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  • 10/18/2008

The meaning of ‘EQUALITY’ in men and women


The only thing that needs be taken into consideration – to which Islam has paid special attention but which some individuals reject out of excessive and imprudent sentimentality - is the issue of physical and psychological difference between man and woman, and the difference in their responsibilities.


We just cannot refute the reality that there exist vast physical and psychological differences between the two sexes, and since these are mentioned in various books it is needless that we repeat them here.


 However, a summary of all of them is as follows: 

A woman is the base for man’s existence since the development of juveniles takes place within her arms; hence just as she has been created, physically, to handle the tasks of bearing, developing and educating the coming generations, psychologically too she is in possession of a greater share of feelings and sentiments.


With the existence of these vast differences, can it be said that men and women must be in step with each other in all matters and should be absolutely equal in all affairs and issues?


Should we not champion the cause of justice in the society?  But is justice other than that every person should adhere to his own responsibility and enjoy the benefits of the existential distinctions present within him?


Thus, is it not contrary to justice to involve and engage a woman in tasks that do not match and harmonize with her physical and psychological setup?


It is here we observe that Islam, even as it voices support for justice and equality, grants precedence to man in some of the social tasks which demand asperity or meticulousness - such as guardianship of the house - and has allowed the woman to function as an assistant.

Both, a ‘house’ and a ‘society’, are in need of an administrator, and the reins of administration should eventually end up in the hands of one person or else it would result in contest, chaos and confusion. Under these circumstances, who is better suited for the task - a man or a woman? 


Impartial and unbiased computations reveal that the structural state of man demands that the administration and management of the family should be placed upon the man while the woman should act as his assistant.

Even though there are some who insist on ignoring these realities, the state of life prevalent in the present-day world and even within communities that have granted women complete freedom and equality, reveal that in practice the issue is exactly as has been stated above, although in speech the issue may be made to appear differently. 1


1.  Tafseer-e-Namunah, vol. 2, pg. 113.

Other Links:

Special Edition on Hijab

Women’s Equality in Quranic Society


Marriage, Family and Life


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