Humans have a special place in the sight of Allah since they are intelligent, responsible and the most honorable of all creation. Of course, there are many reasons for the creation of humans as man and woman with different qualities and there is immense wisdom behind it. Throughout the ages there has been a lot of controversy about the status of women in society. In this article, we will attempt to clarify some misunderstandings.

   In Islam, men and women share the same honor since they are both human, and have the same responsibility since they are both Allah’s servants. It is the duty of both women and men to live in accordance with Allah’s countenance and to work to spread goodness, justice and mercy, and to prevent evil, oppression and injustice. Indeed, Allah the Almighty enjoins: “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.”  [Qur’an 4:124]

   In the Qur’an (The Holy Book) there are several such verses about the status of women in society, their value before Allah and their rights. As such, the point we should address is discrepancy between the teachings of Islam and the practice of some Muslims. Although some Muslim cultures are seen as oppressive to women, this is usually a reflection of local customs that are inconsistent with, if not contrary to, Islamic teachings. Islam expects its adherents to uphold the rights of women, to protect their social status and to prevent their degradation in every way. In other words, many of the negative stereotypes around women in Islam arise not from Islamic guidance but from cultural practices, which not only denigrate the rights and experiences of women, but also stand in direct opposition to the teachings of Allah (SWT) and His Prophet ﷺ (peace be upon him). We would like to invite everyone curious about the real status of women in society to ask the question; “What do the Qur’an and the Sunnah (the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad) actually teach us about the status of women in Islam?”. 

  Based on authentic Islamic sources, the answer to this question is that the roles of men and women are complementary and collaborative. Although their obligations might differ in certain areas of life in accordance with their basic physiological and psychological differences, each is equally accountable for their particular responsibilities. In other words, Islamic law ensures gender justice and equity based on the differences and uniqueness of both genders. For instance, in a marriage, both male and female have rights over each other. Marriage is to be based on solid foundations, striking a balance between the physical, mental and spiritual needs of partners to avoid personality clashes. Ignoring these differences is unrealistic, but there is no reason to assume from them that one sex is either superior or inferior to the other in any way. Moreover, Islam elevated the status of women over 1,400 years ago by declaring them the sisters of men, giving them the right to education to the highest level, the right to choose a husband, the right to end an unhappy marriage, the right to inheritance, the right to their own wealth—in short, the rights of a full citizen of the state. Not only material and physical rights, but those of kindness and consideration are equally specific and significant in Islamic law. One example can be found in the life of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). He ﷺ promoted equal access to education, teaching us that, “The pursuit of knowledge is a duty of every Muslim, man and woman.” [Ibn Majah, as-Sunan (one of the major collections of the sayings of the Prophet ﷺ)]  The Beloved’s ﷺ own daughter, Fatima (RA), was highly educated and respected. It is documented that whenever Fatima (RA) entered a room, the Prophet ﷺ would stand up, and give his seat to her.

   All in all, as a human being, we should look at the whole picture, and should research more to understand the truth. Undoubtedly, Allah Almighty is the one who wants us to do this.