Can Women Teach Men? An Islamic and Biblical Point of View


Bassam Zawadi

Let's see what the Bible says about women being able to teach men:

1 Timothy 2:12

I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.

The Bible says that women should not teach men. She must remain in silence to learn from men but not teach them.

John Gill says in his commentary of this verse...

but then women are not to teach in the church; for that is an act of power and authority, and supposes the persons that teach to be of a superior degree, and in a superior office, and to have superior abilities to those who are taught by them: (John Gill's Exposition of the Bible, Commentary on 1 Timothy 2:12, Source)

So John Gill is saying that women should not be teaching men because then that would give them a superior degree over men. So does that mean that since men are allowed to teach women that implies that they have a superior degree over the women?

The first argument, why it is not lawful for women to teach in the congregation, because by this means they would be placed above men, for they would be their masters: and this is against God's ordinance. (Geneva Study Bible, Commentary on 1 Timothy 2:12, Source)

So does that mean that men are the "masters" of women because they can teach them?

Let's see what Islam says about women being able to teach men...

Saheeh Bukhari

Volume 6, Book 61, Number 545:

Narrated 'Uthman:

The Prophet said, "The best among you (Muslims) are those who learn the Qur'an and teach it."

This hadith is general and goes to all Muslims (male or female). It has no restrictions on women being able to teach men. As a matter of fact one of the Prophet wives used to teach men...

In any discussion on the age of Aisha (ra: may Allah be pleased with her) at the time of her marriage with the Holy Prophet Muhammad (may peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him), it is of the greatest relevance to note the pivotal role she played as a teacher, exponent and interpreter of the religion of Islam. (Zahid, Aziz, Age of Aisha (ra) at time of marriage, Source)

On the Prophet's death, Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) became a widow at the age of eighteen or nineteen. However, she had memorized great knowledge from the Prophet (peace be upon him). She stayed in her home teaching men and women. (Muhammad Fathi Mus'ad, The Wives of the Prophet Muhammad: Their Strives and Their Lives, p.65)

So clearly the Bible takes away the right of women to be able to teach the religion to men publicly while Islam gives it to them. 

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