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Theology for Gender Justice and Gender Equality
Qur'anic Perspective Churches of Sweden, Chennai


Honourable dignitaries on the Dias and off the Dias.


I wish you all a very peaceful and serene good evening/afternoon and Salaams, which is a supplication to Almighty God and a disclosure to my intentions that I want all kinds of good wishes, PEACE, tranquillity, harmony, serenity and prosperity for the entire humanity. Let me convey this in Arabic. May PEACE and Mercy of Allah be upon you.

Human beings are created in two genders, Male and Female, by the ONE & ONLY Creator of the Universe. It is HIS choice, to whom HE Creates as feminine or masculine. Gender is not human choice. The final Testament says in chapter 42, verse 49 -

". . . . HE bestows the gift of female offspring on whomever HE wills, and the gift of male offspring on whomever HE wills. Or HE gives both male and female off spring to whomever HE wills...."

To propel human race, male and female are counterparts of each other. Every healthy society becomes prosperous only when both men and women participate equally at their best possible level.

Communities that use talents experience and wisdom of whole population i-e. both men and women are more able to fulfil basic needs of all members. If women are excluded from participation in the main stream, decision making, policies and leadership, then GOD given potential of half of the population gets wasted without any genuine reason.

Gender equality requires equal enjoyment by women and men of socially-valued goods, opportunities, resources and rewards. Where gender inequality exists, it is generally women who are excluded or disadvantaged in relation to decision-making and access to economic and social resources. Therefore a critical aspect of promoting gender equality is the empowerment of women, with a focus on identifying and redressing power imbalances, and giving women more autonomy to manage their own lives according to the divine laws of their Creator. Gender equality does not mean that men and women become the same; only that access to opportunities and life changes is neither dependent on, nor constrained due to their gender. So that both women and men can fully participate as equal partners in productive and reproductive life.

The pattern of inequality is a constraint to the progress of any society because it limits the opportunities of one-half of its population. When women are constrained from reaching their full potential, that potential is lost to society as a whole.

Now let us ponder over different aspects of Gender-Equity through final testament, AL-QURAN.

[1] Spiritual Aspect :

Quran recognizes that while men and women have some physical differences, spiritually they enjoy absolute equality before God. The Quran and Sunnah are equivocal in stating that one's gender will have absolutely no bearing on their reward or punishment in the next life.

Chapter 3 verse 195 states,

"And their LORD responded to their prayers that I will not waste the striving of any of you, whether male or female, whoever of you. . . . .'

Likewise Chapter 4 verse 124 states,

"And whoever does righteous deeds, whether male or female, and he or she is honest, they shall be admitted to paradise, and they shall not be dealt with unjustly in the least."

Therefore, Qur'an openly declares that men and women have an equal status and value before Almighty God. The Qur'an recognizes their unique strengths and capabilities, and rules accordingly protecting the rights of both.

[2] The Economic Aspect :

  • The Qur'an recognizes the full property rights of women before and after marriage. A married woman may keep her maiden name.

  • Greater financial security is assured for women. They are entitled to receive marital gifts, to keep present and future properties and income for their own security. No married woman is required to spend a penny from her property and income on the household. She is entitled to full financial support during marriage and during the waiting period ('iddah) in case of divorce and death of husband. She is also entitled to child support. According to The Scripture, a Muslim woman is guaranteed support in all stages of her life, as a daughter, wife, mother, or sister. Male inherits more than female and is responsible financially for other females: daughters, wives, mother, and sister, while the female (i.e., a wife or daughter) inherits less but can keep it all for investment and financial security without any legal obligation to spend any part of it even for her own sustenance (food, clothing, housing, medication, etc.).

[3] The Social Aspect :
(A) As a Daughter

  • 1. The Qur'an effectively ended the cruel pre-Prophet practice of female infanticide. In chapter 81 verses 8, 9 it has been said.

