A Series of Answers to Common Questions

Sam Shamoun


Question/Claim:

Wives are included on a list of property with farm animals and houses in the Bible's version of the Ten Commandments. Doesn't this prove that the Bible degrades women, placing them on the level of animals and possessions, showing that they are not equal to men?

Answer:

Here are the passages to which the questioner is referring:

"You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor." Exodus 20:17

"You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, and you shall not desire your neighbor's house, his field or his male servant or his female servant, his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor." Deuteronomy 5:21

The questioner erroneously draws the conclusion that just because a wife is put on the same list of persons and things which belong to a man, this therefore proves that she is his possession or is on the same level of animals and items. That, of course, is not what the commandment intends, since the focus here is on not coveting anything that belongs to another person. A wife is another person's spouse, so one cannot covet her since this would be adultery. The command isn’t intended as a commentary on the value or level of women in relation to animals or houses.

Furthermore, one must read these statements in light of the overall context of the Holy Bible. If the questioner had bothered to understand such commands in light of the Pentateuch itself he/she would have found that, according to the first book of the Holy Bible, woman are created in the very image of God and have the same essential value that men have:

"Then God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let THEM rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.' God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed THEM; and God said to THEM, 'Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.' Then God said, 'Behold, I have given YOU every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for YOU;'" Genesis 1:26-29

"When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained; What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than God, And You crown him with glory and majesty! You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, All sheep and oxen, And also the beasts of the field, The birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea, Whatever passes through the paths of the seas." Psalm 8:3-8

"Then the LORD God said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.' ... The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. The man said, 'This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.' For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become ONE FLESH.'" Genesis 2:18, 20-24

"This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day when God created Adam, He made him in the likeness of God. He created THEM male and female, and He blessed THEM and named THEM Adam in the day when they were created." Genesis 5:1-2

These passages establish that women, just as much as men, are the image bearers of God. Notice that the woman came out of man, showing that she is of the same essence and nature, in order to be his helper in ruling and maintaining God's physical creation, specifically the Garden of Eden. God himself said that it is not good for man to be alone, and that the two shall become one flesh, indicating the interdependency of the two sexes. This is reinforced by the fact that after Adam names all the animals the inspired author said that there was no suitable helper to be found for man amongst the animals, thus the reason for God fashioning a suitable mate from the man's side. What this shows is that women are not in the same category of animals, but are vastly superior to them, much like men are.

These facts are reiterated all throughout the Holy Bible:

"Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman. But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband. The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and LIKEWISE also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Stop depriving one another, except BY AGREEMENT for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control." 1 Corinthians 7:1-5

"However, in the Lord, neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as the woman originates from the man, so also the man has his birth through the woman; and all things originate from God." 1 Corinthians 11:11-12

"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives AS THEIR OWN BODIES. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body. FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife EVEN AS HIMSELF, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband." Ephesians 5:25-33

"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are ALL ONE in Christ Jesus." Galatians 3:28

The Holy Bible even warns against harshly treating one's spouse:

"This is another thing you do: you cover the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping and with groaning, because He no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. Yet you say, 'For what reason?' Because the LORD has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. But not one has done so who has a remnant of the Spirit. And what did that one do while he was seeking a godly offspring? Take heed then to your spirit, and let no one deal treacherously against the wife of your youth. 'For I hate divorce,' says the LORD, the God of Israel, 'and him who covers his garment with wrong,' says the LORD of hosts. 'So take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.'" Malachi 2:13-16

"Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them." Colossians 3:19

At the same time, man has a level of authority over the woman in the relationship without this implying that women are inferior (Cf. 1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 5:22-24). But, even here, we must be careful since it is not always the case that man holds authority over a woman. There are some relationships in which the woman actually holds authority over the male. For instance, children are not the head of their mothers, nor can a man be the head of another man’s wife. Thus, not every man is the head, or has a headship function, over every woman. It depends on the situation and relationship.

