The treatment of women and minority groups has had a largely negative impact on the morally correct standards of religions. Christianity and Islam are the two biggest religions in the world. Their sacred texts (the Bible and Qu’ran) state clearly their opinions of how women should be seen; however, both the Bible and the Qu’ran treat outsiders/minorities (not including women) as equals. Christianity has now conceded to the fact that women were initially seen as a minority during the time of Jesus; although, the current followers claim to have changed the way they see others, no longer as individual minorities but rather an equal society of beings.
The Bible and Qu’ran clearly state opposing views on women and how they shall be seen compared to men; however, both sacred texts share the same views on other minority groups such as; gays, prostitutes, non-believers in their particular religion, sinners and the poor. The Bible uses the word “man” throughout its pages. Females, like males, are made in God’s likeness and image according to Genesis 1:27. In Galatians 3:23-29 there is neither male nor female in Christ. All are heirs to the promise. Not only are women given the right to be children of God, but they are given the right to pray as well as be forgiven, healed, delivered, loved, and counseled by the Holy Spirit. Women in the Qur’an are important characters and subjects of discussion in the stories and morals taught in Islam. Some of the women in the Qur’an are portrayed in a positive light, while others are condemned for their actions. While the Qur’an does not directly name any woman except for Mary, women play a role in many of the stories that the Qur’an tells. These stories have been subject to manipulation and rigid interpretation in both classical commentary and popular literature from patriarchal societies. In the New Testament parables, the Lord threads stories of women who sought an audience with Jesus and received it. Their voices were heard. These women were seen, healed, provided for, and delivered. (John 7:11-17, Luke 13:10-17, and Luke 1:26-38 show examples and further explain this) Often, Jesus’ interaction with women flowed against the tradition and understanding of society. But man-made rules didn’t stop Jesus—women either. Both the Bible and the Qu’ran make clear distinctions about how women are equal to men and should be treated as such. Neither the Bible nor the Qur’an (Koran) has a lot to say about homosexuality, and what they do say relates only indirectly to contemporary discussions about gay rights and same-sex marriage. Like pre-modern scholars of law and ethics, these books assume heteronormativity. Scriptures and later writers usually referred only to particular sexual acts and did not raise the issue of personal sexual orientation. For religious conservatives, though, both Muslim and Christian, the occasional derogatory reference to same-sex acts is enough to prove their inherent sinfulness in all circumstances. The bible does not talk explicitly about gays (homosexuality), the only major references to this topic are; Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:1–11)(Levitical laws condemning same-sex relationships) The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: If you find anyone doing as Lot’s people did, kill the one who does it, and the one to whom it is done (38:4447). (The Conversation, 2019)It is doubtful whether any passage of the Qur’an refers to lesbian acts though the condemnation of women who commit indecency (4:15) is sometimes read this way. A few hadith warn women against seeing or touching each other when naked. (Biblegateway.com, 2019) Leviticus 18:20; ‘You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.’ Chapter 18 verse 22. ‘If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them. ‘ Chapter 20 verse 13. (En.wikipedia.org, 2019).
