Equality in being a Muslim is only considered among the Moghuls, Pathans, and other non-Arab nations. There is no consideration of this among the Shaykhs, Sayyids, ‘Alawis, and Ansaris. A man who accepts Islam and his father was a kafir cannot be on par or equal to a woman who is a Muslim and her father was also a Muslim. The man who is a Muslim, his father is also a Muslim, but his grandfather was a kafir; cannot be equal to a woman whose grandfather was also a Muslim.
A man whose father and grandfather were Muslims, but his great grandfather was a kafir will be regarded as equal to a woman whose several forefathers were Muslims. In short, this equality is only considered till the grandfather. Equality beyond the grandfather, such as the great grandfather and beyond him is not considered.
Equality in Piety
Equality in piety means that a man who does not follow the dictates of the Shari‘ah – who is a wicked person, a scoundrel, an alcoholic, a shameless person – will not be considered to be equal to a pious, chaste and religious woman.
Equality in Wealth
Equality in wealth means that a person who is an absolute pauper cannot be compatible to a rich woman. If the man is not an absolute pauper, but is capable of giving that amount of mahr that is normally given on the first night and is also capable of giving her maintenance, then he will be regarded to be equal to her in status even if he is unable to give the entire amount of mahr. It is not necessary for the man to be in exactly the same financial position as that of the woman. Nor is it necessary for him to be close to that financial position.
Equality in Occupation
Equality in occupation is that, e.g. weavers are not regarded as equal to tailors and are accorded a status that is lower than that of tailors. Similarly, barbers, washermen, etc. are not regarded as being equal to tailors, but are regarded as being lower than tailors.
A mad, lunatic person cannot be equal to an intelligent, understanding woman.