Ties that Bind Women in Islam and Christianity

by Kristin Lassen | January 30, 2021

Many Western, Protestant Christians oscillate between pity, fear, compassion, and scorn for burqa-clad women. Like many Christian symbols and articles of clothing that honor Christian faith, the hijab is often perilously misunderstood.1 In recent decades, two primary views have emerged within Protestant Christianity regarding the ontology and roles of women, commonly known as complementarian and feminist or egalitarian, with the latter challenging years of dominant patriarchal church culture.2 Likewise, Muslim women expound liberating interpretations of their faith, but the cacophony of centuries-long religious conflict often drowns the voices of women in general.

Elizabeth Warnock Fernea, a pioneer in the field of Middle Eastern women’s studies, joins Middle East and Arabic specialist, Basima Qattan Bezirgan, in describing the misperception of Middle Eastern women by those in their own society. These scholars expand the discussion by asking, “How much greater, then, the refraction or even distortion when persons from different cultures view each other through the prism of their own cultural values?”3

Scholars and practitioners of Christianity and Islam make their cases for women’s equality, though equality may be defined differently for each. The tendency in the East is toward greater recognition for women; in the West, a major goal is inclusion of women in senior leadership positions.4 This article will examine the similar ways egalitarian convictions aim to challenge and change cultural mores vis-à-vis the equality of women, within patriarchal strands of Islam and in patriarchal Christian culture.5 Though these Abrahamic religions are distinct, this article will argue that Christianity and Islam have more in common than meets the eye vis-à-vis the treatment of women. It is my hope that this common ground provides a rich context for both interfaith dialogue and a deeper understanding of a shared holy book—the Bible.

Exploring Commonalities between Christian and Muslim Women

The Qur’an is not the Bible. Muslims are different from Christians. And the communal structure of Middle Eastern society is different from the hierarchical, individualistic West.6 Analyzing the feminist movements in these diverse settings is like comparing apples and persimmons. Nevertheless, many Christian and Muslim women have indeed experienced certain commonalities.

Christian and Muslim Women’s Experiences are more Complex than the Dominant Narratives about Them.

When examining the history of women in Islam, one must move away from the dichotomy that, on the one hand, the Qur’an was radical for its time in its position-advancing statements about women or, on the other hand, Middle Eastern women have lived in inescapable bondage. Both are true, argue Fernea and Bezirgan.7

Openness to complexity without relying on strict dichotomy is one of Paul Lederach’s principles toward developing the moral imagination needed to end political violence.8 This imaginative openness is needed to see Middle Eastern women in their multifaceted reality, and then to grasp that the contributing factors to their religious and cultural situation are not so different from those facing Christian women in patriarchal settings.

The capacity to expand one’s moral imagination also requires the humility to see humanity as a web of relationships that includes women, men, friends, and even enemies. Such humility makes possible both the continued pursuit of creativity in a new paradigm and the risk involved when stepping into unknown territory. These factors that Lederach summons to rise above political violence are also necessary in the quest to eliminate gender hierarchy—given the physical, emotional, and spiritual violence that accompanies gender hierarchy regardless of one’s religion.9

Different perspectives emerge when we listen to voices that have been overshadowed by the dominant narratives. Consider, for example, Muslim conservative apologists who argue that the status of Muslim women is “no worse than that of Western women” because Middle Eastern women are “respected, cared for and guarded compared to the licentiousness which characterizes Western relations between the sexes.”10 When women’s voices are heard, however, we find that there are “fundamentally different Islams” that result from different views of the Qur’an; it is “imperative to challenge the authoritarian and patriarchal readings of Islam that are profoundly affecting the lives and future of Muslim women.”11

As a tandem example from Christianity, prominent patriarchal pastor John Piper argues that, when men take the “primary responsibility” for leadership in the home and church, “there are fields of opportunity that are simply endless.”12Not for women! The words “Not for women,” are scrawled in the margin of the library copy of Piper and Wayne Grudem’s book that I have before me. This simple phrase underscores the Spirit-subjugating experiences that this well-intentioned yet myopic ideology delivers.13

Christian and Muslim Women have had Liberating Teachings of Their Founders Denied or Ignored.

