Are men and women equal in Islam?
What is “equal” needs to be defined and also Islam should be compared with other religions not the contemporary idea of equality.
Islam recognizes equality of men and women but strongly emphasizes that roles and responsibilities are not equal and are different.
If these roles are reversed, then societal problems do arise. There is no physical equality between man and women except that they are both human beings. The differences between physical and chemical structures are remarkable and unique.
The physical structure is different and so are chemicals like hormones are different. In some aspects women are unique and men cannot do the functions which women are capable of carrying out e.g. bearing children.
In the area of parenting the care and nurture which women can provide to their children, most men are not capable of doing that. Similarly women thinking process is far more emotional in nature, while men think differently.
The Holy Qur’an repeatedly emphasizes the spiritual equality of men and women.
Women can attain all those spiritual heights that men can attain. The Holy Qur’an also stresses that both men and women will be equally rewarded in the hereafter for their actions in this world.
Besides spirituality, women also have the same political and social rights that men do. For example, both men and women are entitled to a suitable inheritance from their parents and near relatives. It is only in the role and function of men and women that there is diversity, but this does not mean that they are not equal. (The Holy Qur’an: 3:196; 4:125; 16:98; 33:36)