Gender Equality in Islam

Allah has created pairs in everything and He has mentioned this in various places across the Quran. Some instances are evident in the following Quran translation:

“Exalted is He who created all pairs - from what the earth grows and from themselves and from that which they do not know.” (The Quran 36:36)

 

“And We created you in pairs” (The Quran 78:8)

It’s no doubt that there are differences amongst them; one is superior to the other. However, this does not mean that the worker is deprived of some rights and make it a principle of such and such activities being limited to a certain gender only. Women can be involved in the same activities as men, given that the limitations are taken care of. Many schools of thought are ignorant of the limitations and simply ban or prohibit some activities on women altogether. Here, some of such activities will be conferred and the wrong decisions will be proven wrong by Surah of the Quran and Hadith.

 

Education                                                                     

Although an old concept and phased our already, it’s still employed in some parts of the developing countries. It was thought inappropriate to send women to colleges and universities for education, that “they would be out of control if they’re taught more, or would begin to question everything they’re taught or their way of living”.

It’s a wrong concept and education should be provided to all, no matter their gender. Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) has also said:

“Seeking knowledge is mandatory for every Muslim.” (Al-Tirmidhi)

We can see there’s no restriction on any gender for acquisition of knowledge. He declared this practice to be mandatory for everyone, regardless of the gender. Education also has the benefit that it adds the ability of sound decision making. Since very household has a woman in it, then it’s necessary that they be educated.

 

Job

Many Muslims communities share the opinion that women shouldn’t be allowed to work, but as mentioned before, if limitations are taken care of, then they can be involved in the same activities as men. A great example of a woman doing business is Hazrat Khadeja (R.A.) who belonged to the Quraishi tribe and was the wife of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.). Given this great example of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) allowing his wife to be a merchant doing business and then we ought to not have any problems in allowing our wives to do the same.

Besides Sunnah, there’s not a single text in the Quran or a hadith that prohibits women to work. However, she must take care of certain factors like: whether her clothes are too revealing or not? Whether she’s attracting too much attention? Such limitations were also mentioned to the wives of the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.):

“And abide in your houses and do not display yourselves as [was] the display of the former times of ignorance. And establish prayer and give zakah and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah intends only to remove from you the impurity [of sin], O people of the [Prophet's] household, and to purify you with [extensive] purification.” (The Quran 33:33)

Therefore, a woman who wishes to do business or work should take care of the guidelines mentioned in the Quran in order to stay on the right path.

It is imperative to understand the Quran and Sunnah carefully before making foolish decisions like prohibiting women to work or study and consequently limiting their potential. Educational and means of living are for the entire mankind and not limited to only one gender.