Being an Answer to Osama Abdallahs Challenge
Osama has issued a challenge to Jews and Christians to respond to his article regarding the biblical view of women. We heartily accept his challenge and here is our response to his misrepresentation of what both the Holy Bible and the Quran really teach about women. Osama begins:
Let us look at how Islam and the Bible view women, and see in real Truth how terrible the women's status would be if they were living under a true Christian state that follows the Bible 100%:
In the Bible:
Jesus considers women as dirt that defiles men (since Jesus, the GOD, is the one who supposedly inspired the New Testament as Christians claim): Revelation 14:4 "Those are those (men) who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among men and offered as first fruits to God and the Lamb."
Here is what Jesus thought of women, taken from the very pages of the NT which he, through his Spirit, inspired:
"Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry. But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. IN THE SAME WAY, the husband's body does not belong to him alone BUT ALSO TO HIS WIFE. Do not deprive each other except by MUTUAL consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control." 1 Corinthians 7:1-5
"Husbands, love your wives, JUST AS Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church - for we are members of his body. 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.' This is a profound mystery - but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife AS HE LOVES HIMSELF, and the wife must respect her husband." Ephesians 5:25-33
"Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them." Colossians 3:19
"Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as HEIRS with you of the gracious gift of life, SO THAT NOTHING WILL HINDER YOUR PRAYERS." 1 Peter 3:7
It is evident that when Peter says wives are the weaker vessels, he means this in relation to their physical makeup, since he clearly says that wives are heirs of the promise along with their husbands. In fact, Peter says that a husbands prayers will be hindered, or rendered ineffective, if he fails to treat his wife with respect. Hence, loving and treating ones wife kindly is an integral part of having ones prayers heard!
Let us contrast this with Allah of the Quran:
"Your wives are as A TILTH unto you; so approach YOUR TILTH when or how ye will; but do some good act for your souls beforehand; and fear Allah. And know that ye are to meet Him (in the Hereafter), and give (these) good tidings to those who believe." S. 2:223
"Fair in the eyes of men is the love of things THEY COVET: WOMEN and sons; Heaped-up hoards of gold and silver; horses branded (for blood and excellence); and (wealth of) cattle and well-tilled land. Such are the POSSESSIONS of this world's life; but with Allah is the best of the goals (to return to)." S. 3:14
"Men are superior to women on account of the qualities which God hath gifted the one above the other, and on account of the outlay they make from their substance for them. Virtuous women are obedient, careful, during the husband's absence, because God hath of them been careful. But chide those for whose refractoriness ye have cause to fear; remove them into beds apart, AND SCOURGE THEM: but if they are obedient to you then seek not occasion against them: verily, God is High, Great!" S. 4:34 Rodwell
The hadiths record:
Narrated Abdullah bin Zama:
That he heard the Prophet delivering a sermon, and he mentioned the she-camel and the one who hamstrung it. Allah's Apostle recited:--
'When, the most wicked man among them went forth (to hamstrung the she-camel).' (91.12.) Then he said, "A tough man whose equal was rare and who enjoyed the protection of his people, like Abi Zama went forth to (hamstrung) it." The Prophet then mentioned about the women (in his sermon). "It is not wise for anyone of you to lash his wife LIKE A SLAVE, for he might sleep with her the same evening." Then he advised them not to laugh when somebody breaks wind and said, "Why should anybody laugh at what he himself does?" (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 466)
Rifa'a divorced his wife whereupon 'AbdurRahman bin Az-Zubair Al-Qurazi married her. 'Aisha said that the lady (came), wearing a green veil (and complained to her (Aisha) of her husband and showed her a green spot on her skin caused by beating). It was the habit of ladies to support each other, so when Allah's Apostle came, 'Aisha said, "I have not seen any woman suffering AS MUCH AS THE BELIEVING WOMEN. Look! Her skin IS GREENER THAN HER CLOTHES!." When 'AbdurRahman heard that his wife had gone to the Prophet, he came with his two sons from another wife. She said, "By Allah! I have done no wrong to him but he is impotent and is as useless to me as this," holding and showing the fringe of her garment, 'Abdur-Rahman said, "By Allah, O Allah's Apostle! She has told a lie! I am very strong and can satisfy her but she is disobedient and wants to go back to Rifa'a." Allah's Apostle said, to her, "If that is your intention, then know that it is unlawful for you to remarry Rifa'a unless 'Abdur-Rahman has had sexual intercourse with you." Then the Prophet saw two boys with 'Abdur-Rahman and asked (him), "Are these your sons?" On that 'AbdurRahman said, "Yes." The Prophet said, "You claim what you claim (i.e. that he is impotent)? But by Allah, these boys resemble him as a crow resembles a crow," (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 72, Number 715)
Interestingly, Osama quotes the following hadith from Sunan Abu Dawud in order to show that husbands are not permitted to beat their wives:
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. (Sunan Abu-Dawud, Book 11, Marriage (Kitab Al-Nikah), Number 2139)"
Osama conveniently fails to mention the hadiths which follow RIGHT AFTER:
Narrated Abdullah ibn AbuDhubab:
Iyas ibn Abdullah ibn AbuDhubab reported the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) as saying: Do not beat Allah's handmaidens, but when Umar came to the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) and said: Women have become emboldened towards their husbands, HE (the Prophet) GAVE PERMISSION TO BEAT THEM. Then many women came round the family of the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) complaining against their husbands. So the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) said: Many women have gone round Muhammad's family complaining against their husbands. They are not the best among you. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 11, Number 2141)
Narrated Umar ibn al-Khattab:
The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: A man will not be asked as to why he beat his wife. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 11, Number 2142)
It is quite clear that Muhammad wasnt telling the men that they couldnt beat their wives at all. These other hadiths show that wife beating is permitted under the right circumstances, and here is where the problem is. THERE ARE NO GOOD REASONS FOR BEATING ONES WIFE!
Narrated Qays ibn Sa'd:
I went to al-Hirah and saw them (the people) prostrating themselves before a satrap of theirs, so I said: The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) has most right to have prostration made before him. When I came to the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him), I said: I went to al-Hirah and saw them prostrating themselves before a satrap of theirs, but you have most right, Apostle of Allah, to have (people) prostrating themselves before you. He said: Tell me, if you were to pass my grave, would you prostrate yourself before it? I said: No. He then said: Do not do so. If I were to command anyone to make prostration before another I WOULD COMMAND WOMEN TO PROSTRATE THEMSELVES BEFORE THEIR HUSBANDS, because of the special right over them given to husbands by Allah. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 11, Number 2135)
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said, "If a man invites his wife to sleep with him and she refuses to come to him, then the angels send their curses on her till morning." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 122)
Ali Dashti writes:
According to Tafsir ol-Jalalayn, the superiority of men lies in their greater intelligence, knowledge and administrative ability. Zamakhshari, Baydawi, and several other commentators go into more detail and construct metaphysical theories; they liken men's auuthority over women to that of rulers over subjects, and maintain that prophethood, prayer-leadership, and rulership are reserved for men because men are stronger, MORE INTELLIGENT, and more prudent ...