Islamic feminism and Christian egalitarianism desire to ground equality in the Qur’an or Bible, respectively. Egalitarians in both religions present solid, equality-affirming interpretations of their respective Scriptures as the corrective to patriarchal cultural norms that were neither intended nor practiced by their founders.

The Qur’an was quite liberating for women at the time of its writing, and history proves that subsequent Middle Eastern women have often experienced subjugation. Fernea and Bezirgan go on to say that the paradox of Middle Eastern society can be better understood linearly—on one end of the line is the “Koran (the word of God)” and on the opposite end of the same line is “tribal and family custom (the word of men).”14 Economic, social, and familial variance determine how close or far one falls from the “Koranic ideal.” Faithful Islamic women find dignity and liberation in the Qur’an. “The problem is the way the Qur’an and Islam have been (mis) interpreted.”15

Many Muslim feminists are careful to distinguish themselves from the Western feminism that disparages sexual modesty.16 “Islamic movements emphasize the need for female modesty, a degree of separation and limiting women’s public roles.” They view their approach to women’s liberation to be preferable to the Western feminism that has resulted in “promiscuity, pornography and the debasing of women.”17 Even as the Qur’an acknowledges the sexual aspects of the female body and “its greater vulnerability to abuse in patriarchies, it does not do so in order to discriminate against women,” to comment on moral character, or to assign gender roles.18

Muslim women find the struggle for equality difficult “because of the assumption that equality is a Western, not an Islamic, value,” yet Asma Barlas explains how “the Qur’an establishes the . . . equality of the sexes” in a way distinct from what Western “patriarchal thought” draws upon.19 Additionally, Western history proves that “there is nothing innately Islamic about misogyny, inequality, or patriarchy.”20 A Protestant missionary to Syria in the mid-1800s noted that Christians in Syria “beat their wives as often as Muslims.”21 The Qur’an also calls men to dress decently and to avoid sexual provocation. Barlas writes that inappropriate interpretations of the Qur’an and the “obsession with the female body” have enforced veiling and have diminished the truth that “the real veil is in the eyes/gaze” (Surah 24:30).22 This is strikingly similar to Jesus’s words in Matt 5:28–29, “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to be thrown into hell” (NRSV).

Piper and Grudem’s 1991 book, Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, rightly highlights the “high value [Jesus] placed on women by according them dignity in his ministry”23 but then undermines this truth by overlooking the leadership of women in the ministries of Jesus and Paul. Further, the authors argue that only men were apostles, though Junia is named as such in Rom 16:7.24 The book also insists that “top” leadership in the church must be male, in contrast with Paul’s list of leaders in Rom 16, which names more women in ministry roles than men.25 Philip Payne explains that Phoebe held “the clearest NT identification of an individual with titles associated with senior local church leadership.26 Importantly, the women who “gave to Christ” and “served him”—actions named as subservient roles by Piper27—exhibited the leadership that epitomized Christ’s life and death of self-sacrifice (John 13:1–17, 19:1ff., Eph 5:2, Phil 2:1–11).

N. T. Wright refers to such views when he gives the following chilling assessment of their outcome, concluding with a statement of hope:

I believe we have seriously misread the New Testament passages addressed in this essay. These misreadings are undoubtedly due to a combination of assumptions, traditions, and all kinds of post-biblical and sub-biblical attitudes that have crept in to Christianity. . . .

I do wonder sometimes if those who present radical challenges to Christianity have been all the more eager to seize upon misreadings of what the Bible says about women as an excuse for claiming that Christianity in general is a wicked thing and we ought to abandon it. Unfortunately, plenty of Christians have given outsiders plenty of chances to draw those sorts of conclusions. But perhaps in our generation we have an opportunity to take a large step back in the right direction.28

Unfortunately, patriarchy has long been the dominant motif in the church, as Greek philosophical views of women assumed increasing influence after the laying of egalitarian foundations in first-century Christianity.29 Over the centuries, cultural views of women have been mistaken for the biblical view, and egalitarianism in both religions has been falsely accused of capitulating to culture.

