Islam is based on the traditions and ideals, which are stipulated in the Quran. The directives and examples of the Prophet Muhammad reinforce these traditions and ideals. The Quran repeatedly gives expression on the need for treating men and women with equity and reproaches those who believe women to be inferior to men.
Women’s role in the formation of Islamic society in its first decades is well documented. Despite the historical data available, the fundamentalist and conservative forces that control the modern images of women have suppressed Islamic women’s place in religious history.
The various restrictions, social rules, and seclusion, isolation has emerged as one of the dominant features which characterizes the life and activities of Muslim women. The implicit view is that the existing social system, of the Muslim communities and women’s position there in has been maintained largely because of historical isolation.
The ideal image of women, as advocated by Quran, is not reflected in populist representation of Muslim women in contextual situation (Dawood, 2004). The women’s passivity, seclusion, and marginal place in Muslim society have little to do with Islamic tradition. However, they are, on the contrary, ideological constructs that are alien to Islam and effects of the misuse of power by reactionary forces.
The Quran: Relationship between Islam, Judaism, and Christianity
In relation to Islam, the position of Judaism and Christianity is both similar and different. The Jewish and Christian scriptures do not mention Muslims; they are not the subject of any doctrine or jurisdiction. However, the Church’s position toward Muslim differs from its position toward Jews.
Christianity does not proclaim that it was the True Islam (Verus Islam); it did not drive the Muslims out of Mecca by forbidding them to reside there. Unlike Jewry, deprived of any political power, Christians and Muslims built empires that were in constant confrontation.
Islam, on the contrary, places Judaism and Christianity in an identical position. Islam is considered as the “True Judaism” and the “True Christianity.” Jews and Christians are mentioned frequently in the Quran, the Sunna, and in biographies of the prophet (Dawood, 2004).
These normative writings formulate a doctrine concerning them, and a theological jurisdiction which they must be forced to abide by, as an obligation imposed on them. It is this Judeo-Christian bonding which makes it impossible for Christians to achieve a reconciliation with Islam against Israel.
However, reconciliation with Israel involves rejecting the theologies of substitution, abandonment of jihad, and liberation from dhimmitude. Hence, the road to freedom for Christians is contrary to the knavery of dhimmi clergies. In addition, the doctrinal position concerning the Jews and Christians, inscribed in the Islamic revelation, unlike the Bible, constitutes the key obstacle to rapprochement with Islam.
The Quran: Marriage, Divorce, and Polygamy
Rules regarding marriage and divorce are highlighted in the Quran, and prophet Muhammad also reported that a Muslim has to perfect half of his religion when he marries. The Quran states that, God created mankind from one living soul, and from that soul a spouse was created so that man might find comfort in her (Quran 4:1; 7:107). Therefore, asceticism is not encouraged. Marriage was intended to be permanent.
Muhammad condemned men and women who frequently changed marriage partners and described divorce as the most detestable of all lawful things before God. However, provisions were made for divorce (Quran 2: 228-241). Traditionally, a husband could divorce a wife by reciting before witnesses three times, “I divorce you.” In modern Islamic societies, various laws prescribe the rules of divorce and the benefits of each party.
A major stereotype of Islam is that it allows a man to have many wives. It is true that the Quran permits a man to have up to four wives under certain conditions. It is a conditional permission and not a matter of necessity. A prerequisite of polygamy is for the wives to have the same rights and privileges.
The Quran insists that they be treated justly (4:3; 4:129). Although the Quran and tradition demonstrate that polygamy was permitted but practiced, it is not the rule of thumb in modern times. Many Islamic nations prohibit it; other control polygamy. The social and economic conditions of an individual affect his/her choice to have only one wife.
The Quran: Justification of Jihad
Jihad, in the Holy Quran, is declared warfare against injustice and oppression; which can only be carried out by an organized Muslim state. As such, an Islamic State has been given permission to fight against persecution in the society. The taking of any human life is not allowed, and this is stated in the Holy Quran. “Whosoever killed a single soul, except being a punishment for murder-is as if he killed the whole of mankind” (Quran 5:32).
Therefore, strict laws and rules that are derived from the Holy Quran govern the term Jihad. These teachings were ascribed to the Prophet Muhammad. In addition to Jihad’s strict laws and rules, there are moral and ethical teachings regarding them, as well. These teachings are based on fundamental teachings of the Holy Quran.
Quran, like the Christian Bible, depicts morality to its followers. Rules and guidelines are illustrated in an attempt to realize peaceful co-existence among the Muslim and Non-Muslim communities in the society. Occasionally, Non-Muslim communities have associated Islamic tradition and culture with war. This is the common stereotypes especially on the minimal understanding on Jihad’s rules and guidelines. As such, Quran focuses on spiritual and social harmony in the society.
Dawood, N. J. (2004). The Koran. London: Penguin.