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|Islam is a revealed religion that was sent down by Allah, the Creator of mankind. Being the Creator, Allah is best acquainted with human nature, and He knows what is in the best interests or mankind. Allah says:
“Should the one who created not know, and he is the Most Kind, All Aware?”
For this reason, Islam offers an enduring and deeply insightful view of man and woman. It is not based on whims and fancies, like the view of those who call, without study, to equality between the sexes only to console their heavy hearts and remove their feelings of guilt on account of the historic legacy of oppression to women in almost every era of their history and in almost every region under their cultural influence.
Likewise, the injunctions and general outlook of Islam are not affected by the changing views of intellectuals, psychologists, and social scientists - views that are constantly modified and are affected by changing social circumstances, historical baggage, the experience of different peoples, and the various persectives of society.
The depth of the Islamic viewpoint can be clearly seen in its confident, open profession that there exists general qualities shared by both men and women, as well as inherent differences that enable each of the two sexes to fulfill the specific and unique role that Allah has made easy for it. Allah’s Messenger (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Women are the full sisters of men.” In this way, he makes it clear that men and women share in all the rights and obligations set down by Islamic Law unless there is clear, textual evidence that a specific legal injunction applies only to one sex or the other. Allah says:
“Whoever does a good deed, whether male or female, while believing, we will surely provide with a good life and we shall surely grant a reward (in the Hereafter) proportionate to the best of what they used to do.”
From this understanding of the nature of man and woman, Islam has obligated every capable male to provide for himself and for the women and children who are dependent upon him. The woman is not obligated to do so, even if she is wealthy and capable. In this case, she is free to choose whether or not she wishes to provide for herself.
Islam insists that every sane, rational male must pray his obligatory daily prayers on time under all circumstances. The woman, on the other hand is exempted from these prayers when she is in her menses and during her postnatal bleeding. She does not have to make up the prayers that she missed while in one of these states, because of the hardship that this would entail.
This Islamic viewpoint has never been – nor shall it ever be – a reaction to the views or customs of some society or other, nor is it in response to the thoughts of this or that thinker. It is a viewpoint deriving from a precise and accurate knowledge about the true nature of both men and women and of what is appropriate for each of them under different circumstances.
It is possible to articulate the Islamic perspective on the family – that has its basis in the man and the woman – in the following manner: