God tells us that with the Qur’an, He brought “glory and honor” (Qur’an, 23;71) to human beings. He gives prosperity to everyone who practices the morality of Islam and follows the path that He has revealed in the Qur’an. And the only way for some women to escape all the anxieties that ignorant societies subject them to, and to gain the respect they deserve, is to be found in the Qur’an, revealed to our Prophet (saas) so that human beings could come out of darkness and enter into light.
In many verses of the Qur’an, God protects women and defends their rights, removes wrong ideas about women current in ignorant societies, and grants them a respected place in society. The Qur’an tells us that in the sight of God, the measure of a human being’s worth lies not in gender; but in the fear of God, in faith, moral perfection, sincerity towards God and piety (taqwa). All these verses are proofs of our Lord’s incomparable generosity toward women.
O Humanity! We created you from a male and female, and made you into peoples and tribes so that you might come to know each other. The noblest among you in Allah’s sight is the one of you who best performs his duty. Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware. (Qur’an, 49:13)
Children of Adam! We have sent down clothing to you to conceal your private parts, and fine apparel, but the garment of heedfulness--that is best! That is one of Allah’s Signs, so that hopefully you will pay heed. (Qur’an, 7:26)
Elsewhere in the Qur’an, God says “Whatever good you do, Allah knows it. Take provision; but the best provision is fear of Allah. So have fear of Me, people of intelligence!” (Qur’an, 2:197). He tells us that the best quality a human being can have is piety. Therefore, it must be piety, chiefly, that gives humans their basic value and superiority in God’s sight. In the Qur’an, God says: “The men and women who give charity and make a good loan to Allah will have it increased for them and they will have a generous reward.” (Qur’an, 57:18)
This verse reminds both women and men that they will receive a true reward of supreme honor by living the moral life that God has directed. Women and men have different physical characteristics, of course, but this is not the reason for either gender’s superiority. In another verse, God says that wealth has become a measure of superiority in the minds of some people, but it is more acceptable to desire God’s generosity:
Do not covet what Allah has given to some of you in preference to others—men have a portion of what they acquire and women have a portion of what they acquire; but ask Allah for His bounty. Allah has knowledge of all things. (Qur’an, 4:32)
In the Qur’an, God has told us what must be done to protect and care for women in society and give them the respect they deserve. All these measures are for their sake so that women will not be harmed or oppressed.
In the Qur’an,God has shown humanity the true path and has vitiated the false practices of ignorant belief. According to Islamic morality, the important thing is not being born a man or a woman, but to be attached to God with deep faith and fear. Carefully obeying God’s commands and prohibitions is to try to live as best one can according to the moral teachings of the Qur’an. Such a character will be of a person’s true value in the sight of God.
In the Qur’an, God explains the basic qualities that anyone of faith must have, whether he be a man or a woman:
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. (Qur’an, 9:71)
As God tells us in the Qur’an, believing women and men are responsible for worshipping, living according to the moral teachings of the Qur’an, urging others to engage in good and refrain from evil, and obeying all His commands and exhortations in the Qur’an. God has promised to give to all persons, to both men or women alike, “discrimination” (Qur’an, 8:29). In return for their faith and sincerity, God will guide individuals in every field of life and bring them on the right path toward Himself. He will help them to make right decisions and behave correctly; and He will give them intelligence, understanding and perception. Therefore, intelligence is not based on a person’s gender; it comes totally from the fear of God and a sincere attachment and closeness to Him.
Every man or woman who acts according the intelligence derived from faith may surpass many others and can attain success in every area of life. This depends completely on the individual’s will, zeal and determination. In accordance with the precepts of Islamic morality, no people of faith will ever consider themselves to be perfect in any way. Rather, they always strive to be more intelligent, more able, more responsible, more developed in their character and more successful at leading a good moral life. In so far as hey can, they will try to develop themselves in every area. In the Qur’an, God tells that believers pray to Him so that they provide examples of good character to those around them:
[Believers are] those who say, “Our Lord, give us joy in our wives and children and make us a good example for those who guard against evil.” (Qur’an, 25:74)
A Muslim woman who tries to do her best in everything and be a fine example to everyone with her character, moral rectitude and personality will, God willing, also attain a high position in her society. She carries out her every responsibility as best she can, makes the most appropriate decisions, finds the best solutions to problems and puts the best measures into effect.
We can see that according to the moral practice of Islam, men and women are completely equal in society. By means of the Qur’an, the All-Merciful Allah has nullified the distinctions that all ignorant belief systems make between men and women; and He has commanded that women be given the value they deserve. All this depends totally on the strength of men’s—and women’s—faith in God as well as on their moral character and the responsibilities they assume. Therefore, women who embrace Islamic morality never need to struggle for equality with men; they enter, instead, into a moral “contest” of worthiness. In the contest of goodness, those with faith must show their best efforts to earn God’s good pleasure at every moment of their lives.
With this goal in mind, they contend in their contest toward goodness to become the person closest to God and most beloved and favored by Him. However, this contest is purely for God’s Will. In the Qur’an, God tells us that one of the main characteristics of believers that exalts them in this world and the next is the efforts they exert to achieve this goal:
Such people are truly racing towards good things, and they are the first to reach them. (Qur’an, 23:61)
Then We made Our chosen servants inherit the Book. But some of them wrong themselves; some are ambivalent; and some outdo each other in good by Allah’s permission. That is the great favor.(Qur’an, 35:32)
In another verse, God reminds us that no one--man or woman--will be treated unjustly in this world or in the Hereafter, but that everyone will get exactly what he or she deserves:
Anyone who acts rightly, male or female, being a believer, We will give them a good life and We will recompense them according to the best of what they did. (Qur’an, 16:97)
All these things are proofs of the mercy that God displays to His faithful servants. In societies that do not practice the moral teachings of the Qur’an, women are still treated like second-class citizens. But as a manifestation of His name as “the All Merciful,” God protects all women and gives them glory and due honor.