It seems that some have the habit of making categorical fallacies, confusing authority and position with essence and nature. For instance, one can be greater in position and authority without this implying that one is superior in essence and nature, i.e. parents and children, masters and slaves, employers and employees etc. Thus, it is a categorical fallacy to assume that just because men are the head of women this therefore means that women are an inferior species, since this takes two different categories and treats them as if they were one and the same.

Let us summarize the data:

  1. Being both together created in the very image of God, man and woman are superior to animals.
  2. Male and female are given authority to rule over God’s physical creation. This affirms that women are co-rulers with men.
  3. Woman originated from man, in order for her to be compatible with him and a comparable helper, indicating that they both have the same essence and value.
  4. Male and female unite to become one flesh, demonstrating that the two need each other in order to complete each other.
  5. Because of this interdependency and unity, the husband is told to treat his spouse as his own body.
  6. As a result of this essential equality and unity, the woman has the same rights over her spouse’s body that her husband has over her’s.


What about Islam and Women?

The above quoted and discussed accusation against the Bible seems to have been designed with the desire to counter a very real problem in the Quran, a book which degrades women and relegates them to the level of animals and property. When we turn to the Quran, this is what we find about women:

Your women are A TILLAGE; so come unto your tillage as you wish, and forward for your souls; and fear God, and know that you shall meet Him. Give thou good tidings to the believers. S. 2:223

Women are a field for men to enter and plow as they see fit.

Divorced women shall wait by themselves for three periods; and it is not lawful for them to hide what God has created in their wombs; if they believe in God and the Last Day. In such time their mates have better right to restore them, if they desire to set things right. Women have such honourable rights as obligations, but their men HAVE A DEGREE ABOVE THEM; God is All-mighty, All-wise. S. 2:228

Ibn Kathir commented here:

<But men have a degree over them.>, that is, men have a degree over women as far as virtue, behaviour, status, obeying orders, expenditure, fulfilling duties, and grace in both worldly life and the Hereafter... (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, part 2, Sura Al-Baqarah, ayat 142-252, Abridged By Sheikh Muhammad Nasib Ar-Rifa'i [Al-Firdous Ltd., London 1998], p. 204; bold emphasis ours)

The Quran even permits a man to beat his wife if he fears any rebellion on her part:

Men are the managers of the affairs of women for that God has preferred in bounty one of them over another, and for that they have expended of their property. Righteous women are therefore obedient, guarding the secret for God's guarding. And those you fear may be rebellious admonish; banish them to their couches, and beat them. If they then obey you, look not for any way against them; God is All-high, All-great. S. 4:34

The Islamic traditions add:

Narrated Abdullah ibn AbuDhubab:
Iyas ibn Abdullah ibn AbuDhubab reported the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) as saying: Do not beat Allah's handmaidens, but when Umar came to the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) and said: Women have become emboldened towards their husbands, he (the Prophet) gave permission to beat them. Then many women came round the family of the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) complaining against their husbands. So the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) said: Many women have gone round Muhammad's family complaining against their husbands. They are not the best among you. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 11, Number 2141)

And:

Narrated Umar ibn al-Khattab:
The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: A man will not be asked as to why he beat his wife. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 11, Number 2142)

Muhammad Asad, in his footnote to this passage, #45, wrote:

