Islamic scholars claim that when Muhammad received his revelations, specifically regarding women, he instituted changes for the status of women which elevated women far above what they experienced in prior, non-Islamic society. This may indeed be true, but the question to be answered is this: Does Islam elevate women according to 21st century standards, providing equality in all respects, or does Islam trap women with 7th century practices? We will look at just five examples of the view of women in Islam from the Qur'an and hadith.

woman beggar1. A husband can beat a wife he suspects of disobedience.

Sura 4:34 - Men have charge of women because Allah has preferred the one above the other and because they spend of their wealth on them. Right-acting women are obedient, safeguarding their husband's interests in his absence as Allah has guarded them. If there are women whose disobedience you fear, you may admonish them, refuse to sleep with them, and then beat them. But if they obey you, do not look for a way to punish them. Allah is All-High, Most Great.

Muslim apologists will assert that the term "and beat them" speaks only metaphorically. Others insist it means only a simple strike, as with hitting them with a feather or toothpick. Yusuf Ali adds the word "lightly," which never appears in the Arabic. Yet, a simple observation of the text shows any of the above to be erroneous.

Muslims place much emphasis on the Qur'an as Muhammad's sole miracle, because an illiterate man could not have produced such a magnificent piece of literary excellence without divine inspiration. But is the Qur'an really an example of literary excellence? More important, is the Qur'an the Word of God? If so, we should expect it to be completely accurate in every aspect. Here are just a few things to consider about the Qur'an.

open quran1. The Qur'an is a literary nightmare.

  • It changes subjects within a chapter with no transitional phrases or coherence of thought
  • It often uses a singular verb with a plural subject or vice versa
  • Uses many difficult words whose precise meanings are uncertain; many ambiguities
  • It is written in a form of Arabic that even highly educated Arabic scholars have difficulty fully understanding

German Scholar Salomon Reinach notes, "From the literary point of view, the Koran has little merit. Declamation, repetition, puerility, a lack of logic and coherence strike the unprepared reader at every turn. It is humiliating to the human intellect to think that this mediocre literature has been the subject of innumerable commentaries, and that millions of men are still wasting time in absorbing it." (Orpheus, Salmon Reinach, 1932. See page 175 of the book here)

2. The Qur'an contains many contradictions.

Here is just a small sample:

1. Islam teaches salvation through works and self-righteousness.

In this regard, Islam is no different than any other false religious system, including Mormonism, Jehovah's Witnesses, Budhhism, and Orthodox Judaism, to name a few. Islam has in common with these that mankind ultimately plays a central role in his eternal destination, and that if he does enough good deeds and lives a good life he will ultimately be rewarded in the afterlife. Christianity is unique among world religions because the Bible tells us that we can do nothing to earn or deserve our salvation, but that our salvation comes through faith in Jesus Christ and his blood atonement sacrifice for our sins.

mosque at nightIslam teaches that two recording angels follow each of us and they keep a tally of our good and bad deeds. On judgemen day the good and bad deeds will be placed on opposite sides of a scale and we hope to have enough good deeds to offset the bad ones. Muslims live and die by the scales. Problem: a Muslim will never know completely if he/she has enough good deeds on account; assurance of salvation cannot be known until judgment day.

Sura 21:47 - We shall set up scales of justice for the Day of Judgment, so that not a soul will be dealt with unjustly in the least

Sura 23:103 - Then those whose scales are heavy, they are the successful. But those whose balance is light, will be those who have lost their souls, in Hell will they abide.

Sura 101:6-9 - Then, as for him whose scales are heavy (with good works), Will be in a life of good pleasure and satisfaction. But he whose balance (of good deeds) will be (found) light, Will have his home in a (bottomless) Pit.

2. Islam is more than just a religion; it is a complete way of life.

Many in the West think of Islam as just another religious viewpoint among other major world religions. But to a Muslim, Islam is more than just a religion. Islam is not just a method of fulfilling religious obligations: praying, giving, fasting, pilgrimmage. Islam encompasses these and much more. To a Muslim, the goal of this life is to emulate the prophet of Islam, Muhammad, in every respect.

Muslims trust Muhammad as the last and final prophet and believe the revelation he received to be the literal word of God. As God's supposed final messenger and prophet, we should expect him to adhere to certain standards and possess qualities that previous prophets exhibited. What does Islam tell us about Muhammad?

1. Muhammad did NOT know if he would go to heaven after death!

Narrated Kharija bin Zaid bin Thabit:
Um Al-'Ala', an Ansari woman who gave the pledge of allegiance to the Prophet said to me, "The emigrants were distributed amongst us by drawing lots and we got in our share 'Uthman bin Maz'un. We made him stay with us in our house. Then he suffered from a disease which proved fatal when he diedand was given a bath and was shrouded in his clothes, Allah's Apostle came I said, 'May Allah be merciful to you, O Abu As- Sa'ib! I testify that Allah has honored you'. The Prophet said, 'How do you know that Allah has honored him?' I replied, 'O Allah's Apostle! Let my father be sacrificed for you! On whom else shall Allah bestow His honor?' The Prophet said, 'No doubt, death came to him. By Allah, I too wish him good, but by Allah, I do not know what Allah will do with me though I am Allah's Apostle. ' By Allah, I never attested the piety of anyone after that." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 23, Number 334)

Question: If Muhammad did not know how to get to heaven or paradise, why would anyone want to listen to him?

2. Muhammad could not distinguish between a revelation supposedly from God and one from Satan.

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