Is Islam a patriarchal religion?

The Details of the Question
Is Islam a patriarchal religion?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Rather than a patriarchal or a matriarchal family structure, Islam demands a family structure which is based on Divine commands and prohibitions. There is no place in this family for an understanding which permits male domination and tyranny as we know it.

As men are the protectors and maintainers of women (the Qur’an, an-Nisa; 4:34), women are “each God’s trust whose rights must be complied with, whose personality must be respected” and they are men’s friends in both worlds.

Men are women’s protectors and the maintainers of the house. However, this maintaining and protecting do not correspond to patriarchy but it represents serving for the family and the house. As a matter of fact, the following is stated in a hadith (saying of the Prophet): “The leader of a community is its servant.” (Ajluni, Kashfu'l-Khafa, 1/463)

This mutual and shared life is emphasized in this verse: “According to customary good and religiously approvable practice, women have rights similar to those against them (that men have)” (the Qur’an, al-Baqarah; 2:228).

It should be known well that man and woman are two components completing each other. The distinguishing characteristics of each of them are arranged in such a way as to complement the deficiencies of the other one.

The family of humanity can only be maintained through mutual respect and love between man and woman.

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