Status of women in Islam
Fatwa No: 81237

Question

Is it true that Prophet Muhammad said that women are short of mentality? If yes, explain this point of view, because I have been talking with someone who thinks that Islam does not respect women.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

The condition of women in the world before Islam was very bad. Women were treated like slaves or property and their personal consent concerning anything related to their well-being was considered unimportant. Women were used for one purpose and then discarded. They had no independence, they could not own any property and they were not allowed to inherit. In simple words, their condition was unspeakable. On the contrary, Islam gave the right for women and made them equal to men. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “Women are the sisters of men”. Islam considers a woman to be equal to a man as a human being and as his partner in this life, and it raised her condition very much. The condition of women in western culture is not better in general. They always try to use women for only one purpose, to enjoy her body, so they convince her to show her body and expose it to all people. Consider what Allah Says about the relation between men and women. A Woman is considered a relaxation for man and love and affection are the basis of their relations. Allah Says (what means): {And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.} [Quran 30:21]

Moreover, Allah described the intimate relationship between the husband and wife as follows; Allah Says (what means): {They are clothing for you and you are clothing for them.} [Quran 2:187]  

However, some people defame Islam and say that Islam does not honor the woman. They misunderstood the saying of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “O! Women folk! You should give charity and be diligent in seeking Allah’s Forgiveness, in spite of your lacking in wisdom and failing in religion, you are depriving the wisest of men of their intelligence”. Upon this a woman asked: “What is the deficiency in our wisdom and in our religion? He replied, “Your lack of wisdom can be well judged from the fact that the evidence of two women is equal to that of one man. You do not offer Salah (prayer) for some days and you do not fast (during menstruation period), it is a deficiency in religion”. In this narration, certain weaknesses of the female sex have been pointed out, which are natural to the woman’s biology, psychology, and embryology. According to biologists, during and before menstruation, a female’s thinking process is affected; her pulses and blood pressure are also altered. Females are also more prone to hysteria; Dr. Rovareen wrote in the Encyclopedia: “The power of a muscle of a woman is one third weaker than that of a man. The heart of a woman is small and weak compared to the man’s heart. Every woman's heart is 60 grams smaller than an average man’s heart. Besides this, the grasping power of a man is more than that of a woman. You should know that when the Quran distinguishes between the witness of a male and that of a female, it does not mean that there is a general rule in Islam in witnessing; a female is worth half a male. This condition is made only to ensure the accuracy of witnessing as Islam also stipulates men to provide four witnesses in the case of adultery and accusations. Allah Says (what means): {Those who commit immorality [i.e. unlawful sexual intercourse] of your women bring against them four [witnesses] from among you.} [Quran 4:15]”. Allah also Says (what means): {And those who accuse chaste women and then do not produce four witnesses — lash them with eighty lashes and do not accept from them testimony ever after. And those are the defiantly disobedient.} [Quran 24:4]  The purpose is to ensure the accuracy of the incident. There is no discrimination between men and women. There is no dishonoring of women in the Hadeeth. However, even though women are weaker than men, there are some fields in which women overcome men. For example, there are many fields in which Allah made the witness of one woman to be enough, such as in matters relating to menses, birth, women defects, suckling and other matters that men can not know. Allah exempted women from the prayer and fasting during their menstrual period. This concession is actually a sign of blessing and mercy of Allah on the woman as she faces many biological changes during this period.

Finally, we seek Allah’s Help, Blessing, Mercy and Protection.

Allah knows best.

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