“…And women have rights corresponding to the obligations on them, according to what is equitable…”
Quran translation, Surah al-Baqarah, 2:228

In spite of the fact that both parties should be kind toward each other, the right of the husband over his wife is greater than his wife’s right over him according to the completion of the previous verse:

“…But men have a degree over them. Allah is exaclted in power.”
Quran translation, Surah al-Baqarah, 2:228

(women have an) Emotional make-up which is ideally suited for child rearing but generally unsuited for ultimate authority, she may wrongly disobey or contradict her husband. Under the Influence of her monthly cycles, she may be contrary or high-strung and thus make bad decisions or and among mankind.

He has made man the dominant member of the pair. There need be no contention on this point has Allah has the last word on the subject. However, if we look at the animal kingdom, we must confess that a like division also exists among its members.

Nor are we aware of any country whether primitive or modern which has more than one reigning head in a position to make ultimate decisions. Every kingdom has a chief and Allah in His All-Encompassing wisdom and absolute knowledge of human nature has chosen man for that role. This choice does not detract from the uniqueness of the woman’s role nor does it belittle her in the least.

We are well aware of the fact that some women are more intelligent, and more capable of ruling and have a greater degree of talent than some men. We are witnesses to female heads of state, but these cases represent exceptions and not the norm which Allah addresses. In fact, there is an authentic Hadith in which the Prophet (Sallallahu
alayhi wa salam) stated that,

“If mankind had been ordered to prostrate to anyone other than Allah, women would have been ordered to prostrate before their husbands.”
Narrated by Abu Hurayrah and collected by Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah, authenticated by Shaykh Al-Albani in Sahih Sunan at-Tirmidhi

This is a clear indication of the hierarchy which exists in respect to the roles of males and female and the importance of of that hierarchy to the basic unit of human society, the family. In order to reinforce these roles, Allah made the male inheritance portion greater than that of the female. There is no doubt that a man’s familial and communal obligations are greater than most woman’s obligations in these spheres. It is his duty to support his
immediate family and weak kinfolk. In addition to these familial responsibilties, men must be prepared to defend and enlarge the borders of Islam even to the point of bearing arms. Women, under normal circumstances, are excempted from these and other similar obligations. The existing situation in the West, where many women have been obliged to compete with men for work while raising families, is an exception when looked at on a global scale and an abberation when looked at historically. Hence todays situation can not be used to aruge that a woman’s obligations are equal and exceed those of a man’s. In fact recent scientific research has uncovered a wealth of physical differences between men and women all of which affect the performance of male and females in society.

Taken from pages 29 and 30, ‘Polygamy in Islam’ by Jameela Jones and Sheikh Bilal Philips

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