Does Islam Tell Us Some Are Inferior to Others?

written by Theresa Corbin

Originally written for and published on Al Jumuah.

“Those people are easily swayed by their emotions.” “They are illogical creatures.” “Those people can never reach the status of my people.” Imagine that you are told these things your whole life. Imagine you are told that your capacity is inferior. Now imagine that those who tell you all this also claim that they say so only because God says so.

How would you see yourself? How would you react to those passing this judgment on you? How would you view a faith that tells you that you are inferior? The quotes above are from a prominent Islamic question and answer website. I have only changed the words “women” and “men” to more ambiguous words or phrases, which could refer to various groups of people, more generally.

Women are the target of this kind of humiliation. Because of these and similar belittling remarks from scholars and lay people alike, Muslim women are experiencing a crisis of identity and faith.

Those who understand Islam and know it to be an egalitarian religion will brush these claims off as a cultural misunderstanding and distortions of Islam. And that is certainly part of the problem. But the other part of the problem is that even if these claims are brushed off, they still impact the lives, psyches, and faith of Muslim men and women.

How Did We Get to this Point?

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