Islam: Marriage and Gender Roles
In today’s world, marriage and gender roles differ from one part of the world to another. As such, there are many differences between societies in the West and Islamic countries in the Middle East as far as gender roles and marriage life goes. Thus, in Islamic counties highly influenced by the Qur’an, does the woman play a more important, less important, or as important role in the family? I believe that, according to popular scholars and excerpts from Qur’an, not only does the woman play an important role, she is as equal to the husband, however she is superior in certain areas where the husband cannot fulfill those certain tasks.
There can be found leading evidence in many excerpts of the Qur’an that both Mohammed and Allah’s writings are not exactly misogynistic when it comes to family values, even though it may seem quite the contrary. Indeed, Muslim scholar Amin Ahsan Islahi writes,
“First, men have been granted superiority over women. There are certain innate abilities and traits in men which are more pronounced in him and because of which he has been made the head of a family unit.” 1
However, he then proceeds to write,
“It should be appreciated here that the superiority men have over women is not absolute: it is only in certain [areas] […].There are certain other [areas] in which women are more superior [to] men but they do not entitle them to become the head of family.” 1
As such, women have their own areas in the family where they are superior to men. While married, the woman is subjected to taking care of the household, as well as taking care of the children. Such activities are not done by the husband, since he is financially responsible for the family: he provides the food and a sustainable income.2
Marriage is not only for living purposes, but as well for honour and mutual respect. While the husband is said to be the protector of the woman and family, the wife is said to be the protector of her husband’s secrets, and be loyal. However, as per human nature, perfection is hard to come by.
According to the Qur’an, women who disobey their husband deserve to be punished.2 Likewise, if the woman finds that the husband isn’t acting honourably or is not fulfilling his responsibilities, she may apply for a divorce, without having to worry about being socially stigmatized, as per the word of Allah3, compared to other religions, such as Christianity. As such, women aren’t bound to be forever with a man, since they may choose to break a marriage contract as they deem fit.
However, on the other hand, there are many people who still believe that the Middle East’s popular religion, Islam, is misogynistic since it is based on traditional values from the Qur’an. In the family and marriage, in particular, misogyny arises when a woman is forced into a marriage. The simple...