There is one passage, however, which apparently endorses a pre-Islamic Arab custom. This is the sentence at the end of the verse 38 permitting a husband to beat his wife: "And those women whose insubordination you fear, admonish them, then leave them alone in the beds, then beat them!" Men with their greater bodily strength have certainly resorted to this unjust and unchivalrous expedient since the earliest times, and they still do so in the twentieth century. Nevertheless its authorization by the law of Islam provides ammunition for critics.
Every community's laws reflect it life-style, customs, and morals. In addition to the testimony of verse 38 of sura 4, there is historical evidence that the Ancient Arabs considered the husband to be the owner of his wife and fully entitled to inflict pain on her. Abu Bakr's daughter Asma, who was the fourth wife of Zobayr b. ol-'Awwam (one of the Prophet's first ten converts and principle companions), is reported to have said, "Whenever Zobayr was angry with one of us, he used to beat her UNTIL THE STICK BROKE."
The Islamic law on this subject has at least the merit of gradation. First admonition, next cessation of intercourse, and only in the last resort violence should be used to make the wife obey. In the opinion of several commentators and lawyers, the beating should not be severe as to break a bone, because in that case the legal right to retaliation in kind and degree might be invoked. Zamakhshari, however, writes in his comment on the verse that "some authorities do no accept gradation of the punishment of the insubordinate wife but consider infliction of any of the three penalties to be permissible." This was of course the interpretation given to the words by fanatical Arab theologians such as Ebn Hanbal and Ebn Taymiya. Nevertheless, the meaning of the words is clear and moreover confirmed by what follows in verse 39: "And if you fear a breach between the two, send an arbiter from his kinsfolk and an arbiter from her kinsfolk in case they desire reconciliation." (Dashti, 23 Years: A Study of the Prophetic Career of Mohammad [Mazda Publishers, Costa Mesa, CA 1994], pp. 114, 115-116; underline emphasis and comments within brackets ours)
Let us summarize the Islamic data regarding women:
We would like Osama to produce a hadith stating that angels also curse men who refuse to satisfy their wives' sexual cravings. If he is unable to produce such a statement, then he needs to explain to his readers why his god Allah gives preferential treatment to men but not to women.
In fact, we challenge Osama to produce verses or statements from either the Quran or ahadith which state that:
This again demonstrates how Islam's treatment of women pales in comparison to the treatment given to women in the Holy Bible, God's true inspired Word.
Lord Jesus willing, we will have more to say about women in Islam when we turn our attention to Osamas misquotation of the Quran and the ahadith. It seems that Osama will not only misinterpret and twist the Holy Bible to suit his purposes; he is also willing to do the same with his own religious sources.
Returning to Revelation 14:4, Osama continues his claims:
My rebuttal to some Christian responses: Some Christians emailed me and said that Revelation 14:4 is referring to those sinless men who stayed away from fornication and adultery, and it is not meant at all to be degrading or insulting to women. My response to them is: The verse does not say "those who did not defile themselves with fornication or adultery". Have the verse said that, then it would've included both males and females and there would be nothing to disagree about. But the verse clearly and irrefutably says: "those who did not defile themselves with women", which means (1) No females will be among those men; and (2) Women are defiling to men.
Osama erroneously assumes that since the text doesnt specifically mention fornication or adultery the Christian claim is therefore incorrect. Unfortunately for Osama, a careful examination of the entire chapter of Revelation 14 demonstrates that it his counter-argument which is incorrect:
"Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads. And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless. Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth - to every nation, tribe, language and people. He said in a loud voice, Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water. A second angel followed and said, Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great, which made all the nations drink the maddening wine OF HER ADULTERIES. A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, he, too, will drink of the wine of God's fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name. This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God's commandments and remain faithful to Jesus." Revelation 14:1-12
The inspired author specifically mentions the nations who partook of the adulteries of the false apostate world system RIGHT AFTER mentioning the 144,000 who had refrained from defiling themselves with women! Therefore, the claim that 14:4 is referring to adultery and fornication is actually correct. Yet, the adultery spoken of here is spiritual in nature, i.e. idolatry and false religious worship.
Jamieson-Fausset-Browns Critical and Explanatory Commentary on the Whole Bible states:
4. virgins - spiritually (Matthew 25:1); in contrast to the apostate Church, Babylon (Revelation 14:8), spiritually "a harlot" (Revelation 17:1-5, Isaiah 1:21; contrast 2 Corinthians 11:2, Ephesians 5:25-27). Their not being defiled with women means they were not led astray from Christian faithfulness by the tempters who jointly constitute the spiritual "harlot." (http://bible.crosswalk.com/Commentaries/JamiesonFaussetBrown/jfb.cgi?book=re&chapter=014)
The chapter preceding Rev 14, as well as that which immediately follows it, supports this interpretation:
"And the dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. He had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was astonished and followed the beast. Men worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, Who is like the beast? Who can make war against him? The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty-two months. He opened his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them. And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast - all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from I saw another beast, coming out of the earth. He had two horns LIKE A LAMB, but he spoke like a dragon. He exercised all the authority of the first beast on his behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. And he performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men. Because of the signs he was given power to do on behalf of the first beast, he deceived the inhabitants of the earth. He ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. He was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that it could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name. This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man's number. His number is 666." Revelation 13:1-8, 11-17
It is not a coincidence that Rev. 13 and 14 are juxtaposed. It is quite evident that John intended to contrast the true believers of Rev. 14 that followed the true Lamb by not defiling themselves with the false worship of the beast, from those in 13 who worshiped the beast and were deceived by the false lamb.
"One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, Come, I will show you the punishment THE GREAT PROSTITUTE, who sits on many waters. With her the kings of the earth COMMITTED ADULTERY and the inhabitants of the earth were intoxicated with the wine OF HER ADULTERIES. Then the angel carried me away in the Spirit into a desert. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns. The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls. She held a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries. This title was written on her forehead: MYSTERY BABYLON THE GREAT THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus. When I saw her, I was greatly astonished. Then the angel said to me: Why are you astonished? I will explain to you the mystery of the woman and of the beast she rides, which has the seven heads and ten horns. The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and will come up out of the Abyss and go to his destruction. The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast, because he once was, now is not, and yet will come. This calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits. They are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for a little while. The beast who once was, and now is not, is an eighth king. He belongs to the seven and is going to his destruction. The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but who for one hour will receive authority as kings along with the beast. They have one purpose and will give their power and authority to the beast. They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings-and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers. Then the angel said to me, The waters you saw, where the prostitute sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations and languages. The beast and the ten horns you saw will hate the prostitute. They will bring her to ruin and leave her naked; they will eat her flesh and burn her with fire. For God has put it into their hearts to accomplish his purpose by agreeing to give the beast their power to rule, until God's words are fulfilled. The woman you saw is THE GREAT CITY that rules over the kings of the earth." Revelation 17:1-18
The idea being conveyed here is similar to that stated by the apostle Paul:
"I hope you will put up with a little of my foolishness; but you are already doing that. I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough." 2 Corinthians 11:1-4
The 144,000, much like chaste virgins, remained faithful to their espoused husband by refusing to embrace a false religious system spearheaded by the great harlot. This leads us to our second point, namely that Revelation also uses the symbol of a woman in a positive sense to describe redeemed believers:
"A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: A WOMAN clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet AND A CROWN of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born. She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. The woman fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days ... When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the desert, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent's reach. Then from his mouth the serpent spewed water like a river, to overtake the woman and sweep her away with the torrent. But the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring-those who obey God's commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus." Revelation 12:1-6, 13-17
"Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear. (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.) Then the angel said to me, Write: "Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!" And he added, These are the true words of God." Revelation 19:6-9
"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband." Revelation 21:1-2
"But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars - their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death. One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb. And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west. The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb." Revelation 21:8-14
The heavenly Jerusalem is also called the mother of all true believers, and is the very dwelling of those who have been made perfect forever:
"For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. His son by the slave woman was born in the ordinary way; but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a promise. These things may be taken figuratively, for the women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother." Galatians 4:22-26
"But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel." Hebrews 12:22-24
NT commentator G.K. Beale sums up the meaning of Rev. 14:4 best. Speaking of the characteristics of the 144,000, Beale notes:
First, they are those who "who were not polluted by women, for they are virgins." The meaning of "polluted" and "virgins" has been hotly debated.
