Equality vs. Sameness
These rights are equal to those of a man but they are not necessarily identical. Equality and sameness are two different things. This difference is understandable because man and woman are not identical but they are created equals. The distinction between equality and sameness is of paramount importance. With this distinction in mind, there is no room to imagine that woman is inferior to man, just because her rights are not identical. Had her status been identical with his, she would have been simply a duplicate of him, which she is not. The fact that Islam gives her equal rights - but not identical rights- shows that it takes her into consideration, acknowledges her, and recognizes her independent personality and role.
In the Qur'an Allah frequently addresses both the man and the woman. In one passage, Allah reveals:
"For Muslim men and women, for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for true men and women who are patient, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in charity, for men and women who fast, for men and women who gua...
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...el the status of women in the Muslim world today as "Islamic" is as far from the truth as labeling the position of women in the West today as "totally liberated and equal".
I hope that with this understanding in mind, Muslims and non-Muslims, both men and women can start a process of communication and dialogue in order to remove misconceptions, suspicions, and fears. So as you can see, there are many challenges for today's Muslim woman whether in the westernized world or in traditional societies. Through internal and external dialogue, I am confident we will find the ways to remain true to the Shariah and Sunnah and contribute to the world today.
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