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Men: "A Degree over Women"

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Regarding the Virtue Men have over Women:



Allah says,

لِلرِّجَالِ عَلَيْهِنَّ دَرَجَةٌ }البقرة: 228{

…for men is a degree above women…

Qur’ān 2:228




Allah Ta’āla expounds on this higher degree in another verse,


الرِّجَالُ قَوَّامُونَ عَلَى النِّسَاءِ بِمَا فَضَّلَ اللَّهُ بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَى بَعْضٍ وَبِمَا أَنْفَقُوا مِنْ أَمْوَالِهِمْ }النساء: 34{

Men are the overseer upon women with all that which Allah has bestowed some of them over the others,

and with what they spend from their wealth…

Qur’ān 4:34 



InshaAllah the following posts will clear misconceptions and provide correct understanding. 

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Some Important Points



The equating of inferiority with derogation.


To accept that Allah Ta’ala has created somebody or something inferior to another, in no way implies that the inferior person or thing is belittled.


There are various examples of where Allah Ta’ala, in accordance to His wisdom, has created certain people superior than others. This is the right of Allah Ta’ala and no one may question His Wisdom. His Knowledge is absolute and we, as His creation, cannot fathom His Wisdom.


Consider that Allah Ta’ala has created:


(a) Our Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) as the most superior of all the ambiyaa (prophets).

(b) Hazrat Jibra-eel (alayhis salaam) as the most superior angel.

© Hazrat Abu Bakr (Radiyallahu anhu) as the most superior companion of our Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam)

(d) Makkah as the most superior city.

(e) The Quráan the most superior of the Divine Books


These are merely few cases mentioned by way of illustration. If we had the time, we could have easily produced a few thousand examples.


In all these cases, since a superior exists, the converse must necessarily follow to be the inferior.


Can one claim that by referring to them as inferior, we wish to belittle or deride them? Do we imply that they are debase and disgraceful? Does it imply that they are ignominious?


If this was the case it would imply that since Allah Ta’ala has created our Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) as the most superior Nabi, Allah forbid, all the other Ambiyaa (alayhis salaam) have no value? Does it mean that since the Quráan is most superior, all other Divine scriptures are merit less? The same question can be posed regarding the other examples given.


On the one hand, inferiority is no shame, and on the other hand, it is the prerogative of Allah Ta’ala to grant intellect to whom so ever He wishes to. If in His Wisdom He granted men more intelligence than women, it is His Right. No one can question Him, nor can we, with our feeble intelligence claim, Allah forbid, that it is illogical for Allah Ta’ala to have done so. It is neither implied that Allah Ta’ala has degraded women, nor made them valueless.


Allah Ta’ala has created man and woman for separate roles. He also granted each one of the two qualities which are more befitting for their respective roles, e.g. women are generally more emotional than men in keeping with their role of motherhood. In the same light he has granted men more intelligence than women, in accordance of their role of guardians and overseers over women.


Taken from: According to islam, are women lacking in intellect as compared to men




Shariah has given some members of society or family status above others


Islam is a religion that has guided us in every aspect of our lives. Practicing upon these guidelines will prove beneficial to ourselves, whereas going against these guidelines will be detrimental to us alone. All the teachings of the Shariah are for our benefit and the benefit of the society at large. Allah (SWT) does not benefit by us practicing upon the teachings of the Shariah.

Amongst the guidelines of the Shariah are, that it has given some members of society or family status above others and that they be respected and obeyed. However, this status that Islam has afforded certain people, is only to assist people in the smooth running of their affairs in this World. It, in no way ensures a lofty status for them in terms of the hereafter, if they are disobedient to the laws of Allah (SWT). Similarly, together with the status, that Islam gives certain individuals, Islam has placed certain responsibilities and duties upon them that they are duty bound to fulfill. Each person is entitled to certain rights and has to fulfill certain obligations and responsibilities.

With respect to a marriage and family life, Islam has taught us that for all practical purposes, the husband is the head of the family. He is responsible to steer and guide the family towards the fulfillment of the teachings of the Shariah without breaking it apart and to maintain the family in as far as their Worldly requirements are concerned. This is a huge responsibility that husbands have upon their shoulders. Together with this responsibility, the rest of the family is required to assist the husband/father in fulfilling his responsibility by co-operating with him and obeying his commands. This does not mean that the husband should behave like a dictator. Rather, the husband is required to go about his duties in an affectionate manner and through consultation with the rest of the family. However, once the husband has made a decision which should not be against the Shariah and is not unreasonable as well, then the rest of the family should fulfill this request of the husband/father which would Inshallah be for the greater benefit of the family. Notwithstanding this, if the family has a different opinion in certain matters, these should be raised with love and respect and the husband, too is required to consider these respects.