Literal Views. Some see in "virgins" a literal reference to a group of celibate Christian men or to celibate Christian men and women (cf. Matt. 19:12). One problem with these literal views is that nowhere else does Scripture view sexual relations within the bond of marriage as sinful. Furthermore, if the 144,000 is a symbol for the entire people of God, that would mean that John required celibacy for the whole church, which is improbable.
Neither does this verse more generally refer to those, whether married or unmarried, who have abstained only from literal sexual immorality. Closer to the intended idea, though still too literal, is Carringtons proposal that the notion concerns Christians who abstained from the sexual rites connected with the pagan temples and idolatry (though he remains open to a more figurative understanding) ...
In the final analysis, it is preferable to understand parthenoi ("virgins") as a metaphor of all true saints who have not compromised in various ways with the world because they have remained loyal as a virgin bride to her betrothed (as in 19:7-9; 21:2; 2 Cor. 11:2). Of course, this must be the case if the conclusion already reached above is correct that the 144,000 represent all true believers. Satake notes that in the only other places in the text where saints surround Christ (7:9, 17; 19:8-9), it is always the whole redeemed community that does so. Additionally, if the 144,000 is a figurative number for completeness, why should not the mention of "virgins" also figurative in like manner? Brutsch agrees, though he mentions the possibility that a literal group of virgins could be mentioned as metonymous for the whole redeemed community. That Jerusalem and the picture of a "prepared bride" are both figurative for the entire church in 21:2 enforces an all-inclusive symbolic interpretation of the "virgins" here.
This figurative view is enforced even further by the fact that not only is Jerusalem as a bride based on the OT (see on 21:2) but "virgin" is repeatedly applied to the nation of Israel in the OT ("virgin of Israel" and similar phrases in 2 Kgs. 19:21; Isa. 37:22; Jer. 14:17; 18:13; 31:4, 13, 21; Lam. 1:15; 2:13; Amos 5:2). The Hebrew for "virgin" in the majority of passages is rendered in the LXX by parthenos. Possibly even in the background is Jeremiah 31, where the same word is used three times for Israels future purity in a context in which Israels restoration is predicated with themes similar to those of Rev. 14:1-4: (1) Israel is to "sing aloud" about its salvation (Jer. 31:7) and (2) "shout for joy on the height of Zion" (v 12), where they will be with God (v 6); (3) they have been saved as a "remnant" (v 7); (4) they are Gods "firstborn" (v 9; see below on the association of "firstborn" with "firstfruits"). That at least the broad background of Israel as "virgin" may well be in mind is further suggested by the fact that behind the notion of "defilement" in Rev. 14:4 is OT Israels defilement with idolatry (see below) and that the same notion is ready at hand in 14:8-11. Additionally, "virgin" as a veiled allusion to the new Israel in 14:4 fits admirably with the temptation to commit immorality with national Babylon, which is also figurative in context (14:8).
Parthenoi is masculine to conform to the preceding houtoi and hoi egorasmenoi, which themselves may have been changed from a feminine "144,000" because in the OT the representatives of the twelve tribes of Israel were men (1QSa 2.11-17 says that Ps. 2:7 will be fulfilled when the Messiah comes to Qumran and the male "heads" of the "tribes of Israel sit before him"). Parthenoi could also be masculine as part of a picture of those have not had (figurative) illegitimate intercourse with "the great harlot" (17:1). "Babylon the Great ... who has made all the nations drink of the wine of the passion of her immorality" (14:8). Also included is the idea of abstaining from imperial and regional idolatries. That the metaphorical description of Babylon as a harlot is developed further in 14:8, right after 14:1-4, and in 17:1-5 shows that the portrayal of virgin saints is also figurative. The harlot metaphor in 14:8 is a development of the immoral "women" (gunaikon) of v 4 with whom Christian virgins have not been defiled. The two metaphors of an immoral "woman" (gune) and "harlot" (porne) are repeatedly equated in 17:1-9, 15-18 in continuation of the pictures in 14:4, 8. Alford argues against this connection on the basis that gune is plural in 14:4 and singular in ch. 17, but this disregards the corporate nature of images in Revelation (e.g., gune in 12:1; 19:7; and 21:9 is certainly corporate) and the description in 17:5 of the Babylonian woman as "the mother of harlots." (Beale, The New International Greek Testament Commentary - The Book of Revelation [Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. & Paternoster Press, 1999], pp. 738-740; bold emphasis ours)
Osama continues with his misinformation:
Continuing with the article ...
Women are not only spiritually defiling to men as Jesus put it, but they're also physically defiling when they have their menses. Anything they touch becomes unclean: Leviticus 15:19-30 "And if a woman have an issue (her period/menses), [and] her issue in her flesh be blood, she shall be put apart seven days: and whosoever toucheth her shall be unclean until the even. And every thing that she lieth upon in her separation shall be unclean: every thing also that she sitteth upon shall be unclean. And whosoever toucheth her bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe [himself] in water, and be unclean until the even. And whosoever toucheth any thing that she sat upon shall wash his clothes, and bathe [himself] in water, and be unclean until the even. And if it [be] on [her] bed, or on any thing whereon she sitteth, when he toucheth it, he shall be unclean until the even. And if any man lie with her at all, and her flowers be upon him, he shall be unclean seven days; and all the bed whereon he lieth shall be unclean. And if a woman have an issue of her blood many days out of the time of her separation, or if it run beyond the time of her separation; all the days of the issue of her uncleanness shall be as the days of her separation: she [shall be] unclean. Every bed whereon she lieth all the days of her issue shall be unto her as the bed of her separation: and whatsoever she sitteth upon shall be unclean, as the uncleanness of her separation. And whosoever toucheth those things shall be unclean, and shall wash his clothes, and bathe [himself] in water, and be unclean until the even. But if she be cleansed of her issue, then she shall number to herself seven days, and after that she shall be clean. And on the eighth day she shall take unto her two turtles, or two young pigeons, and bring them unto the priest, to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And the priest shall offer the one [for] a sin offering, and the other [for] a burnt offering; and the priest shall make an atonement for her before the LORD for the issue of her uncleanness."
