Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The 2 to 1 Ratio

I received an email a couple of days ago. It was a Q&A by a student and a scholar regarding a hadith by Prophet Muhammmad SAW. Let me reproduce the email below:

Belittling Women with the Hadeeth : “Women are Deficient in Intellect and Deen.”
By: Shaykh Abdul-Azeez ibn Baaz
Reference: Majmoo’ Fatawaa Wa Maqalaat Mutanawi’ah. Vol. 3/292
Translator: Shadeed Muhammad, Abu Az-Zubayr

We often hear the noble Hadeeth "Women are deficient in their intelligence and in their Deen” and some men use this Hadeeth as a form of belittlement towards the women.

We desire from you O noble shaykh, clarification of the meaning of this Hadeeth?

The meaning of the Hadeeth of the Messenger of Allaah (sal-Allaahu 'alayhe wa sallam):
“I have never seen anyone with a deficiency of ‘Aql (intellect) and Deen (religion) who are more overpowering to men than one of you [women].”
So it was said:
“O Messenger of Allaah, what is the deficiency in her intelligence?”
He said:
Isn’t the witness of two women equal to that of one man?”
So it was said:
What is the deficiency in her Deen?”
So he said:
Isn’t it the case that if she is menstruating she doesn’t pray or fast?”

So the Messenger (sal-Allaahu 'alayhe wa sallam) clarified that the deficiency of her intellect was from the angle of her weak memory and that her testimony is strengthened with the testimony of another woman. This is because of the preciseness of the witness (in Islaam) and because she could forget and make an addition or deletion to the testimony.

Just as Allaah says:
{And bring forth two witnesses from your own men. If there are not two men (available) then a man and two women, such as you agree for witnesses, so that if one of them (two women) errs then the other can remind her…} [2:282]

As for deficiency in her Deen, then it is because during her state of menstruation and post-partum bleeding, she abandons the Salaat and fasting, and she doesn’t make up the salaat. This is from the deficiency in her Deen. But this deficiency is not blameworthy upon her...
I am not going to argue about the authenticity of this hadith in this post. You can make your own research on this.

What caught my attention is the part where the scholar explained that the reason that 2 women witnesses equal to that of one man is because of her forgetfulness.

I am not sure of the accuracy of the sheikh on this point.

Forgetfulness is a common thing for each and every one of us. There is no way we can cope with life if we are able to remember every single thing. The moment we forget some facts, that makes us forgetful. Right?

What I understand is that the Islamic law should be made applicable as a way of life. It is the teachings of Islam that a woman should travel when she has a legitimate companion (mahram). Hence, Islam does not encourage a woman to travel alone. This taken into consideration, when a woman sees something to which she can be called as a witness, her mahram, being in her presence, should also be called as a witness.
If her mahram is a man (i.e. her brother/father/husband etc) than it should not be a problem as her mahram's testimony is sufficient. If her mahram is a woman, than the two female witnesses testimony would be made applicable.

If her companion is not her mahram, meaning it is her boyfriend or office colleague, than her testimony is doubtful as she should not in the first place be with a non-mahram.

I think this is one of the main reason why there is a need for two female witnesses apart from having her companion to remind her if she were to err.

I doubt if her testimony requires corroboration because base on my experience, a woman IS AWARE OF EVERY SINGLE THING AROUND HER! Worst part is that, SHE USUALLY NEVER FORGETS!!!

As far as I can remember, gender is not an issue when it comes to forgetfulness.

I stand to be corrected and only He knows best.

Wallahu A'lam.
Blog adjourned.

0 obiter dictum: