Women’s Rights And Religion

I am always amused at people saying that their religion gives women rights or that women have equal rights to men. I am particularly referring to Islam and Christianity. The arrogance of it all astounds me. In the first pace, every person, including women are born free. Religion does not “give” women rights, it takes rights away. It amazes me how easily religious texts can be misinterpreted, even though the simplicity of it’s writing makes its intention patently obvious. I can understand when people misinterpret the writings of Nostradamus because that was written in code. Nostradamus was trying to hide the real meaning of his writings to prevent being persecuted.

The religious books such as the Bible or the Koran are not written in code. It was written in such a way to make it clear and obvious so that everyone could understand it. The prophet Muhammad had nothing to gain from being vague in his teachings.

Every time there is a discussion about the Koran I wonder to myself how many versions of the Koran are out there because these people are clearly reading a different version to what I have read. The Koran is really not difficult to understand. The only explanation that I can find for these varying interpretations of something that is obviously clear, is that people refuse to acknowledge the truth. That would mean that they will start doubting and questioning the faith entirely, so it’s easier to either ignore some parts or purposefully change the facts to suit their agenda.

For example the debate over womens’ rights and Islam. I have seen Sheikhs on TV proclaiming that Islam has given women rights and that women are essentially free under Islam. I have even seen female Muslims claiming that under Islam women have rights.

The interesting thing is that they are essentially right. Women have some rights under Islam. If you start from the premise that women had no rights before Islam, then it will be true to say that Islam gave women some rights.

If, however you start from the premise that women were free before Islam, then Islam in fact took away most of their rights.

From the Koran:

2:228 “(Women) have rights similar to those (of men) over them in kindness, and men are a degree above them.”

2:282 “And call two witness from among your men, two witnesses. And if two men be not at hand, then a man and two women.”

4:3 “Marry of the women, who seem good to you, two or three or four.”

4:11 “To the male the equivalent of the portion of two females, and if there be women more than two, then theirs is two-thirds of the inheritance, and if there be one (only) then the half.”

4:15 “As for those of your women who are guilty of lewdness, call to witness four of you against them. And if they testify (to the truth of the allegation) then confine them to the houses until death take them.”

40:20 “And if ye wish to exchange one wife for another….”

4:34 “Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them.”

4:176 “Unto the male is the equivalent of the share of two females.”

24:31 “And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest, and to display of their adornment only that which is apparent, and to draw their veils over their bosoms, and not to reveal their adornment save to their own husbands. … And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment.”

33:30 “O ye wives of the Prophet! Whosoever of you committeth manifest lewdness, the punishment for her will be doubled, and that is easy for Allah.”

33:32-33 “O ye wives of the Prophet! Ye are not like any other women. … Stay in your houses.”

33:53 “When ye ask of them (the wives of the Prophet) anything, ask it of them from behind a curtain. That is purer for your hearts and for their hearts. And it is not for you to cause annoyance to the messenger of Allah, nor that ye should ever marry his wives after him. Lo! that in Allah’s sight would be an enormity.”

33:59 “O Prophet! Tell thy wives and thy daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks close round them (when they go abroad).”

65:1 “O Prophet! When ye (men) put away women….”

66:5 “If he [Muhammad] divorce you, will give him in your stead wives better than you, submissive (to Allah), believing, pious, penitent, devout, inclined to fasting, widows and maids.”

The reality is that no matter how you look at it, Islam restricts womens’ rights considerably. Under Islam woman are clearly not equal to men and their movement, liberty and freedom of speech is severely curtailed.

The same goes for Christianity. Womens’ rights are also inhibited in the Bible. Quite severely in the old testament and a little less so in the new testament.

Let no Muslim or Christian ever say that their religion “gives” women freedom. You can’t give that which was not yours to give in the first place.

Marthinus Strydom


  1. Can’t understand why we draw an ideological distinction between those who follow the same book either.

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