I think it is safe to say that Revelation 14:4 and Leviticus 15:19-30 are sister verses.
Osama conveniently ignores the context and chooses to focus only on the part regarding womens menses. Osama fails to inform his readers that the same thing is said of mens discharges:
"IF ANY MAN has a bodily discharge, the discharge is unclean. Whether it continues flowing from his body or is blocked, it will make him unclean. This is how his discharge will bring about uncleanness: Any bed the man with a discharge lies on will be unclean, and anything he sits on will be unclean. Anyone who touches his bed must wash his clothes and bathe with water, and he will be unclean till evening. Whoever sits on anything that the man with a discharge sat on must wash his clothes and bathe with water, and he will be unclean till evening. Whoever touches the man who has a discharge must wash his clothes and bathe with water, and he will be unclean till evening. If the man with the discharge spits on someone who is clean, that person must wash his clothes and bathe with water, and he will be unclean till evening. Everything the man sits on when riding will be unclean, and whoever touches any of the things that were under him will be unclean till evening; whoever picks up those things must wash his clothes and bathe with water, and he will be unclean till evening. Anyone the man with a discharge touches without rinsing his hands with water must wash his clothes and bathe with water, and he will be unclean till evening. A clay pot that the man touches must be broken, and any wooden article is to be rinsed with water. When a man is cleansed from his discharge, he is to count off SEVEN DAYS for his ceremonial cleansing; he must wash his clothes and bathe himself with fresh water, and he will be clean. On the EIGHTH DAY he must take TWO DOVES OR TWO YOUNG PIGEONS and come before the LORD to the entrance to the Tent of Meeting and give them to the priest. The priest is to sacrifice them, the one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering. In this way he WILL MAKE ATONEMENT before the LORD for the man because of his discharge. When a man has an emission of semen, he must bathe his whole body with water, and he will be unclean till evening. Any clothing or leather that has semen on it must be washed with water, and it will be unclean till evening. When a man lies with a woman and there is an emission of semen, BOTH must bathe with water, and THEY will be unclean till evening."" Leviticus 15:1-9
It is quite clear that women are not being degraded here; otherwise we would have to conclude that men are also being degraded. A further indication that the passage is not degrading women can be seen from the offering for atonement, which is exactly the same for both.
One possible reason why these laws were given was to protect others within the camp of Israel from contracting any possible disease or illness from the flow of blood or bodily discharges. After all, God did make the following promise to Israel:
"He said, If you listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, who heals you." Exodus 15:26
"The LORD will keep you free from every disease. He will not inflict on you the horrible diseases you knew in Egypt, but he will inflict them on all who hate you." Deuteronomy 7:15
Secondly, the Quran itself has something to say about menses:
"They ask you concerning menstruation. Say: that is an Adha (a harmful thing for a husband to have sexual intercourse with his wife while she is having her menses), therefore keep away from women during menses and go not unto them till they have purified (from menses and have taken a bath). And when they have purified themselves, then go in unto them as Allâh has ordained for you (go in unto them in any manner as long as it is in their vagina). Truly, Allâh loves those who turn unto Him in repentance and loves those who purify themselves (by taking a bath and cleaning and washing thoroughly their private parts, bodies, for their prayers, etc.)." S. 2:222 Hilali-Khan
Note how other translators render the word Adha:
"Say: They are a hurt and a pollution:" Y. Ali
"Say: It is an illness" Pickthall
"Tell them, "It is an ailment." Muhammad Sarwar
"Say, It is a harmful thing" Sher Ali
"say, It is harmful" Khalifah
"say, It is a hurt." Palmer
"Answer, they are a pollution:" Sale
The Quran seems to imply that womens menses are a disease, unlike the Holy Bible. This becomes especially evident when we consider that this same word is often used elsewhere in a negative sense:
"And fulfil the pilgrimage and the visitation to God; but if ye be besieged, then what is easiest for you by way of gift. But shave not your heads until your gift shall reach its destination; and he amongst you who is sick or has a HURT upon his head, then the redemption is by fasting or by alms or by an offering. But when ye are safe again, then let him who would enjoy the visitation until the pilgrimage (bring) what is easiest as a gift. And he who cannot find (anything to bring), then let him fast three days on the pilgrimage and seven when ye return; these make ten days complete. That is, for him whose family are not present in the Sacred Mosque; and fear God and know that God is keen to punish." S. 2:196 Palmer
"They will not harm you save a trifling HURT, and if they fight against you they will turn and flee. And afterward they will not be helped." S. 3:111 Pickthall
"When thou (O Apostle) art with them, and standest to lead them in prayer, Let one party of them stand up (in prayer) with thee, Taking their arms with them: When they finish their prostrations, let them Take their position in the rear. And let the other party come up which hath not yet prayed - and let them pray with thee, Taking all precaution, and bearing arms: the Unbelievers wish, if ye were negligent of your arms and your baggage, to assault you in a single rush. But there is no blame on you if ye put away your arms because of the INCONVENIENCE of rain or because ye are ill; but take (every) precaution for yourselves. For the Unbelievers Allah hath prepared a humiliating punishment." S. 4:102
"O ye who believe! Be ye not like those who vexed and INSULTED Moses, but Allah cleared him of the (calumnies) they had uttered: and he was honourable in Allah's sight." S. 33:69
See also S. 2:262-264; 3:186, 195; 4:16; 6:34; 7:129; 9:61; 14:12; 29:10; 33:48, 53, 57-59; 61:5.
According to one source, the word Adha "... signifies a slight evil ... or anything causing a slight harm" (Abdul Mannan Omar, ed., Dictionary of the Holy Qur'an [Noor Foundation, 2003], p. 19).
We therefore have good grounds to say that the Quran views womens menses as an illness, a hurt, and/or an inconvenience. Obviously, the Quran is clearly wrong here since we know from medical science that menses are actually very good and healthy for women. Osama may claim that hurt here doesnt mean that menses are harmful to the woman, or that menses are necessarily bad in and of themselves, but that it is harmful to the man since he may contact an illness or disease. If so, then he acknowledges my claim earlier in relation to the possible purpose behind the regulations of Leviticus 15. Osama would then have to explain the reason for his criticism of Leviticus when his own book says essentially the same thing.
But the problem gets worse. The latter explanation seems unlikely in light of the fact that women are forbidden from fasting or offering the five prayers during their menstrual cycle:
A woman who is in her monthly cycle cannot:
Allah evidently is offended at the sight of menstruating women offering the prescribed prayers or fasting. This only goes to show that the Quran views menstruation as something evil or dirty. If it were not the case that Allah considers womens menstruation as something sickening, then why would women not be allowed to pray and fast? If it is only meant to protect men from the possibility of contracting an illness, then why shouldnt women pray and fast?