Rebecca Koerselman does not believe that “Christianity or the God whom we worship is patriarchal. If anything, the Bible is very clear about recognizing the poor and the oppressed and raising their status—and women have always been among the oppressed, historically.”30

Disparity exists between both Christian and Muslim origins and later practice. “Even after the Prophet’s time all Muslims without regard to sex were treated alike by authority . . . later, in spite of the clearly expressed intentions of the Koran, its interpreters . . . who had been brought up in an environment in which men avowedly ruled, imposed their own views and traditions upon the Muhammadan world.”31 Khadija was Muhammad’s first wife, was older and economically successful, and had been his boss. She and Aisha, his favorite wife after Khadija died, along with daughter Fatima, had considerable influence on Muhammad and subsequent trajectories of Islam.32 Likewise, Jesus had numerous female disciples (Luke 8:1-3, etc.) and commissioned women to preach the gospel (Matt 28, Mark 16:1–8, Luke 24, John 20).

Christian and Muslim Women have been Told to Submit to Men because Their God is Male.

Deuteronomy 4:15–16 warns against viewing God as male or female: “Since you saw no form when the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the fire, take care and watch yourselves closely, so that you do not act corruptly by making an idol for yourselves, in the form of any figure—the likeness of male or female” (NRSV).33

Viewing God as male results in giving power to men. Barlas notes that, “sexual hierarchies and theories of father/husband rule in religious patriarchies derive from representations of God as Father/male.”34 She returns to the nature of Qur’anic divine self-disclosure to show that this ignores “the Qur’an’s unyielding rejection” of such notions, “displacing father/male rule in favor of God’s Rule and Sovereignty.”35

Similarly, a doctrine common in evangelical Christianity is that a wife must unilaterally submit to her husband. This teaching, erroneously based on texts like Eph 5:22–24, has, in turn, been used to support male as “priest of the home” teachings in clear contradiction with the Bible’s message that Christ is the one mediator between humanity and God (1 Tim 2:5, see also Matt 11:27, John 14:6).36

Christian and Muslim Women have been Told They are Equal but Have Different Roles.

Surah 33:3537 and certain other passages in the Qur’an are often quoted to suggest that men and women are equal before Allah—but while women are equal spiritually, they are not believed to be equal socially or economically.38 This sounds like the adage of patriarchal Christians, “equal in worth, different in role,” which parallels the modern American “separate but equal.”39 Instead, both traditions strayed from the trajectory set by their founders when deeply negative views of women from the surrounding cultures infiltrated earlier, more egalitarian teachings and practices. This disparity between Scripture and culture is vital to understanding the practice of veiling for Muslim women and biblical references to the same.

Veiling: Dignity or Subordination?

The above description of commonalities between Christian and Muslim women is largely doctrinal. Doctrine and practice are, of course, interwoven, and we shift now to focus on a particular practice that millions of Christian and Muslim women have experienced over the centuries—veiling. This practice, together with the teachings and motivations behind it, will serve as an extended example of the overlapping experiences of Christian and Muslim women.

The Complexity of Veiling in Muslim History

In 1923, Huda Sh’arawi, daughter of a wealthy landowner and founder of the Egyptian Feminist Union, removed her face veil in an Alexandria train station in protest of her perceived inferior status. She was well-educated and did not find headscarves to be a requirement in the Qur’an. A movement was born. Years later, however, Egyptian daughters began wearing veils in favor of modesty, “ironically with the same [feminist] rationale their grandmothers used to discard it.”40 “How could this be?” we wonder in the West. “Who would put herself back under oppression?” is the question asked by those who view the situation without a culturally informed lens.

