In Muhammad’s last sermon he addressed the people saying “O People! Your God is one; your father is one…there is no preference of an Arab over a non-Arab or vice-versa; nor for a white person over a black person or vice-versa…” Thus Islam made a strong point of the equality of people regardless of their wealth, race, colour or status.
Another important area of thinking about equality is in gender relations. It is sometimes thought that Muslim women are treated as less worthy by their religion. The Quran states, “I shall not lose sight of the efforts of any of you who work in My way, be it man or woman; each of you is from the other”(3:195). This clearly explains that for God, both men and women are equal in their worldly actions as well as in their spiritual status.
Equality spans the private and public spheres; women in early Islamic society were encouraged to take part, and indeed were active, in the public realm.
The Prophet’s wife Aisha and his daughters were considered great scholars of Islam, the Prophet’s first wife Khadija was a successful businesswoman who in fact proposed marriage to him. Sadly, this ethos of equality is not always a reality in the way Muslims live today and much needs to be done to realise it.