In the contemporary discourse surrounding the Quran, it’s not uncommon to encounter critics who claim that the Quran is a book primarily meant for men, thereby relegating the role and status of women to the periphery. However, a closer examination of the Quranic text reveals a profoundly different reality—a reality that underscores the Quran’s unequivocal commitment to the equality, dignity, and significance of women. Let us embark on a journey through the Quranic verses that illuminate the status of women and challenge these misconceptions, as we explore their vital roles and significance in Islam.
Women as Equal Creations of Allah
From the very inception of the Quran, it is made abundantly clear that women and men are equal creations of Allah. In Surah An-Nisa it is stated, “Do not wish to get that which Allah has favoured others with. Men get a share of what they’ve earned, and women get a share of what they’ve earned” (4:32). This verse firmly establishes the equality of both genders in the eyes of Allah, with no preference given to either.
The Quranic perspective extends beyond social and economic equality to spiritual equality. In Surah Al-Ahzab, it is declared, “The Men and the women who submit to the will of Allah are: believers, devout, truthful, patient, humble, charitable, keep fast, are chaste and pure and remember Allah frequently. Allah has prepared forgiveness and a mighty reward for them” (33:35). This verse underscores that both men and women are equally rewarded for their faith and righteous deeds.
Women as Mothers
The Quran consistently highlights the significant role of women as mothers. In Surah Luqman, we are reminded of the debt of gratitude we owe to our mothers: “We commanded every human to care for his parents; his mother carried him in pain during pregnancy and breastfed him for nearly two years. So be thankful to Me and your parents, your destination is to Me” (31:14). This verse reflects the Quran’s emphasis on respecting and caring for mothers who have played a pivotal role in our lives.
Women’s Right to Inheritance
The Quran also addresses the issue of women’s inheritance rights. In Surah Al-Nisa, Allah says “Men receive a share of what parents and relatives leave behind, and women receive a share in what parents and relatives leave behind, whether the estate is small or big, there are fixed shares” (4:7). Here the Quran establishes clear guidelines for the distribution of inheritance, ensuring that women receive their rightful shares. This serves as a testament to the Quran’s commitment to gender equity in financial matters.
The Story of Mary (Maryam)
One of the most revered women in the Quran is Mary. The mother of Jesus (peace be upon them). Her story is recounted in Surah Maryam (Chapter 19), and it serves as a source of inspiration for all believers. Mary’s devotion, piety, and unwavering faith are celebrated in the Quran, demonstrating that women can serve as exemplars of spiritual excellence.
In conclusion, the Quran’s teachings regarding women are a testament to the value and dignity accorded to them in Islam. Women in the Quran are not passive figures but active participants in society, spirituality, and family life. The Quran’s message transcends time and place. Emphasising that the status of women is an integral part of the divine plan, deserving of respect, equality, and recognition. It is a message that encourages us to honour and celebrate the women in our lives and work together to promote justice and equality for all.
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