July 11, 2015
It’s been a great learning experience praying along with the 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World during this season of Ramadan. For the past couple of years, I have used a similar booklet, Seek God for the City, as a prayer guide during the forty days leading up to Palm Sunday. Also, our contact in Oman who we plan to work with next year on some Health and Safety mission trips sent me a 30 day prayer guide for the people of Oman.
A week ago, I read this story in the 30 Day prayer guide I’m using right now:
“Unlike some corners of the Muslim world, where wives and daughters are subjected to purdah (the practice of hiding women from public as a tribute to their great value), tribal Muslims from the remote interior of Western South Asia harbor no such illusions. They value women only as property.
A Muslim-background believer named Ahmed explains, “In our culture, women are like shoes. We wear them, and when they are old we throw them out. If a woman does something that does not please her husband, he will drag her through the streets to the cemetery and bury her alive.”
For the believers in Western South Asia, this behavior is changing. A turning point occurred when two female American missionaries arranged a workshop for a dozen women from tribal Muslim villages. At the last minute, the women’s husbands came instead! Donna, one of the teachers, recalls, “The first day was a fiasco. The tribal men were aghast at the thought of two women teaching them anything.” During an awkward conversation with the American women, Ahmed casually asked, “Should we not be beating our wives? What does the Bible say?” An earnest discussion followed, with Donna pointing out many relevant scriptures about how men should treat their wives with sacrificial love.
The next morning Ahmed said, “All night we did not sleep. We talked about what Jesus says about women, and how we should treat our wives.” One by one the men stood and said, “I will no longer beat my wife. After today, we will treat our wives with respect.”
Could it be that simple? “It’s not been easy,” Ahmed admitted. “That was a big change for us.”
After the workshop a women’s movement was launched, which has started hundreds of women’s jamaats (churches). The men requested more training for reaching the women. “Last year,” Ahmed said, “more than 100 jamaat leaders said to me, ‘I no longer beat my wife.'”
Praise God, change is coming. And that is why I’d like to help take teams of women to empower women in the Arab Gulf next year. Would you like to join us?
praying for continued change for Muslim women,