It is evident from many authentic Traditions that the Prophet himself intensely detested the idea of beating one's wife, and said on more than one occasion, "Could any of you beat his wife as he would beat a slave, and then lie with her in the evening?" (Bukhari and Muslim). According to another Tradition, he forbade the beating of any woman with the words, "Never beat God's handmaidens" (Abu Da'ud, Nasa'i, Ibn Majah, Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Ibn Hibban and Hakim, on the authority of Iyas ibn 'Abd Allah; Ibn Hibban, on the authority of 'Abd Allah ibn 'Abbas; and Bayhaqi, on the authority of Umm Kulthum). When the above Qur'an-verse authorizing the beating of a refractory wife was revealed, the Prophet is reported to have said: "I wanted one thing, but God has willed another thing - and what God has willed must be best" (see Manar V, 74). With all this, he stipulated in his sermon on the occasion of the Farewell Pilgrimage, shortly before his death, that beating should be resorted to only if the wife "has become guilty, in an obvious manner, of immoral conduct", and that it should be done "in such a way as not to cause pain (ghayr mubarrih)"; authentic Traditions to this effect are found in Muslim, Tirmidhi, Abu Da'ud, Nasa'i and Ibn Majah. On the basis of these Traditions, all the authorities stress that this "beating", if resorted to at all, should be more or less symbolic - "with a toothbrush, or some such thing" (Tabari, quoting the views of scholars of the earliest times), or even "with a folded handkerchief" (Razi); and some of the greatest Muslim scholars (e.g., Ash-Shafi'i) are of the opinion that it is just barely permissible, and should preferably be avoided: and they justify this opinion by the Prophet's personal feelings with regard to this problem. (Source; bold and underline emphasis ours)

It is obvious that the explanations of the Muslim scholars on how to carry out this beating are not supported by the text itself, and exposes the great difficulty they had with Allah's injunction to beat women whom they feared were being rebellious. It is also interesting that Muhammad showed more care and refrain than Allah himself, since the former didn't want women to be beaten whereas the latter did!

Here are the comments of two other scholars regarding 4:34:

Al-Baghawi said in his Tafseer (2/206): " 'because Allaah has made one of them to excel the other' means, men excel women BECAUSE THEY HAVE MORE POWERS OF REASON and religious commitment and they are in charge of affairs. And it was said that this refers to giving testimony, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 'And if there are not two men (available), then a man and two women' [al-Baqarah 2:282]. And it was said that it refers to jihad, or to worship i.e., Jumu'ah and prayers in congregation, or that it refers to the fact that a man may marry four wives, but a woman is not permitted more than one husband; or the fact that divorce is in the man's hand; or that it refers to inheritance, or to diyah (blood money), or to Prophethood."

Al-Baydaawi said in his Tafseer (2/184): " 'Men are the protectors and maintainers of women' means that they are in charge of them and take care of them. He gave two reasons for that, one that is INHERENT IN THEM and one that is acquired subsequently, and said: 'because Allaah has made one of them to excel the other', because Allaah has favoured men over women by making men MORE PERFECT IN REASONING and running affairs, and has given them more strength with regard to work and acts of worship. Hence men are singled out when it comes to Prophethood, leadership, guardianship, establishing rituals, giving testimony in legal matters, the obligation to engage in jihad and pray Jumu'ah, and so on, and they are given a greater share of inheritance, and divorce is in the man's hand. 'and because they spend (to support them) from their means' refers to what they spend with regard to marriage, such as the mahr and maintenance, etc." ...

(Question #43252: The reason why the husband is regarded as superior and is given the role of qawwaam (protector and maintainer); underline and capital emphasis ours)

The next passage puts women on a list of things and persons that men own, love and lust after:

Decked out fair to men is the love of lusts -- WOMEN, children, heaped-up heaps of gold and silver, horses of mark, cattle and tillage. That is the enjoyment of the present life; but God -- with Him is the fairest resort. S. 3:14

Here, again, are Ibn Kathir's comments:

Allah mentions the delights that He put in this life for people, such as women and children, and He started with women, because the test with them IS MORE TEMPTING. For instance, the Sahih recorded that the Messenger said,

<I did not leave behind me a test more tempting THAN WOMEN.>

When one enjoys women for the purpose of having children and preserving his chastity, then he is encouraged getting married, such as,

<Verily, the best members of this Ummah are those who have THE MOST WIVES> He also said, <This life is a delight, and the best of its delight IS A RIGHTEOUS WIFE>

The Prophet said in another Hadith,

<I WAS MADE TO LIKE WOMEN AND PERFUME. And the comfort of my eye is the prayer.> 'Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, said, "Nothing was more beloved to the Messenger of Allah THAN WOMEN, except horses," and in another narration, "…than horses EXCEPT WOMEN." (Source)

According to the Quran, a man is equal to two women in matters of evidence and inheritance:

O believers, when you contract a debt one upon another for a stated term, write it down, and let a writer write it down between you justly, and let not any writer refuse to write it down, as God has taught him; so let him write, and let the debtor dictate, and let him fear God his Lord and not diminish aught of it. And if the debtor be a fool, or weak, or unable to dictate himself, then let his guardian dictate justly. And call in to witness two witnesses, men; or if the two be not men, then one man and two women, such witnesses as you approve of, that if one of the two women errs the other will remind her; and let the witnesses not refuse, whenever they are summoned. And be not loth to write it down, whether it be small or great, with its term; that is more equitable in God's sight, more upright for testimony, and likelier that you will not be in doubt. Unless it be merchandise present that you give and take between you; then it shall be no fault in you if you do not write it down. And take witnesses when you are trafficking one with another. And let not either writer or witness be pressed; or if you do, that is ungodliness in you. And fear God; God teaches you, and God has knowledge of everything. S. 2:282

Here is what Ibn Kathir said regarding this verse:

<And if there are not two men (available), then a man and two women>

this requirement is only for contracts that directly or indirectly involve money. Allah requires that two women take the place of one man as witness, because of the woman's shortcomings, as the Prophet described. Muslim recorded in his Sahih that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said, ...

<O women! Give away charity and ask for forgiveness, for I saw that you comprise the majority of the people of the Fire.>

One eloquent woman said, "O Messenger of Allah! Why do we comprise the majority of the people of the Fire'' He said, ...

<You curse a lot and you do not appreciate your mate. I have never seen those who have shortcoming in mind and religion controlling those who have sound minds, other than you.>

She said, "O Messenger of Allah! What is this shortcoming in mind and religion?'' He said, ...

<As for the shortcoming in her mind, the testimony of two women equals the testimony of one man, and this is the shortcoming in the mind. As for the shortcoming in the religion, woman remains for nights at a time when she does not pray and breaks the fast in Ramadan>. (Source)

Another Quranic command:

God charges you, concerning your children: to the male the like of the portion of two females, and if they be women above two, then for them two-thirds of what he leaves, but if she be one then to her a half; and to his parents to each one of the two the sixth of what he leaves, if he has children; but if he has no children, and his heirs are his parents, a third to his mother, or, if he has brothers, to his mother a sixth, after any bequest he may bequeath, or any debt. Your fathers and your sons -- you know not which out of them is nearer in profit to you. So God apportions; surely God is All-knowing, All-wise. S. 4:11

In relation to this passage, Ar-Razi wrote:

"(The males share is that of two females). Man is more perfect than the woman IN CREATION, AND INTELLIGENCE, and in the religious sphere, such as the suitability to be a judge, and a leader in worship. Also, the testimony of the man is twice that of the woman. So that whoever is given great responsibilities must be given correspondingly great privileges. As the woman is deficient in intelligence and of great lust, if she is given much money, much corruption will be the result."

And:

"The male is mentioned first in Q. 4:11 because the male is better than the female." (At-tafsir al-kabir, commentary on 4:11; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Ar-Razi also said:

"His saying 'created for you' is a proof that women were created like animals and plants and other useful things, just as the Most High has said 'He created for you what is on earth' and that necessitates the woman not to be created for worship and carrying the Divine commands. We say creating the women is one of the graces bestowed upon us and charging them with Divine commands to complete the graces bestowed upon us, not that they are charged as we men are charged. For women are not charged with many commands as we are charged, because the woman is weak, silly, in one sense she is like a child, and no commands are laid upon a child, but for the grace of Allah upon us to be complete, women had to be charged so that they may fear the torment of punishment and so follow her husband, and keep away from what is forbidden, otherwise corruption would be rampant." (Ibid., commentary on surah 30:21; bold emphasis ours)

The hadiths agree with ar-Razi:

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." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 6, Number 301; see also Volume 2, Book 24, Number 541)

