When people discuss gender inequality in Islam, they focus on things like hijab, inheritance, or women’s testimony. But few attack Islam for the inequality of requiring fathers, husbands, and brothers to provide financially for their female family members but not vice versa.
Why is this major inequality not addressed by the gender warriors? Why don’t Muslim feminists complain about the financial burden that men must contend with and not women?
Muslim feminists are so hyperfocused on the supposed victimhood of women that they cannot stop to reflect on the enormous blessing Muslim women have of not being religiously responsible for financially maintaining anyone, not even themselves. Meanwhile, adult men at the very least are religiously responsible for their own food, shelter, and livelihood. If these men want to have sex and desire marriage, they are further obligated by pay mahr and then provide nafaqa, i.e., financial maintenance, for their wives and any children that come from their union. This is a significant responsibility that men have for the entirety of their lives.
But women can depend on their husbands for these expenses, and if they don’t have husbands, they can depend on their fathers, brothers, uncles, or other male relatives. This is the holistic support system Islamic law institutes for the benefit of women. Which is not to say that women don’t have any responsibilities. They most certainly do. But financial responsibility is not one of them.
The non-Muslim world has yet to recognize this wisdom of Islam.
They may have had more than a sneaking suspicion that it was the case, but now working mothers have the data to back it up: they are indeed more stressed than other people – 18% more, in fact.
And that figure rises to 40% for those with two children, according to a major study that analysed 11 key indicators of chronic stress levels.
Professor Tarani Chandola, of Manchester University, and Dr Cara Booker, Professor Meena Kumari and Professor Michaela Benzeval, of the Institute for Social and Economic Research at Essex University, examined biological data taken by nurses from 6,025 participants in the UK Household Longitudinal Survey, the largest survey of its kind in the world.