Let’s take a look at a Quranic verse and the Hadith that complements it.:
O you who have believed, when you contract a debt for a specified term, write it down. And let a scribe write [it] between you in justice. Let no scribe refuse to write as Allah has taught him. So let him write and let the one who has the obligation dictate. And let him fear Allah , his Lord, and not leave anything out of it. But if the one who has the obligation is of limited understanding or weak or unable to dictate himself, then let his guardian dictate in justice. And bring to witness two witnesses from among your men. And if there are not two men [available], then a man and two women from those whom you accept as witnesses – so that if one of the women errs, then the other can remind her. And let not the witnesses refuse when they are called upon. And do not be [too] weary to write it, whether it is small or large, for its [specified] term. That is more just in the sight of Allah and stronger as evidence and more likely to prevent doubt between you, except when it is an immediate transaction which you conduct among yourselves. For [then] there is no blame upon you if you do not write it. And take witnesses when you conclude a contract. Let no scribe be harmed or any witness. For if you do so, indeed, it is [grave] disobedience in you. And fear Allah . And Allah teaches you. And Allah is Knowing of all things. (Quran 2:282)
Once Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) went out to the Musalla (to offer the prayer) of `Id-al-Adha or Al-Fitr prayer. Then he passed by the women and said, “O women! Give alms, as I have seen that the majority of the dwellers of Hell-fire were you (women).” They asked, “Why is it so, O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) ?” He replied, “You curse frequently and are ungrateful to your husbands. I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion than you. A cautious sensible man could be led astray by some of you.” The women asked, “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! What is deficient in our intelligence and religion?” He said, “Is not the evidence of two women equal to the witness of one man?” They replied in the affirmative. He said, “This is the deficiency in her intelligence. Isn’t it true that a woman can neither pray nor fast during her menses?” The women replied in the affirmative. He said, “This is the deficiency in her religion.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 304)
Muhammed basically said that women need assistance in testimony because they’re “intelligently deficient” (stupid) and reminds them of their menstrual cycles which makes them spiritually deficient as well.
Let’s examine some defenses over this Hadith.
This woman claims that this Hadith should not be used to silence women in discussions. And she implied that women’s emotional characteristics are stronger than their rational ones because Allah wanted them to be maternal for their families. In other words she couldn’t truly address this Hadith and deflected by saying “Yay Allah made you guys for motherhood. Isn’t motherhood great?” [Not quoted from video.] She then deflects further by saying how Muhammed and some of his notable companions like Ali were good to their wives and helped in domestic situations.
In this video Hamza Yusuf defines deficiency as difficulty and categorizes disabilities, illnesses etc. as “deficiencies.” A woman attempts to challenge him on the notion that calling the disabled “deficient” and placing women under that same umbrella can be degrading. He continues to play his usual “cultural relativism” card and casts that off as a western concept. Hamza Yusuf interjects that the Hadith doesn’t discuss all women, but majority of women who are going to be pregnant. Hamza Yusuf tries to cover it up by saying women and men are spiritually equal in the eyes of Islam (meaning Allah judges them to the same moral standards.)
Question for Hamza Yusuf: Why did Muhammed talk about intelligent deficiency and not health difficulties? The latter would have aligned with his apologetics more thoroughly. His job is hard: make Islamic orthodoxy suitable for an American audience.
The Hadith literally called women intelligently deficient and spiritually deficient (for their natural bodily menstrual functions.) Some apologists like Hamza Yusuf can hide behind cultural relativism and attempt to deflect this scrutiny of Muhammed with “cultural sensitivity.” The vast majority of Muslims, however, are not culturally relative when it comes to Hadith/Quran, and they may take this as divine since their divine Prophet said it.
Can you imagine the amount of Muslims who think women are inherently inferior to men because their all knowing Prophet who was Allah’s chosen one said it?
Let’s be honest here and just admit for a second: This Hadith is sexist. Muhammed said women are stupid.
I disagree. I don’t think women are stupid. I think Muhammed was wrong and disrespectful to women and feminists of all shades need to hold this Hadith accountable.
A friend once said “Muhammed was the first feminist.”
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