Abu Huraira reported: THE MESSENGER OF ALLAH (may peace be upon him) SAID: A WOMAN, AN ASS AND A DOG DISRUPT THE PRAYER, but something like the back of a saddle guards against that. (Sahih Muslim, Book 004, Number 1034)

Ibn Ishaq, the author of the earliest biography of Muhammad, wrote:

'Abdullah b. Abu Bakr told me that he was told that when the apostle sent Mua'dh he gave him instructions and orders and then said: Deal gently and not harshly; announce good news and do not repel people. You are going to one of the people with scripture who will ask you about the key of heaven. Say to them it is the witness that there is no God but Allah, Who has no partner. Mua'dh went off to Yaman and did as he was ordered and a woman came to him and said, 'O companion of God's apostle, what rights has a husband over his wife?' He said, 'Woe to you, a woman can NEVER fulfil her husband's rights, so do your utmost to fulfil his claims as best as you can.' She said, 'By God, if you are the companion of God's apostle you must know what rights a husband has over his wife!' He said, 'If you were to go back and find him with his nostrils running with pus and blood and sucked until you got rid of them you would not have fulfilled your obligation.' (Alfred Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad [Oxford University Press, Karachi, Tenth Impression 1995], p. 644; capital and underline emphasis ours)

You have rights over your wives and they have rights over you. You have the right that they should not defile your bed and that they should not behave with open unseemliness. If they do, God allows you to put them in separate rooms AND BEAT THEM but not with severity. If they refrain from these things they have the right to their food and clothing with kindness. Lay injunctions on women kindly, FOR THEY ARE PRISONERS WITH YOU HAVING NO CONTROL OF THEIR PERSONS. You have taken them as a trust from God, and you have the enjoyment of their persons by the words of God, so understand... (Ibid., p. 651; capital emphasis ours)

In responding to a question whether men and women are equal in Islam, the following Salafi site unashamedly quotes Ibn Kathir on Q. 2:282 and states:

Ibn Katheer said:

Two women are to take the place of one man because women are lacking in reason, as Muslim narrated in his Saheeh from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "O women, give in charity and seek forgiveness a great deal, for I have seen that you form the majority of the people of Hell." A wise woman among them said, "Why is it, O Messenger of Allaah, that we are the majority of the people of Hell?" He said, "Because you curse too much, and you are ungrateful to your spouses. I have seen none lacking in common sense and failing in religion but (at the same time) robbing the wisdom of the wise, besides you." The woman asked: "O Messenger of Allaah, what is wrong with our common sense and our religion?" He said: "Your lack of common sense (can be well judged from the fact) that the evidence of two women is equal to that of one man, that is a proof of the lack of common sense, and you spend some nights (and days) in which you do not offer prayer and in the month of Ramadan (during the days) you do not observe fast, that is a failing in religion."

(Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 1/336)

There may be some women who are wiser than some men, but this is not the usual rule and such women are not in the majority. Sharee'ah is based on what is general and most common...

The fact that women are lacking in reason does not mean that they are crazy, rather their reason is often overtaken by their emotions, and this happens to women more often than it happens to men. No one would deny this except one who is arrogant.

The same article also cites Ibn Kathir in connection with 4:34:

Ibn Katheer (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

"Allaah says 'Men are the protectors and maintainers of women' meaning that the man is in charge of the woman, i.e., he is the leader and head of the household, the one who disciplines her if she goes astray.

'because Allaah has made one of them to excel the other' i.e., because men are superior to women and are better than women. Hence Prophethood was given only to men, as was the position of khaleefah, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, 'No people shall ever prosper who appoint a woman as their ruler.' This was narrated by al-Bukhaari from the hadeeth of 'Abd al-Rahmaan ibn Abi Bakrah from his father. The same applies to the position of qaadi (judge), etc.

'and because they spend (to support them) from their means' refers to the mahr and the spending on women's maintenance that Allaah has enjoined upon men in His Book and in the Sunnah of His Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). SO A MAN IS INHERENTLY BETTER THAN A WOMAN, and he is superior to her because he spends on her. So it is appropriate that he should be in charge of her, as Allaah says, 'but men have a degree (of responsibility) over them' [al-Baqarah 2:228].

