoun's Articles section.

Women in Islam and the Bible.

Abdullah Smith's Rebuttals section.


Send your comments.

Back to Main Page.