The Instigator
Mirza
Pro (for)
Winning
22 Points
The Contender
Deathbeforedishonour
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Theological Debate: Islam Does Not Degrade Women

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
Mirza
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/25/2011 Category: Religion
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,912 times Debate No: 16707
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (12)
Votes (5)

 

Mirza

Pro

Resolved: The religion of Islam does not degrade women.

Introduction

Islam [1] is one of the Abrahamic religions. It has basis in the Qur'an and the sunnah [2], i.e., authentic narrations of the example of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).

It is a common myth that Islam dishonors women by degrading them and promoting men's rights over women's rights. Whoever wants to take the stance as Con (i.e., to prove the myth right) can do so by following the rules given below. The contender will have to prove from the Qur'an, or eventually from the authentic hadith, that Islam has a negative view on women.

Notice that the resolution mentions the term theology, meaning that we basically debate the Islamic theological viewpoints on women, not the practical situation that lies in the hands of Muslims in modern times.

Rules

Breaking the rules counts as forfeit and annulment of arguments:
  1. No personal attacks.
  2. No semantics.
  3. No misrepresentation of the opponent's arguments.
Clarification
  1. In the first round, Con accepts the rules and definitions, and makes an opening argument.
  2. The second round is a reservation for my arguments and rebuttals, as well as rebuttals from Con to my arguments.
  3. Final round is for rebuttals.
Thanks to my opponent in advance.

| References |

[1] http://www.en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...'an_and_Sunnah
Deathbeforedishonour

Con

I except this debate and its definitions and rules. I would also like to thank my opponent for a chance to debate,and I wish himw the best of luck.

My opponent says that islam theologically does not degrade women. I disagree and I will be proving my opponent wrong.

In the Qur'an, Sura 2:228 says ' Wives have the same rights as the husbands have on them in accordance with the generally known principles. Of course, men are a degree above them in status.'

It's basically saying that that wives have same rights as their husbands, but they are still not looked upon as equals. How does this not degrade women? To say that women are not equal to the men and are lower is clearly degrading women.

Sura 4:34 says: 'Men are managers of the affairs of women because Allah has made the one superior to the other.' This clearly says that men can tell women what to do, because the men are superoir to the women. How is this not degrading women?

In Sura 4:11 the Qur'an says: 'The share of the male shall be twice that of a female' Once again it degrades women as 2nd class citizens.

The Quran in Sura 2:282 says: 'And let two men from among you bear witness to all such documents. But if two men be not available, there should be one man and two women to bear witness so that if one of the women forgets , the other may remind her.' This is saying that a woman's testomony is only worth half that of a man.

In conclusion, the Qur'an says that women are not equal to men, and if you ask the commen woman if being considered inferior to a man degrades them you will get a yes. Therefore, Islam degrades women.

Vote Con!
Debate Round No. 1
Mirza

Pro

Thanks, Con. Recall I wrote in the comments section that we should not clog up the debate with walls of text. What I meant was not that we should refrain from using all the characters that we have, but rather sort the text properly so it is readable and not very boring at first sight. Just clarifying. Before I rebut certain points that my opponent presented, I will make arguments in favor of Islam first. This will also make it easier for me to explain why Con's points are weak and rather untrue. I will elaborate on the Islamic view on women throughout the Qur'an, as well as the authentic hadith.

Arguments

1. Females are equal to males

In the Qur'an, we read about both the rights and the good qualities of males and females. No passage in the Qur'an places men on a higher degree than women. Both are mentioned in honorable ways with accordance to different contexts. In short, what that means is that the Qur'an never puts emphasis on the qualities of men while ignoring the qualities of women. It never states that the righteous males will go to Paradise, and leaves it at that without mentioning women. Men and women are mentioned with equal proportionality in these regards.

[Qur'an 4:124] If any do deeds of righteousness,- be they male or female - and have faith, they will enter Heaven, and not the least injustice will be done to them.

[Qur'an 3:195] Never will I suffer to be lost the work of any of you, be he male or female: Ye are members, one of another...

Obviously one can go on quoting similar verses for a very long time. What we realize from the verses above is that the works of the male and the female are equal in the sight of Allah. If a man does a good deed, it does not count more than if a woman does a good deed. And good deeds are very significant in Islam. What point is there in our lives if we neglect doing good to God's creation?

