MENA (SAT-7/MNN) — The teachings of Islam, as explained in the Qur’an and Hadith, degrade women and keep them in the shadows.
But SAT-7, a Christian satellite television provider to the Middle East and North Africa, is bringing women into the light.
What Islam says about women
The Oxford Dictionary of Islam describes a “positive” portrayal of women by the Islamic faith – “In Islam, men and women are moral equals in God’s sight” – but a little research uncovers what is actually taught, and often followed.
“Women are your fields: go, then, into your fields whence you please.” (Qur’an 2:223, Dawood)
“Men have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. Good women are obedient. They guard their unseen parts because God has guarded them. As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them and forsake them in beds apart, and beat them.” (Qur’an 4:34)
“[Muhammad] said, ‘Is not the evidence of two women equal to the witness of one man?’ They replied in the affirmative. He said, ‘This is the deficiency in her intelligence.'” (Bukhari 6:301, from the Hadith)
These are examples of the dialogue between Muslim women throughout the MENA region and their husbands. SAT-7 is also speaking to women’s’ minds and hearts, but with Truth.
What the Bible says about women
In a recent Women for Middle East HOPE update, SAT-7 Senior VP Debbie Brink describes how Dialogue, one of their TV shows, is impacting women.
“Saloumeh from Iran wrote, ‘Greeting to you all [in SAT-7 PARS] that work real hard day and nights to serve and bless us. I would like to use this opportunity to show my appreciation for all your hard work and efforts. There are many people here that are viewers of your Channel.
‘Two days ago while I was at my friend’s house, we were watching one of your shows hosted by Sister Mojgan accompanied by Sister Nahid about the role of women in the advancement of Christianity. This was an incredible show, and we benefited from the teachings and discussions of Sister Nahid in particular as she related all the points discussed to the Word of God. I am very appreciative of all your outstanding shows and pray for many blessings and health for you all.’
The program Saloumeh writes about is Dialogue, and we included a general overview of it in our E-news more than a year ago. I am pleased to see that the program is still on the air, and I want to share a common thread—the role of women—that is woven through several episodes in the program’s second season.
While the role of women in Biblical times and even now in the Middle East is a delicate and controversial issue, Dialogue points out that God has placed women in many different roles–deliberately and strategically–throughout the history of the Church.
First, the Gospel of Matthew includes four imperfect women in the genealogy of Jesus (in addition to His mother): Tamar (who seduced her father-in-law), Rahab (a known prostitute), Bathsheba (the woman with whom David committed adultery), and Ruth (an outsider and a wanderer who was later redeemed).
The inclusion of these women in Matthew’s historical account demonstrates that even the unholy, the non-Jewish and the known sinners are subject to the God of Changes, and He has a role for everyone.
Several episodes are devoted to the role of women in the family, the important calling to nurture and teach children and to set a godly example in their spiritual life and in their relationships and work life, as well.
- The woman in Proverbs 31 rises before the sun, bolsters her husband, cares for her family, runs a business, and gives to the poor.
- Lydia in the book of Acts practices hospitality and lends support to the ministry of Paul and his friends by providing lodging for them in her home.
- In the Old Testament book of Judges, Deborah faithfully fulfilled a role that was most unique for a woman: a military commander. Deborah led an army of 10,000 Israelites to total victory in a battle against the Canaanites. In the poetic version of the story (Judges 5), the Bible says that the stars strayed from their courses and the river washed the Canaanite general and his armies away in a massive flood.
Of course, women don’t have to lead armies into battle to engage and influence viewers. Their role as presenters on SAT-7 PARS impressed one viewer, who wrote, ‘My greetings and regards to you all from the (Dialogue) Show that effortlessly produce special programs that are related to women.
‘I have always followed your shows, and I am a great fan of your programs. I have always questioned whether female characters could be effective in terms of teaching and preaching in particular. I had heard many biased and prejudiced replies from all sorts of people from both Christian TV programs and churches. Nonetheless, in today’s (Dialogue) program they provided great explanations…which really [inspired] me.’
Just $1 brings SAT-7 and shows like Dialogue to a woman for one year. A gift of $50 reaches 50 women for a year. You can help SAT-7 keep their shows on the air and empower women here.