November 28, 2010

Are Men and Women Equal in Islam?

Filed under: Non-Political — Rana Fahad @ 7:17 pm

Few days back I was sitting with few of my relatives at a dinner where discussion started on “Equality of Men and Women”. The orthodox men in our society are still in favor that they are made superior than their wives. Still there is a mindset in our society that women are made to serve their husbands and all their decisions are to be made by their husbands. Most frequently quoted verses to support the point is “Men are in charge over women in that Allah has favored the one over the other and that they spend from their wealth.” (4:34)

The above quoted verse does not prove any way that men are superior to women. Yes. Allah has made men, the leader of his house and he is supposed to arrange food, necessities and daily commodities. The physical makeup and the social status of men and women in the arrangement of Islam, as designed by Allah, are very different in many areas. Both are made different with different responsibilities. Males are not like females. It does not mean that one is superior or the other. The very basic rule of comparison is that different units can’t be compared i.e. kilograms can’t be compared with liters as they are different units of measurement.

But for those men who try to drive their so-called divine assistance from Fiqa, must also follow the other Hadiths and Quranic verses where it is said that:

“Women deserve the like of what they are obliged to give, in kindness.” HQ 2:228

“It is not obligatory for the wife to serve her husband (cooking, cleaning, washing, keeping house, etc.): if she does, it is voluntary charity”. (Reliance, m10.12, pg. 541.)

Men, who think themselves superior and women are made to serve, are addressed.

“And for each to give the other what they must (meaning that both spouses are required to, the husband giving her the expenditures he is obliged to and the wife giving herself to him and obeying him concerning his rights therein) without intentional delays or displaying resentment.” (Reliance, m10.1, pg. 538.)

On the other hand women activist who are fighting for equal rights and equal job opportunities have other instructions in Islam. It is clear that Islam has given a due importance to women and they are not made to serve men and to keep their houses but on the other hand they are not allowed to leave their houses for work.

“It is not lawful for a wife to leave the house except by the permission of her husband, though she may do so without permission when there is a pressing necessity. Nor may a wife permit anyone to enter her husband’s home unless he agrees, even their unmarriageable kin. Nor may she be alone with a non-family-member male, under any circumstances.” (Ibid, m10.12 (2), pg. 541.)

Hazrat Aysha (R.A) was the beloved wife of Prophet (PBUH) and narrator of many Hadiths. She was one of the greatest faqihs of Islam. During the . Khalifates of Hazrats Abu Bakr, Umar, and Uthman, she issued fatwas and all the work was done from her home, but when she stepped out of her house, she became one of the controversial personalities of Islamic history.

After the Battle of the Camel, where thousands of Muslims were killed, Hazrat Ali sent her a letter: “Hereafter: You have stepped out of your house for a service from which you are exempted (which was not your responsibility). You, in your view are desirous of reformation of Ummah. Please explain what connection women have with forming armies. According to your conception, you are demanding the retribution of Usman’s blood, although he belongs to Bani Umayya and you come from Bani Taim ibn-i-Murrah. I venture to say on oath that the person who has persuaded you for this venture and has pulled you out of the house is the biggest sinner. As such Oh Aisha! Fear Allah, go back to your house and stay behind the curtain. Wa sallam.” (Al-Imamat wal-Siyasah, vol. 1, p. 55, reported in, Letters of Hazrat Ali Murtaza, ra, by M. Ayub Khan, p. 26)

Hazrat Khadija was one of the most profitable business women of the time and Prophet (PBUH) was so impressed with her business dealings that he accepted the offer of marriage from her. But after revelation of Prophecy on Prophet (PBUH) she never went out for business despite of great success and experience in her business.

In short, Allah has given a very balanced social system for the human beings and people have disturbed it due to ignorance. Allah has made women like a treasure which can’t be exposed to everyone and Allah has made men responsible to provide them with every item of their need. It is better not to interfere in the laws, Allah has made and accepting the system made by Allah, than trying to devising a new system depending on the human prudence.



1 Comment »

  1. The written article is good with lots of relevant quoted content, and i somehow do agree to the fact that women needs to protect herself under the cover of her husband if her necessities are being fulfilled, but i guess changing circumstances demand some transition and sdjustments, if a women can help her husband in adding to the home income then its not bad, though in 2days world it wont be always possible to work from home, still if a women canguard her modesty and keep the injuctions of religion in her mind, then it wont be a problem.
    Overall the principles of the religion are though based on rationality, but there is a room for adjustment through qiyas and ijma, without changing the basic principles.
    The article was well written
    keep up the good work.

    Comment by Aleena A — November 29, 2010 @ 5:12 am | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: