In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Grantor of Mercy.

Prelude

During the Prophet’s ﷺ era, it was revolutionary when the Qur’an and Sunnah demanded that men recognize women as their equals in human dignity,[1] inviolability,[2] eligibility for salvation,[3] the pursuit of God’s pleasure,[4] and opportunities for societal contribution.[5] As his most influential companion ‘Umar b. al-Khaṭṭāb (rA) attested, “In Jāhilīyah (the era of pre-Islamic ignorance), we used to have no regard for women whatsoever. But when Islam came and Allah made mention of them, this caused us to realize that they have rights upon us…”[6] This paradigm shift that ‘Umar and the early Muslims experienced eventually spread around the globe, though for many societies outside of the Islamic civilization this shift took well over a thousand more years. However, these days it sometimes seems difficult to reconcile the understanding of women’s rights with the distinctive qualities of each gender.[7] The widespread assumption that males and females are essentially identical, with no consequential differences between them, has posed a major hindrance to achieving gender equity in our times. This paper evaluates that assumption and some of its perilous ramifications not just for women but also for the father-child relationship.

Gender differences

The fatherlessness experiment

The necessity of divine revelation

What do fathers offer?

Where men must man up

A parting word

Notes