Of course, when it comes to matters that are against the teachings of the Shariah then we are not obliged to follow any such request.


Above is a reply my Mufti Shafiq Jhakura at darulihsaan.com to part 1 of the question: Why do I have to obey my husband at all times?


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Men stand care-takers of women
Surah al-Baqarah, Verse 228


"And the divorced women shall keep themselves waiting for three periods. And it is not legal for them to conceal what Allah has created in their wombs, if they do believe in Allah and in the last day. And their husbands are best entitled to take them back in the meantime if they want a settlement. And women have rights similar to what they owe as recognized, though for men there is a step above them. And Allah is Mighty, Wise." (2:228)

A Great Verse Defining The Status Of Man And Woman

This verse contains a rule of Shari'ah concerning the mutual rights and duties enjoined upon men and women and explains the degree of their role. Important details of this very rule appear before this verse, and again, after the verse, through several sections.

The Place Of Women In Islaam

At this point, it seems pertinent to explain to some extent the status given by Islam to women. If understood in its full perspective, it will certainly lead to the conclusion that a just and moderate social system would not have required more than this. It may be noted that this is the crucial place, any deviation or departure from which becomes a great danger for man's life here and in the Hereafter.

Deliberation would reveal that two things serve as the necessary basis for the survival and development of this world. These are: woman and wealth. But, a look at the other side of the coin shows that this twosome is also a source of disturbance, bloodshed and tribulation. Further deliberation would easily help one reach the conclusion that although these two, given their real place in life, are instrumental in the progress of this world, yet, as and when, they are aimlessly moved away from their real place, they are capable of shaking the world like an earthquake.

The Qur'an has given man a way of life, a system. Both these human factors have been assigned their correct respective places in a way that they yield the maximum benefits to the total exclusion of peacelessness. The proper place of wealth, the sources of its acquisition and the ways of spending it, as well as, a just system of the distribution of wealth is a regular field of knowledge. A detailed discussion of this subject will Insha Allah appear on some other occasion. My published treatise entitled, 'The Distribution of Wealth' could serve as an indicator of basics.

Being discussed here, at this point, is woman and her rights and duties. About this, the verse under reference states: As there are rights of men over women which must be given, so there are rights of women over men which must be given. However, the quantum of difference that must be recognized here is: Men have a 'step' above women. Almost the same subject has appeared in Surah Al-Nisa' in this manner:

"Men stand care-takers of women, since Allah has made some of them excel the other, and because they have spent of their wealth." (4:34)

The status of women in pre-Islamic society Before Islam, in the age of ignorance (Jahiliyyah), it was common practice that women were equated with articles of home use. They would be bought and sold like cattle. She had no right whatsoever in relation to her marriage. She had to go where she was sent by her guardians. Far from being entitled to some share in the inheritance from her relatives, she herself was treated as a piece of inheritance like any other household item. She was considered as something owned by men while she owned nothing. And, even that which she allegedly owned she could not spend without the permission of men.

However, her husband had all the right in the world to spend that which belonged to her as and how he elected to do so. She did not even have the right to question. So much so that some groups from amongst the European countries which are considered to be among the most civilized in the world today had reached the limit where they did not even accept that women were human beings!

Women had no place in religion. They were considered unfit for worship, and for Paradise. In some synods of Rome, it was decided after mutual consultations that she was a dirty animal which had no soul. Usually, it was considered permissible for a father to kill, or even, bury her daughter alive. In fact, this act was judged to be a mark of honour and a standard of nobility. There were some who held the opinion that anybody who killed a woman did not have to pay blood-money or be charged with retaliatory action. And should the husband die, the wife too was burnt alive with his dead body. Following the birth of the noble Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) and before his prophethood, in the year 586, France showed its compassion for women by passing a resolution, of course after great deliberation and controversy, that woman is after all a human being, but she has been created for the sole purpose of serving man!

Created for the sole purpose of serving man! In short, the whole world, and all nations and religions that inhabited it, had been treating women with callousness that makes one tremble with fear. For this poor creature, there was no reason, no justice, anywhere.

