Nuns and Muslim Women: Is there a difference?
With the rise of religious tension heating up around the world, one begins to wonder which of these tensions are justified and which ones aren’t. Seemingly, the latest trend has been a contrast between ‘Muslim‘ people and the Western world. Much like Christianity, Islam is one of the largest 3 religions in the world, drawing worship from almost every corner of Earth.
Over the recent few decades, the rise in terrorist groups who associate with Islam has caused a great deal of controversy among Western nations and those professing Islam. Some European nations have taken great measures to ensure that women are not covered with burqas* (see note). Some Westerners, feel that the these women are potentially dangerous and have no need to cover themselves completely. Others, feel that any laws against wearing them is a direct violation of human rights and freedom of expression. Which is it?
Obviously by the title of this article, it is sure to spark some controversy. Therefore, I am writing this as an opinion-free article. I need to quickly make the distinction that I am not advocating either group nor am I suggesting that their religious views are anything alike. All I am attempting to do is show some perspective, insights, and let you think about it for yourself.
*Note*: Burqa, or burka, is a word associated with the garment that covers the face of a muslim woman. There is some confusion with this word, but it is associated with the covering worn by Afghani women specifically.
What the Quran says about dress for Muslim women
The Quran is the Holy Book of Islam. In accordance with the Holy Quran, the associated sura (chapters) are below.
*33:59 “O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves [part] of their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.”
*18:31 “Those will have gardens of perpetual residence; beneath them rivers will flow. They will be adorned therein with bracelets of gold and will wear green garments of fine silk and brocade, reclining therein on adorned couches. Excellent is the reward, and good is the resting place.”
*24: 31 “And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts and not expose their adornment except that which [necessarily] appears thereof and to wrap [a portion of] their headcovers over their chests and not expose their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers, their brothers’ sons, their sisters’ sons, their women, that which their right hands possess, or those male attendants having no physical desire, or children who are not yet aware of the private aspects of women. And let them not stamp their feet to make known what they conceal of their adornment. And turn to Allah in repentance, all of you, O believers, that you might succeed.”
*7:26 “O children of Adam, We have bestowed upon you clothing to conceal your private parts and as adornment. But the clothing of righteousness – that is best. That is from the signs of Allah that perhaps they will remember.”
Many sources agree that the dress code for Muslim women can be defined by three main points: a.) That they wear their best garments, b.) that they lengthen their garments, and c.) that they cover their bosom or private parts.
(**Source www.quran.com – The Sahih International Translation**)
What the Bible teaches about dress for Nuns and Sisters
The Holy Bible is the Holy book of the Christian faith. The passages below are associated with dress for christian women.
1 tim 2:14 ” And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.”
1 Corinthians 11:1-34 “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.6 For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.8 For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man.9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.11 Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.12 For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.13 Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?15 But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.16 But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.”
1 Tim 2:9 “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array”
Proverbs 31:30 “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.”
1 Peter 3:1-5 “1 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;4But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands”
Similarly to the Quran, the covering of women is addressed in the Bible. The recurring theme with biblical dress is modesty.
(**Source: www.kingjamesbibleonline.org King James Edition**)
As I stated in the beginning, I did not write anything in this article based off of opinion. My sole intention was to present facts and allow people to make up their minds for themselves. Part of the concept of my site, is to stimulate conversation. Whether controversial or not. There are many differing opinions on the relevance of this topic in society. People are for it and against it for different reasons. One perspective that I’d like to share was from a university professor. He stated, that he had no religious reservations against a woman wishing to wear a full burqa. His issue was that if he were giving a test in class, how would he know who was taking the test?
Other people feel that women are being denied freedoms or being oppressed by wearing these. On the contrary, some believe that society would be denying freedom by banning any wearing of these. The truth is, each Islamic country seems to have a varying level of dress expectation for women. Arabian women are typically fully clothed from head to toe, whereas women from a country like Turkey weren’t even allowed to cover up in public institutions (because of a secular government) until more recently.
Please take a moment to look at the pictures below and see how you do. Feel free to share your peaceful thoughts on this topic by commenting below.
*Quiz on Pictures of Nuns and Muslim Women*
Which is which? (Answers below)
Picture 1: Christians or Muslims?
Picture 3: Christians or Muslims?
Picture 5: Christians or Muslims?
1.) Muslim Women in Kuwait City. (Source: http://goo.gl/WoLn0)
2.) Nuns fishing on a river. (Source: http://goo.gl/Cgf3N)
3.) Muslim Women. (Source: http://goo.gl/lju8r)
4.) Nuns in Parvis. (Source: http://goo.gl/G0vYQ)
5.) Nuns planting flowers. (Source: http://goo.gl/DyJRM)
How did you score? What are your thoughts on this topic?