There is even a hadith which may explain why menses are so offensive to Allah:
Narrated Grandfather of Adi ibn Thabit
Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said: Sneezing, drowsing, yawning in prayer, also menstruation, vomiting and nose-bleeding are from (the acts of) Satan. Transmitted by Tirmidhi. (Tirmidhi Hadith, Number 315; ALIM CD-ROM Version)
Since this narration erroneously attributes menses to Satan it is little wonder why Allah is so displeased by them!
In fact, here is what Muhammad had to say about menstruation:
Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri: Once Allah's Apostle went out to the Musalla (to offer the prayer) o 'Id-al-Adha or Al-Fitr prayer. Then he passed by the women and said, "O women! Give alms, as I have seen that the majority of the dwellers of Hell-fire were you (women)." They asked, "Why is it so, O Allah's Apostle?" He replied, "You curse frequently and are ungrateful to your husbands. I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion than you. A cautious sensible man could be led astray by some of you." The women asked, "O Allah's Apostle! What is deficient in our intelligence and religion?" He said, "Is not the evidence of two women equal to the witness of one man?" They replied in the affirmative. He said, "This is the deficiency in her intelligence. Isn't it true that a woman can neither pray nor fast during her menses?" The women replied in the affirmative. He said, "This is the deficiency in her religion." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 6, Number 301)
Narrated Abu Said:
The Prophet said, "Isn't it true that a woman does not pray and does not fast on menstruating? And that is the defect (a loss) in her religion." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 31, Number 172)
Muhammad clearly says that women's menstruation is the reason why women are deficient in religion in comparison to men. They are also deficient in intelligence according to Muhammad. It is therefore evident that Allah considers women to be physically AND spiritually impure and can be a source of defilement for men.
Other passages which provide support for this interpretation include:
"O ye who believe! Draw not near unto prayer when ye are drunken, till ye know that which ye utter, nor when ye are polluted, save when journeying upon the road, till ye have bathed. And if ye be ill, or on a journey, or one of you cometh from the closet, or ye have TOUCHED women, and ye find not water, then go to high clean soil and rub your faces and your hands (therewith). Lo! Allah is Benign, Forgiving." S. 4:43 Pickthall
"O you who believe! when you rise up to prayer, wash your faces and your hands as far as the elbows, and wipe your heads and your feet to the ankles; and if you are under an obligation to perform a total ablution, then wash (yourselves) and if you are sick or on a journey, or one of you come from the privy, or you have TOUCHED the women, and you cannot find water, betake yourselves to pure earth and wipe your faces and your hands therewith, Allah does not desire to put on you any difficulty, but He wishes to purify you and that He may complete His favor on you, so that you may be grateful." S. 5:6 Shakir
According to these passages, if a man touches a woman before praying he must then purify himself. Someone may claim that touch here refers to sexual relations since the same word is used in S. 19:20 in reference to Mary having not been sexually touched by a man.
Although it may be true that touch can convey the idea of sexual activity, it is not certain that this is what the word means in these respective texts, especially when we take into consideration the following statements:
Malik related to me from Muhammad ibn al-Munkadir that Umayma bint Ruqayqa said, "I went to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, with the women who took an oath of allegiance with him in Islam. They said, 'Messenger of Allah! We take a pledge with you not to associate anything with Allah, not to steal, not to commit adultery, not to kill our children, nor to produce any lie that we have devised between our hands and feet, and not to disobey you in what is known.' The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'In what you can do and are able.'"
Umayma continued, "They said, 'Allah and His Messenger are more merciful to us than ourselves. Come, let us give our hands to you, Messenger of Allah!' The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'I do not shake hands with women. My word to a hundred women is like my word to one woman.'" (Maliks Muwatta, Book 55, Number 55.1.2)
Abu Dharr reported: THE MESSENGER OF 'ALLAH (may peace be upon him) SAID: When any one of you stands for prayer and there is a thing before him equal to the back of the saddle that covers him and in case there is not before him (a thing) equal to the back of the saddle, HIS PRAYER WOULD BE CUT OFF BY (passing of an) ASS, WOMAN, AND BLACK DOG. I said: O Abu Dharr, what feature is there in a black dog which distinguish it from the red dog and the yellow dog? He said: O, son of my brother, I asked the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) as you are asking me, and he said: The black dog is a devil. (Sahih Muslim, Book 004, Number 1032- see also Number 1034)
'Urwa b. Zubair reported: 'A'isha asked: What disrupts the prayer? We said: THE WOMAN AND THE ASS. Upon this she remarked: IS THE WOMAN AN UGLY ANIMAL? I lay in front of the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) like the bier of a corpse and he said prayer. (Sahih Muslim, Book 004, Number 1037)
Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas:
Qatadah said: I heard Jabir ibn Zayd who reported on the authority of Ibn Abbas; and Shu'bah reported the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) as saying: A menstruating woman and a dog cut off the prayer. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 2, Number 0703)
Furthermore, the Arabic word for touch is used in many places without any sexual connotation being implied. Cf. S. 6:7; 7:95, 188; 8:68; 10:12,21; 11:10; 12:88; 15:54; 16:53; 21:83; 24:14, 35; 33:49; 38:41; 39:49; 41:50; 50:38.
In fact, many Muslim scholars interpreted 4:43 in the same manner that I have proposed here:
Al-Shafi`i took the verse "Or if you have touched women" (4:43) literally, and considered that contact between the sexes, even accidental, nullified ablution. This is also the position of Ibn Mas`ud, Ibn `Umar, al-Sha`bi, al-Nakha`i, al-Zuhri, and al-Awza`i, which is confirmed by Ibn `Umar's report: "Whoever kisses OR TOUCHES HIS WIFE WITH HIS HAND must renew his wudû'." It is authentic and related in numerous places including Malik's Muwatta'. Al-Shafi`i said: "Something similar has reached us from Ibn Mas`ud." They all read the above verse literally, without interpreting "touch" to mean "sexual intercourse" as do the Hanafis, or "touch with pleasure" as do the Malikis. (http://sunnah.org/publication/khulafa_rashideen/shafii.htm)
Thirdly, the passages say nothing about what makes a woman unclean for prayer, a clear indication that the Quran considers women second class citizens in relation to the men. It is more concerned with mens needs and ritual purity than women.
If this weren't bad enough other Muslim sources say that women are prisoners of men who can never do enough to fulfill their obligations to their husbands. The earliest biographer on Muhammad's life, Ibn Ishaq, had noted that:
'Abdullah b. Abu Bakr told me that he was told that when the apostle sent Mua'dh he gave him instructions and orders and then said: Deal gently and not harshly; announce good news and do not repel people. You are going to one of the people with scripture who will ask you about the key of heaven. Say to them it is the witness that there is no God but Allah, Who has no partner. Mua'dh went off to Yaman and did as he was ordered and a woman came to him and said, 'O companion of God's apostle, what rights has a husband over his wife?' He said, 'Woe to you, a woman can NEVER fulfil her husband's rights, so do your utmost to fulfil his claims as best as you can.' She said, 'By God, if you are the companion of God's apostle you must know what rights a husband has over his wife!' He said, 'If you were to go back and find him with his nostrils running with pus and blood and sucked until you got rid of them you would not have fulfilled your obligation.' (Alfred Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad [Oxford University Press, Karachi, Tenth Impression 1995], p. 644; capital and underline emphasis ours)
You have rights over your wives and they have rights over you. You have the right that they should not defile your bed and that they should not behave with open unseemliness. If they do, God allows you to put them in separate rooms AND BEAT THEM but not with severity. If they refrain from these things they have the right to their food and clothing with kindness. Lay injunctions on women kindly, FOR THEY ARE PRISONERS WITH YOU HAVING NO CONTROL OF THEIR PERSONS. You have taken them as a trust from God, and you have the enjoyment of their persons by the words of God, so understand... (Ibid., p. 651; capital emphasis ours)
Birth of any female is a loss: Ecclesiasticus 22:3 "....and the birth of ANY daughter is a loss" (From the New Jerusalem Bible. It's a Roman Catholics Bible).
Even though the Apocrypha doesnt concern us, since God did not inspire these books, we will still offer a response. The first thing to note is the way different translations render the Greek:
"... thugater de ep elattosei ginetai."
Note the following translations:
... And a foolish daughter shall be to his loss. Douay Old Testament
... spoilt daughter to thy great loss; Knox Translation
... and a [foolish] daughter is born to his loss.
... if it be a daughter, she brings him to poverty. New American Bible
... and the birth of a daughter is a loss. NRSV
We now quote the context:
"It is a disgrace to be the father of an undisciplined son, and the birth of a daughter is a loss. A sensible daughter obtains her husband, but one who acts shamefully brings grief to her father. An impudent daughter disgraces father and husband, and will be despised by both. Like music in mourning is a tale told at the wrong time, but chastising and discipline are wisdom at all times." Ecclesiasticus 22:3-6 RSV
The context shows that the author is referring to children, whether sons or daughters, who bring shame to their family. As such, the authors intention is not to generalize all women as evil, since he refers to daughters that are sensible, but only to those women who through their shameful ways bring disgrace to their parents and husbands.
Another plausible meaning of the first sentence is that daughters are a loss to their parents in that they end up leaving their parents when they get married in order to live with their spouses and build families for them.
In either case, Osamas use of this particular passage is simply misplaced since it does not support him in the least.
If a woman gives birth to a baby boy, then she becomes unclean for 7 days. But if she gives birth to a baby girl, then she becomes unclean for 14 days. So in other words, the birth of any female causes double the pollution: Leviticus 12:2-5 "Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a woman have conceived seed, and born a MALE child: then she shall be unclean SEVEN DAYS; according to the days of the separation for her infirmity shall she be unclean. And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. And she shall then continue in the blood of her purifying THIRTY THREE days; she shall touch no hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying be fulfilled. But if she bear a FEMALE child, then she shall be unclean TWO WEEKS, as in her separation: and she shall continue in the blood of her purifying SIXTY SIX days."
I think it's safe to say that Ecclesiasticus 22:3 and Leviticus 12:2-5 are sister verses.
Muslims complain that the ritual purification of a woman who conceives a baby girl is twice as long as that of a baby boy. Admittedly, this is a difficult passage. Yet, the text itself provides one of the reasons why a mother would be declared unclean only for seven days in the case of male children:
"Say to the Israelites: A woman who becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son will be ceremonially unclean for seven days, just as she is unclean during her monthly period. On the EIGHTH DAY the boy is to be circumcised." Leviticus 12:2-3
The length of uncleanness is interrupted by the command to circumcise the male boy on the eighth day. Being ceremonially unclean on the eighth day may have prohibited the mother from witnessing her own sons circumcision.
The Zondervan NIV Bible Commentary provides another (possible) reason for the command in counterbalancing cultural influences:
"In many countries girls are less desired than boys. Thoughtless husbands might have taken better care of baby boys and their mothers; so a longer time at home might have been positive help for a mother with a baby girl. No difference is made in the temple ritual between the birth of a boy or a girl. The only difference is in the periods of uncleanness and seclusion." (Kenneth L. Barker & John R. Kohlenberger III, ed. Zondervan NIV Bible Commentary - Volume 1: Old Testament [Zondervan Publishing House; Grand Rapids, MI 1994], p. 139)
Furthermore, the context clearly shows that no implication of female inferiority can be inferred from the prolonged period of uncleanness:
"When the days of her purification for a son OR DAUGHTER are over, she is to bring to the priest at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting a year-old lamb for a burnt offering and a young pigeon or a dove for a sin offering. He shall offer them before the LORD to make atonement for her, and then she will be ceremonially clean from her flow of blood. These are the regulations for the woman who gives birth to a boy OR A GIRL. If she cannot afford a lamb, she is to bring two doves or two young pigeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering. In this way the priest will make atonement for her, and she will be clean." Leviticus 12:6-8
Please observe that the sacrifices for male and female infants are identical, supporting the point that both the male and female infants, as well as all males and females in general, have equal value in the eyes of God. In fact, if one reads Leviticus in the overall context of the Pentateuch, this conclusion becomes inescapable:
"Then God said, Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and FEMALE he created THEM." Genesis 1:26-27
"When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. He created them male AND FEMALE AND BLESSED THEM. And when THEY were created, he called THEM man." Genesis 5:1-2
The female is just as much an image-bearer of God as the male. The New Testament reflects this very same point:
"In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God." 1 Corinthians 11:11-12
"There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one IN CHRIST JESUS." Galatians 3:28
Finally, the ceremonial laws regarding male and female infants are less difficult to accept than the following purification rite that Muhammad enjoined on Muslims:
"Ali narrated that the Messenger of Allah said: 'The urine of a baby boy should have water sprinkled upon it. The urine of a baby girl is to be washed off.' Says Qatadah, 'This refers to a male baby that has not yet begun to eat. If he already eats, then the garment is to be washed.'
"This hadith is related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, at-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah. In al-Fath, Ibn Hajar says its chain is sahih.
"Sprinkling is sufficient as long as the boy is still nursing. If he eats solid food, his urine must be washed from the clothes and body. There is no disagreement on this latter point. Perhaps the reason for this exemption to the male baby's urine is that people have a tendency to carry their male babies around, and it would have been difficult to clean the clothes after their frequent urinations." (Fiqh us-Sunnah Volume 1 Purification and Prayer [American Trust Publications, Indianapolis Indiana 1991], pp. 9-10)
The explanation above doesn't work since infant girls are also carried around. So why the difference?
The next Muslim site, commenting on similar narrations regarding the urine of male and female infants, states:
If it is said, What is the reason why the urine of a boy who is not eating food is sprinkled and not washed like the urine of a girl? The answer is that the reason is that this is what is enjoined in the Sunnah, and that is sufficient reason. Hence when 'Aa'ishah was asked why a woman has to make up fasts that were missed because of menstruation but she does not have to make up prayers missed for the same reason, she said, "That used to happen to us at the time of the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and we were commanded to make up the fasts and we were not commanded to make up the prayers."
Nevertheless, some scholars have tried to come up with the reason for that.
