Some of us wake up in the morning with varying interests, motives and drives. These drives can be as different as night and day. This is why after mentioning the contrast of night and day Allah mentions, “Indeed, your efforts are diverse” [92:4]. These interests have needs, if fulfilled the interests become a tangible presence in the world. One who creates products and services fulfilling the needs of these interests can have a profitable venture. While some people may be afraid of diversity, others realize its value. The existence of diversity allows for the creation of different products and services, the existence of unique talent, etc. However, understanding and tailoring to diversity is a challenge.
On a general level, men and women are different. “And the male is not like the female” [3:36]. One example is that a woman’s tear duct is anatomically smaller than a man’s. This means her tears will be more frequent and visible. A woman crying more at the workplace due to stress or pressure should be expected by the management and not seen as something abnormal. Understanding diversity helps us become effective managers or business owners. For example, Curves realized that the experience in most gyms was designed for men. So they created an all-women’s gym with an experience comfortable for women and became a success.
Understanding this diversity is also important in education. We stem creativity and divergent thinking when we enforce a rigid and standardized one-size-fits-all form of education. An educator understanding that students learn differently will cater to different learning styles. This is why at Wellspring Elementary (yes, the coolest school in America) personalized learning is part of the core philosophy.
So the next time you are asked why Islam has some rules that are different for men and women, just say, ‘Islam understands diversity and caters to it!’