Equality means that all people should be dealt with the same, irrespective of their needs, abilities, strengths and weaknesses.
Justice, however, acknowledges the fact that men and women are different in their mental, physical and emotional make up. They are presented with different opportunities in life and have different roles to play.
Islam is based on both these principles:
- Equality: It has already been explained that in the spiritual sense men and women are equal
- Justice: The day to day responsibilities given to each are reflective of the nature and life opportunities of men and women.
According to the Qur’an, men and women are two halves of a whole. Their roles in life complement one another to achieve a harmonious family unit. The man’s responsibility is as head of the family because:
1. He has been given the responsibility of earning the livelihood for the family
2. He has been given the mental, physical and emotional qualities that are more suitable for this role
The woman’s priority lies in being a good mother. This is an important full time career which requires dedication and professionalism. Islam liberates a woman from the pressures of being a ‘supermum,’ juggling career with family, by elevating the status of motherhood and placing the financial burden on husband. The decision to work is hers if she chooses but she will not be disrespected if she decides to concentrate on her primary role as a mother.
Muslims view marriage as the foundation of society and family life. Roles of husband and wife are complementary and collaborative. Rights and responsibilities of both sexes are equitable and balanced in their totality. Marriage is seen as way of stabilising society through legitimate sexual relationships and procreation. IHSAN