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gender equity in Islam

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Assalaamu alaikum [peace be to you],

A questioner asked :Is there a mention of the equality of women in the qur'an?

The issue of gender equity is important, relevant and current. Debates and writings on the subject are increasing and are diverse in their perspectives. The Islamic perspective on the issue is the least understood and most misrepresented by non-Muslims and, at times, by some Muslims as well. The predominant local cultural practices in different parts of the world and the actions of some Muslims tend to reinforce erroneous perceptions of the Islamic perspective. These problems are enhanced by the tendency to treat some juristic interpretations as if they were identical with Islam.
As such, there is a pressing need to reexamine this issue in the light of the primary sources of Islam.


:bulletred: WHAT DOES THE QUR'AN SAY?
According to the Qur'an, men and women have the same spiritual human nature: there is absolutely no difference between men and women as far as their relationship to God is concerned, as both are promised the same reward for good conduct and the same punishment for evil conduct.
the Almighty God said in the Qur'an:
إِنَّ الْمُسْلِمِينَ وَالْمُسْلِمَاتِ وَالْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتِ وَالْقَانِتِينَ وَالْقَانِتَاتِ وَالصَّادِقِينَ وَالصَّادِقَاتِ وَالصَّابِرِينَ وَالصَّابِرَاتِ وَالْخَاشِعِينَ وَالْخَاشِعَاتِ وَالْمُتَصَدِّقِينَ وَالْمُتَصَدِّقَاتِ وَالصَّائِمِينَ وَالصَّائِمَاتِ وَالْحَافِظِينَ فُرُوجَهُمْ وَالْحَافِظَاتِ وَالذَّاكِرِينَ اللَّهَ كَثِيرًا وَالذَّاكِرَاتِ أَعَدَّ اللَّهُ لَهُم مَّغْفِرَةً وَأَجْرًا عَظِيمًا
Indeed, the Muslim men and Muslim women, the believing men and believing women, the obedient men and obedient women, the truthful men and truthful women, the patient men and patient women, the humble men and humble women, the charitable men and charitable women, the fasting men and fasting women, the men who guard their private parts and the women who do so, and the men who remember Allah often and the women who do so - for them Allah has prepared forgiveness and a great reward."

translation of 33:35
and:
وَمَن يَعْمَلْ مِنَ الصَّالِحَاتِ مِن ذَكَرٍ أَوْ أُنثَىٰ وَهُوَ مُؤْمِنٌ فَأُولَٰئِكَ يَدْخُلُونَ الْجَنَّةَ وَلَا يُظْلَمُونَ نَقِيرًا
If any do deeds of righteousness,- be they male or female - and have faith, they will enter Heaven, and not the least injustice will be done to them."

translation of 4:124


:bulletred: EQUALITY OR JUSTICE?
This word – equality – which many thinkers in both the east and the west advocate in various fields of life is a word which is based on deviation and a lack of understanding, especially when the speaker attributes this idea of equality to the Qur’an and to Islam. One of the things that people misunderstand is when they say that “Islam is the religion of equality”. What they should say is that Islam is the religion of justice.

There are some people who speak of equality instead of justice, and this is a mistake. We should not say equality, because equality implies no differentiation between the two.
But if we say justice, which means giving each one that to which he or she is entitled, this misunderstanding no longer applies, and the word used is correct. Hence it does not say in the Qur’an that the God enjoins equality, rather it says:
إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالْإِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاءِ ذِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَيَنْهَىٰ عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ ۚ يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ
Indeed, Allah orders justice and good conduct and liberality to kith and kin, and forbids immorality and bad conduct and oppression. He admonishes you that perhaps you will be reminded.

translation of 16:90
Those who say that Islam is the religion of equality are either ignorant or lying against Islam. Rather Islam is the religion of justice which means treating equally those who are equal and differentiating between those who are different.

The Qur’an denies equality, as in the following verses:
هَلْ يَسْتَوِي الَّذِينَ يَعْلَمُونَ وَالَّذِينَ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ
Are those who know equal to those who do not know?

translation from 39:9
and
هَلْ يَسْتَوِي الْأَعْمَىٰ وَالْبَصِيرُ أَمْ هَلْ تَسْتَوِي الظُّلُمَاتُ وَالنُّورُ
Are the blind equal with those who see? Or the depths of darkness equal with light?

translation from 13:16

Not one single verse in the Qur’an enjoins equality, rather it enjoins justice.
Based on this, Islam does not regard men and women as equal in matters where regarding them as equal would result in injustice to one of them, because equality that is inappropriate is a severe form of injustice.

For example, The Qur’an commands women to wear clothes that are different from those worn by men, because of the differences in the ways each sex is tempted by the other. The temptation posed by men is less than the temptation posed by women, so the clothes that women should wear are different than the clothes that men wear. It makes no sense to tell women to expose the parts of the body that men are allowed to expose, because of the differences in the temptation posed by a woman’s body and a man’s body.


if we ask: Is there equality between men and women in Islam?
the answer is: Yes there is, and that is a spiritual equality and not an Earthly Physical one; meaning that the equality between men and women in Islam is determined by their belief and righteous work, but their roles and responsibilities in life are different because of their physical and emotional differences.

When dealing with the Islamic perspective of any topic, there should be a clear distinction between the normative teachings of Islam and the diverse cultural practices among Muslims, which may or may not be consistent with them.


I hope this was beneficial.

For more reading:
Gender Equity in Islam: by Dr Jamal Badawi [link]


If I am right, it's from the God. if I am wrong, it's from myself.
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