'Ali ibn Abi Talhah said, narrating from Ibn 'Abbaas: 'Men are the protectors and maintainers of women' means that men are the leaders of women and they should obey them in areas where Allaah has enjoined obedience. Obedience may mean treating his family kindly and protecting his wealth."

(Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 1/490)

They go on to write:

There are other differences between the sexes, including the following:

Everything that we have mentioned is based on the difference between men and women, because the male is not like the female. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

"And the male is not like the female"

[Aal 'Imraan 3:36] ...

And men are different in intellectual terms, for men are known for their strength of understanding and their memory as compared to women. Women are weaker than men in memory and forget more than men do. This is well known, for most of the reputable scholars in the world are men. There are some women who are more intelligent and have better memories than some men, but this does not cancel out the general rule. Most cases are as we have described above...

Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid (www.islam-qa.com)
(Question #1105: Does Islam regard men and women as equal?; bold, capital and underline emphasis ours)

Elsewhere on the site it says:

Allaah has commanded the testimony of two women so as to be sure that they remember, because the mind and memory of two women takes the place of the mind and memory of one man. (See I'laam al-Muwaqqa'een, part 1, p. 75).

This does not mean that a woman does not understand or that she cannot remember things, but she is weaker than man in these aspects - usually. Scientific and specialized studies have shown that men's minds ARE MORE PERFECT THAN THOSE OF WOMEN, and reality and experience bear witness to that. The books of knowledge are the best witness to that; the knowledge which has been transmitted by men and the ahaadeeth which have been memorized by men far outnumber those which have come via women.

This has to do with gender, i.e., the gender of men IS MORE PERFECT than the gender of women...

Nevertheless, there are some women who are far superior to men in their reason and insight, but they are few, and the ruling is based on the majority and the usual cases...

Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid (www.islam-qa.com)
(Question #20051: Why is the witness of one man considered to be equal to the witness of two women?; bold, underline and capital emphasis ours)

Regarding the reason why Islam prohibits women leaders, this same site states:

This is because positions of leadership and government require a person to join men's gatherings, which is not allowed for women according to sharee'ah because of the aayah (interpretation of the meaning): "And stay in your houses, and do not display yourselves like that of the times of ignorance." [al-Ahzaab 33:33]. These positions also require perfect wisdom, reason and alertness, and the testimony of a man has been made equal to that of two women, the reason for which Allaah has explained in the aayah (interpretation of the meaning): ". so that if one of them (two women) errs, the other can remind her." [al-Baqarah 2:282].

Imaam al-Muwaffaq Ibn Qudaamah said:

"For this reason the Prophet SAWS (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and his successors (khulafa') and those who came after them never appointed a woman to be a judge or a governor of a province, as far as we know. If it were permissible, it should have happened."

Imaam al-Ghazaali said:

"The position of leader (imaam) could never be given to a woman even if she possessed all the qualities of perfection and self-reliance. How could a woman take the position of leader when she did not have the right to be a judge or a witness under most of the historical governments?"

Imaam al-Baghawi said:

"The scholars agreed that women are not fit to be leaders or judges, because the leader needs to go out to organize jihaad and take care of the Muslims' affairs, and the judge needs to go out to judge between people, but women are 'awrah and it is not right for them to go out. Because of their weakness, women are not able to do many things. Women are imperfect, and the positions of leaders and judge are among the most perfect of positions for which only the most perfect of men are qualified." (Question #3285: Ruling on appointing women to positions of high public office; bold emphasis ours)

It is the Quran and Islamic narrations, not the Holy Bible, which degrade women and place them on the level of animals and property that a man owns and enjoys.


Recommended Reading:

http://answering-islam.org/Authors/Newton/women.html#sup
http://www.christian-thinktank.com/femalex.html
http://www.faithfreedom.org/Articles/abulkazem/Women_in_Islam.htm
http://answering-islam.org/Shamoun/badawi_lies2.htm


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