Allah tells us that He sent the Qur’an as a “Reminder” (Surat al-Muminun, 71), and gives prosperity to everyone who practices its morality and follows the straight path. The only way for some women to escape the difficulties they face in unbelieving societies and to be respected as they deserve is found in the Qur’an.
In many verses, Allah defends women and their rights, removes wrong ideas found in unbelieving societies about them, and gives them a respected place in society. The Qur’an tells us that Allah values the person’s fear and respect of Allah, faith, moral character, sincerity, and piety, not his or her gender. All these things are proofs of our Lord’s incomparable generosity toward women.
O humanity! We created you from a male and female, and made you into peoples and tribes so that you might come to know each other. The noblest among you in Allah’s sight is the one of you who best performs his [or her] duty. Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware. (Surat al-Hujurat, 13)
O Children of Adam [and Eve]! We have sent down clothing to you to conceal your private parts, and fine apparel, but the garment of heedfulness – that is best! That is one of Allah’s Signs, so that, hopefully, you will pay heed. (Surat al-A’raf, 26)
Elsewhere, Allah says “Whatever good you do, Allah knows it. Take provision; but the best provision is fear [and respect] of Allah. So fear [and respect] Me, people of intelligence” (Surat al-Baqara, 197), and tells us that a person’s best quality is piety. Therefore, it must be piety that gives human beings their basic value and superiority in His sight. Allah says: “The men and women who give charity and make a good loan to Allah will have it increased for them, and they will have a generous reward” (Surat al-Hadid, 18). This verse reminds us that both women and men will be rewarded for abiding by the Qur’an’s morality.
Allah tells us in the Qur’an how to protect and care for women and give them the respect they deserve. All of these measures are for the sake of women. All these measures are for the sake of women so that they will not be harmed or oppressed.
Allah has shown humanity the straight path in the Qur’an and has rooted out falsity and ignorance. According to the Qur’an’s morality, the important thing is being attached to Allah with deep faith, fear, and respect. One’s gender is completely irrelevant. Obeying Allah’s commands and prohibitions means to follow the Qur’an’s moral teachings as closely as possible. These are the people who will have value in His sight. The Qur’an explains the basic qualities a person of faith, whether a man or a woman, must have:
The believing men and women are friends of one another. They command what is right and forbid what is wrong, perform prayer and give alms, and obey Allah and His Messenger. They are the people on whom Allah will have mercy. Allah is Almighty, All-Wise. (Surat at-Tawba, 71)
As Allah tells us, believing women and believing men are responsible for worshipping, adhering to the Qur’an’s moral teachings, urging others to do good, refraining from evil, and doing what the Qur’an says to do. Allah promises to give all persons, regardless of gender, “a criterion [to judge between right and wrong]” (Surat al-Anfal, 29). In return for their faith and sincerity, Allah will guide them toward Himself; enable them to make right decisions and behave correctly; and give them intelligence, understanding, and perception. Therefore, intelligence does not depend on a person’s gender, but is bestowed upon those who fear and respect Allah and do their best to draw close to Him.
Every man or woman who acts according to the wisdom coming from belief may surpass others and attain success in every area of life. This depends completely upon the person’s will, zeal, and determination. In accordance with the precepts of Islamic morality, believers never consider themselves to be perfect in any matter; rather, they always try to be more aware, more able, more responsible, more developed in their character, and more successful in leading a good moral life. As much as possible, they strive to develop themselves in every area. Allah tells believers to pray to Him so that they may be examples of good character to those around them:
[Believers are] those who say: “Our Lord, give us joy in our wives and children, and make us a good example for those who guard against evil.” (Surat al-Furkan, 74)
A devout woman who does her best to be an example of character, moral rectitude, and industry will, Allah willing, attain a high position within her society. She carries out her responsibilities as best as she can, makes the most appropriate decisions, finds the best solutions to problems, and puts the best measures into effect.
Islam mandates complete equality for men and women. The Lord of all mercy has nullified all the gender distinctions arising from ignorance and mistaken ideas regarding gender, and demands that women be given their due value and respect. All of this depends upon each believer’s belief in Allah, moral character, and the responsibilities that they had assumed. Therefore, there is no struggle for equality with men for those women who practice the Qur’an’s morality; rather, there is a moral race of goodness in which all believers must do their best to earn His favor. With this goal in mind, they strive to become the person closest to Allah, His most beloved and favored. But this race is utterly of a blessed nature. Allah tells us that one of the believers’ main characteristics is the effort they put forth to achieve this goal:
Such people are truly racing toward good things, and they are the first to reach them. (Surat al-Muminun, 61)
Then We made Our chosen servants inherit the Book. But some of them wrong themselves, some are ambivalent, and some outdo each other in good, by Allah’s permission. That is the great favor. (Surah Fatir, 32)