Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

The Urine of a Boy VS the Urine of a Girl in Islam Pt. 1

Sam Shamoun

Muslims complain that the ritual purification of a woman who gives birth to a baby girl is twice as long as that of a baby boy:

"The Lord said to Moses, ‘Say to the Israelites: “A woman who becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son will be ceremonially unclean for seven days, just as she is unclean during her monthly period. On the EIGHTH DAY the boy is to be circumcised. Then the woman must wait thirty-three days to be purified from her bleeding. She must not touch anything sacred or go to the sanctuary until the days of her purification are over. If she gives birth to a daughter, for two weeks the woman will be unclean, as during her period. Then she must wait sixty-six days to be purified from her bleeding.”’” Leviticus 12:1-5

Admittedly, this is a difficult passage since we are not given enough details concerning exactly why the purification period for the birth of an infant girl is double than that of the birth of boy.

However, the text itself seems to provide at least one reason why a mother would be declared unclean for only seven days in the case of male children, namely, the length of uncleanness is interrupted by the command to circumcise the boy on the eighth day. Being ceremonially unclean on the eighth day may have prohibited the mother from witnessing her own son’s circumcision.

The Zondervan NIV Bible Commentary provides another (possible) reason for the command in counterbalancing cultural influences:

"In many countries girls are less desired than boys. Thoughtless husbands might have taken better care of baby boys and their mothers; so a longer time at home might have been positive help for a mother with a baby girl. No difference is made in the temple ritual between the birth of a boy or a girl. The only difference is in the periods of uncleanness and seclusion." (Kenneth L. Barker & John R. Kohlenberger III, ed. Zondervan NIV Bible Commentary - Volume 1: Old Testament [Zondervan Publishing House; Grand Rapids, MI 1994], p. 139; bold emphasis ours)

Furthermore, the context clearly shows that no implication of female inferiority can be inferred from the prolonged period of uncleanness:

"When the days of her purification for a son OR DAUGHTER are over, she is to bring to the priest at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting a year-old lamb for a burnt offering and a young pigeon or a dove for a sin offering. He shall offer them before the LORD to make atonement for her, and then she will be ceremonially clean from her flow of blood. These are the regulations for the woman who gives birth to a boy OR A GIRL. If she cannot afford a lamb, she is to bring two doves or two young pigeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering. In this way the priest will make atonement for her, and she will be clean." Leviticus 12:6-8

Pay close attention to the fact that the sacrifices for male and female infants are identical, supporting the view that males and females in general have equal value in the eyes of God. As we shall see, such is not the case in Islam.

That females have the same inherent dignity and value as males do, is further substantiated by the following texts:

“Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness. THEY will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, all the earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.’ So God created man in His own image; He created him in the image of God; He created THEM MALE AND FEMALE.” Genesis 1:26-27

“This is the book of the generations of Adam. On the day that God created Adam, He made him in the likeness of God; He created THEM MALE AND FEMALE. When THEY were created, He blessed THEM AND CALLED THEM ADAM.” Genesis 5:1-2

Here we see that God created man or Adam to be both male and female, and that he bestowed on both of them the authority to rule over his physical creation as his image-bearers. Therefore, since the female is just as much an image-bearer as the male this shows that they have equal worth and dignity in the sight of God, just as we discover in the following citations: 

“Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God.” 1 Corinthians 11:11-12

“for you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ like a garment. There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, heirs according to the promise.” Galatians 3:26-29

A man is not better than a woman or vice-versa since men come from women, and are therefore interdependent, and because they are also both one in Jesus Christ as far as redemption and spiritual blessings are concerned.

The inspired Scriptures further exhort the men to treat their wives as their own bodies, never being harsh with them, and imposes on both of them equal conjugal rights and responsibilities:

“Now in response to the matters you wrote about: ‘It is good for a man not to have relations with a woman.’ But because sexual immorality is so common, each man should have his own wife, and each woman should have her own husband. A husband should fulfill his marital responsibility to his wife, and likewise a wife to her husband. A wife does not have the right over her own body, but her husband does. IN THE SAME WAY, a husband does not have the right over his own body, BUT HIS WIFE DOES. Do not deprive one another sexually—except when YOU AGREE for a time, to devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again; otherwise, Satan may tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” 1 Corinthians 7:1-5

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her to make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word. He did this to present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and blameless. In the same way, husbands are to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hates his own flesh but provides and cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, since we are members of His body. ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ This mystery is profound, but I am talking about Christ and the church. To sum up, each one of you is to love his wife AS HIMSELF, and the wife is to respect her husband.” Ephesians 5:25-33

“Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.” Colossians 3:19

“Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” 1 Peter 3:7

Such rights and responsibilities cannot be found in the religion of Muhammad, as well shall see in the next part.

