A Psychological Perspective
The difference between men and women according to Imam Ali (AS) from the psychological perspective
One of the important principles which should be considered about women and therefore, one should refer to Imam Ali (AS), is the physical- psychological differences between men and women.
The intellectual and emotional differences between men and women
One of the undeniable differences between men and women relates to the intellect and feelings. Of course, it should be noted that by intellect, it means theoretical intellect, since in practical intellect women are not less than men and they are even sometimes better. In other words, theoretical, analytical, philosophical, hypothetical, and socio-political intellects are wider and stronger in men.
In general pure reason, mathematics, and pure theoretical intellects are more active in men than women, but practical intellect which relates to human perfection and progress is equal in men and women. (1)
Though the world of intellect, feelings and vision of women are different, these matters don’t play any role in evaluating human beings. Practical intellect which relates to human’s perfection and progress is equal in men and women. Deduction, inductive reasoning, and solving mathematical equations are only skills, not human values.
And if men and women are different in this view and the quantity of such power is not equal in them, it does not mean at all that one is superior to the other especially because men and women are equal in perceiving life, divine knowledge, and the development of morals and determination, which are related to practical intellect. Perceiving some of the fine emotional realities are easier for women than men, and women are even more powerful in such perceptions. (2)
Anyway, one of the differences between men and women is related to reasoning faculty and psychologists also have given attention to it.
M.S. Lamber says: ”In a woman the reasoning faculty is imperfect since her powerful emotions amuses her deceitfully. Though women are clever and can perceive things fast, their minds have no connection and adherence in social matters.” (3)
And one of the differences which Imam Ali (AS) has noted in describing the extent of intellect between men and women is the matter of imperfect intellect which Imam Ali (AS) has talked about it in Sermon 80 [Nahj al- Balaghah].
Besides, the difference in the extent of theoretical intellect, the other difference between men and women, exists in their feelings and emotions. It is natural that women are more emotional because of their motherhood and fellowship mission. This matter by itself is so valuable for women since instincts and emotions in a human being are the origin of any activity and motion. As psychologists have interpreted, the main engine for permanent activity in a human being is emotions and feelings and their type, intensity, and weakness has a special effect on individual and social life of a person.
One should search for the key of prosperity and misery of a person in the good or poor condition of his feelings. MacDegal says:
”Regulation and equilibrium of emotions and feelings is a basis for the perfection of personality and the personality of an individual originates generally from the intensity and weakness of his feelings.”
Since emotions and feelings are more powerful in women, therefore, the intellectual cognition of women is influenced more by the emotions and feelings. But men are influenced less by their feelings and thus women are more powerful in emotional matters. As a result men and women need each other to fill these vacuums. Men need women because of their emotions and women need men for their intellect.
As the human life and his perfection require both intellectual and emotional perfection man and woman together make a complete human unit.
Imam Ali (AS) in Nahj al- Balaghah says explicitly: ”Women are in shortage of wisdom and faith.”
As it had been explained before, this isn’t a value or quality imperfection. It is only because of the powerful emotions of women and their effects on perceptions and this matter leads to the imperfection of intellect in women.