Editor's Picks

14 March 2011

Equality in Islam

"O mankind! Reverence your Guardian-Lord, Who created you from a single person, created, of like nature, his mate, and from them twain scattered (like seeds) countless men and women–fear Allah, through Whom you demand your mutual (rights), and (reverence) the wombs (that bore you): for Allah ever watches over you." (Qur’an 4:1)

Here we see in the Quran that men and women have mutual rights, between and from each other, and that we should give respect to our mothers.  Islam speaks specificaly about the rights that people have: rights of a husband upon his wife, the wife upon her husband, parents from their children and the children have rights upon their parents.  Islam is not just a religion but rather a way of life in which its followers should show respect and love and honor the duties and rights placed upon them.

I shall not lose sight of the labor of any of you who labors in My way, be it man or woman; each of you is equal to the other "(Quran 3:195)”

This verse shows plainly that before God there is gender equality especially concerning worship and righteous acts.  This should not be confused however with saying that men and women are the same, for they are not.  Each has been blessed with their own natures and characteristics which make their complementary roles productive in society.

Verily for all men and women who have surrendered themselves unto God, and all believing men and believing women, and all truly devout men and truly devout women, and all men and women who are true to their word, and all men and women who are patient in adversity, and all men and women who humble themselves before God, and all men and women who give in charity, and all self-denying men and self-denying women, and all men and women who are mindful of their chastity, and all men and women who remmber God unceasingly: for all of them has God readied forgiveness of sins and a mighty reward.” (Quran 33:35)

|Again it is clear that both men and women stand in front of Allah and are accountable for their own actions and behaviors and that in the case of religious duties, they are equal.

Additionally, it is well known that race or ethnicity while a blessing from Allah so that we can know each other and learn about different cultures, does not mean that one race is better than another.

O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other.  Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you.  And Allah has full knowledge and is well-acquainted. "(Quran, 49:13)“

 It is also based on the statement of Allah’s Messenger Muhammad(PBUH)

“ Oh Mankind! Your Lord is One. Your (grand) father is one. All of you belong to Adam (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Adam is created of soil (earth dirt). Truly, the most honorable person in the Sight of Your Lord, the Almighty Allah, is the most pious among you. There is no superiority for an Arab over a non-Arab. There is no superiority for a non-Arab over an Arab. There is no superiority for a red (race) person over a white person. Likewise, there is no superiority of a white over a red (race) person except for the level of piety (mindfulness of God, the Almighty Allah in life and practices)”     Ahmad, Hadith No.411.

Pride in one’s family history or genealogy is good only to a certain extent.  When it starts to balloon and create snobbery and destructive pride in which one tribe or nation feels superior over another, a falling away from the sunna occurs.  We read that Allah’s Messenger  Muhammad(PBUH) says,

“ The Almighty Allah has removed the false pride taking, which was practiced in the pre-Islamic period, where individuals took false pride with their ancestors (forefathers). All mankind belongs (in lineage) to Adam u. Adam is created of soil (earth dirt)”  AbuDaoud, Hadith No.5116.

One of the most beautiful aspects pilgrims find when making hajj and umra is that they are all dressed in simple clothing.  The rich and poor are dressed alike, and one is not better than the other except in levels of piety and righteousness.  Although this is all logical and reasonable, we still fail to impliment these ideals into our daily lives.  Women and men are refused in marriage due to lineage, foreign nationalities are treated with less respect and rights, minorities do not get the same privelages as the majority and the list can, and does, go on.  Only by implementing the true sunna of the Prophet pbuh and rules that Allah swt has given us can we start to dispel racism and ethnic clicks among our population.
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