"And when the girl-child that was buried alive is made to ask for what crime she had been slain! "

  • 2. Parents are duty bound to support and show kindness and justice to their daughters. Prophet Muhammad said : "Whosoever has a daughter and he does not kill her by anyway, does not insult her, and does not favour his son over her, Allah will enter him into Paradise." [Musnad Ahmad]

  • 3. Education is not only a right but also a responsibility of all males and females. Prophet Muhammad said : "Seeking knowledge is mandatory for every Muslim male & female. [Bukhari]

(B) As a Wife

  • 1. Marriage in The Qur'an is based on mutual peace, love, and compassion.
    Chapter 30 verse 21 states:

"And among GOD's wonders is that HE created for you from yourselves mate that you may find tranquility in them, and HE placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for the people who give thought."

Likewise in chapter 42 verse 11, it has been stated :

"Almighty GOD is the Originator of the heavens and the earth. HE has made for you from yourselves, mates, and among the cattle, mates. HE multiplies you thereby. There is nothing like unto HIM, and HE listens and watches all the things."

  • 2. In marriage case, the offer of marriage will come from bride side first. Without her offer there could not be any marriage. It is prerequisite to the validity of the marital contract according to Scripture and the Prophet's teaching.

  • 3. The husband is responsible for the maintenance, protection, and overall management of the family (Qawaam) within the framework of consultation and kindness. The mutual dependency and complementary of the roles of males and females does not mean "subservience" by either party to the other. Prophet Muhammad helped in household chores in spite of his busy schedule.

    The Qur'an urges husbands to be kind and considerate to their wives even if they dislike something on them. The Qur'an states in chapter 4 verse 19:

". . . . . And pass your life with your wives in a kindly manner, even if you dislike something in them, perhaps you dislike a thing and ALLAH makes therein much good."

Prophet Muhammad taught:
"I command you to be kind to women ..."The best of you is the best to his family ..."

Marital disputes are to be handled privately between the parties with full consideration of the heavenly laws revealed in The Qur'an.

(C) As a Mother :

  • 2. In marriage case, the offer of marriage will come from bride side first. Without her offer there could not be any marriage. It is prerequisite to the validity of the marital contract according to Scripture and the Prophet's teaching.

  • 3. The husband is responsible for the maintenance, protection, and overall management of the family (Qawaam) within the framework of consultation and kindness. The mutual dependency and complementary of the roles of males and females does not mean "subservience" by either party to the other. Prophet Muhammad helped in household chores in spite of his busy schedule.

    The Qur'an urges husbands to be kind and considerate to their wives even if they dislike something on them. The Qur'an states in chapter 4 verse 19:

  • 1. Kindness to parents is next to worship of Allah: Chapter 17 verse 23 states about dignity of parents :

"Your SUSTAINER has ordained that you shall worship none but HIM. And behave nicely with the parents. Whether one of them or both attain old age in your life, never say "Uff" to them, and never scold them. But address them honourably."

Quran further states in chapter 31 verse 14, about dignity of Mother as :

"And ALMIGHTY GOD has commissioned every man to do best behavior with his parents. His mother carried him by bearing strain upon strain, and his utter dependence and nursing was at least two years on his mother. Hence be grateful towards ME and towards your parents. And don't forget that I am your LORD, and to ME is the final return of all of you."

  • 2. Mothers are accorded a special place of honour in Hadeeth too : A man came to the Prophet Muhammad asking: O Messenger of Allah, who among the people is the most worthy of my good companionship? The Prophet said, your mother. The man said then who is the next: the Prophet said, Your mother. The man further asked, Then who is the next? Only then did the Prophet say, Your father. (al Bukhari)

(D) As a Sister in Faith (Generally)

  • 1. According to the Prophet Muhammad's saying: "Women are but sisters (or the other half) of men (shaqa'iq).
  • 2. Prophet Muhammad taught kindness, care, and respect of women in general : "I command you to be kind to women folk."

(E) Issue of Modesty and Social Interaction

Parameters of proper modesty for males and females (dress and behaviour) are based on revelatory source (the Qur'an and Prophet's system) and as such are seen by believing men and women as divinely-based guidelines with legitimate aims, and divine wisdom behind them. They are not male-imposed or socially imposed restrictions. The notion of near total seclusion of women is alien to the prophetic period. Interpretation problems in justifying seclusion reflect, in part, cultural influences and circumstances in different Muslim ruled countries.

