Question: Can you briefly contrast the marital relationship in Islam with that in Christianity?
Answer: Islam advocates the inferiority of women in the marital relationship. The Quran in Surah 4:34 reads: “Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them. Lo! Allah is ever High, Exalted, Great.” (emp. Added) Mohammed Pickthall’s translation of the Quran.
In this passage the Quran states that a man may sexually banish his wife, without her consent, as punishment for displeasing him. And it also explicitly gives sanction to Muslim men to beat their wives.
In contrast, the Bible nowhere suggests that men have a right to inflict physical punishment on women in a marital relationship. And the command in the Quran to banish a wife to a separate bed clearly contradicts what the Bible teaches:
“Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control” (1 Corinthians 7:2-5, emp. added). Note how the Bible teaches that a married couple is not to refrain from sexual relations except by mutual consent, and then only for a brief period.
The Bible states that the marital relationship between the husband of wife should be built on love:
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her” (Ephesian 5:25). The supreme test of love is whether one is prepared to forgo happiness in order that their spouse might have it. In this respect the husband is to imitate Christ, giving up personal pleasures and comforts to obtain his wife’s happiness, standing by her side in the hour of sickness. Christ gave Himself for the church because she was in desperate need; He did it to save her. Therefore, wives, like the church, should deny themselves to follow their husbands.
In addition, according to the Bible the husband is to treat his wife with honor: “Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered” (1 Peter 3:7). The husband will give himself for the salvation of his wife, ministering to her spiritual needs, and she to his, in a spirit of mutual love.
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In His service,