Saturday, November 2, 2013

Muslim women - know your limits!

iERA has recently launched a new initiative: secrets of a Muslim Woman.

All very modern, professional and reassuring. Well done iERA. Except that it's not really how women are regarded in Islam by those whose job it is to interpret the Qur'an, is it...?

So let's be honest, iERA. Let's read what Islamic experts really think of women. Here's a question sent into - an entirely reputable and mainstream Islamic site visited by hundreds of thousands of Muslims everyday - about a verse (2:282) in the Qur'an which states that women's testimony is worth only half that of men:
Why is the witness of two women considered to be equal to the testimony of one man?
Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid obviously knows his onions and answers thus:
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. 
Here might be an appropriate moment for a short interlude in the form of an educational film:

 Now let us return to the Sheik's words of wisdom:
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.
A woman may compensate for her weaknesses by striving hard, and surpass men when they are negligent. Hence we find that in some colleges, female students surpass male students because of their greater efforts and their keenness to succeed when many of the male students are negligent and are not eager to learn.[...]
So let everyone work in his or her field of specialization. Men should not interfere in pregnancy and breastfeeding, and women should not be involved in jihad, fighting the enemy, or holding the positions of khaleefah or ruler. 
I'll just remind you that this is 2013 (in case you thought you'd dreamed the last 60 years) and that western women are flocking to join a religion whose experts are happy to acknowledge believes that men's minds as more perfect than women's.

So go ahead. Join up, dear. But please don't come running to me with your head in a spin when some chap explains what you've actually signed up to.


  1. "So, here, the basic matter is directly related to the creation of women. This is a requisite of their psychological aspect. The underlying disposition of woman is excitement and she lives with her excitements. Therefore, ideas get rooted in her heart rather than her mind and develop effects in this way. She cannot really remain unbiased in the face of events. She approaches phenomena with intuition as her conscience and mercy prevail."
    Mehmet Paksu

  2. 'Men should not interfere in pregnancy and breastfeeding...'

    ...but experience tells us they probably will anyway, though probably not all in as extreme a fashion as the Cairo academic who issued a fatwa suggesting that women should breast-feed male colleagues five times or more to establish a religiously approved kinship allowing them to work alone together.

    He later retracted the ruling, on the basis that it stemmed from a misinterpretation and 'was based on the opinions of only a minority of scholars'.

    Men's minds more perfect than those of women, eh?

  3. 1.) Another commonplace fallacy on this website. Finding something some Muslim says, and equating that with Islam itself. Its getting tired.

    2.) The verse in question doesn't actually say a woman's testimony in this legal matter, is worth 1/2 of a man. It says to have two women on hand, so if one forgets (can't answer the question), the other can remind her.

    While this is somewhat questionable, its a far cry from declaring that you need the testimony of two women to overturn/match the testimony of a man, which the verse does not say.

    1. "while this is somewhat questionable" - so you admit that there are elements in the perfect Koran which are "questionable".?
      How is that possible?
      Why should a perfect holy book tell us that a woman is more likely to forget than a man? Do you really believe that?
      Sexist claptrap.

    2. Thanks for telling me what my beliefs are. I don't think the Quran is perfect at all, but I enjoy intellectually demolishing anti-Islam loudmouths.

      "Why should a perfect holy book tell us that a woman is more likely to forget than a man?"

      Two reasons.

      Firstly, because up until the last 20 years, women have had little to do with financial and legal matters in society. Its certainly plausible that the Quranic verse is wary of forcing a woman to testify on something which she knows little to nothing about.

      Secondly, because an argument can be made that women ARE less likely to remember things then a man. Critical thinking is directly correlated to brain size. Women on average have significantly smaller brains then men. Ergo, they COULD be less likely to remember.

    3. Oh boy oh boy - women's brains are smaller than men so they could be less likely to remember? Really?
      Give me a break!
      I've just attended a public speaking competition in a co-ed school. All but one of the seven finalists was a girl.
      Must be their tiny little brains, eh?

    4. How cute, anecdotal evidence from a co-ed school.

      Its a scientific fact that brain size correlates with IQ, and its a scientific fact that women have smaller brains then men.

      If therefore follows, that men are more likely to remember things then women.

      So no, I won't "give you a break" from the facts, just because you don't agree with them.

    5. From Bukhari:
      The Holy Prophet passed a group of women. He said to them, “Ladies, give alms, because I have seen you burning in hell in great numbers.” When the women asked the reason for it, he said:“You women curse too much!”
      “You are ungrateful to your husbands.”
      “In spite of being deficient in intellect as well as in religion, you are capable of prevailing over a man of wisdom; you are a creation the like of which has never been seen.”
      “Is not the testimony of a woman one half that of a man? This is
      the measure of deficiency of your intellect!”
      “And mind you, when a woman has her periods she is not allowed to pray or to fast. This is the measure of your deficiency in religion.”
      So it seems Muhammad agreed with Allah that women are deficient in intellect. And yet Muslims still maintain that Islam is a religion that respects women!
      Some respect!