Ransomed be our lives for him who came as mercy for the worlds (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam), and for the true religion which opened the eyes of the people of this world, taught man to respect man, made justice and equity the law, men were made responsible for the rights of women parallel to their own rights on them. Woman was made free and independent. She became the owner of her life and property, similar to men. No man can, even if he be a father or grandfather, force a woman to marry someone. Should she be given in marriage without her consent, the act remains dangling on her consent. If she says no, it stands annulled. No man has any right to spend anything from that which belongs to her, without her consent and approval. After the death of her husband or after having been divorced by him, she becomes independent and she cannot be compelled by anyone for anything. She gets a share in the inheritance of her relatives just like men. To spend on her and to keep her happy has been declared an act of 'ibadah (worship) under the blessed law of Muhammad, on him be peace and blessing. Should the husband fail to give the rights due, she could, through an Islamic court, force him to do so or to divorce her.

Man's Guardianship Is Essential For Peace And Order

Not giving women their due rights was ranked as injustice, oppression, stinginess and villainy which was erased by Islam. Similarly, leaving them to go their way with an unbridled liberty from the guardianship and care of men, and to make them earn their own sustenance and life support amounts to wasting her rights and destroying her genius. Neither does she deserve that fate in view of her physique nor does that great mission of bringing up children and the charge of family management, which has been naturally entrusted to her, deserve it.

In addition to that, women are, when deprived of the guardianship and care of men, a great danger for the whole human society, a situation that is bound to create all sorts of disturbances, including riots and bloodshed, as a matter of daily routine. That is why the noble Qur'an, while stating the mandatory rights of women, also declared: men are a step above women which, in still other words, amounts to saying that men are responsible for them as their caretakers.

As it was in the first age of ignorance before Islam, all nations of the world, by keeping women as a household item or a dumb animal, had fallen prey to this mistake. So it came to pass that, following Islam's age of decadence, there started a later age of ignorance. Here the first mistake is being matched by yet another mistake, as a reaction in the opposite direction, when efforts are being made continuously to get rid of even this much degree of precedence men have over women. As a result, obscenity and shamelessness became common, the world became a home of conflicts and disorder, and bloodshed became so cheap that the first age of ignorance remained no match anymore. There is an Arab saying: The ignorant man never stays on moderation. If he decides to stay from acting excessively, he slides into a behaviour of neglect. This is the prevailing attitude in the world of today. There was that time when they were not even prepared to call or understand women as a member of the human race. Now they have advanced to the limit that the 'yoke' of man's guardianship and caretaking of women, which is perfectly wise and suitable universally for men, and women, is being thrown away, the ill consequnces of which are becoming visible everyday. And believe it, unless they bow down before this noble statement of the Qur'an, such disorders will go on increasing day by day.

Governments today make new laws incessantly to bring peace into the world. New institutions are established for this purpose. Millions are spent but the source of disorders goes unnoticed by them. If a Commission of Inquiry was to be established to determine the causes of disorder, bloodshed and internecine wars, it is likely that the cause of more than fifty percent of such crimes will turn out to be woman and her unbridled freedom. But, in the contemporary world, the prevailing pursuit of desires has confounded even the best of minds. No corrective check against the worship of desires is even entertained.

May Allah Almighty enlighten our hearts with the light of faith and help us act according to the guidance given in His Book and in the conduct of the Holy Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) because that is our blessed capital both in in this world and in the Hereafter.

A Conflict And Its Resolution

We find out from this verse that the Qur'an tells the husband and wife about duties assigned to each, whereby men have been placed under obligation to give women their rights, in the same manner as women have been placed under obligation to give men their rights. This indicates that each party should watch out on the fulfillment of its respective duties rather than go after demanding rights. And should they succeed in doing so, the very issue of demanding rights will cease to exist, because the duties of men are the rights of women and the duties of women are the rights of men. When duties are taken care of, rights will be automatically fulfilled. These days the root of all troubles lies in the attitude of people who are alert to their rights but negligent of their duties.

As a result, rights are demanded on a war footing as is evident from the current confrontation between governments and masses, husbands and wives and between other authorities and their challengers. This indicator of the Qur'an has modified the confrontational aspect of the issue by stressing that everyone should make all possible effort to fulfil his or her duties and when it comes to his or her own rights try to overlook any infringements gently, forego and forgive. If this teaching of the Qur'an could become common universal practice, homes, families, even countries and governments will find that most of their conflicts have been resolved for good.

