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The Human Status of Woman in the Qur'an (Part2)

Equality or identicalness:

The basis point which is used in these arguments is that the necessary result of men and women’s sharing in human dignity and honor is that their rights should be the same and the identical. Now the thing on which philosophically speaking we should put our finger is to determine exactly what is the necessary result of man and woman’s sharing in human dignity. Is the necessary conclusion that each of them should have rights equivalent to the other so that there should be no privilege or preference in favor of either of them or is it necessary that the rights of man and woman besides having equivalence and parity should also be exactly the same and that there should be no division what so ever of work and duty. No doubt the sharing of man and woman in human dignity and their equality as human beings demands their having equal human rights but how can there be identicalness of rights?

If we can begin to put aside the imitation and blind following of western philosophy and allow ourselves to think and ponder over the philosophical ideas and opinions which have come to us from them we must see firstly whether identicalness of rights is or is not necessary for equality of rights. Equality is different from identicalness.

Equality means parity and equitableness and identicalness means that they are exactly the same.

It is possible that a father distributes his wealth equally and equitably among his sons but he may not distribute it identically. For example it is possible that a father has different kinds of wealth: he may own a commercial firm some agricultural land and also some real estate but due to his having examined his sons and found different talents among them for example he may have found that one of them had a gift for commercial affairs and that the second had ability in agriculture and the third had the capability to manage real estate. When he comes to distribute his wealth amongst his sons in his life-time bearing in mind that he must give equally to his sons in terms of the value of the property and that there should be neither preference nor discrimination he bequeaths his wealth according to the talents which he has found in them.

Quantity is different from quality. Equality is different from being exactly the same. What is certain is that Islam has not considered there to be identicalness or exact similarity of rights between men and women but it has never believed in preference and discrimination in favor of men as opposed to women. Islam has also observed the principle of equality between men and women. Islam is not against the equality of men and women but it does not agree with the identicalness of their rights.

The word “equality” has earned a kind of sanctity because it embraces the meaning of equivalence and absence of discrimination. This word is attractive and draws respect from listeners specially when this word is joined to the word “rights”.

“Equality of rights” — how beautiful and sacred is this combination of words! Can there be anyone with a conscience and an innate moral sense who does not reverse these two words?

But why is it that we who were once the standard bearers of knowledge philosophy and logic have come to such a position that others want to impose their opinions on us concerning the identicalness of the rights of men and women in the sacred name of equality of rights.

It is exactly like someone who wants to sell boiled beet roots and calls them pears.

What is certain is that Islam has not granted the same rights to men and women in everything in the same way as it has not imposed the same duties and punishment on both of them on all occasions. However is the sum total of all the rights that have been established for women less in value than the rights that have been granted to men? Certainly not as we shall prove.

Here a second question arises. Why has Islam granted dissimilar rights to men and women in certain instances? Why did it not allow the same rights for both of them? Would it not have been better for the rights of men and women to have been both equal and identical or is it preferable that the rights should be only equal but not the same? To study this point thoroughly it is necessary that we should discuss it in three parts:

1. The view of Islam concerning the human status of woman from the point of view of creation.

2. What is the reason for the differences which exist in the creation of man and woman? Are these differences the cause of there being dissimilarities in their natural rights or not?

3. The basic philosophy behind the differences that exist in Islamic law for men and women which in certain respects place them in different positions. Are these philosophical reasons still justifiable and do they still hold good or not?

* A book named: The Rights of Women in Islam. By: Ayatullah Morteza Motahari

947 View | 15-05-2014 | 15:06


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