SOLUTION TO INEQUALITY BETWEEN
MEN AND WOMEN: THE VALUES OF THE QUR'AN
By Harun Yahya
In societies devoid of real justice, the inequality of women and
men is a serious social issue posing major problems. In many countries
around the world, women are often treated as second-class citizens
and even outcasts. Perceived as weak and protection-seeking beings,
they are often abused. For the same reason, they do not hold a role
in society that commands respect or authority.
In societies where such prejudices prevail, a woman with a remarkable
career in business life hardly finds acceptance. Generally, women
are regarded as people who lack self-confidence and determination,
and who have poor intellectual faculties. This rationalization of
a "woman-stereotype" in society wrongly serves as an explanation
for every mistake a woman makes. In reality, such mistakes are not
peculiar to women but are universal among human beings.
Among candidates applying for job vacancies, men are usually favored
over women, even if they possess exactly the same backgrounds, intelligence
and skills. This tendency explains why there are limited opportunities
available to women in business life.
On the other hand, the majority of women identify with this image
attributed to them. This identification makes them readily assume
the inferior roles assigned to them in many societies.
Prejudices in social life towards gender differences have striking
consequences in underdeveloped countries. Let alone their entitlement
to education and work, they are even deprived of making their own
decisions about marriage. All sorts of women's personal decisions
rest either with their fathers or husbands.
There is an on-going effort to provide solutions to these flawed
implementations only a few of which have been included here. Associations
founded to protect women's rights, concepts such as freedom and
equality or the feminist movement or seminars, panels and discussions
have not contributed much towards a workable solution. All these
efforts prove that these solutions inherently breed more complications.
This is a natural consequence since the real solution, as in all
other domains, is unique: adherence to the Qur'an.
In a society adhering to the Qur'an and the Sunnah, no prejudicial
distinction is made between the individuals of a society whether
women, men, wealthy, poor, young or old. Social standing, profession,
wealth, or gender do not make people enjoy particular privileges.
The good deeds one engages in and one's fear of Allah distinguish
one, as is alluded to in the verse "Take provision, but
the best provision is fear of Allah." (Surat al-Baqara:
197) In the Qur'an, people are not classified prejudicially as men
or women. Allah addresses both men and women having faith in Him
and engaging in good deeds. Allah stresses the importance of living
by the values He commands. In that respect, being male or female
has no significance. Some of the verses stressing this are as follows:
The men and women of the believers are friends
of one another. They command what is right and forbid what is
wrong and perform prayer and give the alms, and obey Allah and
His Messenger. They are the people on whom Allah will have mercy.
Allah is Almighty, All-Wise. Allah has promised the men and women
of the believers Gardens with rivers flowing under them, remaining
in them timelessly, for ever, and fine dwellings in the Gardens
of Eden. And Allah's good pleasure is even greater. That is the
great victory. (Surat at-Tawba: 71-72)
Men and women who are Muslims, men and women
who are believers, men and women who are obedient, men and women
who are truthful, men and women who are steadfast, men and women
who are humble, men and women who give in charity, men and women
who fast, men and women who guard their private parts, men and
women who remember Allah much: Allah has prepared forgiveness
for them and an immense reward. (Surat al-Ahzab: 35)
Anyone, male or female, who does right actions
and is a believer, will enter the Garden. They will not be wronged
by so much as the tiniest speck. (Surat an-Nisa': 124)
The Trouble Women Suffer in Social Life
In societies distant from religion, women encounter many difficulties,
and, in particular, those experienced after a divorce deserve special
mention. A divorce creates many problems for a woman who has been
prevented from working by her husband and hence has come to depend
economically upon him.
That the majority of women do not have a profession, that they
are not young enough to go to work or that they are not entitled
to any social rights make conditions hard for divorced women. The
additional benefits divorcing parties demand from each other and
their insistence on pursuing their own interests contribute to conflicts
between the parties and make the situation even worse.
In a society of believers, however, people do not go through such
trouble when they adhere to the Qur'an and the Sunnah. The respect
and love felt at the beginning of a marriage is not lost when the
parties decide to terminate their marriage since it is done by mutual
consent. This attitude is consequent upon the rationale that parties
do not perceive each another merely as a man or a woman but as human
beings having faith in Allah, and thus Allah's most elevated creation.
This attitude maintains courtesy after a divorce.
There are many measures taken in the Qur'an securing a woman's
rights after divorce. The ones pertaining to her economic situation
maintain the welfare of a divorced woman. The following verses inform
us about the benefits and monetary assistance specified by the mutual
consent of both parties as well as the treatment due a woman after
Divorced women should receive maintenance given
with correctness and courtesy: a duty for all who are righteous.
(Surat al-Baqara: 241)
…Give them a gift - he who is wealthy according
to his means and he who is less well off according to his means
- a gift to be given with correctness and courtesy: a duty for
all good-doers. If you divorce them before you have touched them
but have already allotted them a dowry, they should have half
the amount which you allotted, unless they forgo it or the one
in charge of the marriage contract forgoes it. To forgo it is
closer to heedfulness. Do not forget to show generosity to one
another. Allah sees what you do. (Surat al-Baqara: 236-237)
He who has plenty should spend out from his plenty,
but he whose provision is restricted should spend from what Allah
has given him. Allah does not demand from any self more than He
has given it. Allah will appoint after difficulty, ease. (Surat
Again from the verses, we know that, after the divorce, it is not
lawful for a man to keep anything he had given to his wife during
the marriage. All needs of a divorced woman related to housing are
also guaranteed during the 'iddah (waiting) period after the divorce.
According to the Qur'an, it is also unlawful to inherit women by
What has been related so far reveals that adhering to the Qur'an
brings solutions. In a society where people live by the Qur'an,
women are not subjected to maltreatment and dishonored as in other