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Teachings of Islam about equality between men and women


Islam lays down clearly defined principles about the status and position of men and women. It fully and comprehensively guides them about their respective rights and duties. The Holy Quran explicitly states:

"Men are maintainers of women" (4:34).

This implies that men are supposed to take the responsibility for the maintenance of the household and this is to the physical and physiological abilities and limitations of the members of the two genders. However, despite this, a woman is free to make earnings by offering her talents and services in any walk of life within the specific limits defined by the Shari’ah. The Quran supports this by saying:

"And women shall have rights similar to the rights against them." (2: 228).

The penal code of Islam is equally applicable to both men and women as both are to face similar punishment if proven guilty. Moreover, in certain cases, the witness or evidence provided by a woman carries greater weight than that of a man. For example, only a mother can provide decisive evidence regarding the legitimacy of the birth of a child.

The Holy Prophet (ﷺ) did not discriminate between men and women when he stressed the need of acquiring knowledge in his famous Hadith: "To acquire knowledge is the duty of every Muslim man and Muslim woman." Similarly, Islam acknowledges the role and responsibility of a mother and declares a mother superior to the father.

Thus Islamic teachings are aimed at striking a balance between the status of men and women. Generally, both enjoy equal positions but in many areas, the role of one becomes more important than that of the other.

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