Belittling women 2
Another objection in the Hadith is regarding women being deficient in intelligence and religion. The concerned part of the Hadith is reproduced below:
“(Rasulullah ﷺ said), ‘I have not seen anyone more deficient in intellect or deen. Yet the mind of even a resolute man might be swept away by one of you.’ They said, ‘In what way is our deen and intellect deficient, Messenger of Allah?’ He said, ‘Is not the testimony of a woman worth only half that of a man?’ They said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘That is how your intellect is deficient. Is it not so that when a woman is menstruating, she neither prays nor fasts?’ They said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘That is how her deen is deficient.’” – (Bukhari; Book of Menstruation, Chapter of Menstruating Women Abstaining from Fast)
The statement in the Hadith regarding the deficiencies are general and do not incorporate everyone. It is nothing but a fact that a menstruating woman cannot offer Salah. So if a man and woman live for the same amount of time in the world, the total number of Salah offered by the man will be more because every month there will be a few days during which the woman will not be able to pray. But this is a general rule because there are many men who neither offer Salah nor fast. So obviously compared to them the Salah of a woman who is consistent will be more. Being deficient is not necessarily something bad and only that deficiency is bad for which one receives a sin e.g. if one leaves Salah on purpose. Further,even in this ‘deficiency’ there may be reward for her.
Allamah Badruddin Abu Muhammad Mahmood bin Ahmad al-‘Ayni in ‘Umdatul Qari Sharh Sahih Bukhari (Darul Kutub al-’Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon; 2001, vol. pg 403
و قال النووي و نقص الدين قد يكون على وجه يأثم به, كمن ترك الصلاة بلا عذر, و قد يكون على وجه لا يأتم له, كمن ترك الجمعة بعذر, و قد يكون على وجه هو مكلف به كترك الحائض الصلاة و الصوم. فإن قيل: فإذا كانت معذورة, فهل تثاب على ترك الصلاة في زمن الحيض؟ و إن كانت لا تقضيها كما يثاب المريض، و يكتب له في مرضه مثل النوافل الصلوات التي كان يفعلها في صحته. و الجواب الظاهر هذا الحديث انها لا تثاب, و الفرق أن المريض كان يفعلها بنية الدوام عليها مع اهليته لها, و الحائض ليست كذلك, بل نيتها ترك الصلاة في زمن الحيض , و كيف لا و هي حرام عليها؟ قلت ينبغي أن يثاب علي ترك الحرام
“Imam Nawawi رحمة اللہ علیه said, Lack of one’s deen may be in a way where one commits a sin, such as the one who leaves Salah without any excuse, or it may be in a way for which one does not sin, such as the one who leaves Friday Prayer for a valid excuse, or it may also be in a way one is required to leave such as the menstruating woman leaving Salah and Fast. If one asks, ‘If she has an excuse for leaving Salah during menstruation, does she get rewarded even if she does not do Qadha just like the sick person who gets the reward for the Nawafil he used to pray while being healthy?’ And the apparent answer is that she does not get rewarded, and the difference between her and a sick person is that the sick person used to pray with the intention of praying with consistency and the knowledge that he will be able to do so, while the woman has the intention of not praying while having the period.And how can she pray when praying (during menstruation) is Haram on her? I say, ‘One should get rewarded for leaving the Haram.’”
As far as the witness issue and thus deficiency in intelligence is concerned, the ruling of two women witnesses is also found in the Qur’an in Surah Baqarah. It should be made clear that not in all matters is the witness of two women required. Such an issue on which there is Ijma’ where two women are required is the issue of financial transactions. This has been explained by Ibn Qudaamah in al-Mughni (Darul Fikr, Beirut, Lebanon; 1985, vol.10 pg 155-161) where he has also stated:
قال القاضي: و الذي تقبل فيه شهادتهن منفردات خمسة اشياء: الولادة, و الإستسهال, و الرضاع, و العيوب تحت الثياب كالرتق و القرن و البكارة و الثيابة و البرص, و إنقضاء العدة
“Qadhi said: And that in which the witness of only women of accepted is Birth, Crying of the Child at birth, Rida’, ‘Uyub under the clothes such as Ratq and Qarn, whether she is a virgin or not, Baras and the end of Iddah.”
Thus it is seen thatthere are many such cases where man has no knowledge and the witness of a woman is accepted. As far as the issue of financial dealing is concerned, some have explained that it has to do with the weakness of the memory of woman in mathematical issues. Some neuro-psychiatrists have also expressed this but it should be know that one should not be in favor of trying to justify or express the wisdom of the laws of Shari’ah with the help of science. This is because science is not absolute but the Wisdom of Allah is Absolute. It should however be noted that this deficiency that the Hadith talks about is general and not all encompassing.