This inherent essential equality can be further seen from the fact that God raised up female prophets and leaders for the people, something which Islam outright denies:

“Then Miriam the prophetess, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women followed her with their tambourines and danced.” Exodus 15:20

“Indeed, I brought you up from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from that place of slavery. I sent Moses, Aaron, AND MIRIAM ahead of you.” Micah 6:4

“Deborah, a woman who was a prophetess and the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time.” Judges 4:4

“So Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Achbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah went to the prophetess Huldah, wife of Shallum son of Tikvah, son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe. She lived in Jerusalem in the Second District. They spoke with her. She said to them, ‘This is what the Lord God of Israel says, “Say to the man who SENT YOU TO ME: This is what the Lord says: I am about to bring disaster on this place and on its inhabitants, fulfilling all the words of the book that the king of Judah has read, because they have abandoned Me and burned incense to other gods in order to provoke Me with all the work of their hands. My wrath will be kindled against this place, and it will not be quenched. Say this to the king of Judah who sent you to inquire of the Lord: This is what the Lord God of Israel says: As for the words that you heard, because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I spoke against this place and against its inhabitants, that they would become a desolation and a curse, and because you have torn your clothes and wept before Me, I Myself have heard you—this is the Lord’s declaration—therefore, I will indeed gather you to your fathers, and you will be gathered to your grave in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster that I am bringing on this place.”’ Then they reported to the king.” 2 Kings 22:14-20

“My God, remember Tobiah and Sanballat for what they have done, and also Noadiah the prophetess and the other prophets who wanted to intimidate me.” Nehemiah 6:14

“I was then intimate with the prophetess, and she conceived and gave birth to a son. The Lord said to me, ‘Name him Maher-shalal-hash-baz, for before the boy knows how to call out father or mother, the wealth of Damascus and the spoils of Samaria will be carried off to the king of Assyria.’” Isaiah 8:3-4

“There was also a prophetess, Anna, a daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was well along in years, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and was a widow for 84 years. She did not leave the temple complex, serving God night and day with fasting and prayers. At that very moment, she came up and began to thank God and to speak about Him to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.” Luke 2:36-38

“The next day we left and came to Caesarea, where we entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the Seven, and stayed with him. This man had four virgin daughters who prophesied.” Acts 21:8-9

In fact, God even promised to pour out his Holy Spirit upon both men and women in order to enable them both to prophesy and receive revelations from him:

“You will know that I am present in Israel and that I am Yahweh your God, and there is no other. My people will never again be put to shame. After this I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; then your sons and YOUR DAUGHTERS will prophesy, your old men will have dreams, and your young men will see visions. I will even pour out My Spirit on the male and FEMALE slaves in those days. I will display wonders in the heavens and on the earth: blood, fire, and columns of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the great and awe-inspiring Day of the Lord comes. Then everyone who calls on the name of Yahweh will be saved, for there will be an escape for those on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, as the Lord promised, among the survivors the Lord calls.” Joel 2:27-32

This is precisely what God did on the day of Pentecost when the risen Lord Jesus poured forth the Spirit from the Father upon all of Christ’s male and female servants:

“Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called the Mount of Olives, which is near Jerusalem—a Sabbath day’s journey away. When they arrived, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying: Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James. All these were continually united in prayer, along with the women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and His brothers.” Acts 1:12-14

“When the day of Pentecost had arrived, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like that of a violent rushing wind came from heaven, and it filled the whole house where they were staying. And tongues, like flames of fire that were divided, appeared to them and rested on each one of them. Then they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different languages, as the Spirit gave them ability for speech… But Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice, and proclaimed to them: ‘Men of Judah and all you residents of Jerusalem, let me explain this to you and pay attention to my words. For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it’s only nine in the morning. On the contrary, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: “And it will be in the last days, says God, that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; then your sons and YOUR DAUGHTERS will prophesy, your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams. I will even pour out My Spirit on My male and FEMALE slaves in those days, and they will prophesy. I will display wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below: blood and fire and a cloud of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the great and remarkable Day of the Lord comes. Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”… Since he was a prophet, he knew that God had sworn an oath to him to seat one of his descendants on his throne. Seeing this in advance, he spoke concerning the resurrection of the Messiah: He was not left in Hades, and His flesh did not experience decay. God has resurrected this Jesus. We are all witnesses of this. Therefore, since He has been exalted to the right hand of God and has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit, He has poured out what you both see and hear.’” Acts 2:1-4, 14-21, 30-33

With the foregoing in perspective, no implication of inferiority can be inferred from the text of Leviticus 12 when it is read in light of the overall context and message of the Holy Bible concerning the inherent dignity and rights that women possess from their Creator.

With that said, it is time now to turn the tables on Muslims and see whether their religion can stand up to the same criticism and scrutiny which they are all too quick to subject the Holy Bible to.