Man's Higher Position Over Woman Is For Discipline Only

A universal system in the world, the human nature and the best interests of women themselves required that men be not only given a particular sort of controlling and care-taking right over women, but that it be rather made incumbent on them. This is what has been stated in the verse: Men stand care-takers of women.' But, this does not necessarily entail that all men are superior to all women because being superior in the sight of Allah wholly depends on belief and good conduct. In Divine dispension, the increase or decrease in degrees operates in synchronization with the degrees of belief and conduct. Therefore, in matters relating to the Hereafter, it is not necessary that men alone should continue to have that step or degree above women. This too is possible and, as elaborated in Qur'anic verses and Hadith narrations, this is what would come to pass — that some women, through their obedience to and worship of Allah, will become superior to many men with their degree of precedence rising higher than many a men.

Although the Holy Qur'an, while describing the injunctions of Shari'ah, according to its own clear stress, declares that men and women are absolutely equal and the injunctions where there is some difference have been expressly explained, but the address is generally to men and the gender used is masculine. This treatment, however, is not peculiar to the noble Qur'an. Governments too, use the masculine gender in their laws fairly commonly, although the law is universally applicable to men and women both.

One immediate reason for this is the very difference identified in the verses of the noble Qur'an, that is, for men there is a step above women.

The second consideration, perhaps implied here as well, may be that satr (concealment) is better even when there is a discussion about masturat (women: the concealed ones). But, when women realized that the noble Qur'an does not address them directly at various places like it does address men, the venerated mother of the faithful, Sayyidah Umm Salmah (radiallaahu 'anhaa) pointed this out to the Holy Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) and thereupon the following verse of the Surah Al-Ahzaab was revealed: "Submitting men and submitting women, believing men and believing women, obedient men and obedient women ..." (This appears in details in Nasa'i, Musnad Ahmad and Tafsir Ibn Jarir etc.) where women were clearly and expressly identified along with men which implies that the status of women is no less than men in obedience to Allah and in His worship, in being near Him and His approval, and in the ranks of Paradise.

According to a report in Tafsir Ibn Kathir, some Muslim women came to the the blessed wives of the Holy Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam and asked about the general absence of any mention of Muslim women in the Holy Qur'an, while it does mention men at several places, and also refers to the blessed wives of the Holy Prophet ig, from among women. Thereupon, the verse referred to above was revealed.

To sum up, it can be said that a certain measure of precedence and authority in regulating the affairs of worldly life is for the good of women and that wisdom so dictates. Other than that, there is no difference in the reward and retribution for deeds, good or bad, and in the degree of merit attained in the Hereafter.

The same subject appears in the noble Qur'an with much more clarity in the following manner: "And whosoever male or female, does a righteous deed, while he (or she) is a believer, we shall assuredly get him (or her) to live a goodly life." (16:97)

After these preliminary remarks let's ponder over the words of the original verse under discussion. It was said: "And women have rights similar to what they owe" that is, their rights are incumbent upon men similarly as the rights of men are incumbent upon them. Here the rights of women were mentioned before the rights of men, one reason for which is that man after all, given his physical power and God-given precedence, manages to wrest his rights from women anyway. The concern should be for the rights of women since they cannot habitually wrest their rights by force.

There is yet another hint here which suggests that men should take the first step to give the rights of women. However, the similarity and equivalency declared by the use of the word mithl (like, similar) in the text here could just never mean that the kind of job men do should also be done by women, or vice versa, because the distribution of work and respective duties for men and women are naturally different. In fact, it means that it is obligatory that rights belonging to both be observed equally and mutually and that the punishment for any negligence or shortcoming be also equal.

It is worth observing at this point how the noble Qur'an has, in a sentence so small, miniaturized a whole roster of rights and duties since all rights women have over men and all rights men have over women are included under the sense of this verse. (Muhit)

