By: Dr. Suhaib Hasan
The Muslim accepts that the main purpose behind the creation of Jinn and mankind was that they should worship Allah, struggle against the forces of Satan and live their life according to Allah’s Commandments in order to achieve eternal bliss in Paradise. Almighty Allah says,
And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me. (Adh-Dhariyat 51:56)
Rather, worship [only] Allah and be among the grateful. (Az-Zumar 39:66)
Say, [O Muhammad], “Indeed, I have been commanded to worship Allah , [being] sincere to Him in religion. (Az-Zumar 39:11)
Equality of Men and Women
In the spiritual regard, Islam makes no distinction between men and women. Both have a soul, both were created for the same purpose in life, both have a duty to fulfill their religious obligations, both will be judged by the Almighty, and both will be rewarded or punished according to their individual actions. Whenever the Qur’an mentions those fortunate beings who will enter the Gardens of Bliss because of their piety and good deeds, it mentions men and women together.
And whoever does righteous deeds, whether male or female, while being a believer – those will enter Paradise and will not be wronged, [even as much as] the speck on a date seed. (An-Nisa’ 4:124)
Whoever does righteousness, whether male or female, while he is a believer – We will surely cause him to live a good life, and We will surely give them their reward [in the Hereafter] according to the best of what they used to do. (An-Nahl 16:97)
The believing men and believing women are allies of one another. They enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and establish prayer and give zakah and obey Allah and His Messenger. Those – Allah will have mercy upon them. Indeed, Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise. (At-Tawbah 9:71)
Indeed, the Muslim men and Muslim women, the believing men and believing women, the obedient men and obedient women, the truthful men and truthful women, the patient men and patient women, the humble men and humble women, the charitable men and charitable women, the fasting men and fasting women, the men who guard their private parts and the women who do so, and the men who remember Allah often and the women who do so – for them Allah has prepared forgiveness and a great reward. (Al-Ahzab 33:35)
There can thus be no doubt that in the Hereafter, men and women will both be judged, each individual bearing the burden of its own acts, each soul will be punished for its transgressions and each will be rewarded for its obedience to Allah.
Biological Difference between Men and Women
One may well ask that if there is such a complete and comprehensive spiritual equality between the two sexes, why this identical treatment is not found in other rights, duties and privileges. Non-Muslims question why men go out to work while women are encouraged to stay at home, why women have to wear the Hijab, why a brother receives a larger share of inheritance than his sister, why a man can be a ruler but a woman cannot, etc., and they then conclude that Islam treats women as inferior beings.
Actually, laws can never be discussed without being explained first, so we must first consider the fundamental Islamic ethos that men and women are two different yet complementary sexes. It is an established medical fact that men and women have different biological compositions and temperaments.
Allah the All-Mighty created and knows this biological difference better than we do, and has thus assigned to men and women the roles that each excels in due to its nature. Neither gender is inferior or superior to the other; instead they complement each other like the two halves of a whole.
In everyday life we see that society consists of many different kinds of people, all of whom play their particular roles to keep society intact. The farmer and the doctor make different contributions to the society, but both are equally important.
Each excels in his own field, and each provides a service for the other. Similarly, men and women are different sexes and play vital roles in their own areas of excellence.
Source: Taken from the author’s The Rights and Duties of Women in Islam.