Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Building Bridges: A World Religions Program for 8th-9th Grades

Handout 2: Position - Muslim Women Are Equal

Muslim women are equal to men and equally valued.

  • The Holy Qur'an states that women and men were created from a single soul and are moral equals in the eyes of God. Qur'an 4:1: "O mankind! Be careful of your duty to your Lord Who created you from a single soul and from it created its mate and from them twain hath spread abroad a multitude of men and women. Be careful of your duty toward Allah in Whom ye claim (your rights) of one another, and toward the wombs (that bare you). Lo! Allah hath been a watcher over you."
  • The importance of Khadijah to Muhammad and the reverence she is given by Muslims show the high value of women in Islamic society.
  • The mother of Jesus, "Maryam" in the Arabic, is highly revered. The Qu'ran devotes an entire chapter to her and her name is mentioned more in the Qu'ran than in the Christian scriptures.
  • One of the attributes of Allah is that Allah has no body and no gender. If one gender were better than the other, Allah would have that gender; therefore, since Allah does not have a gender, the genders are equal.
  • Hijab—the requirement that women cover their hair and dress modestly—is for women's protection and to ensure men will treat them respectfully.
  • Wearing the hijab is an honor. Dressing modestly forces others to judge a woman by her mind and character rather than her appearance.
  • Men also are instructed in the Qur'an to dress modestly and speak humbly; this instruction to women is not discriminatory.
  • It is hypocritical to single Islam out as oppressing women. Christian and Jewish scriptures and societies are pervasively sexist.
  • Women are encouraged to lower their eyes and speak with soft voices not because they are inferior but because their eyes and voices possess great power; it is not necessary to stare someone in the face or raise one's voice in order to be heard.
  • Benazir Bhutto served as Prime Minister of Pakistan (equivalent to President in the United States) in two separate terms, ending with her assassination. Pakistan is a conservative Muslim nation, yet a woman was elected to head the country. This demonstrates that Muslim women can pursue educations and careers, even public ones, if they choose.