Moreover, if we take a look at scriptures that were revealed earlier in the Qur'an, we realize that they put more emphasis on the male in preference to the female. In certain passages, daughters are looked upon as the least favorable among them and sons. In the Qur'an, we read that God is highly displeased with people who look negatively upon female children, or mistreat them like people in ancient times did. Read [Qur'an 16:58-59].

The following site gives an overview of Qur'anic verses, as well as statements from the Prophet (peace be upon him) concerning parents: http://www.islamfortoday.com... realize that the mother is honored at least as much as the father. In fact, when the beloved Prophet was asked concerning parents, the Prophet replied with very honorable words.

Sahih Bukhari: "A man came to the Prophet and said, ‘O Messenger of God! Who among the people is the most worthy of my good companionship? The Prophet said: Your mother. The man said, ‘Then who?' The Prophet said: Then your mother. The man further asked, ‘Then who?' The Prophet said: Then your mother. The man asked again, ‘Then who?' The Prophet said: Then your father."

He has also claimed that Paradise lies beneath a mother's feet. What I have shown so far is that women are highly honored in Islam, and given the facts above it is very hard to conclude that Islam degrades women.

2. Financial matters

Islam has placed a high emphasis on financial matters, as in every aspect of our lives. That is to ensure that we Muslims have something to guide us and make our lives easier. The scholars of Islam undoubtedly agree that financial matters are generally the responsibility of the male. The renowned Islamic commentator of the Qur'an, Abdullah Yusuf Ali, translated the Qur'anic verse 34 of the 4th chapter as follows: "Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means."

What people fail to realize is that this verse in no way says that men are superior to women. It deals with financial matters, to which God says that he has made on gender exceed the other (i.e., in financial matters). It also indicates that men are guardians of women. Women need to be protected from danger. Who protects a woman better than he nearest male relatives? Now, what we have is a verse telling us that men are in charge of financial matters.

According to Islamic Law, which is a personal law that every practicing Muslim follows, the male (hereby husband) is not only permitted, but obliged to distribute his wealth among his household. He is obliged to meet the needs of his children and wife in the best way possible. He has to work and provide the basics for his family, at minimum. However, none of this is obligatory for the female. If she is thrice as rich as her husband, she is not obliged to distribute her wealth. On the other hand, whatever the husband earns, he is obliged to spend on his household and particularly meet the needs of his wife.

Moreover, exceptions are welcome in necessary situations. If the husband is disabled, naturally the healthy wife should provide needs for the household, to her best ability. But necessities do not have to be elaborated on right now, since I think both my opponent and I agree that whatever ruling there is on any issue, necessary exceptions are welcome.

I will make further arguments for the Islamic view on women in the next rounds.

Rebuttals

My opponent cited Qur'an 2:228. He has not given any interpretation on the verse besides stating that "basically wives are not looked upon as equals [to husbands]." This is not true. The meaning of this verse is similar to the meaning of 4:34, which emphasizes the household responsibility of the male. He has a degree over the female in that regard. Having a greater responsibility is in no way an indication that the male has a higher status simply because he is a male.

Moving on, verse 4:34 has already been explained in my arguments. However, a follow up is 4:11 which speaks of the male inheritance being twice as big as that of the female. This is true in general terms. If we do simple maths, we realize that if Person X gets $100, and Person Y gets $50, and the former has to distribute his money, while the latter can do whatever he wants with his money, then naturally Person Y is in no way treated worse. At minimum, he is treated just as well as Person X. $100 for two people is equivalent to $50 for one person. Therefore, since Islam tells us that the male needs to distribute his wealth among his household, and the female is not obliged to do so, then the double inheritance for the male is neither unjust nor does it degrade women.

Also, the exception to this ruling applies when a female has the responsibility to maintain her household, if she is forced to do so in any way, such as lack of having male guardians to deal with the financial matters.

Concerning Qur'an 2:282, it is true that it speaks of two female witnesses for one male witness. However, as with all of the points my opponent presented, this clearly deals with financial matters. The entire verse is very large, but it begins with: "O ye who believe! When ye deal with each other, in transactions involving future obligations in a fixed period of time..." It speaks about financial transactions. Again, since it deals with finance, and the male has a greater responsibility in that, clearly it is reasonable to have one male as a witness for financial transactions for the value of two female witnesses. The responsibility is on the male, hence the male should not have to find another witness to deal with his own responsibility.

