Equality of Men and Women in all
Three Levels of Islam
By Shaykh 'Abdul Rahman 'Abdul Khaliq
Translated by Ali Al-Timimi
A-úthú billáhi minash shaytánir
rajím. Bismilláhir Rahmánir Rahím!
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 are full human beings exactly as
men are. 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)
- 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 command 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."
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 (ignorant) 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 a 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
"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."
The disbeliever in Allah is a guilty criminal, for he does not
accept 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
ignores 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