What Position Do Women Hold in Islam?


Until fifty years ago, hardly anyone in the West was interested in Muslims or their religion, Islam. It was largely because of the discovery of incredible oil reserves in Arabic countries and increased international terrorism that caused Islam to achieve certain fame. 

Today, Islam is no longer an exotic religion that is only thought about by scholars. With roughly three and a half million followers in the United States, it is the third-largest religion after Christianity and Judaism. 

No other people group suffer under the law of Islam more than Muslim women.

In a few years, the number of Muslims worldwide will likely reach two billion. This means there are roughly one billion Muslim women—close to one billion people whose most basic human rights are often trampled on in the name of Allah and his prophet, Muhammad. 

Within the Islamic worldview, a woman has less value than a man. The Qur’an does not view a woman as an autonomous being, and also not as a being of equal worth with a man, but as someone under guardianship, who should be guided and controlled. A woman’s testimony in Islamic court is only worth half the testimony of a male person. The same goes in the case of an inheritance—women as a general rule receive less. And, according to sharia law, a Muslim husband can divorce his wife by simply saying a specific phrase. 

Christianity holds a completely different view.

The Bible states that both men and women are created in the image of God (Gen. 1:27). God Himself made Eve, the first woman, from a rib taken from Adam’s side. Thereafter, God presented her to him. God took a part from the man to make for him a companion, a “perfect fit,” to be his counterpart (see Gen. 2:18–24). In making Eve, God’s plan was not to create man’s “double,” but to have them complement one another. From a biblical point of view, women are not devalued or seen as a flaw in creation. 

The first man and woman were created sinless, but through their disobedience, they fell from their perfect fellowship with God. But because God so loved the world, God’s Son Jesus Christ died for all our sins, and now the relationship with God of both women and men can be restored. 

Many Muslim women today are struck by the fact that Jesus loves them and that in God’s eyes they are equally important as men: “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28). If we as Christians approach Muslim women with respect and dignity, they will sense the difference. Often, they become very open to learning more about the love of Jesus and may even dedicate their lives to Him.

god of the impossible

Adapted from God of the Impossible: Stories of Hope from the Muslim World by Rev. Stefano Fehr and Dr. Samuel Naaman (©2021). Published by Moody Publishers. Used by permission.

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