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Abu-Bakar Siddique

“ Men and Women are mutually superior in Islam as compared to

being equal.”
There is a hadith of the Holy Prophet (saw) that:

‘A person who is blessed with a daughter or daughters and makes no discrimination between
them and his sons and brings them up with kindness and affection, will be as close to me in
Paradise as my forefinger and middle finger are to each other.’

In the Creation of Human Being Allah made up the pair of Male and Female. Everything created
must be in pairs so similarly both male and female are necessary and must exist by the definition
of creations. Neither one comes before the other. Allah accorded no priority or superiority to
either man or woman.

However cue to numerous historical and cultural factors, many Muslims have come to believe
that Allah swt created woman from the man’s rib and the woman is therefore secondary and is
for men’s use. These beliefs are imprinted in Muslim mind, causing countless and immeasurable
harms to women through the century, this belief oppose the true spirit of the Quran. Since
everything created comes in pairs, one does not come from the other, or before the other. One is
not superior to the other. The women is not for the purpose of the man, rather they are both
created for the mutual benefit of each other. In the eyes of Allah swt, Muslim women and men
are equal participants in all aspects of Islamic life.

In Quran in several verses Allah specifically addresses both women and men, giving them equal
roles and responsibilities in spiritual life and Islamic struggle.

The Believers, men and women, are protectors, one of another; they enjoin what is just, and
forbid what is evil; they observe regular prayers, pay zakat and obey Allah and his Messenger.
On them will Allah pour His mercy: for Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise. Allah has promised to
Believers, men and women, gardens under which rivers flow, to dwell therein… (9:71-72)

The belief that only men can be leaders is a fallacy since neither the Qur’an nor the Hadith says
that a woman cannot be a leader. In fact the Qur’an extols the leadership of Bilqis, the Queen of
Sheba (27:23-44).

Bilqis’s qualities as a good leaders were not measured by gender, but by:

 her capacity to fulfill the requirements of the office

 her political skills
 the purity of her faith
 her independent judgment

As the Muslim society in Medina developed toward an ideal state, Allah swt reminded women
and men of their equality and mutuality. This can be found in several verses and ahadiths. The
Holy Quran clearly says that all believers are equal and can only be distinct among one another
with respect to our righteous deed. If look up the history of Islam we come to know that Men and
Women both served in many capacities from being teachers, doctors, leaders and even as a
soldier in battle when Muslims were under attack.

This equality does not mean that Men and women are same but it highlights their physical and
emotional strength and keeping them in view Islam sets out their key role in life. The role is not
of superiority or inferiority but of natural capacity and proper functioning.

Before the advent of Islam, women were treated extremely harshly. It was acceptable for female
babies to be buried alive and women were treated more as chattels and objects of sexual
pleasure. Islam changed all this, and taught equality of both genders.

It also granted women the right of inheritance and accordingly they received their due share as
prescribed by the Shariah Law (Islamic Law). A woman is entitled to individual ownership of
property as a mother, as a wife, as a daughter, and as a sister. She had rights that were granted to
women in England hundreds of years later.

The Holy Prophet honored the intellectual and spiritual status of women and said that the
achievement of knowledge is a contemporary duty to every Muslim male and female. The Holy
Prophet of Islam knew the essential part women had to play in the development of society, so he
laid great stress on the upbringing of girls by saying:

"A man who has two daughters and brings them up and educates them to the best of his capacity
shall be entitled to paradise"

According to Islam women are not considered inferior to men. Men and women have similar
rights and in some areas women actually enjoy certain privileges that the men do not. In terms of
property, marriage and divorce women have been given rights and in fact at each turn they have
been considered and provided for as appropriate. It is true to say that Islam gave women rights
which are unparalleled in the history of women.

This is a famous story when Hazrat Asma Bint-i-Hazid (ra) once came to the Prophet (sws) and
said, ‘A group of women has sent me as their representative and they all have the same opinion,
including me, about which I wanted to enquire. Allah has sent you as a Rasul for both men and
women; therefore we believed you and followed your footsteps. But we are women who remain
behind the veil and inside our homes. Men fulfill their desires with us and we take care of their
off-springs. Men have excelled in prayers and Jihad, and every other act of piety. Will we be
rewarded with them too?’

After listening to her speech, Holy Prophet (sws) asked his companions, ‘Have you ever
listened to such a fine speech by a woman before who had enquired about religion?’ All the
companions answered in the negative. Then the Holy Prophet (sws) said to Asma (ra), ‘O Asma
help me in conveying my message to the women who have made you their representative, that
their taking care of the household and keeping their husbands happy is equivalent to all those
deeds of men you have just mentioned.’ After hearing this Hazrat Asma (ra) returned happily
thanking Almighty. In this incident Hazrat Asma (ra) not only represented women of her times
but also women of our times to a certain extent.

Allah has declared in the Holy Qur’an that He has created men and women as equal beings.

He has created you from a single being; then from that He made its mate. (Ch 39: V.7)

Islam teaches that both men and women are equal in the sight of God. Allah states in the Holy
Qur’an: But who so does good works, whether male or female, and is a believer, such shall enter
Heaven, and shall not be wronged even as much as the little hollow in the back of a date-stone.

"O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into
nations and tribes, that ye may know each other. Verily the most honored of you in the sight of
Allah is the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well-acquainted. (The
Noble Quran, 49:13)"