Women In Islam versus Judaeo-Christian Tradition The Myth & The Reality

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  • Women In Islam versus Judaeo-Christian Tradition The Myth & The Reality

  • 4. Shameful Daughters?

    In fact, the difference between the Biblical and the Quranic attitude
    towards the female sex starts as soon as a female is born. For example,
    the Bible states that the period of the mother's ritual impurity is
    twice as long if a girl is born than if a boy is (Lev. 12:2-5). The
    Catholic Bible states explicitly that: “The birth of a daughter is a
    loss" (Ecclesiasticus 22:3). In contrast to this shocking statement,
    boys receive special praise: "A man who educates his son will be the
    envy of his enemy." (Ecclesiasticus 30:3)

    Jewish Rabbis made it an obligation on Jewish men to produce offspring
    in order to propagate the race. At the same time, they did not hide
    their clear preference for male children : "It is well for those whose
    children are male but ill for those whose are female", "At the birth of
    a boy, all are joyful...at the birth of a girl all are sorrowful", and
    "When a boy comes into the world, peace comes into the world... When a
    girl comes, nothing comes." A daughter is considered a painful burden,
    a potential source of shame to her father: "Your daughter is
    headstrong? Keep a sharp look-out that she does not make you the
    laughing stock of your enemies, the talk of the town, the object of
    common gossip, and put you to public shame" (Ecclesiasticus 42:11).

    "Keep a headstrong daughter under firm control, or she will abuse any
    indulgence she receives. Keep a strict watch on her shameless eye, do
    not be surprised if she disgraces you" (Ecclesiasticus 26:10-11).It was
    this very same idea of treating daughters as sources of shame that led
    the pagan Arabs, before the advent of Islam, to practice female
    infanticide. The Quran severely condemned this heinous practice: "When
    news is brought to one of them of the birth of a female child, his face
    darkens and he is filled with inward grief. With shame does he hide
    himself from his people because of the bad news he has had! Shall he
    retain her on contempt or bury her in the dust? Ah! what an evil they
    decide on?" (16:59). It has to be mentioned that this sinister crime
    would have never stopped in Arabia were it not for the power of the
    scathing terms the Quran used to condemn this practice (16:59, 43:17,
    81:8-9). The Quran, moreover, makes no distinction between boys and
    girls. In contrast to the Bible, the Quran considers the birth of a
    female as a gift and a blessing from God, the same as the birth of a
    male. The Quran even mentions the gift of the female birth first:" To
    Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth. He creates
    what He wills. He bestows female children to whomever He wills and
    bestows male children to whomever He wills" (42:49). In order to wipe
    out all the traces of female infanticide in the nascent Muslim society,
    Prophet Mohammed promised those who were blessed with daughters of a
    great reward if they would bring them up kindly: "He who is involved in
    bringing up daughters, and accords benevolent treatment towards them,
    they will be protection for him against Hell-Fire" (Bukhari and
    Muslim). "Whoever maintains two girls till they attain maturity, he and
    I will come on the Resurrection Day like this; and he joined his
    fingers" (Muslim).

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