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Gender Equity in Islam

  • Date Submitted: 09/18/2010 09:31 AM
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Gender Equity in Islam
Jamal A. Badawi, Ph.D.
World Assembly of Muslim Youth WAMY Studies on Islam

I. Introduction & Methodology
When dealing with the Islamic perspective of any topic, there should be a clear distinction between the normative teachings of Islam and the diverse cultural practices among Muslims, which may or may not be consistent with them. The focus of this paper is the normative teachings of Islam as the criteria to judge Muslim practices and evaluate their compliance with Islam. In identifying what is "Islamic," it is necessary to make a distinction between the primary sources of Islam (the Qur'an and the Sunnah) and legal opinions of scholars on specific issues, which may vary and be influenced by their times, circumstances, and cultures. Such opinions and verdicts do not enjoy the infallibility accorded to the primary and revelatory sources. Furthermore, interpretation of the primary sources should consider, among other things: (a) The context of any text in the Qur'an and the Sunnah. This includes the general context of Islam, its teachings, its world view, and the context of the surah and section thereof. (b) The occasion of the revelation, which may shed light on its meanings, (c) The role of the Sunnah in explaining and defining the meaning of the Qur'anic text. This paper is a brief review of the position and role of woman in society from an Islamic perspective. The topic is divided into spiritual, economic, social, and political aspects.

II. The Spiritual Aspect
1. According to the Qur'an, men and women have the same spiritual human nature: 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; reverence 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)

It is He who created you from a single person and made his mate...

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