Indeed, the history of veiling Muslim women (and men!) is more complex than the two contrasting situations described above. Consider the following selection of examples: “Early historical chronicles indicate that, in the time of the Prophet [sixth-seventh centuries], a veil was the sign of a respectable woman,” yet in some modern cultures, prostitutes now don the veil to conceal their identity to avoid vengeance from male kin in the form of “honor” killings.41 Among the southern Sahara Tuareg people, the men are veiled to show their high status.42 Into the ninth century, women prayed at the mosque and performed the haj pilgrimage, Islam’s holiest ritual, with faces uncovered.

Barlas notes that in ancient societies the veil indicated high status for women to protect them from non-Muslim men, who saw an unveiled woman as “fair game.” In a non-believing, slave-owning society the veil signified sexual nonavailability, but only when men invested it with such meaning. Consequently, the veil “served as a marker of [non-Muslim] male sexual promiscuity and abuse at a time when women had no legal recourse against such abuse and had to rely on themselves for their own protection.”43 Conservative interpretation of Muslim holy texts “inverts their intent” into a need to protect women from Muslim men, “or, alternatively, to shield the latter from viewing potentially corrupt/ing female bodies. These reversals indicate that conservatives accept [non-believers’] views not only of a dangerous and depraved female nature but also of a deviant male sexuality that can be kept in check only by ‘disappearing’ women from view, themes which are missing from the Qur’an itself.”44

We see parallels within patriarchal Christianity: The intent of certain biblical texts is inverted, and cultural ideas about women’s inferiority and male lack of self-control are adopted. For Islam, this has included compulsory and comprehensive veiling of bodies (not just bosom and neck).45 For patriarchal Christianity, subjugation of women often includes policing women’s behavior and clothing, failure of men to take accountability for one’s own lust, and lack of access to leadership roles for women.

First Corinthians 11:2–16

The veiling of Christian women, in its various forms over the ages, inevitably seeks a rationale in 1 Cor 11:2–16. Interpretations of this text have too often inverted Paul’s intent—a commonality with the experience of many Muslim women. Rather than recognizing Paul’s intent of veiling to protect and respect women and to secure women’s authority, reading this text without understanding Middle Eastern veiling traditions results in an inversion of its intent. A statement by Thomas Schreiner, identifying female submission as a key principle for understanding 1 Cor 11:2–16, serves as an example: “The principle still stands that women should pray and prophesy in a manner that makes it clear that they submit to male leadership.”46

Cynthia Westfall, in her book Paul and Gender, provides much-needed clarity on 1 Cor 11:2–16. In the Greco-Roman culture in which Paul lived and worked, Aristotle’s teaching on “women’s essential inferiority” resulted in “gender-based hierarchy . . . based on the [assumed] ontological nature of women and men rather than the standards or conventions of culture.”47 That is, women were devalued because of perceived lower worth, intelligence, and ability; women were different in worth and thus different in role. Men were “shamed and despised” for displaying characteristics viewed as feminine; women were honored for exhibiting virtues considered to be manly.48 (This belief in woman’s essential inferiority remained centuries later in the polytheistic culture surrounding Islam.49)

It is in this culture that Paul carefully worded his arguments to protect the reputation and ministry of the church, to “take every thought captive to Christ” (2 Cor 10:5),50 and to do the kingdom work of giving voice to the voiceless (Job 5:11–13, Prov 31:8–10, Luke 1:46–48, 6:20–26). First Corinthians 11:2–16 must be read through the eyes of Middle Eastern women, where men held the power and women of status wore veils for protection and to signify respectability; “Slaves, prostitutes, and freedwomen were prohibited from veiling.”51 Contrary to traditional Western interpretation, it is much more plausible that women were refusing to remove veils in the church, as the “men were the ones who regulated the veiling according to their own interests.”52 (Consider Vashti in Esther 1:11 and Susanna in Susanna 1:31–33, where similar dynamics are at work.)53 In this contentious environment, Paul grants back to the woman authority “over her own head” (1 Cor 11:10).54

Conclusion

In the religious and cultural complexity of the Middle East, we find Muslim women seeking compliance to a faithful interpretation of the Qur’an. Muslim women desire to be modest, as Islam requires, but resist restrictions that go against the spirit and letter of certain texts in the Qur’an. It is my hope that Muslim women can begin to see Christians as co-laborers in the fight for proper readings of Scripture as it opposes patriarchy. Likewise, I pray that Christians will humbly learn from the shared cultural observations by Islamic women, and thus move toward more consistent biblical interpretation.

