Friday, January 16, 2009

Deficiency of Women?

A while ago I mentioned in passing a particular hadith which is often used by the enemies of Islam to suggest that women in Islam are deprived of essential humanity, as fully inferior beings. It is used to justify the erroneous (read: bogus) claim that Muslim women are "oppressed."

And without proper understanding, the hadith certainly can give someone that impression. For instance, early in my days as a Muslim, this particular hadith gave me a lot of trouble--it upset me immensely, and made me want to reject hadith altogether because it seemed so wholly unfair. The injustice was not in the hadith, however, but in my poor understanding of it.

Once the hadith became sufficiently explained to me, it became more beloved to me than many other ahadith. It also taught me some valuable lessons--to not impose my own standards on the deen of Allah when I am without knowledge, and to trust in the wisdom of Allah.

Since I mentioned the hadith (some time ago), I received a comment asking me to discuss the hadith a little bit more in depth, so I would like to do just that. I'm sure it's possible to look up a good explanation of the hadith from a real scholar, I just want to add a few things that I think are especially interesting about it.

So first let's examine the hadith--it is authentic, related by Bukhari in Book 6, Hadith 301 (if you want to look it up, I guess.) Here it is:

Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri:

Once Allah's Apostle went out to the Musalla (to offer the prayer) on '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 Apostle ?"

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 Apostle! 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."
So... it sounds almost like it's saying women are stupid and worthless in the religion. Almost. That's how it gets twisted anyway, but that's not what it says, and not even close to what it means.

The first interesting thing about this hadith, to me, is that the Prophet (saaws) is directing his statement specifically to a group of women. Imagine if the imam during a khutbah left the minbar and walked so he would stand just in front of the women--and gave them a special sermon, specifically for them. This hadith isn't so much a sermon, but is a statement directed exclusively to women, exhorting them to give in charity, and this is done while eliciting a fear of Hellfire. Basically, it reminds the women to give in charity to protect themselves from Hellfire.

Then he (saaws) mentions a shortage in the "intelligence" of women, and a shortage or deficiency in their religion. And that (in addition to the women being the majority in Hellfire part) is what sets people off, I think. So here the women are talking back to the Prophet (saaws)! Instead of seeing them bowing their heads in silence, we find them questioning his statement. They ask 'why?' and 'how come?' and 'what does that mean?' That itself is kind of beautiful to me, showing that the Prophet (saaws) was approachable and that the women were not afraid to speak to him, even to voice their concerns.

And in fact, their concerns are precisely the same as those which people today seem to have with the same statement. It sounds like an insult, after all. It's difficult to see in the translation the good-natured humor inherent in the statement, that it's almost like a joke. How can I say that? Because of the exaggerations and rhetorical devices.

But anyway, let's get to the two main claims--about a woman's intelligence and religion. The word for intelligence in this hadith is `aql which carries an important connotation. It's actually the word used for a rope used to hobble a camel to keep it from running away, so it has this connotation of tying something. Now maybe you're asking, what is supposed to be tied, with regard to intelligence? And the answer here is that a person must be able to tie his emotions, to control his emotions, to keep them from overpowering his judgment and his reason. So another way of saying that women have a shortage of 'aql is to say that women are emotional. Or, that they are more emotional than men, in general. I would like to find anyone to dispute that statement. It's so obvious, really. (And I'll add an interesting note, that Imam Al-Bukhari filed this hadith in the book entitled 'Menstrual Periods.' Ahem! Women being emotional? Ah, yes.)

So first we can see that the statement is not an insult at all, but it states merely a commonly accepted fact, in slightly different terms. It's also interesting that women do tend to be more emotional than men are, that they often make choices based on their feelings. It is not, however, a weakness, because without the immense emotional capability of women, how would they be able to raise children the way they do? So I would say it is a special quality of women, and that it is for the benefit of all mankind that men can think with more rationality and women with more emotion.

When it comes to the matter of a woman's religion, once again we must see what is being referred to--and again, this hadith is in the section on 'Menstrual Periods' for a reason. You see, women are actually excempt from performing prayers on days that they are menstruating. That exemption means that overall they will end up praying less often than men do. Not for any fault of their own, but that Allah has not required it of them. So in the end a woman will have a shortage (or deficiency) in the prayers she has performed (as she has to make up for fasts.) The man of course does not have that sort of exemption, but has to keep regular steady practice of these rituals. And even so could be led astray by these women. (That is also an example of an exaggeration, by the way.)

