A comparison between the different views about hierarchy and order of Europe and the Middle East may throw into clearer relief the characteristics of each set of ideas. Religiously inspired ideas of equality were present in both Islam and Christianity but with different meanings and outcomes. In Islamic law, ethics and theology – that is the Shari’ a (religious code) and its exposition in fiqh (jurisprudence) – all Muslims are supposed to be equal regarding the rules they must follow and the rights they have in the sight of God. There is one Islamic community (‘umma) and differentiations within it are not important. In certain legal contexts, however, women have a position inferior to men.2.
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