Equality of Men and Women in all Three Levels of the Islamic Religion
My brothers and sisters everywhere! Islam’s 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, iman, and ihsan).
• 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:
Whoso 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.
The Koran 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 reach the highest degree of perfection of her being.
For 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 means to raise his rank. To adhere to Allah’s straight path and the manners of Islam are, without doubt, means to honor us and not humiliate us as is 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 by created by Allah, they have not been charged with this trust.
Whoever considers that human being who does not uphold what Allah has obligated an 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 then treat those who have surrendered (as Muslims) as We treat the guilty?
The Koran 68:35
And He has said:
We have created 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.
The Koran 7:126
The disbeliever in Allah is a guilty criminal, for he does not know whom He is to worship, 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, God whom He worships, and Creator. He fulfills what Allah has obligated and travels upon the path that Allah has delineated for him.