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So, before I first started reading the Quran, I thought I knew
all about Islam—and it was very demeaning to women. Naturally,
I assumed the Quran would bear this out. I was in for quite a surprise!
According to the Quran, men and women are equal….
There are areas where Islam, as traditionally practiced, is unfair
to women. But it is crystal clear that those practices are not from the
Quran. As in all religions, the practice does not always match the revelation
from God. In fact, we will see that the practices often go against the
principles of the Quran. The Quran was (and still is) an emancipating
document for women!...
Lisa tackles all the major issues of women today. Some examples are
Clearly, the circumstances need to be unusual to warrant polygamy.
Whatever those circumstances, if the husband is not certain that he can
be perfectly fair to all parties, he should not take the chance of going
against the Quran, thus harming his soul and bringing pain to his family.
The definition of exactly what modesty means is different in each
culture. To me, walking down most Western streets in full hijab is not
actually modest because you are drawing attention to yourself. Likewise,
dressing as you would in the United States would not be covered enough
in most of the Muslim world. Once again, we are face to face with our
old friend culture….
I might add here that the Muslim men
I know who are following the Quran alone also dress modestly. It only
makes sense; the best way for all of us to stay out of trouble is not
to invite it!
Men in charge:
Knowing that a husband can have that power, a believing woman needs
to be especially careful about who she chooses to marry. If all
women are careful to marry only men who will treat them with dignity,
eventually abuse will die out…. The criteria for a good mate
also change when one looks at it from this perspective. A man’s
spiritual, moral and emotional character becomes much more important
than his looks or profession or standing in the community. In fact,
they become the only really important things.
Why is marriage so divinely supported? From these verses [24:32-3],
and our common sense, we know that marriage discourages immorality
and encourages morality. Thus, God validates the concept of the
family, the core unit of all societies….
You need to be sure you are choosing someone for the right reasons,
and that you are not being fooled by sexual attraction, or your
own daydreams…. The person you marry must be someone with
whom you fully intend to live out the rest of your life.
But I was told I could not perform the Contact Prayer when I was
menstruating, because I was not clean.
Unhappily I accepted this indignity, not
knowing what else to do. However, this edict kept a friend of mine
from becoming Muslim. She simply would not accept that she could
not pray during the time of the month when she needed it the most….
In vain I looked for verses in the Quran that told me not to pray.
Instead I found verse after verse telling me just the opposite,
and making it very clear that I must pray regularly.
Studying the Quran:
When I first started reading the Quran, I was very blessed that I
had not been told that I could not read it when I had my menstrual
period. Otherwise, it is quite likely that I would never have bothered
to try and read it at all. To be forbidden from reading the scripture
for about one quarter of the time because my body was doing what
it was designed to do would have made me furious.
There are also sections on dowry, divorce, inheritance, witnessing,
religious practices and women in society. All of Lisa’s concepts
are supported with Quranic verses. She uses both Rashad Khalifa’s
translation and the more traditional Yusuf Ali, and it becomes clear
that whatever the translation, the message is the same: men and
women are equal as far as righteousness is concerned. This is God’s
Many of the chapters are capped with personal stories from sisters around
the world. These are women who have been subjected to both the best
and the worst of Islam, and their experiences enlighten, sadden
and amuse the reader.
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