From my perspective as a religious and cultural outsider, the varied reaction to “the veil” by Muslim women has much to do with autonomy and respect. Paul’s words accomplish both. The Apostle Paul led the way in affirming a woman’s “authority over her head” (1 Cor 11:10 CEB), which in that cultural context meant that Paul was supporting women, “their judgment, and their honor . . . possibly even against church leadership.”55 We can understand this by looking at ancient Middle Eastern culture, which is similar in many ways to its culture in modern times. This understanding, together with Westfall’s full explanation of the passage, makes sense of the difficult literary and cultural context of 1 Cor 11. The modern Muslim women who choose hijab for modesty (much to their grandmothers’ dismay) are living examples of the women Paul supported in 1 Cor 11.

Until nearly the 1980s, most traditional interpretation “assumed the ontological inferiority of women . . . and it is implausible to think that an interpreter can effectively shed the foundational assumptions of the traditional view and still coherently maintain the remainder of interpretation and applications virtually intact.”56 Patriarchal leaders, however, attempt to do just that. Though “separate but equal” is a central argument for patriarchal approaches to Christianity, the church must reject “the view that God established ‘separate but equal’ leadership roles for men and women in the church.”57

Christ’s body, the church, must humbly grow enough moral imagination to see every person in a connected web where the human barriers of race, class, and gender have been leveled. With God as Lord, not gender, may we move into such a future with Spirit-infused creativity and the vision of the new heaven and earth of Rev 21. What we will find, if open to the wisdom of another perspective, is that Scripture has more to offer than we have been privy to. Many Christian men recognize patriarchal ideology for what it is: the sinful desire for primacy over fellow bearers of God’s image. Many Muslim men do as well.58

As an affirmation of women and men working side by side in servant leadership, I close with a Psalm:

O magnify the Lord with me,
and let us exalt his name together. (Ps 34:3 NRSV)

Notes

1. See, for example, Jennifer Heider. “Unveiling the Truth behind the French Burqa Ban: The Unwarranted Restriction of the Right to Freedom of Religion and the European Court of Human Rights,” Indiana Law Review 22/1, https://mckinneylaw.iu.edu/iiclr/pdf/vol22p93.pdf. Jessica Mendoza. “Why are Non-Muslim Women Wearing the Hijab?,” Christian Science Monitor (Dec 17, 2015), discusses various factors around American perception of the hijab: https://csmonitor.com/USA/Society/2015/1217/Why-are-non-Muslim-women-wearing-the-hijab.

2.Iuse“patriarchal” instead of the group’s preferred term, “complementarian,” because egalitarian Christians also believe men and women complement one another; for the latter, God’s gifting takes precedence over gender in role distinction. N. T. Wright clarifies this well: “to use the word ‘complementary’ and its cognates to denote a position which says that not only are men and women different, but also that those differences mean that women cannot minister within the church, is unfortunate. I think the word ‘complementary’ is too good and important a word to let that side of the issue have it all to itself.” N. T. Wright, “The Biblical Basis for Women’s Service in the Church,” Priscilla Papers 20/4 (Autumn 2006) 5.

3. Elizabeth Warnock Fernea and Basima Qattan Bezirgan, eds., Middle Eastern Muslim Women Speak, The Dan Danciger Publication Series (University of Texas Press, 1977) xvii.

4. Philip Barton Payne, Man and Woman, One in Christ: An Exegetical and Theological Study of Paul’s Letters (Zondervan, 2009) 29.

