Are Men and Women Equal ?

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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 God often and the women who do so – for them God has prepared forgiveness and a great reward”. (Quran 33 : 35)

Since man and women are different genders, and have been created with slightly contrasting characteristics and roles, the seemingly different Laws prescribed by God, The Most Wise, are infact very much equal, just and best for both. Nevertheless, regarding the deeds and Judgement, both are exactly equal. God would reward both man and woman equally and justly, no one is superior or inferior but equal in the sight of God. Family is very important aspect of Islam, where discipline should be followed. That’s the reason God has defined their task in a clear way so it would be regulated and maintained by them. Both have differnt kinds of rights, responsibility and duties as per their potential.

Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in absence what Allah would have them guard. (Quran 3 : 34)

The Above verse is from surah Nisa (Chapter: Women) where God has made the man in charge of woman but she has been given a degree over man also as to be more worthy of being provided with security and safeguarded than man. There is great wisdom in it as man has been entitled to the responsibility of Qawwaman (the role of being in charge or head of the household) is one of the things that God has commanded to man. The women may earn her living(like Prophet Muhammad’s pbuh wife, KhadijaRA) but she is not questionable for it, or obliged to physical labour or economical reaponsibilty in a society or civilization. However the men are responsible and questionable if the security of a family or household or society is unguarded by him economically. Man here has been given and imposed upon a charge and responsibility in accordanxe to his advantage if physical strentgh and potential. There is no discrimination between men and women in Islam. Like how a bird is not comparable to a flock but both have their own degrees of potential, which are parallel to each other being equal therein. However women have a greater right of security than man, and man is moreover responsible for her well being and protection, because naturally men have been given a stronger physical outer stature and strength than women.

Whereas women have been blessed with a stronger emotional and internal stature (eg. Childbirth). Both have equal rights but because the female sex is more vulnerable to harm and danger by the male sex (being physically strong ), the rights of women had to be protected and highlighted more as awareness for women themsleves regarding their dignity and respect and as warning and reminder for the male sex to not exceed limits or violate her rights by force. And since civilizations were far ignorant and extreme concerning the rights of women because of lack of awareness and limited sources of intellectual awareness and intellectual civics, they had to be reformed. The distinction between morality and immorality had to be clarified for mankind and in turn for the future generations to come, hence an entire chapter of the Quran is dedicated to mostly the exceptional or some of the exclusive rights for women as well as dealings and treatments with women in even exceptional or extreme cases.

Through ages, where the male gender in domination exploited much of the rights of women, the Quran uplifted their rights and moreover raised up their dignity so as to make both genders as equal. But for that equality the rights of women were to be highlighted and re upheld, which were, in time, violated and underestimated much. The Quran emphasis on the rights of women to establish justice in equality between man and woman, which was violated before. As far as the four wives case is concerned, much of it is misunderstood. The verse clearly states that if one may not be able to maintain justice between them (more than 1 wife), which he will not not be able to, then he should marry only one. But the command for allowance of marrying four wives is a faccility and permission granted to men which is to be utilised during a civilization’s crucial stage. This is moreover a wise solution given to us by God with His Divine wisdom. When a civilzation is shaken by crisis (war, poverty) and experiences an abnormal ratio of the population of men and woman, this particular faccility (marrying four wives) has been recommended by the Quran. As surveys show, previous civilizations, when engaged in war, lost much of the male sex due to death, hence there were widows remaining, so to protect their rights, they were recommended to get remarried to men. Also much of the male sex were Inclined to secure provision, they were more prone to accidents. At such times, the female sex was vulnerable to insecurity, so Islam provided and imposed rules to secure the rights of such women during the time of need.

As a current statistics shows, that the male death fertility is higher than that of women, if this had to be considered, the proportion of female will surpass that of the male and hence there would be more virgin women and widows left unmarried and insecure. So to protect the rights of the delicate female sex in such abnormal situations faced by civilizations on the life of earth, the Quran with wisdom has instructed this rule. For if a women be it your sister or mine were left to remain with no single male, would you leave her to be vulnerable to the wrongongs of a society or all by herself being insecure or prefer for her security during such a crisis, where she has no family to protect or support her. In such a situation a man might proceed with the physical struggles of life, but a woman may not. However such situations seem rare in current situations, but we never know what will the future civilizations face.

Hence the Quran speaks from a very large scale of view, in fact the total scale of mankind, and as mentioned above, it guides for extreme and exceptional cases of mankind and society during life on earth. But otherwise, the quran itself commands man to marry only one which will be justice. People are quick to judge things without any assessment of intellect and reasoning while refelctong upon the Quran. It is a legislation for mankind as a whole, which speaks relating to the ground reality of earthly affairs at even the largest scale or highest point of view. That is the majesty of God. And hence the upliftment of women is emphasised in the quran more than men, so as protection for the security of women, which was much violated by the male sex during time through generations.

Both men and women are equal, but because the man is at an advantage in strength, hence he is also responsible at a degree higher than women. And because the women are more vulnerable to be underestimated by man, her rights and dignity is more highlighted and emphasised in the Quran, giving her a degree of preciousness more than man for securing her rights. In fact that Quran uplifting the dignity and honour of women, is in itself a hint for society to do the utmost to guard women’s rights and security in justice and equality for success and peace. The msinterpretation of certain followers of a particular notion does not determine that notion itself. If reflected upon with intellect and understanding, a reasoning human would find perfect guidance in the Quran for life on earth for all kinds of civilazations and times, including exceptional and exclusive cases, where man might not have reached or percieved yet. Napoleon Bonaparte said, “Give me good mothers and i shall give you a great nation..!”

Abdullah ibn Umar reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Every one of you is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock. The leader of people is a guardian and is responsible for his subjects. A man is the guardian of his family and he is responsible for them. A woman is the guardian of her husband’s home and his children and she is responsible for them. The servant of a man is a guardian of the property of his master and he is responsible for it. No doubt, every one of you is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock. (Bukhari)

None of the gender is unjustly restricted to any potential driven good deed. God has absolute knowledge and both man and women have special, distinctive and equal features but at the same time both are different from each in their characteristics, responsibility and rights.

And their Lord responded to them, “Never will I allow to be lost the work of [any] worker among you, whether male or female; you are of one another….. (Quran 3 : 195)

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