Holy Quran: woman is equal man 2

Holy Quran: woman is equal man 2

ARE MEN A DEGREE ABOVE WOMEN?

People having a narrow look at the guidance of Allah’s Book, are often seen intimating that men are superior to women. They back up this statement just by a portion of verse 2:228 of Surah Al-Baqara, and do not present the whole context, but rather reach this short sighted conclusion and imply that Islam maintains the superiority of men against women. It is an irony that the very verse which equates rights and obligations of gender is usually quoted to say that men are superior to women. What they fail to realize is that in matters of biological construction men and women are different and have certain rights related to that aspect (maternity leaves are for women, not men) but apart from biological disposition, both men and women are equal according to Qur’an and both are equally capable and responsible for developing those qualities in themselves which the Qur’an has said are essential for believers. The Qur’an says:

"..And they (women) shall have rights similar to the rights against them in a just manner" (2:228)

In other words, for every responsibility given to them, they acquire a right. This is the equality they have been granted. Thus men and women have same rights as each other. The above verse continues to say:

"..and they have rights similar to the rights against them in a just manner, and men have a degree above them," (2:228)

It would be contradictory to conclude from the statement: " men have a degree above them " that men are superior to women, as at one hand the verse says that women and men have rights similar to each other, and the implication that men are superior, will contradict this impression. One gender cannot be superior to another if their rights and obligations are equal. The word used by the Quran is "Daraja" meaning "degree". This "degree" can be understood easily by reviewing the whole verse. The context of this verse informs us that it deals with the conditions attached to remarriage after divorce. The verse is:

" Divorced women shall wait by themselves for three periods of purity [after menses], and it is not lawful for them to conceal what Allah has created in their wombs if they believe in Allah and the Last Day; and their husbands have a greater right to restore them during this [duration], if they desire reconcilement. The wives have rights similar to the obligations upon them, in accordance with honorable norms; and men have a degree above them, and Allah is all-mighty and all-wise" (2:228)

The context of the verse makes it clear that divorcee should refrain (from remarriage) for three menstrual cycles, so that whatever has been created by Allah becomes pronounced then it goes on to say that men have one advantage. This advantage given to men is that they can remarry right away and women have to wait almost three months, or more if found to be pregnant, before they can remarry).

Obviously, an advantage in a peculiar situation does not mean one is superior to the other. It is only for this reason that men have one degree above women, because of their biological construction they do not have to wait for a stated period for the purpose of getting married again upon divorce or if their spouse dies. Only in the matter men have a degree higher than women, but apart from this both have equal rights.