But what is the point of the hadith, let's remember? It is to remind the women to give in charity. Why? Because they are not the same as men--not physiologically, not emotionally, not mentally--and remember that women do not go and wage jihad either, not militarily. But women are also going to be held accountable for their actions--what they did in this life. And standing behind an excuse isn't the way to go.

So... give in charity.

That's why I think it's beautiful, that there is a lot going on and a lot to learn from it. It also helps me to remember when looking at Islam, to avoid the temptation to view it with the lens of modern feminism which in many cases does nothing at all to help the woman and only undermines the society as a whole. This hadith actually underscores the importance of women in the society, I think, the importance of women to hold fast to the religion as they will be held accountable for their actions just like men will be.

Bottom line? Give sadaqa!

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Subhan'Allah!

Regards,

Jamilah said...

You explained this really well Amy. Mashallah

أم ترافيس said...

Amazing writing and explanation ma shaa Allah! Thax fer sharing :)

Lynn said...

If the majority of Mualims in the world would also believe in your interpretation as 'bottom line' then that would make all the difference in the world wouldn't it? Bottom line is, you chose to live in this world as a Muslim and with Muslims so you will be living in a world where the bottom line is:
You are a woman and you are deficient in intelligence and religion so defer to the men in your life whether they be ignorant or not. And while you are at it, you also must keep your interactions and your worship with these ignorant and religiously deficient women who are rude and lacking common courtesy as you do if you want to worship at your mosque. Why is it only Muslim women that are so ignorant, emotional and spiritually deficient? I have not at all found it to be a fact with non-Muslim women. Who commits the honor killings men or women? Are they emotional or just cold and calculated?

Islam is simple, clear and easy to follow. The only time it gets confusing is when you try to make it palatable by trying to make it seem that it means something that it does not. Why in the world would the Prophet need to speak in riddles just to tell people to donate to charity?

Anonymous said...

You have to approach the hadith with some understanding of its context. There is an entire field of studies called Hadith Studies. Scholars, past and present, have devoted their entire lives to memorizing, understanding, classifying, authenticating, tracing, and commenting on the thousands of traditions associated with the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace.

Ordinary students like us have no business taking one hadith and running to the races with it. If we're confused about a hadith, then we should go to an expert and ask him or her what it means. We owe the Messenger, who is the Beloved of Allah, something called husn al-dhann, or the benefit of the doubt. If we see a hadith that looks strange to us, we put the best construction on the matter.

First, we should recognize that we may not have sufficient knowledge of the Arabic language to come to any conclusion on the hadith.

Second, we need to understand that this is one hadith in thousands. Look how many hadith there are thatspeak positively of women, and remindmen to honor women. Foremost of these hadith are the ones that deal with motherhood. For example:

Narrated Abu Huraira:

A man came to Allah's Apostle and said, "O Allah's Apostle! Who is more entitled to be treated with the best companionship by me?" The Prophet said, "Your mother." The man said. "Who is next?" The Prophet said, "Your mother." The man further said, "Who is next?" The Prophet said, "Your mother." The man asked for the fourth time, "Who is next?" The Prophet said, "Your father. "

[Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 73, Number 2]



Third, there are other hadith that indicate a plentitude of women in Paradise. For example:

Muhammad reported that some (persons) stated with a sense of pride and some discussed whether there would be more men in Paradise or more women. It was upon this that Abu Huraira reported that Abu'l Qasim (the Holy Prophet) (may peace be upon him) said: The (members) of the first group to get into Paradise would have their faces as bright as full moon during the night, and the next to this group would have their faces as bright as the shining stars in the sky, and every person would have two wives and the marrow of their shanks would glimmer beneath the flesh and there would be none without a wife in Paradise.

[Muslim, Book 040, Number 6793]

It looks like this was a topic of debate even in the early days of Islam. It's important to also keep in mind that the Qur'an frequently mentions the presence of hoor al-ain, or beautiful virgins, in Paradise. The Qur'an says, "But those who attain to faith and do righteous deeds We shall bring into gardens through which running waters flow, therein to abide beyond the count of time; there shall they have spouses pure: and [thus] We shall bring them unto happiness abounding." [Al-Nisa, 4:57]

This verse is a very clear statement on the spiritual parity between men and women. Both believing men and women are promised a peaceful abode in Paradise with loving spouses.