    6. A vile misogynist spouting ridiculous nonsense about women's brains being inferior to men. There is absolutely no scientific basis for your idiotic nonsense you pompose fool.

  4. LOL great, now Hadith?

    Hadith aren't considered historical documents in the scholarly world for one reason. Most of them have been made up, the rest have been warped and twisted so that even "sound" Hadith collections (Bukhari), contain many contradictory accounts of Muhammad.

    When you have any real evidence showing that the Quranic verse in question said anything wrong, let me know.

    1. Hi Anon,
      Excuse my butting in on your conversation with (other) anon, but I'm intrigued by your dismissal of the hadith. I thought it was an elemental part of Islam. Can you please explain this then? "The two fundamental sources of Islam are the Qur'an (the word of God) and the Sunnah (the example) of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). By Sunnah, we mean the actions, sayings and silent permissions (or disapprovals) of the Prophet.It is impossible to understand the Qur'an without reference to the Hadith; and it is impossible to explain a hadith without relating it to the Qur'an. The Qur'an is the message, while the Hadith is the verbal translation of the message into pragmatic terms, as exemplified by the Prophet. While the Qur'an is the metaphysical basis of the Sunnah, the Sunnah is the practical demonstration of the precepts laid down in the Qur'an."

    2. Hadith is integral to the Qur’an, since they are inseparably linked to each other. It is impossible to understand the Qur’an without reference to Hadith. The Qur’an is the message, and the Hadith is the explanation of the message by the Messenger himself.

    3. Spinoza,

      No excuse necessary, this is your blog and I'm a guest.

      The Quran is the "rulebook" for Muslims. It states itself that it is complete, and that man (Muslims) need no other source for direction.

      It DOES command its followers to follow the example set by Muhammad, but that's assuming an accurate record of his actions exists after he died (no evidence of that).

      While the Quran guarantees to its followers that it itself is "pure" from corruption, it makes no such claim for any Hadith collection.

      Therefore, we have NO doctrinal evidence that the Quran, and thus Islam, needs to be understood through the use of Hadith. This is a fiction invented by Islamic Zealots in the Middle-East, who either can't stand "disrespecting" anything with Muhammad's name on it, or use these fabrications to help control the masses (see Christian Europe history).

      Not sure who that quote is from, but its backed by little other then the author's hopes and dreams.

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    5. Thanks for your reply, Anon.
      Your beliefs are quite unusual, are they not, in that I was under the impression that one of the basic tenets of Islam is the belief that the Qur'an is the perfect, uncreated word of God. And yet in a previous reply you insist that you don't think believe the Qur'an is perfect at all.
      Is this a commonly held position among Muslims?

    6. Spinoza,

      Your confusion is understandable, since I'm not a Muslim.

    7. ah - that would explain it...

    8. Anonymous has a partially valid point (there is a contradiction between saying we have a perfect and complete Koran that tells us all we need to know and yet we need the Hadeeth to explain it) but this is a contradiction in the Islamic tradition. You cannot throw the Hadeeth out as irrelevant to a critique or a discussion about Islam as long as the overwhelming majority of Muslims continue to rely on the Hadeeth as a valid source of Islamic law, which in fact they do.

      Where anonymous gets it wrong is in criticizing the the critics (Spinoza et al) for relying on the Hadeeth in their analysis. If you throw out the Hadeeth you throw out a major part of Islamic law and practice and the religion that would be left over would likely be unrecognizable to the average Muslim.

  5. So now we know you are not a Muslim. I suggest you do some research before telling Muslims what is and what is not part of their religion.
    One of the Five Pillars of Islam (Salat) can only be known from the Hadith.

  6. I've done more research on the topic of Islam then 95% of Muslims, and no, I'm not exaggerating.

    Why can prayer (Salat) only be known from Hadith? God commands Muslims to pray in the Quran (prostrate), and gives specific times. If the Quran doesn't specify EXACTLY how to pray (rituals/rakhas), then it must not be important (via Quran logic).

    1. Suppose the Hadith did not exist, the prayer ritual would likely be very different wouldn't it. The same for fasting and a whole bunch of other practices.

  7. There is absolutely no evidence that women have any inferior memory to men in fact evidence shows the part of the brain (the hippocampus) that handles memory is more efficient in women. A typical misogynist comment from a Muslim apologist, no surprises then.