(F) The Legal and Political Aspect :

  • 1. Both genders are entitled to equality before the law and courts of law. Justice will not takes gender of the culprit in view. Most references to testimony (witness) in the Qur'an do not make any reference to gender. Some references fully equate the testimony of male and female. For example Chapter 24 verse 6 to 9 states, witness law in special case as :

"And as for those who accuse their own wives, but have no witnesses except themselves, let the accuser swear by ALLAH, four times that he is indeed telling the truth. And the fifth time that the curse of ALLAH shall be upon him if he is lying. And it will prevent punishment from her if she swears by ALLAH, four times that her husband is indeed accusing her wrongfully. And the fifth time, that ALLAH's curse be upon her if her husband is telling the truth."

  • 2. The general rule in social and political life is participation and work spheres of both the genders in their respective responsibilities. Chapter 9 verse 71 states as,

" And the faithful men and women are supplement to each other. . . . ."

  • 3. There is sufficient historical evidence of participation by Muslim women in the choice of rulers, in public issues, in administrative positions, in scholarship and teaching, and even in the battlefield. Such involvement in social and political affairs was done without losing sight of the complementary priorities of both the genders and without violating Qur'anic guidelines of modesty and virtue.

  • 4. There is no text in the Qur'an or the Sunnah that precludes women from any position of leadership.

    In a nutshell, scriptural references for all 6 Strategic points are as under :

  • 1. Gender Justice and Gender Equality: 17 / 70

"Indeed, WE have conferred dignity on all the children of Adam, and provided them with transport on land and sea, and provided them sustenance out of the good and fair things, and favored them far above most of OUR creation."

Children of Adam includes both the genders, at an equal dignity."

  • 2. Theology for Gender Justice and Gender Equality: 49 / 13
    Quran does not differentiate between male and female for the ranks of dignity

"O men! Behold, WE have created you all out of a male and a female, and have made you into nations and tribes, so that you might come to know one another. Verily, the noblest of you in the sight of ALLAH is the one who is most deeply conscious of HIM. Behold, ALLAH is all-knowing, all-aware."

  • 3. Gender as an integral perspective in all the activities: 33 / 35
    Life sphere of human beings contains integral activities day by day in routine, Both the genders are fully equipped by their Creator to perform their best and the record of every activity is being preserved. Equal opportunities are given to both the genders as :

"Verily, for all men and women who have totally submitted themselves unto ALLAH, and all believing men and believing women, and all truly devout men and truly devout women, and all men and women who are true to their words and all men and women who are patient in adversity, and all men and women who humble themselves (before Allah) and all men and women who spend in charity, and all self-denying men and self denying women, and all men and women who are mindful of their chastity, and all men and women who remember ALLAH unceasingly: for (all of) them has ALLAH readied forgiveness of sins and a mighty reward."

  • 4. Gender base violence: 24 / 4.
    Qur'an imposes strict action on society, not to harass a woman. Even in the case of comments about her character without four evidences can call heavy punishment.

"And as for those who accuse chaste women, and then are unable to produce four witnesses in support of their accusation, flog them with eighty stripes; and ever after refuse to accept from them any testimony - since it is they, they that are truly wicked"

  • 5. Economic Justice: 4 / 32
    The Qur'an gives full authority to women to earn and spend their own income for their-selves.

"..for men, what they earn, and for women, what they earn...."

  • 6. Men and Women : Social counterparts of each other: 67 / 2
    According to the Final Testament, every individual irrespective of gender is accountable for his or her actions. Everyone is a social counterpart to each other.

"HE is the LORD who has created death as well as life, so that HE might test you, who is best in conduct. And (make you realize that) HE Alone is ALMIGHTY, Most Forgiving."

God has given leadership qualities to few human beings and it can be utilised for the benefit of society. The Prophet appointed ladies as market incharge and for many such responsibilities.
At the end of my words, I thank the organisers, management, staff and the audience with a supplication to Almighty God in these words :


Thank you very much for patiently listening. May GOD Bless us all.