Once again, there is no indication that women are excluded from Paradise and its rewards.

Fourth, even if we take the hadith at its literal meaning, is it really an issue? Since we're all supposed to be striving for Paradise anyway, we should welcome the hadith as advice on how not to act.

In other words, the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, may have seen certain behavior from the women of his community. Out of love and concern, he warned them that these behaviors would lead to Hell rather than Paradise. This hadith is telling us how serious a warning to both sexes.



What I find especially fascinating about this hadith is what emerges when you read between the lines. Was the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, alluding to a certain group of women? Could this have been a wake-up call for women who were slacking in their deen?

I don't believe that we can take one hadith and jump to the conclusion that the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, was saying that women are created inferior.

In fact, when you examine the overall framework governing gender issues in both the Qur'an and Hadith, the core idea that emerges is that males and females share the same essence.

Back to the issue, it's important to weigh "problematic" hadith against others which speak more favorably of women. In many hadith, including this one, which is rigorously authenticated, the Prophet, peace be upon him, expressed deep concern for the women of his community.

For example, the Prophet, peace be upon him, was reported to have said,

"Fear Allah regarding women. Verily you have married them with the trust of Allah, and made their bodies lawful with the word of Allah. You have got (rights) over them, and they have got (rights) over you in respect of their food and clothing according to your means." Further it is stated that Allah (SWT) is the Protector of women so treat them with kindness...What an honorable position this is?

To finish..A'isha (radial ho anha), the Holy Prophet's wife, is one of the most famous women in Islamic history. She was gifted with an outstanding intelligence and memory and is considered to be one of the most reliable narrators of ahadith.

Anonymous said...

You should study the history of women in Islam, then you would know that your interpretation is flawed. None of the traditional scholars interpreted women as being inferior to men in the ability to execute reason. That is a modern view proposed by innovators who call themselves scholars.

Amy said...

Thanks everyone for the comments.

Rearguards--*smile*

Jamilah--So good to hear from you, I hope you're well! Thanks for the comment.

Umm Travis--Thanks for the comment, glad you enjoyed it.

Lynn--Glad you're back... it's been a while. I hope you can read the Anonymous comment directly below yours. As a matter of fact, I'm not sure if that person was writing to me or to you... if they were writing to me, then they didn't read my post, which makes me think they were replying to you.

And in fact, the interpretation that I gave isn't something that I came up with on my own. It's something that I have heard reiterated everytime this hadith has come up in the presence of someone knowledgeable. If you scour the internet to search islamic sites for it, I'm sure you will also see similar explanations. There is a good video on youtube for instance, and a short article by G.F. Haddad which should satisfy your mind that my presentation here is neither you unique nor bizarre, but actually mainstream and perfectly sensible.

I would also like the say that the hadith is not a riddle, and neither did I suggest that it was. The problem is more that is not being understood in its proper context, which the anonymous commenter below you highlighted on.

Amy said...

To the really long anonymous comment after Lynn--

That was really excellent to read. I'm hoping that it was directed at Lynn however and not at me, since I never suggested (or certainly never meant to suggest) anything opposite to what you've written.

For me there is no doubt that the rewards for women in Paradise are amazing and innumerable--and that is simply because of the Qur'an. Muslim women have a promise from their Lord that their work and devotion will not be lost. And what can be greater than such a promise as that?

For sure, I wasn't intending to suggest at all either that women are deficient, or that they have no share or little share in Paradise. They are known to be the queens of the hour al-'ain, are they not? At any rate, I wanted only to show that particular hadith and how it isn't at all offensive, even though some people like Lynn above might like to think that it is.

If your comment was directed at me, and not Lynn, I hope you will write again, perhaps you can even email me, so that I can understand what exactly mistake I made in my writing.

Jazakumallahu khairan.

Amy said...

To the other Anonymous commenter, the one before my reply:

What about my interpretation is flawed, exactly? I did not suggest that women are at all inferior, but rather that women are different. It is not my own personal interpretation I posted either, but rather what I have learned. So were you replying to Lynn also?

I would like to be clear on what you found to be flawed, if it was in my post.

Jazakumallahu khairan.