Simply by adding one more word (bil-ma'roof: justly, uprightly, kindly, courteously, according to the practice approved by the Shari'ah, or simply - "as recognized", a closer expression used in the accompanying translation of the verse) the possible occurrence of mutual controversies was eliminated. It was established that rights should be given using the ma'ruf method because the meaning of ma'ruf includes that which is neither prohibited nor impermissible under the dictates of the Shari'ah nor does it have any element of hardship or excess under common habit or custom or 'urf. The purport is that observing the routine of legal provisions is not enough, instead, it will be examined that, according to 'urf or customarily approved practice, the other party does not in any case suffer from pain or loss. That which is judged to be a source of pain and loss, in view of 'urf, will be forbidden and remain impermissible, for instance, coldness, indifference or such behaviour or conduct which causes pain. These can hardly be covered under an article of law but the word bi I'ma'ruf does encompass them. After that it was said: 'Though for men there is a step above them.' The well-known meaning and sense of this verse is that despite the rights of the parties being equal, Allah Almighty has bestowed upon men a certain degree of precedence and authority over women. That there is great wisdom in doing so has been hinted at by the use of the words: "And Allah is Mighty, Wise" towards the end of the verse. Giving the meaning of this sentence, Sayyidna 'Abdullah ibn 'Abbas (radiallaahu 'anhumaa) has added that Allah Almighty has given men a degree of precedence as compared to women, therefore they should act with much more forbearance. Even if women fall short of giving them their rights, the degree of their precedence is such that they should bear by it, be patient and do nothing to desist from giving them their rights. (Qurtubi) (Ma'ariful Qur'an)


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In Islam Are Women Inferior to Men?

Answered by Mufti Ahmed Desai (Damat Barakatuhum):


Western, liberal and UN-Islamic ideas have distorted your mental vision. What is your conception of inferiority? The Qur’aan says about the Ambiyaa [Prophets] (alayhimus salaam):

“These are the messengers. We have given some ranks over (or above) others.”

Even the Ambiyaa [Prophets] are not equal. Rasulullah pbuh.gif is superior in rank to Nabi Musaa alayhis.gif. In fact he is superior than all the Ambiyaa (alayhimus salaam). Thus, in relation to Rasulullah pbuh.gif all the Ambiyaa (alayhimus salaam) are inferior. Hadhrat Jibreel alayhis.gif is the highest ranking Angel. In relation to him, Hadhrat Israafeel alayhis.gif is inferior. In relation to Qur’aan Shareef, the Hadith is inferior. In relation to the Kab’ah, Masjidun Nabawi is inferior.

In relation to the elder brother, the younger brother is inferior. In relation to a mother, her son, even if he is a great Aalim and a Saint, is inferior. In relation to an elder sister, the younger brother is inferior. In relation to Hadhrat Abu Bakr anhu.gif, Hadhrat Umar anhu.gif and all the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu anhum) and the entire Ummah are inferior. In relation to the Ustaadh [teacher], his students are inferior. In relation to a Shaikh [spiritual guide], his mureeds [disciples] are inferior whether male or female.

In every level of society there are ranks and gradations. The concept of blanket equality is a stupid idea of the Kuffaar. The husband has been made the chief of the family by Allah Ta’ala. It is his responsibility to maintain and train his wife and children. He has the highest rank in his home. He is superior to his wife and children even if his sons are the greatest saints and he an ignorant farmer.

Is it an insult to all the Ambiyaa (alayhimus salaam) to say that they are inferior to Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam)? On the contrary, they all are proud to be the inferior followers of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Similarly is it with all the ‘inferior’ beings cited above as examples. The Qur’aan categorically states:

“For men over them (women) is a rank.”

What problem do you or any Muslim have with this assertion of Allah Ta’ala? the problem is only that westernism and kufr liberalism have imposed on the minds of people that the higher male ranks relegate women to chattlehood. Modernist and deviated Muslims have been made to understand that women in Islam are contemptible; that men are free to abuse and denigrate them. But every Muslim who has even a slight understanding of Islam knows that these western ideas are plain garbage which the enemies of Allah gorge out. Even in Jannat [paradise] there will be different ranks among all levels of people. When according to Islam even two men are not equal, what is wrong if there is not equality between men and women? But since deceived people have been indoctrinated to believe that ‘inferiority’ means contemptibility, they feel awkward with Islamic teachings.

A woman with her piety can surpass any man in rank by Allah Ta’ala. By Allah Ta’ala, the criterion of superiority is Taqwa [God consciousness]. Innumerable women will have higher ranks by Allah Ta’ala than males on account of their Taqwa. Every Mu’min is aware of the lofty rank of Hadhrat Aisha (radhiyallahu anha). She was the Ustaadhah of numerous Sahaabah. She was the most beloved Wife of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhis salaam). She will be entering Jannat centuries before numerous male Sahaabah. What idea will you now gain when it is said that she is inferior to her husband, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhis salaam)? Is any contempt implied for her by this claim? We in fact say that contempt for her is Kufr [disbelief]. Thus, gradations in society are the creation and command of Allah Ta’ala. The Khalifah, sultan or king may be a corrupt and immoral man. But, the Shariah commands obedience to him in all his lawful orders. His rank is superior to others here on earth.