Mufti ‘Aashiq Ilahi رحمة اللہ علیه writes in Anwarul Bayan (Darul Ishaat, Karachi, Pakistan; 2005, vol.1 pg 341):
“This applies to general circumstances since there are many exceptions where women may possess stronger memories, are more intelligent or better able to express themselves than men.”
Moreover, the Qur’an says in Surah Nur (24) verse 6-9:
وَالَّذِينَ يَرْمُونَ أَزْوَاجَهُمْ وَلَمْ يَكُن لَّهُمْ شُهَدَاء إِلَّا أَنفُسُهُمْ فَشَهَادَةُ أَحَدِهِمْ أَرْبَعُ شَهَادَاتٍ بِاللَّهِ إِنَّهُ لَمِنَ الصَّادِقِينَ
وَالْخَامِسَةُ أَنَّ لَعْنَتَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهِ إِن كَانَ مِنَ الْكَاذِبِينَ وَيَدْرَأُ
عَنْهَا الْعَذَابَ أَنْ تَشْهَدَ أَرْبَعَ شَهَادَاتٍ بِاللَّهِ إِنَّهُ لَمِنَ الْكَاذِبِينَ
وَالْخَامِسَةَ أَنَّ غَضَبَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهَا إِن كَانَ مِنَ الصَّادِقِينَ
Those who accuse their wives (of adultery) while they have no witnesses except their own selves, then the evidence of one of them would be to swear four oaths by Allah that he is truthful,
and the fifth (oath) that Allah‘s curse be on him if he is one of the liars.
And it will remove the punishment from the woman if she swears four oaths by Allah that he (the accuser husband) is certainly one of the liars,
and the fifth (oath) that Allah‘s wrath be on her if he is one of the truthful.
In this example it is seen that a woman’s witness by Li’aan is enough to be accepted over the husband’s oath. Mufti Shafi’ Usmani رحمة اللہ علیه in Ma’ariful Qur’an (Maktaba e Darul ‘Uloom, Karachi, Pakistan; 2007, vol.6 pg 363) writes:
The suggestion that the woman is half a person, because of the requirement for two women as witness in some issues, is very incorrect. Firstly if woman was something inferior or degraded in Islam then there would not have been an issue where only a woman’s witness would suffice and as seen in the case above, given preference over the man’s witness. And if a woman is said to be half because of certain cases of witness, then where man’s witness is not counted, Islam did not even give that status of half a person to man. Additionally it can also be argued that normally two men are required to complete the requirement of witness in an issue but in the case of adultery the requirement is of four men. Then one should also say that man is half a person as well. Hence such arguments are baseless and do not have any ground to stand upon.
By not making ‘equal’ the witness of one woman to one man in certain cases, there is yet wisdom of Allah. It is not easy to go through the process of being a witness, becoming an enemy of the person against whom one is becoming a witness and at times even travel from one city to another to give the shahadah. These are all stressful and difficult matters and Allah has relieved the woman from such difficulties otherwise it would have been obligatory for the woman to go through all such hurdles to give testimony as Allah says in the Qur’an in Surah Baqarah (2) verse 283:
…وَلاَ تَكْتُمُواْ الشَّهَادَةَ وَمَن يَكْتُمْهَا فَإِنَّهُ آثِمٌ قَلْبُهُ…
“…Do not conceal testimony. Whoever conceals it, his heart is surely, sinful…”
In another Hadith, in Muwatta Imam Malik as well as in Sahih Muslim, it is stated:
حدثنا يحيى عن مالك عن عبد الله بن أبي بكر بن محمد بن عمرو بن حزم عن أبيه عن عبد الله بن عمرو بن عثمان عن أبي عمرة الأنصاري عن زيد بن خالد الجهني أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال ألا أخبركم بخير الشهداء الذي يأتي بشهادته قبل أن يسألها أو يخبر بشهادته قبل أن يسألها۔ موطأ مالك، كِتَاب الْأَقْضِيَةِ، بَاب مَا جَاءَ فِي الشَّهَادَاتِ
Rasulullah ﷺ said, “Shall I not tell you who is the best of witnesses? The one who brings his testimony before he is asked for it, or tells his testimony before he is asked for it.” – (Muwatta Imam Malik; Book of Judgments, Chapter of Testimonies)
Another Hadith narrated by Abu Musa al-Ash’ari says,
قال رسول اللہ ﷺ من کتم شھادة اذا دعی الیھا کان کمن شھد بالزور۔ جمع الفوائد بحواله طبرانی صفه ۲٦ جلد ١
Rasulullah ﷺ said, “Whosoever is called to give witness and then he conceals it, it is as if he has given false witness.” – (Jama’ul Fawa’id with reference to Tabrani, vol.1 pg 26)
It is but for their ease and comfort that the responsibility of certain things are not put on their shoulders unless there is a necessity. Where the burden and responsibility is put on the shoulders of one man, there it has been divided among two women.