Anonymous said...

continued on from previous comment....Your post lacks an overall understanding of hadith sciences and interprations. This is dangerous because perceptive individuals like Lynn will see through your attempt at interpretation and learn a lie about Islam.

From the start you make the false assumption that this hadith issues directives to all women and that one can just read this hadith in isolation and make a conclusion about its meaning.

----It's also interesting that women do tend to be more emotional than men are, that they often make choices based on their feelings. It is not, however, a weakness, because without the immense emotional capability of women, how would they be able to raise children the way they do? So I would say it is a special quality of women, and that it is for the benefit of all mankind that men can think with more rationality and women with more emotion.

You can say that women tend to be more emotional than men to varying degrees but you cannot say that women make choices based on their emotions. This is unfounded and clearly untrue. Furthermore, you cannot conclude that they are good mothers because they are emotional by any interpretation of Islam because women have been more truthfully described as the fountains of mercy in a society. The arabic term for mercy is related to the arabic term for womb.

---But what is the point of the hadith, let's remember? It is to remind the women to give in charity. Why? Because they are not the same as men--not physiologically, not emotionally, not mentally--and remember that women do not go and wage jihad either, not militarily. But women are also going to be held accountable for their actions--what they did in this life. And standing behind an excuse isn't the way to go.----

This is in incorrect. No scholar of the majority of scholars of Islam says this is true. The point of this hadith is not to tell women to give in charity because they are deficient.

I would like to stop here because going point by point is irrelevant. It is not your fault if you do not know something or know that a depth exists in hadith interpretation. I hope that you choose to become educated by TRUE scholars because you clearly have an interest in understanding.

I will just say that your interpretations don't make sense and your conclusions are dangerous to those who might think that you are representing an authority in Islam.

Your conclusions would be the same as if someone just walked up to a nuclear plant and requested that they serve as a nuclear reactor engineer, but they had never studied mathematics. How do you explain, to someone who has never studied mathematics, how a nuclear reactor works and why they are deficient in understanding?

Amy said...

It gives me a hard time to keep up with who is commenting on my blog when people insist on using 'Anonymous.' Can I request, especially if you're going to make long and repeated remarks, that you at least give me some way to differentiate who is making them?

Amy said...

Now to reply to the "anonymous" commenter.

I really don't understand your point. I genuinely don't. I feel like you're trying to insult me rather back-handedly, trying to prove how wrong I am, instead of actually trying to correct me.

And that places the need on me to defend myself, so I suppose that's what I need to do.

First of all, I have NEVER claimed to be an expert of hadith, not even STUDENT of hadith sciences. If I make a mistake in relaying whatever information I have, or if I have misunderstood something that I attempt to convey, then please, I beg you: correct me! If I am wrong, specifically, point it out so I can learn. I would appreciate that, even if you go point by point. I'm not trying to pick a fight here, but to actually improve my knowledge. If it is deficient then please help me out.

Now, I did summarize the hadith to a single point--was my point incorrect. I said that the bottom line is to give charity. Because when I take this hadith and read it, that seems to me to be the most important message. Does the hadith not tell women to give charity? Is it not true that all women should give in charity, if they are able to do that? If not, let me know--that would indeed be a flaw in my understanding.

Now, about women and emotions. It has been my experience that women tend to make decisions with a larger emphasis on emotions than do some men. That doesn't mean they always choose based on emotions, or are never logical, or that men never make emotional choices. Not at all--that would be reading something into my statement that wasn't there. But I have found that women do tend to respond to situations with a larger emphasis on emotion than men do. If you disagree, fine. If you have scientific or some other kind of proof, that's even better. I'd love to be corrected.

You also wrote: "you cannot conclude that they are good mothers because they are emotional by any interpretation of Islam because women have been more truthfully described as the fountains of mercy in a society."

I don't see how that disagrees with anything I have ever written. The way a mother responds to her child is out of mercy, and it is out of her love for that child. It is not exactly a "logical" response for a person to continue to love and care for someone who might yell at her and mock her, but a woman will continue to love and care for a child despite his behavior towards her. It's not logical so I consider it to be emotional--that Allah created women this way, to respond to their children this way, with mercy. Rahma. Like rahm. And Rahmaan.


Now you quoted a part of my post and said that it is untrue, and no scholar of Islam says it is true. But that particular section had a few statements. I will repeat it, and I hope you can tell me which of the statements are not true.

