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INTELLECTUAL PARTNERS

According to Islamic teachings, both men and women are equal in status. In fact, men and women are two equal halves of a single unit. Both are intellectual as well as spiritual partners to each other. In the chapter Al-‘Imran (The Family of Imran), the Qur’an emphasizes this principle. The relevant Qur’anic verse is as follows: Their Lord accepted their prayer, saying, ‘I will deny no man or woman among you the reward of their labors. You are members one of another.’ (3:195)

‘Members one of another’ does not mean that both are one and the same in every respect. It does not mean that both are each other’s counterparts. It means rather that both are made in such a way that they can play a complementary role to each other. So, both are complementary partners to each other rather than each other’s counterparts. There is a saying: “If all think alike, no one thinks very much.” So, uniformity between men and women could never have been good for mankind. The creation of man or woman is based then not on uniformity but on the difference. Due to this, each is capable of becoming a useful partner for the other.

According to the divine scheme, man and woman were made on the principle of mutual support. Both are intellectual partners to each other; both can discuss and exchange their partner’s ideas and experiences. According to the divine scheme, marriage is a communion of two such partners. Man and woman are like two wheels. A cart runs on two wheels. Such is the case of human life: human life also needs two wheels to run smoothly and man and woman after marriage provide those two wheels. The wheels may be on different sides of the cart but they both play important roles and both are completely equal. There is no inequality between the two.

Life, to be worth living, requires a number of vital inputs, such as education, an understanding of life’s moral principles, and a willingness to uphold them. Those men and women who are educated and who are trained in-home discipline are better qualified to play their respective roles. Education equips both to serve as worthy partners. The home is a single unit of society and society is a combination of different homes. According to Qur’anic teachings, every home must serve as a training center for civic responsibilities and every home must supply society with better members. The home, in effect, is a school, and husbands and wives are the teachers in that school. As good teachers, they produce healthy homes and this, in turn, makes for making a healthy society. In this sense, a husband and a wife are the builders of a society. Indeed, they are the builders of a nation. Life, to be worth living, requires a number of vital inputs, such as education, an understanding of life’s moral principles, and a willingness to uphold them.

It is a fact that men and women are both different in nature, but this difference is good for their respective roles, provided both learn the art of difference management. This habit will save their time and prevent them from being distracted from worthwhile pursuits. They will then be better able to play their roles in domestic and social life. Nature has provided them with different fields of work, like intellectual progress, spiritual development, and giving assistance in establishing peace in society. This is the true role of both men and women. Moreover, this is the only criterion for a successful marriage.

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