Women in Islam

The complex relationship between women and Islam is defined by both Islamic texts and the history and culture of the Muslim world. The Quran states both that men and women are equal, but also, as in 4:34, that “Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient and guard in the husband’s absence what Allah orders them to guard.” Although the Quran does say this, the superiority of men is interpreted in terms of strength by the context – men maintain women. This verse however refers to a relationship between a husband and wife, not as a society in whole.

Sharia (Islamic law) provides for complementarianism, differences between women’s and men’s roles, rights, and obligations. However neither the Quran nor Hadith mention women have to be housewives. In Majority Muslim countries-women exercise varying degrees of rights with regards to marriage, divorce, civil rights, legal status, dress code, and education based on different interpretations. Scholars and other commentators vary as to whether they are just and whether they are a correct interpretation of religious imperatives.