(1) I said the point of the hadith is to remind women to give in charity. But what is the point of the hadith, let's remember? It is to remind the women to give in charity. Doesn't the hadith tell women to give charity?

(2) Then I said women are not the same as men. Because they are not the same as men--not physiologically, not emotionally, not mentally-- Are there scholar who say women are the same physiologically and emotionally? (maybe "mentally" was a poor choice of words, because I did NOT mean "intellectually.")

(3) Then I said women do not wage military jihad. and remember that women do not go and wage jihad either, not militarily. That has been my understanding, that the responsibility of actually fighting in jihad is for men and not for women. Is that wrong?

(4) Then I said that women will be accountable for their actions. But women are also going to be held accountable for their actions--what they did in this life. Is that incorrect? Do scholars say that women are NOT going to be held accountable?

That is the whole passage, and yet I still don't see, unfortunately, what part of it is incorrect. So please can you explain how it is so wrong, that no scholar ever says that?



I will now reiterate what I had meant by my post. I'm afraid that the entire point has been missed, you see, because I was saying that the hadith doesn't imply that women are deficient or inferior in anyway, but rather simply that women are more emotional than men and that they don't have to pray during their periods, and of course that women should still give in charity. That was my point, if you are more knowledgeable about this hadith than I am, I hope you can correct me, correct whatever specific mistakes I might have made in my post.

I am certainly not an expert in hadith (I am repeating this statement for emphasis), nor have I been trained in the sciences of hadith. I have simply relayed what I have been told about this particular hadith (on numerous occasions by different people who I consider to be more knowledgeable than myself.)

If I am wrong (and I admit that I might be wrong!) then I hope you will correct me. But so far, I haven't seen you correct anything I wrote, only debate the exact opposite of what I said. So at this point, it seems to me that we are in fact on the same side. If I have been wrong, then I think I would also have the responsibility to correct mistakes in my post. So once again, please, I beg you to actually specify what mistakes or errors I have made.

And if you would rather email me than post another comment, I would appreciate it as well.

ibnatalhidayah@gmail.com is where you can reach me.

Jazakumallahu khairan.

Anonymous said...

Amy,

A very nice explanation. It's the first time I've heard this explanation for this hadith.


Though I do have a question, should you come back to this post.

How is the woman's fewer required prayers counted as a deficieny? I understand that it is viewed as a mercy from God that she doesn't have to pray while menstrating, and I certainly won't argue that point ;), but if God set the required prayers, and lessened the burden on women, why is it called a 'deficiency'? Why can't it just be said that that's the way God willed it?

-Amber

Imran Ayub said...

As-salamu `alaykum wa rahmatullah


"Morally, Spiritually, and Intellectually Defective and Majority are in Hell"



These are conclusions that someone has come up with without checking the situations the narrations were reported and understanding their context. It's this sort of attitude that leads people astray. Only a truly intelligent individual and someone seeking for the truth, would not jump to such conclusions and would try to verify the information.



Jazakillaahu khayrn for clarifying the issue and not falling into the Satanic trap!



I hope the following points clears things up:



1. The ahadeeth are in Saheeh Bukhaari and Saheeh Muslim, and thus are authentic



2. The ahadeeth were not ment as an attack but as a warning. It's similar to me saying to a student of mine, if you do not study hard, you will have to do professions such as cleaning work, because most people who fail basic studies are unable to progress further.



Now does this mean that this child is a failure by default? Of course not! It simply means that there is a great possibility he may fail, unless he works hard.



Likewise, women have certain traits (as do men), that are very likely to lead them into Hell. Thus, women should work hard to strive against these qualities and if they do, insha'Allaah they will be among the MANY righteous women to enter Paradise.



3. There has always been a surplus of women in this world over men, and when the Messenger of Allaah (peace be upon him) says Majority of women are in Hell, that doesnt mean that they are necessarily a lot more than men! Because if one was to say there are 10,000 men in Hell and 11,000 women, women would still be majority, but does that mean they are a lot more than men??



