The Deficient In Reasoning

Question

Allah's Apostle once said to a group of women: 'I have not seen any one 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 of your 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 your religion.'". This hadith seems to confirm what some of the most vocal critics of Islam claim when they say the worth of two female witnesses being equal to one male (in commercial transactions) is proof of Islam's belief that women are intrinsically lacking in intelligence. In other words, the Prophet (SAW) is seemingly confirming that yes, two female witnesses = one male witness IS proof that they are "deficient in intelligence." Please comment.


Answer

Whatever information we gather from the Hadith literature needs to be analyzed on the yardstick of the Holy Qur'an, the Sunnah, and the dictates of common sense and established facts. This is because it is not a source of knowledge that cannot be doubted. There could be misunderstanding on the part of any of the narrators in the chain. Another important thing is that a ḥadīth narrative is not always accompanied by the context. If you consider a saying stripping it of the context its meaning will necessarily be distorted. The companions of the Holy Prophet would not accept any such individual report, which seemed odd to them estranged from the teachings of Islam and the common sense.

Therefore, any such narrative, which overrides, the sources, contradicts them and contains information, which does not match with these sources, should be examined until it can be explained or discarded.

As regards the matter of the referred to narrative, I do not think that it could not be explained in present form. There must be some details which are left our or as the author of Sunan al-Darmi says it can only view of the companions who is the first narrator of the tradition. The Prophet is reported to have referred to the testimony of women, which has been mentioned in the Holy Qur'an. The word of the Qur'an should be considered final in this regard, which does not say that it is due to their lack of understanding. But it only saves them from being dragged into such matters which are naturally not conforming to the physical and psychological set up of women and their social status in the society. Their physical traits like menstruation have nothing to do with the lack of their religiosity.

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