Some of them said: the reason for that is that it is easier, because usually the male is carried a lot, and people rejoice over him AND LOVE HIM MORE THAN THE FEMALE, and his urine comes out from a narrow opening, so when he urinates it spreads. Because he is carried a lot and washing his urine would be too difficult, so this concession was made.
They also said: his nourishment which is milk is soft, so when he starts to eat regular food it becomes necessary to wash his urine.
The apparent meaning of the words of our companions (the Hanbalis) is that differentiating between the urine of boys and girls is something that is prescribed in the Sunnah, so we follow it ...
Islam Q&A (www.islam-qa.com) (source; capital and underline emphasis ours)
Perhaps Osama would like to take a shot at trying to answer why the urine of male babies should be sprinkled in contrast to the washing of the urine of female babies.
If a woman tries to save her husband from a beating by grabbing the other man's private parts to lift him off her husband, then both her hands must get cut off: Deuteronomy 25:11-12 "And in case men struggle together (in a fight) with one another, and the wife of the one has come near to deliver her husband out of the striking one (to save her husband), and she has thrust out her hand and grabbed hold of his private (the other man's groin), she must then get both her hands cut off, and the eyes of the men must feel no sorrow."
In what way does this passage degrade women is beyond us, especially when the OT is replete with examples of laws pertaining to the punishment of men also. Again, it seems that Osama will quote just about anything to prove his case, even when those passages have nothing to do with the degradation of women.
Fathers can sell their daughters as slave girls: Exodus 21:7-8 "And in case a man should sell his daughter as a slave girl, she will not go out in the way that the slave men go out. If she is displeasing in the eyes of her master so that he doesn't designate her as a concubine but causes her to be redeemed, he will not be entitled to sell her to a foreign people in his treacherously dealing with her."
First, let us look at the surrounding context to understand what is actually being stated here:
"If you buy a Hebrew servant, he is to serve you for six years, but in the seventh year he will go out free without paying anything. If he came in by himself he will go out by himself; if he had a wife when he comes in, then his wife will go out with him. If his master gave him a wife, and she bore sons or daughters, the wife and the children will belong to her master, and he will go out by himself. But if the servant should declare, I love my master, and my wife, and my children; I will not go out free, then his master will bring him to the judges, and he will bring him to the door, or the doorposts, and his master will bore through his ear with an awl, and he shall serve him forever. If a man sells his daughter as a female servant, she will not go out as the men servants do. If she does not please her master, who has desired her for himself, then he must let her be redeemed. He has no right to sell her to a foreign nation, because he has dealt deceitfully with her. And if he designated her for his son, then he will deal with her after the manner of daughters. If he takes another wife, he must not diminish her food, her clothing, and her marital rights. And if he does not provide her with these three things, THEN SHE WILL GO OUT FREE, WITHOUT PAYING MONEY." Exodus 21:2-11 NET Bible
It is clear that these laws were meant to PROTECT Hebrew servants, not abuse them as Osama seems to imply. Individuals were sometimes forced to either work or give their daughters as servants as a result of debt, poverty, crime etc. Jamieson-Fausset-Brown note:
Every Israelite was free-born; but slavery was permitted under certain restrictions. An Hebrew might be made a slave through poverty, debt, or crime; but at the end of six years he was entitled to freedom, and his wife, if she had voluntarily shared his state of bondage, also obtained release. Should he, however, have married a female slave, she and the children, after the husband's liberation, remained the master's property; and if, through attachment to his family, the Hebrew chose to forfeit his privilege and abide as he was, a formal process was gone through in a public court, and a brand of servitude stamped on his ear (Psalms 40:6) for life, or at least till the Jubilee (Deuteronomy 15:17). (http://bible.crosswalk.com/Commentaries/JamiesonFaussetBrown/jfb.cgi?book=ex&chapter=021)
These laws insured the rights and integrity of the servants, preventing masters from treating them as mere property.
The fair treatment of female servants wasnt restricted to the Israelite women alone. God told Israel that if they found an attractive gentile woman amongst the captives they could marry her, but they could not sell or abuse her:
"When you go to war against your enemies and the LORD your God delivers them into your hands and you take captives, if you notice among the captives a beautiful woman and are attracted to her, you may take her AS YOUR WIFE. Bring her into your home and have her shave her head, trim her nails and put aside the clothes she was wearing when captured. After she has lived in your house and mourned her father and mother for a full month, then you may go to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife. If you are not pleased with her, let her go wherever she wishes. You must not sell her or treat her as a slave, since you have dishonored her." Deuteronomy 21:10-14
An Israelite could not touch a captive he found attractive for 30 days, which allowed for the captive to mourn the loss of her family and country. The intention of this law was to protect her against any rude passion on the part of the man (i.e., rape). It also gave her time to blend in with the Israelites and to develop affection for the man. Hence, the law served as a mercy from God to protect her against rape. It clearly highlights Gods great compassionate for non-Israelite women taken in war. Gentile women were not necessarily given covenant protection as Israelite women were given. And yet God gives these captive Gentile women protection and insures that they were not regarded as mere slaves, or as contraband from the battle. God in his love gave them the full status of wives, just like Israelite women!
Muhammad, on the other hand, permitted Muslims to sleep with slave girls without having to marry them first:
And all married women (are forbidden unto you) save those (captives) whom your right hands possess. It is a decree of Allah for you. Lawful unto you are all beyond those mentioned, so that ye seek them with your wealth in honest wedlock, not debauchery ... S. 4:24 Pickthall
Who abstain from sex, Except with those joined to them in the marriage bond, or (the captives) whom their right hands possess, - for (in their case) they are free from blame, S. 23:5-6 Y. Ali
O Prophet! Lo! We have made lawful unto thee thy wives unto whom thou hast paid their dowries, and those whom thy right hand possesseth of those whom Allah hath given thee as spoils of war, and the daughters of thine uncle on the father's side and the daughters of thine aunts on the father's side, and the daughters of thine uncle on the mother's side and the daughters of thine aunts on the mother's side who emigrated with thee, and a believing woman if she give herself unto the Prophet and the Prophet desire to ask her in marriage - a privilege for thee only, not for the (rest of) believers - We are Aware of that which We enjoined upon them concerning their wives and those whom their right hands possess - that thou mayst be free from blame, for Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful. S. 33:50 Pickthall
... And those who guard their chastity, Except with their wives and the (captives) whom their right hands possess, - for (then) they are not to be blamed, S. 70:22-30 Y. Ali
The hadith records some of the shameful things which the Muslims did to their captive and slave women:
Chapter 29: IT IS PERMISSIBLE TO HAVE SEXUAL INTERCOURSE WITH A CAPTIVE WOMAN AFTER SHE IS PURIFIED (OF MENSES OR DELIVERY) IN CASE SHE HAS A HUSBAND, HER MARRIAGE IS ABROGATED AFTER SHE BECOMES CAPTIVE
Abu Sirma said to Abu Sa'id al Khadri (Allah he pleased with him): O Abu Sa'id, did you hear Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) mentioning al-'azl? He said: Yes, and added: We went out with Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) on the expedition to the Bi'l-Mustaliq and took captive some excellent Arab women; and we desired them, for we were suffering from the absence of our wives, (but at the same time) we also desired ransom for them. So we decided to have sexual intercourse with them but by observing 'azl (Withdrawing the male sexual organ before emission of semen to avoid conception). But we said: We are doing an act whereas Allah's Messenger is amongst us; why not ask him? So we asked Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him), and he said: It does not matter if you do not do it, for every soul that is to be born up to the Day of Resurrection will be born. (Sahih Muslim, Book 008, Number 3371)
Jabir (Allah be pleased with him) reported that a man came to Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) and said: I have a slave-girl who is our servant and she carries water for us and I have intercourse with her, but I do not want her to conceive. He said: Practice 'azl, if you so like, but what is decreed for her will come to her. The person stayed back (for some time) and then came and said: The girl has become pregnant, whereupon he said: I told you what was decreed for her would come to her. (Sahih Muslim, Book 008, Number 3383)
Abu Said al-Khudri said: The apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) sent a military expedition to Awtas on the occasion of the battle of Hunain. They met their enemy and fought with them. They defeated them and took them captives. Some of the Companions of the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) were reluctant to have intercourse with the female captives in the presence of their husbands who were unbelievers. So Allah, the Exalted, sent down the Quranic verse, And all married women (are forbidden) unto you save those (captives) whom your right hands possess. That is to say, they are lawful for them when they complete their waiting period. (Sunan of Abu Dawud, Volume 2, Number 2150)
These traditions shockingly demonstrate that Allah gave the Muslims the right to not only sleep with the captives without having to marry them, but to do it with their husbands present!