5. Ibrahim Abu-Rabi explains the complex religious paradoxes surrounding women’s rights and patriarchy in the United States, the Vatican, and Muslim states, in particular Iran and Saudi Arabia. These countries proclaim support of women’s rights but exempt themselves from implementation by citing their constitution, natural law, church tradition, and shariah law, respectively. Saudi Arabia and Iran follow different branches of Islam, and restrictions for women vary. Ibrahim M. Abu-Rabi, The Blackwell Companion to Contemporary Islamic Thought, Blackwell Companions to Religion (Blackwell, 2006) 627.

6. Many would argue that this is not always the case. Here I make a generalized statement about the contrast between Eastern and Western culture, with specific application in the institutional churches that limit ordination to men. This acknowledges the existence of denominations that are more Eastern in their expression and Middle Eastern in their roots, which often uphold a communal (though patriarchal) paradigm.

7. Fernea and Bezirgan, Muslim Women Speak, xvii.

8. John Paul Lederach, The Moral Imagination: The Art and Soul of Building Peace (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005) 5. Lederach says this in an intriguing way: “the ability to sustain a paradoxical curiosity that embraces complexity without reliance on dualistic polarity.”

9. The #ChurchToo movement and violence against women in Islamic “honor killings” begin to make this point. The emotional and spiritual harm is less quantifiable, yet undeniable.

10. Ruth Roded, Women in Islam and the Middle East: A Reader (I. B. Tauris, 1999) 9.

11. Asma Barlas, “Believing Women” in Islam: Unreading Patriarchal Interpretations of the Qur’ān (University of Texas Press, 2002) 2. Pakistani born and educated, Barlas received political asylum in the United States in 1983 and joined the politics department of Ithaca College in Upstate New York.

12. John Piper and Wayne Grudem, eds., Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism (Crossway, 1991) 53.

13. Piper seems well intentioned in his idea that men are to lead and that anything that counters this viewpoint is from Satan. He believes that instead of pride enforcing a view of (his own) leadership, pride and laziness are what prevent men from leading, proposing that women who “take more leadership” are falsely seen as virtuous (Piper, Recovering, 53). In Piper’s view men are to be servant leaders, yet servants boost others to reach fullness. His view stifles gifting that falls outside of his narrow paradigm of “manhood” and “womanhood.”

14. Fernea and Bezirgan, Muslim Women Speak, xix.

15. John Hubers, “Through the Eyes of Women: Re-reading the Qur’anic Creation Accounts” (Ind. Study, Lutheran School of Theology, Chicago, 2007) 2, available at Academia.edu. Qur’anic creation accounts have been misinterpreted in the same ways which egalitarian Christians show that the Genesis accounts are.

16. Barlas, Believing Women, 160.

17. Roded, Women in Islam, 16.

18. Barlas, Believing Women, 166.

19. Barlas, Believing Women, 27.

20. Barlas, Believing Women, 2.

21. Roded, Women in Islam, 6.

22. Barlas, Believing Women, 157–59.

23. Piper and Grudem, Recovering, 117; description of women’s importance continues on pp. 117–20.

24. Piper and Grudem, Recovering, 120. See Margaret Mowczko, “Is Junia Well Known ‘To’ the Apostles?,” https://margmowczko.com/is-junia-well-known-to-the-apostles/; Dennis J. Preato, “Junia, A Female Apostle: An Examination of the Historical Record,” Priscilla Papers 33/2 (Spring 2019) 8–15.

25. Piper and Grudem, Recovering, 120–22; Margaret Mowczko, “A List of the 29 People in Romans 16:1–16,” https://margmowczko.com/list-of-people-in-romans-16_1-16/. Mowczko notes that, “seven of the ten women are described in terms of their ministry (Phoebe, Prisca, Mary, Junia, Tryphena, Tryphosa, Persis). By comparison, only three men are described in terms of their ministry (Aquila, Andronicus, Urbanus), and two of these men are ministering alongside a female partner (Aquila with Prisca, Andronicus with Junia).”

26.PhilipPayne,https://pbpayne.com/is-it-true-that-in-the-nt-no-women-only-men-are-identified-by-name-as-elders-overseers-or-pastors-and-that-consequently-women-must-not-be-elders-overseers-or-pastors (Nov 10, 2010).