Christianity did not begin until after Jesus’ death; therefore, the religion followed was Judaism. During the time of Jesus Christ, the role and idea of women (within Judaism) was drastically different than it was for men, as it was in the time of Muhammad. Jews believed that the life of a male’s primarily responsibility was public based, while a woman’s life was extremely confined to the point of not exceeding the inner family. This was the cause of the people’s beliefs; whereas, Muslims followed a code of conduct. The women in Muslim societies and communities (during the time of Muhammad) faced gender-based inequalities associated with the so-called “patriarchal gender system.” The system features consist of male domination, early marriage (and consequent high fertility), restrictive codes of female behavior, the linkage of family honor with female virtue, and occasionally, polygamous family structure. Although Judaism did not discriminate by abiding by a patriarchal system, they had strict expectations of women. Women had little rights and were considered of lesser stature. The women with whom Jesus spoke were believed to be only illiterate women. They were separated from men in private, public and religious life. This is due to the fact that the people did not consider it incumbent upon women to learn to read in order to study the Scriptures. Based on the passage in Deut. 4:9, “teach them to thy sons,” it was declared that women were to be exempt from the commandment to learn the Law of Moses. Although both religions discriminated women, In Muslim areas, veiling and sex-segregation form part of the gender system. Causing them to do so legally, while the Jews did so on account of, what they believed to be, upholding their high stature. Therefore, both religions had negative actions and beliefs of how women should be treated during the time of their founder. In touching the leper, Jesus also defies Levitical law. When the Son sent forth the disciples with instructions to heal the sick, cleansing the lepers was specifically mentioned in Matthew 10:8. Leprosy symbolizes the defilement of sin which results in separation from God and the community. (En.wikipedia.org, 2019) By doing this Jesus showed compassion towards the minority groups. Evidence from the Arabic sources clearly demonstrates that lepers were treated with a great degree of trepidation during Muhammad’s lifetime. Muhammad exercised caution on permitting close contact with lepers but still thoroughly held that contagions, such as leprosy, were transmittable only through the will of God. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1057%2F9780230339491_3 This shows Muhammad’s dislike towards the minorities.
Christians today rejoice in the fact that women now are affirmed in professions, in secular leadership, in government, even as heads of government; that women have the vote; that women are welcomed into the workforce. Few, if any, traditionalists argue that we should stop educating women, encouraging them to be lawyers and doctors and teachers, or being allowed to vote. I think we should learn from this. Contemporary Muslim women’s activism in claiming an interpretive role within the Islamic tradition tends to focus on three key aspects of religious life: reciting, teaching, and interpreting the Qur’an; participating in and leading public worship and interpreting Islamic law. There is a multiplicity of voices in these debates, some conservative and some self-designated ‘progressive,’ with some claiming a position of equality with men and others affirming certain unique roles for men and women. Vibrant, passionate, and often contentious, these debates are among the most important in defining Islam in the twenty-first century. Women are increasingly present in highly visible positions of religious prominence, although, to date, few have significant positions in the religious establishment and none have achieved the highest positions, such as grand mufti or ayatollah. Today, many religious people are becoming more affirming of same-sex relationships, even in denominations with official stances against homosexuality. (En.wikipedia.org, 2019).It is, however, forbidden by law to conduct same-sex marriages within its churches. The ‘church allows same-sex couples to have special prayers after their wedding’, but does not allow gay priests to marry (En.wikipedia.org, 2019). The Islam community fllow their laws on gays, their laws state; when looking at the issue of gay marriage, two main features of the Shariah are most pertinent. First, the Shariah is law. It is concerned primarily with actions as opposed to emotions or wishes. Second, marriage in the Shariah is not a sacrament. Stripped of all the cultural accretions Muslims have added on, and minus the obviously crucial elements of love and companionship, marriage is nothing more than — literally — a contract between a man and a woman (Brown and Brown, 2019).
Historically, the interpretation of Islam has been largely a male endeavor. Although the first convert to Islam was a woman (Muhammad’s first wife, Khadijah), and women played an important role in the transmission of hadith (the sayings and deeds of the prophet Muhammad) and the development of Sufism, women have generally been marginalized from the male centers of Islamic interpretation, including both scripture and law, and leadership roles in public worship. But this has changed in recent times. What seems to happen within the first few centuries is the activities women might have had in the beginning begin to get curtailed as you have the development of a hierarchy of clergy members with bishops, presbyters and deacons, and it’s pretty firmly established that women should not be either bishops or priests. Even though women tend to get excluded from those functions, they do have some roles including joining a group called the widows or deaconesses in the fourth century. In both religions, I do believe that the founder of each would somewhat be somewhat satisfied with the level of improvement in the treatment of women. However, in saying that, there is still much confliction and debates on whether women are receiving enough equality in Isalm and Christianity.