It is easy to prove that two female witnesses count for one male witness only regarding financial matters. The Qur'an speaks of witnesses for other crimes, and it mentions that either male or female witnesses can be brought. No mentioning of one more than the other. Clearly this means that excluding financial transactions, female witnesses count as good as the male witnesses.

Deathbeforedishonour

Con

Deathbeforedishonour forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
Mirza

Pro

It is unfortunate that my opponent forfeited the second round. I believe that the debate is as good as over, which is why I will summarize a few points and argue against random objections.

I have already made it clear that Con's objections to the resolution are weak. I rebutted his arguments in the previous round. One can easily notice that the verses he dealt with were about finance. One cannot simply read a verse from the Qur'an and conclude that Islam degrades women. He has to look at the classic commentaries, the narrations of the Prophet (peace be upon him), modern interpretations, and so on. That way it is easier to connect the dots and draw a conclusion. We realize that the reason why women generally have to inherit a smaller amount than men in specific cases is because the males have to use the money on themselves and their family members. They are the shepherds and have to provide needs for their flock. On the other hand, the woman will inherit less, but she will not be obliged to spend a cent on her husband. It is impossible to call that degradation of women.

One of the most common attacks on Islam is its command for women to cover themselves modestly. People spare no words with their tongues when they attack the head-covering, also known as the hijab. They call it oppressive. Degrading. Humiliating. Burdensome. They also like to claim that Muslim women do not want to wear the hijab. Ironic, since the group of converts to Islam that consists of women tends to outnumber the group of men.

"A key area of the study involved a survey of 122 converts in August and September. About 56 percent were white British and 62 percent were women." http://www.aolnews.com...

The hijab is a symbol of modesty and morality. A woman who wears the hijab is also supposed to wear the spiritual hijab. It refers to covering not only one's outer beauty, but also one's negative desires that occur naturally. When a woman wears modest clothes, she displays that she is a honorable woman. She does not want attention from every male, and does not want to be recognized by her outer beauty rather than her inner beauty. She does not want to be treated as a sex object. The West has come to the point where a disastrous number of females starve themselves so they can become skinny and attractive. They spend money on new clothes, cosmetics, etc., in very high amounts.

Recently I read news about high school females competing to be displayed on the front page of a famous magazine. They had to wear horribly revealing clothes and make all kinds of moves to be "noticed" and be picked as the front page person. How horrible is this. What kind of treatment of women is this? What does this tell about those girls' future lives? Will they be able to live with one partner each, and be truthful to them? Will they be able to live their lives without jealousy and strong need of attention? And who forces these women to behave like that? Their society. They have grown up and developed very strong thoughts about how their society portrays them. They feel that if they do not live up to certain criteria, they will be excluded from certain social goods. This is psychological force, and it is highly oppressive.

Islam will never accept this. If a woman wants to dress half-naked, then she can do so. But Islam will not tell her to do that. It will tell her to display her innerr beauty, to not make men feel good about women who are not their wives, to not spread fornication and adultery which result in STD's, abortions, disastrous lives for children who live with adulterous parents, and so on and so forth. This is not acceptable. Moreover, the Qur'an commands first and foremost the males to be modest and lower their gaze from looking at unlawful things (such as naked women). The fact that people only attack Qur'anic passages which deal with women and their modesty is a sign of intellectual laziness. Or bias.

Another myth about women in Islam is that they are not allowed to work. This is not agreed upon by prevalent scholars of old days nor modern times. What Islam says is that a man's primary work is outside the house, where he works and earns money that he will have to distribute among his household. On the other hand, a woman's primary work is in and around her home and household. What this means is that she has the obligation to make sure that the children can be ready to go to school, be fed properly, that the house is not messy and stress-causing, and so forth. This leads to good discipline of children, good relations with her husband, and an environment that is free of mess for both her and her household. However, she has every right to work like her husband. It is honorable for a woman to work as a teacher, doctor, and other things that help others, especially other women. So if both the husband and the wife work, they have to figure out how to balance their works outside the home and inside the home, so that their relationship can be stable and happy, and also that their children can be raised properly.

As long as the woman can fulfill her duties as a wife and mother, she can work outside the home. Similarly, the husband should provide goods for his wife and children and fulfill their needs. There is no degradation of any gender, nor are the roles unjust. If people followed such guidelines, divorce would not be very widespread, nor would children grow up with problems caused by their parents' horrible relationships.