In Islam women are not inferior to men in terms of the concocted meaning ascribed to ‘inferiority’ by the western kuffaar enemies of Islam.



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Mufti Muhammad Shafi (Raheemahullah) on verse 2:228


Allâh Ta'âla says in the Qurân: "And women have rights similar to the rights against them (i.e. the right of men) according to what is equitable and men have a degree over them." [bAQARAH: 228]


Mufti Muhammad Shafi Saheb (RA) explains this verse: "The rights of women that men are responsible for are compulsory just as the rights of men that women are responsible for are compulsory. The right of both (men and women) have been given the same ruling ...... it is not necessary that the rights of both take the same form. Instead, if women are responsible for a specific duty then so are men. Household matters, training and looking after the children are the responsibility of the women whereas men are responsible for earning a living so that they may fulfil the needs of women (their wives). It is a lady's duty to serve and obey her husband and the mehr (dowry) and expenditure of the women is the husband's duty. (In short, even though each have different rights over the other, the rights of both are incumbent.....) There is however one quality on accord of which man have superiority over women. This is why Allâh Ta'âla, at the end of this verse says: "and men have a degree over them."


Mufti Shafi (RA) thereafter explains that this degree of superiority that men have over women is explained in the verse: "Men are overseers of women because Allâh Ta'âla granted virtue to some of them (i.e. men) over others (i.e. women) and because of their spending from their wealth." [NISâ 34]

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Mufti Muhammad Aashiq Elahi (Raheemahullah) on verse 2:228

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"And men are a degree above them." This verse outlines the fact that although men and women share mutual responsibilities and rights owing to each other, men possess superiority over women. This is further elucidated by the following verse in Surah Nisa, "Men are the overseers of women by virtue of the fact that Allah accords superiority of some over others, and because man spends from his wealth. [surah 4, verse 34]


Allah has placed the responsibility of maintenance upon the man as well as accorded him the privilege of exercising authority over women. For this reason, she has to obey him in domestic, religious and social matters. Without this, The system of marriage cannot function. At the same time, man has not been vested the authority to oppress her, nor waive her rights or destroy her wealth. The woman should understand that the husband is her leader, while the man should think that Allah has blessed him with the custody of a woman to aid him in this life. He must then make every effort to be cordial and polite to her, seeing to her every need. In this way the lives of parents and children will be comfortable and good. Allah says in another verse, "and live with' them (women) in a most amicable manner." This instruction includes all forms of polite behaviour, keeping her tights and needs in mind.


Since man has been given the position of superiority, he should endure all the woman's failings, otherwise what is the purpose of this rank? the Holy Prophet sallallahu 'alayhi wasallam said, "A believing man should not harbour enmity for his wife due to some flaw in her. If he dislikes something in her, he may very well like some other quality of hers/' [Muslim, v.l, p.475]


Sayyidina Ibn Abbas RA reports that the Holy Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam said, ''The best of you is the one who is best unto his wife, and I am the best unto my wives." [ibn Ma] ah, p. 142]


Sayyidah Aysha RA narrates that the Holy Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam said, 'The people with the most perfect Belief (Iman) are those who possess the best morals and behave most compassionately towards their wives." ["Mishkatnl Masabih,"v.2,p.284]


"And Allah is Mighty, The Wise." This verse serves to remind one that no person should think that he will not be taken to task for transgressing Allah's laws. None can escape His justice since He is the Almighty and Powerful. At the same time, all His injunctions are replete with wisdom and in conformity with man's needs and abilities. No other mode of living can supersede that which issues from Him.




