Men and Women in Islam: Equal or Equally Balanced?

Men and Women in Islam: Equal or Equally Balanced?

Men are not superior to women and women are not superior to men in Islam. Allah Almighty makes it perfectly clear that those superior are those who have more taqwa (god fearing consciousness) In Islam, men and women do not have equal rights, but their rights are different because of their nature. Their rights are equally balanced. 

Let me quote Dr Zakir Naik from his lecture “Women’s Right in Islam Modernizing or Outdated?”

As I said in the beginning of my talk, Islam believes in equality between men and women – Equality does not mean identicality.  

Suppose in a classroom 2 students, student ‘A’ and ‘B’, during an examination both come out first – Both secure 80% marks – 80 out of 100 

Out of the hundreds of students, 2 come out first ‘A’ and ‘B’ 

When you analyze the question paper, the question paper has 10 different questions, each carrying 10 marks.  

In question 1 student ‘A’ got 9 out of 10, and student ‘B’ got 7 out of 10 – So in question 1 student ‘A’ was higher than student ‘B’.  

In question 2, student ‘A’ got 7 out of 10 and student ‘B’ got 9 out of 10,
 – Student ‘B’ was higher than student ‘A’ in question number 2.  

In question 3 both of them got 8 out of 10, both were equal 

So when we add up the marks of all the ten questions, both student ‘A’ and ‘B’ got 80 out of 100 

So in short, student ‘A’ and student ‘B’ are over all equal

In some question ‘A’ is higher than ‘B’, in some question ‘B’ is higher than ‘A’, in others both are equal 

In the same fashion, taking the example that since Allah has given man more strength – Suppose a thief enters the house will you tell, ‘I believe in women’s rights – I believe in women’s rights’ – will you tell your mother, your sister and your daughter, to go and fight the thief?’

No, but natural you’ll fight him – If required they may interfere – under normal circumstances since Allah has given you more physical strength, you have to go and tackle the thief. 

So here, in physical strength, man is one degree higher than the woman

Let us take another example where… where it comes to giving respect to the -where it comes to respecting the parents – The children are supposed to respect the mother 3 times more than the father. 

Here the women have one degree higher than the men – Over all both equal

Yes it is true, the child is supposed to treat his or her mother better than the father. Here is the hadith…

SAHIH MUSLIM, BOOK 32: The Book of Virtue, Good Manners and Joining of the Ties of Relationship (Kitab Al-Birr was-Salat-I-wa’l-Adab)

Abu Huraira reported that a person came to Allah, ‘s Messenger (may peace be upon him) and said: Who among the people is most deserving of a fine treatment from my hand? He said: Your mother. He again said: Then who (is the next one)? He said: Again it is your mother (who deserves the best treatment from you). He said: Then who (is the next one)? He (the Holy Prophet) said: Again, it is your mother. He (again) said: Then who? Thereupon he said: Then it is your father. In the hadith transmitted on the authority of Qutalba, there is no mention of the word” the people”.

This is indeed a great honor that Allah has given to the woman. 

SAHIH BUKHARI, BOOK 92: Holding Fast to the Qur’an and Sunnah

Narrated Warrad:

(The clerk of Al-Mughira) Muawiya wrote to Al-Mughira ‘Write to me what you have heard from Allah’s Apostle.’ So he (Al-Mughira) wrote to him: Allah’s Prophet used to say at the end of each prayer: “La ilaha illalla-h wahdahu la sharika lahu, lahul Mulku, wa lahul Hamdu wa hula ala kulli shai’in qadir. ‘Allahumma la mani’ a lima a’taita, wala mu’tiya lima mana’ta, wala yanfa’u dhuljadd minkal-jadd.”

He also wrote to him that the Prophet used to forbid

(1) Qil and Qal (idle useless talk or that you talk too much about others),

(2) Asking too many questions (in disputed Religious matters);

(3) And wasting one’s wealth by extravagance;

(4) and to be undutiful to one’s mother 

(5) and to bury the daughters alive

(6) and to prevent your favors (benevolence to others (i.e. not to pay the rights of others

(7) And asking others for something (except when it is unavoidable).

        The Prophet emphasized the greatness of the sin of some one disobeying his or her mother more than the father.

SAHIH MUSLIM, BOOK 1: The Book of Faith (Kitab Al-Iman)


It is reported on the authority of Abu Huraira that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) observed: Avoid the seven noxious things. It was said (by the hearers): What are they, Messenger of Allah? He (the Holy Prophet) replied: Associating anything with Allah, magic, killing of one whom God has declared inviolate without a just cause, consuming the property of an orphan, and consuming of usury, turning back when the army advances, and slandering chaste women who are believers, but unwary.

Here we see that one of the seven deadly sins is slandering chaste women. How come slandering men is not there? Slandering men indeed is a great sin however, the sin for slandering chaste women is worse. See the honor that God Almighty has given to Muslim women in order to preserve and maintain their honor.

There are only a couple of examples to show that women might seem to have more rights in certain areas than men, while men have more rights than women in certain areas as well. 

Recommended Links (A MUST READ)