In the words of Ibn Kathir, taken from his commentary on S. 4:24:
<except those whom your right hands possess>
except those women whom you acquire through war, for you are allowed such women after making sure they are not pregnant.
Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Said Al-Khudri said, "We captured some women from the area of Awtas who were already married, and we disliked having sexual relations with them because they already had husbands. So, we asked the Prophet about this matter, and this Ayah was revealed ...
<Also (forbidden are) women already married, except those whom your right hands possess>.
Consequently, we had sexual relations with these women." This is the wording collected by AT-Tirmidhi, An-Nasai, Ibn Jarir and Muslim in his Sahih. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Volume 2, Parts 3, 4 & 5 (Surat Al-Baqarah, Verse 253, to Surat An-Nisa, Verse 147), abridged by a group of scholars under the supervision of Shaykh Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, Riyadh, Houston, New York, Lahore; First edition, March 2000], p. 422; bold emphasis ours)
Now what was that about slave girls in the OT?
Daughters inherit nothing when there are sons: "If a man dies and leaves no son, turn his inheritance over to his daughter. (Numbers 27:8)" So the American law of splitting everything equally is not Biblical.
A careful reading of the entire context will show that the inheritance spoken of was LAND INHERITANCE. It has nothing to do with the bequeathing of money to family members:
"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 Amrams 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 Bible
The land that God was going to give Israel was to be divided amongst the twelve tribes. Tribal affiliation was determined from the fathers 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.
The particular passage that Osama quoted from is dealing with a situation where a man died and only had daughters:
"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 fathers 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 fathers 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 Bible
Hence, what Osama thought was an argument supporting his assertion actually backfires against him and demonstrates Gods fairness and concern in insuring that a person didnt lose his property!
Interestingly, there is a passage which may in fact show that daughters could receive an inheritance from the father in regards to finances, i.e. cattle, livestock etc.:
"So the Lord blessed the second part of Jobs life more than the first. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand female donkeys. And he also had seven sons and three daughters. The first daughter he named Jemimah, the second Keziah, and the third Keren-Happuch. Nowhere in all the land could women be found who were as beautiful as Jobs daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance alongside their brothers." Job 42:12-15 NET Bible
Since Job supports the view that women did receive a portion of their fathers wealth, we can safely surmise that the Holy Bible in no way denies the right of daughters to receive an inheritance. In fact, the next passage from Paul actually shows that it is the parents responsibility to save up for all the children:
"Now I am ready to visit you for the third time, and I will not be a burden to you, because what I want is not your possessions but you. After all, children should not have to save up for their parents, but parents for their children." 2 Corinthians 12:14
The preceding passage presupposes that it was a custom for parents to save an inheritance for all the members of their family, including daughters, confirming my position that the Bible does not deny the womans right to a share in the inheritance.
Therefore, the only thing that the Bibles silence on this issue shows is that God leaves it open for family members to decide the portion each family member is allotted, provided that the firstborn gets a double share (cf. Deuteronomy 21:15-17).
This is unlike Islam which fixes the shares that a woman is to receive, irrespective of the circumstances. 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.
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
Ibn Kathir writes:
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.>" 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)
Hence, we find that even Muslim women were not too happy with Allah's decision to give them only half the amount that men get 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 their not being enough to distribute to all the parties, we highly recommend the following articles:
Osama issues the following challenge:
My challenge to all Jews and Christians:
I challenge all Jews and Christians to show me one verse from the Bible that really praises women! Just one!! Jesus himself in Revelation 14:4 considered women as dirt that defiles men. Even Jesus, the Christians' highest model, despised women in the Bible!!
It is crystal clear that women in the Bible are nothing but a defiling dirt and trash to men. This is no insult to women by me. This is just simply the way the Bible views women. Ironically, Jesus confirmed this view.
We have just exposed Osamas lies and gross misrepresentation of Jesus view of women.
Osama asks for only one verse that praises women. Here, we give him not just one verse, but many passages:
"He who finds a wife finds what is GOOD and receives FAVOR from the LORD." Proverbs 18:22
"Houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the LORD." Proverbs 19:14
"A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth FAR MORE THAN RUBIES. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all. Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD IS TO BE PRAISED. Give her the reward SHE HAS EARNED, and let her works BRING HER PRAISE at the city gate." Proverbs 31:10-31
Throughout his epistles, Paul greets and praises women for their work in the Lord:
"I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church in Cenchrea. I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way WORTHY OF THE SAINTS and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been A GREAT HELP to many people, including me. Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus. They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to THEM. Greet also the church that meets at their house ... Greet Mary, who worked very hard for you. Greet Andronicus and Junias, my relatives who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was ... Greet Tryphena and Tryphosa, those women who work hard in the Lord. Greet my dear friend Persis, another woman who has worked very hard in the Lord. Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother, who has been a mother to me, too ... Greet Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas and all the saints with them." Romans 16:1-5a, 6-7, 12-13, 15
"I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life." Philippians 4:2-3
Paul exhorts his young protégé Timothy with the following instructions:
"Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity. Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God. The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help." 1 Timothy 5:1-5
Speaking again to Timothy, Paul writes:
"To Timothy, my dear son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I thank God, whom I serve, as my forefathers did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also." 2 Timothy 1:2-5
The Apostle Peter writes to women:
"Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. For this is the way the HOLY WOMEN of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear." 1 Peter 3:1-6
The preceding passages are self-explanatory, needing no comments, and serve to demonstrate that Osama is unqualified to speak and critique the Holy Bible, the pure word of the true God.
Rebuttals to Answering-Christianity
Articles by Sam Shamoun
Answering Islam Home Page