‘Gender Equality in Islam’, by Farhan Iqbal, Imam Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Canada

Source: alislam.org

In gender equality conversations it is often insinuated that in Islam there is no gender equality.

Gender Equality in Islam

Gender Equality in Islam

Equality is based not in political ideology but in the reality of the differences and mutual dependencies of real men and women. As men and women we’re designed to need each other, not replicate each other. Because we have deviated from divine design and intent, it is the key reason why modern culture is so conflicted about equality of men and women.

In this article, I will explore some of the issues often raised and address the general question: Does Islam discriminate against women or men in its teachings? [*]

God declares in the Holy Quran:

وَ مَنۡ یَّعۡمَلۡ مِنَ الصّٰلِحٰتِ مِنۡ ذَکَرٍ اَوۡ اُنۡثٰی وَ ہُوَ مُؤۡمِنٌ فَاُولٰٓئِکَ یَدۡخُلُوۡنَ الۡجَنَّۃَ وَ لَا یُظۡلَمُوۡنَ نَقِیۡرًا

But whoso 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 [4:125]

In other words, as far as one’s spirituality and relationship with God is concerned, there is indeed absolute equality between the genders.

Understanding Gender Roles

What many see as inequality between the genders in Islam is actually equality in the best form. Due to the fact that women are born with the ability to give birth to children, and are naturally better equipped to care for a newborn’s needs, Islam has assigned them a more central role in terms of the upbringing of children. This does not mean that men do not have any role in this regard. It only means that the father has a supportive role while the mother has the primary role and responsibility in taking care of young children.

Conversely, Islam assigns the role of supporting the family financially on the husband/father, and the husband bears the heavy responsibility of ensuring that the family is well taken care of. This is laid out in the following verse of the Quran:

وَ لَہُنَّ مِثۡلُ الَّذِیۡ عَلَیۡہِنَّ بِالۡمَعۡرُوۡفِ ۪ وَ لِلرِّجَالِ عَلَیۡہِنَّ دَرَجَۃٌ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ عَزِیۡزٌ حَکِیۡمٌ

Explaining this verse, Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad(rh) writes,

And they (the women) have rights similar and equal to those (of men) over them in equity; (i.e., for women, there are exactly equal rights as for men, as men have rights upon women. There is thus total equality and there is no difference whatsoever between the fundamental human rights of women and men.)

But men have a degree of advantage over them. And Allah is Mighty and Wise” [2:229].[ii] What is that advantage? That is in terms of their responsibility as breadwinners, as the Quran says, “Men are guardians over women because Allah has made some of them excel others, and because they (men) spend of their wealth” [4:35]. This teaching does not give any special privileges or rights to men as their responsibilities are greater. If anything, this teaching seems to be harsher for men, and makes life easier and more convenient for women.

Who serves whom?

Related to the issue being discussed in …read more at source: alislam.org

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