The Wisdom of Favoring the Man over the Woman
Fatwa No: 450700

  • Fatwa Date:21-11-2021 - Rabee' Al-Aakhir 16, 1443
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Question

The question is about Surah Nisa Ayah 117.They (all those who worship others than Allah) invoke nothing but female deities besides Him (Allah), and they invoke nothing but Shaitan (Satan), a persistent rebel!”Imam at-Tabari (may Allah have mercy on him) said: Here Allah, may He be glorified, is saying: With regard to these people who associated others with Allah and worshipped idols and rivals, it is sufficient evidence against them of misguidance, disbelief and going astray from the right path, to note that they worshipped females and called them “gods” and “lords”, when the feminine of any thing is inferior, and they affirmed their servitude to that which is inferior of any thing, even though they knew that it was inferior, and they refused to devote sincere worship to the One Who is in control of all things and in Whose hand is the creation and the commandment.Tafseer at-Tabari, 9/211So, why is feminine referred to as inferior here? Is it anyway of degradation to females?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

The expression that is mentioned is not intended to mean underestimating the status of the female, but what is meant is that the gender of men is better than the gender of women.
The preference does not mean underestimating the status of the one that is less preferred, for Allah favored some of His Messengers over others; despite this fact, the ones who are less preferred among the Messengers, their matter is great as well as their honor.

Al-Mugheerah ibn Shu’bah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him narrated: “Indeed Moosa (Moses) asked his Lord: "O Lord! Who is the lowest in rank among the people of Paradise?" He said: "A man who comes after the people of Paradise have been admitted to Paradise, and he is told to enter. He says: 'How can I enter when the people have gotten all of their abodes, and all that is to be had?'" He said: "So it is said to him: 'Would you accept if you were to have what a king in the world had?' He says: 'Yes, O Lord! I accept.' So, it is said to him: 'Then for you is this and its like, and its like again, and its like again, and its like again.' So, he says after the fifth time: 'I accept, O Lord!' So, it is said to him: 'Then for you is this and ten the like thereof, and whatever your soul desires, and whatever delights your eyes.' So, he says: 'I accept, O Lord!'

The narration by Muslim reads: “...Moosa (Moses)  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention asked Allah about the least fortunate of the people of Paradise, and he mentioned the Hadeeth accordingly.

This man is the lowest of the people of Paradise, but he is not insignificant in himself, but he has in Paradise a great kingdom and a great bliss.

There is no objection to the preference of the male gender over the female gender, and there is no problem with it for the wise and rational people, as the preference of some creatures over others exists and it is indicated in the Sharee’ah, reason, and the senses, and is required by the wisdom of Allah, the All-Knowing, the Acquainted of the interests of the creation.

Therefore, men and women must be satisfied with what Allah has allocated for each of them, while being certain that in it there is goodness for all.

Tafseer Al-Manar reads:

He said: What is meant by the preference of some over others is the preference of men over women; even if he said: “By what he preferred the men over them [women],” and if He said: “By preferring the men over the women.”; it would have been briefer and clearer about what we said that it was what is meant, but the wisdom in this expression is the essence of wisdom in His saying: {And do not wish for that by which Allah has made some of you exceed others.} [Quran 4:32], which is an indication that the woman is from the man, and the man is from the woman that they are like the members of the body of one person, for the man is like the head, and the woman is like the body, (I say): it means that a man should not transgress by virtue of his strength over the woman, nor should the woman find his excellence as a burden and consider it as a belittlement to her status for there is no shame on a person if his head is better than his hand, and his heart is more honorable than his stomach, for example. If some parts of the body are preferred over others, by making some of them chief over others, it is for the benefit of the whole body, and there is no harm in that for a particular member of the body. Rather, the benefit of all members is achieved and proven by that. The same thing applies to the wisdom of favoring the man over the woman in terms of strength, the ability to earn, and protection.” [End of quote] It should be noted that the preference of men over women is in terms of gender, and it does not mean that every man is better than every woman; rather, there are some women who are better than some men. Tafseer Al-Manar reads: “There is another wisdom in the expression, which is to indicate that this preference is for gender, not that all men are favored over all women. Indeed, there are many women who are better than their husbands in knowledge, job, and even in physical form and the ability to earn.” [End of quote]

For more benefit on equality between men and women, please refer to Fatawa 381173, 338263, 325066, 107236 and 81205.

Allah Knows best.

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