4. This hadeeth is one of many. The others explain why these women are in Hell. Here are some of the reasons:



a. In Saheeh Bukhaari, Hadeeth Number 1,052:



The People asked, "O Messenger of Allaah, Why is it so? (i.e. Why are Majority people in Hell - women?)" He said, "Because of their ungratefulness", It was asked whether they are ungrateful to Allaah. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "They are ungrateful to their companions of life (husbands) and ungrateful to good favours done to them. If you have done good favours to one of them throughout the life and if she sees anything (undesirable) in you, she will say, 'I have never had any good from you.' "



This hadeeth shows that women are naturally ungrateful. This is one of their weaknesses and it’s normal for a woman to want gifts and things like jewellery. Even the Wives of the Prophet (may Allaah be pleased with them) had such desires, however they were strong and controlled these desires. They gave it up for a place in Paradise, in which they would receive Jewellery and gifts beyond anyone can imagine!!!



Therefore, it could be argued that this is a form of a test for women. The stronger women will be more grateful for what she has and will control her desire for worldly things to a minimum.



However, the weaker women, which are the majority, will want things of this world and are willing to trade husbands in order to achieve this. The evidence that this is a majority is the fact that in places like America, many couple sign contracts such as ‘Prenuptial’ before getting married.



b. In Saheeh Muslim, Number 2,048:



The Prophet (peace be upon him) said (to the women): “Give Charity, for most of you are fuel for Hell.” A woman with dark cheeks, who was one of the best of women, stood up and said: “Why is that, O Messenger of Allaah?” He said, “Because you complain a great deal, and you are ungrateful to your husbands.”



There are a few lessons in this Hadeeth:



i. It encourages women to give charity, thus Charity is a form of worship that will save one from Hell.



ii. The woman is described as one of the best of women and as having dark cheeks, which may be used as proof that Niqaab (face veil) is not obligatory (however, it is commendable).



iii. Complaining can lead to Hell. Women tend to complain a lot about things. Sometimes they complain about why they don’t have what other wives have, or they complain about other things.



However, the Key lesson here is NOT that women are destined for Hell, but if we notice carefully, a woman, who is described as one of the BEST of women, asked why these women were in Hell. She asked this not to just enquire of this knowledge but to use it in order to save herself from that same fate.



Thus, women should learn to avoid complaining about their husbands and other things and try to be more content with whatever little they have and to be patient. If she succeeds in this, she will have whatever riches she wishes in Paradise.





c. In Saheeh Bukhaari, Hadeeth Number 304



The Prophet (peace be upon him) 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 Allaah's Messenger?" 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."



=========================



Cursing is something very dangerous and we are always encouraged to control our tongues. For some women, they have a habit of coursing a lot, especially when provoked. Here the Prophet (peace be upon him) is advising them to control this and to instead be patient and save themselves from Hell. No doubt, we can utter words that lead us far deep into Hell!!





======================





The women asked, "O Allaah's Messenger! 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."



i. Intelligence: This is referring to things like Business contracts. The norm in society is that the male has to provide and take care of his wife. Thus, he will mostly likely deal with business dealings. Therefore, he will normally have more knowledge on these issues.



That’s not to say women are unable to study and also gain knowledge of business. However, majority of the case is that men are the ones who deal with bringing the money home for the family, while the woman takes care of the family (a responsibility that could grant her paradise).



We have many examples of women who are much smarter then men, in fact one of the youngest wives of the Prophet (peace be upon him), ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) was a great scholar at her time and many of the male companions would go and learn from her.



ii. As for the deficiency in her religion, this is a blessing from Allaah. He makes things easier for His slaves, and because of what the women has to go through in order for her body to be able to hand bearing children, Allaah has pardoned them from Salah and Sawm at those times.



However, this doesn’t mean Allaah deprives them from good deeds, because in the end, women then get a lot of reward for carrying and taking care of children. So much so, that a woman who dies at child birth is a martyr!!



Thus, even though she is deprived from some reward, she will have others that men will never be able to gain.





====================================================





In conclusion, men have their place in society and women have their own place in society. There are some temptations for men and some for women. The Prophet (peace be upon him) has told us about the Temptations of both.



What we should get out of these ahadeeth are not that women are destined for Hell, but that there are some traits, which are very common with women, that lead to Hell. So instead of People complaining that Islaam oppresses women, they should instead try to understand that Islaam is the only religion that offers a solution to an obvious problem.



Other religions and cultures mock women because of these ‘defects’ and use them as pieces of meat!!



Islaam sees women as important part of society. It identifies weaknesses and helps us work on defeating them. This is how we grow and improve, and this is how we succeed.



