Women in Islam – Habib Ali

This is taken from an article in the Washington Post.

What are the rights of women in Islam? How does Islam’s view of male and female equality differ from the Western view?

Fairness takes precedence over token forms of equality.

The mistreatment and abuse – mental, physical, and social – of women takes on multifarious forms. Some of those forms are based on a misunderstanding and misuse of religious teachings; while it should be known that any person who mistreats a woman or girl in any way is not called anything but a criminal in our Shariah legal framework.

However, there is a conflation that takes place between the oppression of women versus the philosophy of radical equality on the one hand and the detailed differentiation between a mono-onesize- fits-all gender equalization along with a complete disregard for the immense role that women play in society as mother, educator, caregiver, and homemaker on the other. Real equality is to pay the same due respect to the roles that only a woman can play in society that is granted to other sociopolitical roles; roles that she very often maintains the capacity to perform also if provided the same opportunities. It remains one of the injustices of our age that the criteria for “success” and “worth” have been centered on everything except the qualities and accomplishments of our mothers and those who care for us, imbue us with our identities, and raise our children. We must however, not eglect the situation of many, many women worldwide who have no choice except to play the role of both mother & father, nurturer & provider because of the extreme difficulty of their circumstances. For these reasons I find myself in need of emphasizing that it should be mutual completion of one-another that should be the foundation of the relationship between genders; rather than the cacophony of wrestling voices that we hear today in the talk of gender rights.


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