Equality of Men and Women in all Three Levels of Islam
Shaykh 'Abdul Rahman 'Abdul Khaliq
My brothers and sisters everywhere! Islamic law - that Allah (Glorified
and Exalted be He) sent down to His Messenger Muhammad - came to announce that women (exactly like men) are full human beings.
Women (like men) are therefore required to follow the way appointed by Allah.
A woman (like a man) is therefore obligated with all three degrees of this religion: Islam (outward
submission to Allah), Iman (inward faith in Allah), and Ihsan (perfection of worship of Allah).
It is thus required for every woman to testify that there is none deserving worship but Allah
and that Muhammad is Allah's Messenger; to pray; to give charity; to fast; and to make a pilgrimage to Allah's House if she
has the means.
It is likewise required for every woman to believe in Allah, His angels, His scriptures, His
messengers, the Last Day, and to believe in Allah's decree (and that the good and evil consequences thereof are from Allah).
These are the fundamentals of Islam and Iman.
It is likewise required for every woman to worship Allah as if she sees Him. For although she
cannot see Allah, she must believe that He sees whatever she does in secret and in public.
Women (exactly like men) have been commanded with these three levels of the religion (Islam,
Women are also obligated to enjoin good and forbid evil; to wage jihad by saying that which is
truthful; and to adhere to all noble behavior, like: truthfulness, trustworthiness, courage, modesty, and self-respect.
Every Muslim woman is commanded to be steadfast in her religion and not to be negligent
with her faith. It is impermissible for her - under any pressure or compulsion - to open her heart to accept the word of disbelief.
Hence every Muslim woman falls under Allah's statement:
"Whose disbelieves in Allah, after he has believed - excepting him who has been
compelled, and his heart is still at rest with the Faith - but whosoever's breast is expanded in unbelief, upon them shall
rest anger from Allah, and there awaits them a mighty chastisement." (Qur'an 16:106)
Clearly when Islam charged women with all these duties and in all these obligations made her
equal to men, the intent was to honor her and permit her to reach the highest degree of perfection of her being.
The duties that Allah has obligated humanity with are but a means to honor us. Prayer, as well
as fasting, is an honor for the servant and a means to raise his rank. To adhere to Allah's straight path and the manners
of Islam are, without doubt, a means to honor us and not to humiliate us as imagined by those who are ignorant of Allah and
follow their desires.
Such people think and imagine that a human being who does not believe in Allah, does not uphold
the trust of these duties, and does not perform what Allah has commanded him is of a higher standing than the believer who
adheres to the obligations of Islam. Such an idea is ignorance and renders human beings on par with the animals.
Humans have been created to be tried by Allah and have been charged with fulfilling these duties
to Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) and His creatures. As for animals, while they have been created by Allah, they have
not been charged with this trust.
Whoever considers that a human being who does not uphold what Allah has obligated as equal
to those who fulfill what Allah has obligated is like those who consider humans and animals to be equal. For this reason,
Allah has said:
"Shall we treat that those who have surrendered (as Muslims) as We treat the guilty?"
And He has said:
"We have crated for Hell many of the jinn and humanity; they have hearts, but understand
not with them; they have eyes, but perceive not with them; and they have ears, but they hear not with them. These are like
cattle; nay, rather they are further astray! Those - they are the heedless." (Qur'an 7:126)
The disbeliever in Allah is a guilty criminal, for he does not know whom He is to worship, i.e.,
his Creator, his Protector, his Lord, and He Who created this universe in which he lives. The disbeliever enjoys what Allah
has blessed him with and yet forgets the One Who blessed and preferred him with such blessings. As for the believer, he is
the honorable servant who knows His Lord and Creator, Allah, Whom he worships. He fulfills what Allah has obligated and travels
upon the path that Allah has delineated for him.