27. Piper and Grudem, Recovering, 121.

28. N. T. Wright, “The Biblical Basis for Women’s Service in the Church,” 10.

29. Bob Edwards, “Chain of Inference,” (Dec 4, 2014), CBE International,https://cbeinternational.org/resource/article/mutuality-blog-magazine/chain-inference.

30. Interview with Rebecca Koerselman, Apr 4, 2020. See Dr. Koerselman’s writings at https://inallthings.org/contributor/rebecca-koerselman.

31. Fernea and Bezirgan, Muslim Women Speak, xxiv.

32. Roded, Women in Islam, 32–33.

33. On God and gender, see Abigail Dolan, “Imagining a Feminine God: Gendered Imagery in the Bible,” Priscilla Papers 32/3 (Summer 2018) 17–20.

34. Barlas, Believing Women, 26.

35. Barlas, Believing Women, 26–27.

36. Rebecca Merrill Groothuis, “Equal in Being, Unequal in Role,” in Discovering Biblical Equality: Complementarity Without Hierarchy, ed. Ronald W. Pierce, Rebecca Merrill Groothuis, and Gordon D. Fee, 2nd ed. (InterVarsity, 2005) 313.

37. “Muslim men and Muslim women, believing men and believing women, obedient men and obedient women, truthful men and truthful women, patient men and patient women, humble men and humble women, charitable men and charitable women, fasting men and fasting women, men who guard their chastity and women who guard, men who remember God frequently and women who remember—God has prepared for them a pardon, and an immense reward.” ClearQuran translation; see https://blog.ClearQuran.com.

38. Roded, Women in Islam, 3.

39. “Separate but equal” was a legal precedent in the United States to uphold racial segregation in the late 1900s through mid twentieth century when it was legislated as unconstitutional. The same segments of the church that spearheaded racism also hold to patriarchal interpretations of Scripture. Essentially, “separate but equal” for the sexes is the central argument of Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.

40. Jeffery Brodd, Layne Little, Bradley P. Nystrom, Robert Leonard Platzner, Richard Hon-Chun Shek, and Erin E. Stiles, Invitation to World Religions, 3rd ed. (Oxford University Press, 2019) 530–31. See also Fernea and Bezirgan, Muslim Women Speak, xxx.

41. Fernea and Bezirgan, Muslim Women Speak, xxv.

42. Fernea and Bezirgan, Muslim Women Speak, xxv.

43. Barlas, Believing Women, 56.

44. Barlas, Believing Women, 56.

45. Barlas, Believing Women, 55.

46. Thomas R. Schreiner, “Head Coverings, Prophecies and the Trinity: 1 Corinthians 11:2–16,” in Piper and Grudem, Recovering, 138.

47. Cynthia Long Westfall, Paul and Gender: Reclaiming the Apostle’s Vision for Men and Women in Christ (Baker Academic, 2016) 14. Cf. Westfall’s introduction and chs, 1 and 8 with Piper and Grudem’s chs. 3 and 5. The latter hold to “headship” as leadership like Christ (63).

48. Westfall, Paul and Gender, 15–17.

49. Roded, Women in Islam, 4.

50. Westfall, Paul and Gender, 4–8.

51. Westfall, Paul and Gender, 25.

52. Westfall, Paul and Gender, 33.

53. Westfall, Paul and Gender, 32.

54. Westfall, Paul and Gender, 39. To understand this argument in full, and for an extremely plausible explanation of “because of the angels” in 11:10b, see Westfall, Paul and Gender, 1–43.

55. Barlas, Believing Women, 39, 42. This is best understood in the context of an ancient Middle Eastern culture, as described by Westfall on pages 7–43.

56. Westfall, Paul and Gender, 4.

57. Payne, One in Christ, 463.

58. Carla Power, What the Koran Really Says About Women,” The Telegraph (Nov 6, 2015), http://s.telegraph.co.uk/graphics/projects/koran-carla-power/index.html.