Mufti Muhammad Aashiq Elahi (Raheemahullah) on verse 4.34

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"Man are the leaders of women because of the virtue Allah has bestowed some of you over others, and because of what men spend from their wealth. So the pious women are obedient and, in the absence of their husbands, are protective because of that which Allah has protected. As for those whose evil disposition you fear, advise them, separate your bed from theirs and (gently) rap them. If they obey you then look for no excuse 4 (to persecute them). Verily Allah is Most High, The Greatest." (Qur'an 4:34)



With regard to the circumstances of revelation, Sayyidina Hasan RA has narrated the following incident. When a person once slapped his wife, she reported the episode to the Holy Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam. Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam instructed that she settle the matter by slapping him in retaliation. On this occasion the above verse was revealed. The Holy Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhiw asallam then commented, "We had decided something, but Allah desired another." [Asbabun Nuzul p. 145]



"Man are the overseers of women because of the virtue Allah has bestowed some of you over others..." This is the first reason for Allah's choice of man as the overseer and leader of the woman. Allah has bestowed men with understanding and insight, by virtue of which they are able to gauge the depths and intricacies of matters. While many women are also able to accomplish this feat, the average woman cannot do it as efficiently as most men.


If any difference has to taken, the man has the final say and his decision is binding on his wife.


The second reason given by Allah is, "because of what men spend from their wealth" Since it is the responsibility of the man to provide for his wife and family; it is only logical that they be obedient to him.

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Financial and Moral Responsibilities of the Household


Allah, the Exalted, stated in the Glorious Qur'an:


(Men are protectors and maintainers of women because Allah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend to support them from their means.)



This verse emphasizes that the financial and moral responsibilities of a household is the husband's responsibility. The natural, physical and social qualities of men demand that they take charge of these responsibilities since they are of the stronger gender and physically fit to work being free from the burden of menses, pregnancy, nursing and early childrearing. The man is the "guardian" of his own household - a shepherd of his flock in the idiom mentioned earlier - and he will be asked and accounted about all his responsibilities. Women by their natural constituency are the weaker sex, built biologically, emotionally and socially for their role as child bearer and homemaker. They are more endowed with intuition and emotional intelligence.


This is their natural feminine role that is fully honored and protected. Due to the pains and burdens of menses, pregnancy, delivery, nursing, and continual child-care, women often require various periods of confinement for rest, and they are not required to take on additional financial and vocational responsibilities for the sustenance and maintenance of the household. All these concerns affect the mental state of a woman and will be reflected in her life, attitude and behavior. This is a natural state prescribed in many civilizations, but often with many injustices, as mentioned earlier.


'Abbas Mahmoud al-'Akkad, the well-known Egyptian writer, notes:

"Women have a very special emotional make-up that does not resemble the emotional make-up of man. The companionship of a little infant or child requires a lot of similarity and resemblance between the child's mentality and his companion, the mother. She has to understand what he wants, what he needs and how he thinks and feels. Therefore, to fulfill this requirement, a woman is much more responsive to emotions. This makes it difficult for a woman, when compared with man, to be firm, fierce and determined when needed."


Dr. Alex Liberelle, a Nobel Prize winner, says while illustrating the natural organic differences between man and woman:

"Matters that differentiate between man and woman are not limited to sexual organs, the presence of the womb and pregnancy. These matters are also not limited to the difference of teaching methods of man and woman. In fact, these differences are of basic nature. The tissues of the body in both male and female are different. The chemistry of the bodies is also different in both. Certain glands excrete certain secretions that are only suitable for a specific gender. The woman is completely different from man in terms of the chemical material secreted from the ovary inside the woman's body."


Those who call for complete equality between men and women disregard basic facts and essential differences. Advocates of women's equal rights demand the same type of education to be given to both male and female, and same type of jobs, tasks, responsibilities, positions to be offered, etc. This absurdity neglects woman's nature and essential physical, mental, emotional, and social traits. Every cell of the body of a woman has a feminine quality, nursed by female hormones, just as a man has his distinct qualities and hormones. Are they blind when they wish to be equal? They don't see that each organ of every man and woman are unique in and of themselves, and different from each other. The male and female central nervous systems function in exact precision to help their respective roles in human life.


We must accept natural laws and movements as they are, without attempting to change them to seek unnatural obstruction or interference with them. For their own benefit, both men and women should build upon their natural talents and gifts, and never deviate into imitating those of the other sex, which only leads to abuse of themselves and others. Another factor is that it is a well-established fact that the bone structure and muscles of men are naturally heavier and more powerful than those of women. Men can perform more laborious and manual jobs, while women are not physically able to show comparable physical endurance. This is another proof that men are naturally equipped and qualified to assume the role of leadership over financial and vocational responsibilities of the household in consultation with their best second-halves (their wives), which is also a general rule in Islam, as mentioned previously.


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