What is the Concept Of Gender Equality in Islam? Does Islam oppress women’s rights? The simple answer is No. Islam, the religion of peace and compassion that in its spirit attributes obedience to Allah, teaches equality, peace, and tenderness. It establishes that everyone is equal in the eyes of Allah; it is piety that elevates our standing and not riches or family name. Every relationship in this society is curated by the ideology that lays the foundation of Islamic Culture and society. Islam teaches us how to put forward our best attitudes and behavior when dealing with our spouse, children, family, friends, or neighbors. Unfortunately, the society where we live today has derived many shades from other cultures and religions that reflect patriarchy and oppression contrary to Islamic belief.
Unfortunately, due to the media propaganda, it is falsely believed that Islamic teaching advocates suppression and disregard for women compared to men. However, this is not true. We can and should seek guidance from the Holy Quran through verses that clearly discuss gender equity. Islamic Shariah teaches us about equality in various facets of life.
What are The Quranic teachings Regarding The Concept Of Gender Equality in Islam?
O mankind! Be careful of your duty to your Lord Who created you from a single soul and from it created its mate and from them, twain hath spread abroad a multitude of men and women. Be careful of your duty toward Allah in Whom ye claim (your rights) of one another, and toward the wombs (that bore you). Lo! Allah hath been a Watcher over you. (Qur’an 4:1)
Allah SWT has beautifully mentioned in the Holy Quran that both men and women possess the exact spiritual nature and are trustees and creations Of Allah in this world. Therefore, they both are dignified and bear moral, social, and spiritual rights and responsibilities and are accountable for them. Allah elevates the ranks of those who are pious in their deeds in all manners of life. When looking for someone to spend the rest of your life with, it is important that they match your spirituality and religiosity. This will ensure that their married life maintains a balance for both Deen and Dunya. It will also ensure that the spouse will regard the other with respect and would view their Iman as an asset.
If any do deeds of righteousness, be they male or female, and have faith, they will enter paradise, and not the least injustice will be done to them. (Qur’an 4:124)
It discourages the myopic view of male superiority and negates the concept of any Muslim being superior to others based on the strength of their family name. Thereby, abolishing the South Asian concept of superiority based on caste, ancestry, or gender, and voiding a classist system. This tutelage of the Quran and sunnah should be held onto so that no matchmakers can throw shade onto a prospective match based on class. It also removes the shadow of a doubt that the bride’s family or the bride herself in any way or form is lesser than the groom or his family.
O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes where you may know each other. Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (one who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things) (Quran 49:13)
If a person outranks the other, it is solely due to their righteousness and piousness. Gender, racial, social, color, creed, and all sorts of discrimination are meaningless. Our religion teaches us to live in every association perfectly. Single Muslims would definitely benefit from preserving these teachings while looking for a potential life partner.
What Financial Security Does Islam Provides Women?
Islam safeguards women’s rights before and after marriage, recognizing their civil right of inheritance irrespective of their marital status. No woman is obliged to spend her financial resources on the family and has absolute authority over her finances. Including exercising her right to choose how she wants to spend her savings and earnings. On marriage, she is entitled to “Mehr”, and if she bears a child with the union, the father is responsible for paying maintenance.
Men are appointed as guardians or managers over their women:
“Men are guardians and managers over women.” (Qur’an, 4:34), where they have to fulfill the financial responsibility of their sisters, daughters, mothers, and wives. “Men will have a share of what they earn, and women will have a share of what they earn.” (Qur’an, 4:32), but women have no obligation to be breadwinners.
What Economic rights Does Islam Provides Women?
Islamic Shariah has clearly described the rights of both men and women, and in many cases, women are more guarded and protected while men are obliged to fulfilling those rights. Women may conduct businesses, successfully manage an empire, and engage in affairs of the state, in other words, be free to work as they deem fit. However, they will have no obligation to do so if they do not wish to. This is how well-protected their rights are under the umbrella of Islamic law. This holds true whether they are married or single. Whatever assets a woman owns before or after marriage are singularly hers in her lifetime. These assets may include property, money, gold, and any items of use. After her demise, her assets may be dispensed according to the law. During her life, her husband, father, son, or any other kinsman does not have any right over her assets or their management.
Another important point to brush upon is the right to inheritance. Even if a woman has significant assets at the time of her marriage, it does not diminish her right to inheritance in her parents’ assets upon their passing. She must be allocated the percentage as decided by Islamic law and that inheritance is also her sole property.
In pre-Islam, the pagan used to bury their daughters alive, but Islam forbade this barbaric act. Women are given a say in marriage and divorce; they can pursue careers and possess wealth and property. Even the rules for polygamy were defined to offer protection to the first wife and children.
Islam decrees that a man completes his faith when he gets married, and husband and wife are supposed to love, respect, and care for each other. It also gives women the right to testify and exist as legal entities. Women in the times of the Holy prophet P.B.U.H. participated in educational activities, in wars as nurses, and contributed to society.
The core of Islamic teachings highlights kindness, humility, and love in every walk of life, and any sort of injustice or inequality is discouraged. Therefore, it is important to understand gender equity in the light of Islam to live a balanced life and to abstain from immodesty and ill-doings in the name of liberalism.
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