The woman also has the right to seek knowledge and educate herself. The fact that certain cultures in the world take away these fundamental rights of women does not have much to do with Islam. Honor killings are also forbidden and highly cultural. They do not take places in all Islamic societies, but in specific ones (noticeably in Asia). A caste system in India that many Muslims also follow is clear proof of cultural influence, since Islam has no words in favor of a caste system.

Many people argue against the Qur'anic permission for men to have up to four wives. [Qur'an 4:3] "Marry women of your choice, Two or three or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one." The first thing to notice is that this is not a command for men to marry four wives, but a permission. Without going through the reasons for this, I will shortly explain why there is nothing wrong with this verse. Notice how the Qur'an strictly says that if a man cannot deal justly with all his wives according to his best ability, the he must marry only one wife. The command to marry only one wife in any given scenario is not found in any verse of any scripture I have read. Only the Qur'an emphasizes on "marry only one." Moreover, if a woman does not want her future husband to marry other women, then that can be applied to the marriage contract, since it is not an obligation for the man, and it can therefore be ruled out.

To conclude, there is nothing in Islam that degrades women. It honors them by setting proper guidelines for them that are of equal value compared to those of men. I have gained a lot of information about women in Islam, and the more I get to know about their rights according to Islam, the more I feel closer to Islam itself. It is shameful how women are treated in the West, and what kind of expectations they have to live up to. They have to be slaves to the eyes of men, fashion, and cosmetics, gossip, backbiting, etc. Not acceptable by Islam.

[Qur'an 33:35] For Muslim men and women,- for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for true men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in Charity, for men and women who fast (and deny themselves), for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in Allah's praise,- for them has Allah prepared forgiveness and great reward.

Thank you.
Deathbeforedishonour

Con

Deathbeforedishonour forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
12 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Deathbeforedishonour 5 years ago
Deathbeforedishonour
lol i just thought of it off the top of my head
Posted by Mirza 5 years ago
Mirza
Definitely agree!
Posted by JustCallMeTarzan 5 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
I find Con's name amusing in light of his forfeits.
Posted by Mirza 6 years ago
Mirza
BennyW,

I don't understand which verse I did not address. I don't see how that makes it "several" anyway.
Posted by Mirza 6 years ago
Mirza
Roy,

Thanks for voting. Although I somewhat agree with your point, I made it very clear in the resolution and in the first round that we are debating theology in its pure form, not as it is reflected by people today. Also, in the case of Islam, regardless of what Muslims do, the best example is the one of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). So we do have a good example of how Islam is in its pure practical form simply by looking at his deeds. What Muslims might to today is not telling us how Islam is in practice, for reasons that you too have mentioned. It varies from culture to culture. Therefore we look back at both the doctrine and its practical form according to the most important man, and that is where we base conclusions on how Islam treats women etc.
Posted by RoyLatham 6 years ago
RoyLatham
It's a mistake to argue religion based upon doctrine. That might be what a religion ought to be, but only the practice is what a religion is. Most religious works offer conflicting dictates, as shown in this debate. So that makes it unclear what it ought to be. Present day Islam, as practiced, generally degrades women. However, the practice isn't uniform, and, for example, Indonesia is a lot better than Iran. So I don't think degrading women is inherent or necessary.
Posted by Mirza 6 years ago
Mirza
That's okay. It happens!
Posted by Deathbeforedishonour 6 years ago
Deathbeforedishonour
I appologise for not being able to get the 2nd round done in time, my mom grounded me for stupid reasons. :(
Posted by Mirza 6 years ago
Mirza
Anyone else?
Posted by Mirza 6 years ago
Mirza
I appreciate neither of us clogging up the debate with walls of texts.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by BennyW 6 years ago
BennyW
MirzaDeathbeforedishonourTied
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit, however pro failed to fully refute con's claims and didn't even address several of he verses.
Vote Placed by GMDebater 6 years ago
GMDebater
MirzaDeathbeforedishonourTied
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: forfeit
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 6 years ago
RoyLatham
MirzaDeathbeforedishonourTied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Con forfeit leaves arguments unanswered. See comments.
Vote Placed by baggins 6 years ago
baggins
MirzaDeathbeforedishonourTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con did not show up to defend his first post - losing on argument, conduct and sources.
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 6 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
MirzaDeathbeforedishonourTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Unfortunate, though nice first response Mirza.