So the question you women have to ask yourself is this: “Am I going to complain about what is in fact a reality, or am I going to do something to save myself (from Hell).”





And Allaah knows best


Jazakum Allahu khairan

Was-salamu `alaykum

Imran









Asalam aleikum,

Hope you are in the best of health.

There is a haadith, that i am being challenged about.
"Ibn ‘Abaas reported that Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: I had a chance to look into the Paradise and I found that [the] majority of the people was poor and I looked into the Fire and their I found the majority constituted by women. (Sahih Muslim – 6597)"

Here is the question which cam along with the hadeeth, that was actually posed to me:

"I have a question for you about women in regards to some hadiyth. There are some well known hadiyth floating around in the Islaamic World that says women are morally, spiritually, intellectually defective and that the majority of people in Hell are women. In recent times I have had some discussion on those hadiyths and there are some Muslim men and women that tell me that they believe in those hadiyths and there are some Muslim men and women that tell me that they don’t believe those hadiyths because they are false and illogical. Since you are an educated woman, I’m very curious as to what you believe? If you believe those hadiyths can you provide me the logic, reasoning and Qur’aanic evidence as to why you believe in those hadiyths that say women are morally, spiritually, intellectually defective and that the majority of people in hell are women?"

Now this comes in the light that i was defending Islam being a religion that treats women equally and actually has a very positive stand when it comes to women.

What can you say about the above ahaadith, and the question that has been posed to me??
I would really appreciate more information.

Thank you.
Your sister in Islam,

Amy said...

Amber,

Thanks for reading and commenting. I might end up making changes to the post if the anonymous commenter comes back to explain how exactly my interpretation is wrong. I wasn't really "interpreting" anything, though, just sharing what I have been told on numerous occasions by numerous people, that amount to my understanding of this hadith.

To answer your question, the deficiency isn't in the sense that women aren't completing what is necessary, merely that what is obligatory on them is less than for men. And that is the way God willed it. Why Muhammad (saws) put it the way he did? I don't know.

Amy said...

To the poster called Imran Ayub --

That was a really interesting comment to read--thanks for posting it. To answer the question, the hadith really needs to be shown. If a person says that there is a hadith claiming women are "morally, spiritually, and intellectually defective," then such a hadith would need to be presented. But perhaps the person was referring to the hadith in my post. That hadith doesn't say women are defective in any sense. I understand it to describe women as being more emotional than men are (i.e., less 'aql) and that they have less prayers (i.e., salaat) mandated on them.

Understanding that women are the majority in hellfire might lead someone to assume that women, according to the hadith, somehow aren't given a shot at Paradise, or that they are at a disadvantage. But both men and women have attributes that they must overcome to be saved from the fire.

It doesn't mean that women have no shot at Paradise, or that they are all destined for the fire. I think the point is to understand that, as women, we must also be very mindful of Hellfire and how to avoid being thrown in it.

Anonymous said...

Amy,

Well, I still think your explanation was excellent. And, at least for me, the first time I'd heard it. Most, when asked, just point out the differences between men and women, or focus on the 'evidence of two women is worth one man' part.

As for 'deficiency'. Given your explanation, which makes sense, it's a poor word choice. I'm wondering if maybe it's something to do with the translation into English? Perhaps the original word in Arabic doesn't carry the same negative conotations. *shrug* I don't know. Whatever the reason, thanks for taking the time to explain this. :)

-Amber

Amoola said...

MashaAllah sis, I enjoyed reading your post.

UmZ ;)

Anonymous said...

As-Salaamu Alaikum,

I sent the gist of your post and some comments/questions to scholars where I study. I will email you their response when I receive a reply as well as some other information.

Kittee said...

Assalamu Alaykum Sister,


Wow Amy, this was indeed a hot topic!
Sorry it took me a full week to read up on it, work + snow = fun!

I hope you are doing well.

As to this topic at hand, I am not educated enough to comment. But I did find all the posts very fascinating.

Salaams,
-Kittee

Faris said...

Thanks, Amy, for writing it...

I benefited from your original post, the comments about it and your response to said comments!

Mohamed said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Amy said...

What Schacht has to say has absolutely nothing to do with my post whatsoever, and your post will do nothing but mislead readers.

There's a book by Sh. Jamal Zarabozo you might be interested in about the importance and preservation of the Sunnah.