Respect For Women

My Dear Fellow Muslims,

As-Salaam Alay-Kum

“The Prophet of Islam,” wrote Syed Amir Ali (May Almighty Allah rest his soul in peace) in his book, The Spirit of Islam – “enforced as one of the essential teachings of his creed. ‘RESPECT FOR WOMEN’.” Not only this, but Amir Ali further clarified that “the improvement in the position of women by the Prophet of Arabia has been acknowledged by all unprejudiced writers, though it is still the fashion with bigoted controversialists to say the Islamic system lowered the status of women. No falser calumny has been levelled at the great Prophet.”

What is truly disheartening in these days and times, is to read the subject matter of “Muslim Women being fiercely debated in the Islamic world between the two categories of people, “Misogynst” (a person who is strongly prejudiced against women, and “Misandrist” (a person who is strongly prejudiced against men). Reading through a recent discourse over Surah: Al-Baqarah (The Heifer) – Chapter 2: Verse 282, I realized that even in the 21st century, many of us are still living right in the midst of the same old religious and bigoted controversialists. Can any of my fellow Muslims ever try to imagine, how the simple message of the Qur’anic verse got distorted in conjunction with a reference to Sahih Bukhari as follows:


Let’s carefully read the translation of the Qur’anic verse by T. B. Irving (Al-Hajj Ta’lim ‘Ali) as follows:

You who believe, whenever you contract a debt for a stated period,
write it down. Let some literate person write [what goes on] between
you properly; no literate person should refuse to write it down. Just
as God has taught him, so let him write it down, and let the borrower
dictate. May he heed God and not omit any part of it.

If the borrower is feeble-minded or incapacitated or cannot manage
to dictate himself, then let his guardian dictate it in all fairness, and
seek out two witnesses from among your men-folk to act as witnesses.
If there are not two men [available], then one man and two women
[may serve] as witnesses from anyone you may approve of, so that
if either of them should slip up, then the other woman may remind
the other. Witnesses must not refuse [to serve] when they are called
upon, nor try to get out of writing anything down whether it is small
or large, along with its due date.

Such [procedure] is more equitable so far as God is concerned and
it makes more valid testimony, as well as reducing the chances for
doubt; unless it is some transaction handled on the spot that you
pass around among yourselves, in which case it will not be held
against you for not writing it down. Call in witness whenever you
engage in trade, and let no literate man nor any witness feel
obligated, if you do so; that would be immoral on your part. Heed
God, for God teaches you! God is Aware of everything.

Surah: Al-Baqarah (The Heifer) – Chapter 2: Verse 282

Do we have to flip through thousands of pages of Hadiths in order to understand the Qur’anic verse 2:282? Why is it so hard to read in between the lines as follows:

no literate person should refuse to write it down.

Just as God has taught him, so let him write it down.

Witnesses must not refuse (to serve) when they are called upon,

nor try to get out of writing anything down whether it is small or large.

Call in witness whenever you engage in trade,

and let no literate man nor any witness feel obligated, if you do so;
that would be immoral on your part.

Heed God, for God teaches you!

Furthermore, testimonies of two women, if two men are not available has nothing whatsoever to do with women being stupid nor should one consider women as inferior to men. It is obvious as trading involved journey that was highly hazardhous in the Prophet’s era, the emphasis was in taking only male witnesses who did not risk being kidnapped or sexually assaulted while going about trading activities. Who are we to question the wisdom of Almighty Allah? Did it occur to anyone that having two women as witnesses might also mean that the importance given to women is highlighted based upon them having better memories than men? Merely relying on Hadith literature to misinterpret or twist the spirit of the Qur’anic verse is nothing but an outright blasphemy. Endlessly debating about certain Qur’anic verses in order to create confusion only reveals that the collective minds of “Conservative/Orthodox Muslims have sunk far deeper into abyss of intellectual and moral decay. Shunning modern education has only made them to ignore some of the scientific facts about who has a better memory, a man or a woman?

Researchers from the Cambridge University tested the memory of 4500 people aged 49 to 90 and found that compared with men, women better memorize information.

Researchers from the Mayo Clinic found age-related memory loss affected men at a faster pace than women.

Women Have a Better Memory for Faces and Words.

Undoubtedly, the fault lies squarely on the conversative “Ulemas, Imams, Aalims, for continuing to rely on selective materials from the secondary sources and not on the Holy Qur’an. Let them all take a hard look at the following Hadiths compiled by Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim.


Status of women’s testimony in Islam

Women are Deficient in Intelligence

Ignoring well-read and highly educated Muslims possessing modern education is something so many of our fellow Muslims are guilty of, owing mainly to their long held belief that it is the “Ulemas, Imams, Aalims who are the true translators of the Qur’anic verses. Two of the best examples about the equality between men and women described by Dr. K. G. Saiyidain (May Almighty Allah rest his soul in peace) and the fact that the Qur’an overrules any male superiority by Muhammad Yunus will help clear up all the doubts.

Dr. K. G. SaiyidainIslam – The Religion of Peace

“In the matter of civilized behavior) women have the same rights over
men as the men have over women.”

Surah: Al-Baqarah – Chapter 2 – Verse: 228

“The first thing that Islam did was to declare that there is a genuine equality
between the sexes and no people or community could build up the fabric of
the good life when their mutual relations were not rightly ordered. And it is
not merely a matter of rights but also of decent behavior to do so. Man must
learn to treat woman with respect and consideration as well as with a sense
of justice both in economic and social relations.

“You, who believe, are forbidden to inherit women forcibly. Nor should you
treat them with harshness that you may take away what you have given,
unless they have been guilty of open lewdness. On the contrary, live with
them on a footing of kindness and justice. If you take a dislike to them (for
some reason, do not lose your balance). It may well be that you dislike
something and God may bring out a great deal of good through it.”

Surah: Al-Nisa (Women) – Chapter: 4 – Verse: 19

“As women have been the ‘weaker’ sex throughout history, men have been
specifically enjoined to see that they received their due rights and are fairly
treated. In his final sermon preached a few months before his death, the
Prophet worked upon it, as if it was a covenant with God: “Fear (the
displeasure of) God in the matter of God.” On another occasion, he
remarked that the best of men (before God and man) is he who deals
with his family in the gentlest way possible,” and that “he is the best of
believers who is courteous and treats his dependents greatly.” It is reported
of the Prophet that he always showed consideration and gentleness to
women, whether belonging to his family or otherwise. For instance, he
always stood up to show his respect for his beloved daughter, Fatima,
and in other ways – in a century and an age when infanticide was in vogue
and women were considered ‘property!’”


Muhammad Yunus / Asfaque Ullah Syed – Essential Message of Islam

“The notion of male superiority has no Qur’anic basis, and the various
demeaning accounts on women’s inferiority appearing in various
theological literatures are no more than myth.

Some Muslim communities have retained their pre-Islamic misogynistic
customs, notably honor killing and female genital mutilation (FGM),
legitimizing them by some weak traditions and controversial law school
rulings. This is simply absurd. Neither any verses of the Qur’an, nor its
collective message gives any basis whatsoever to support these inhuman

Last but not the least, if I, Mohammed Rafiq Lodhia, as an ordinary Muslim with limited knowledge can comprehend the simplicity of the Qur’anic verses, then why should it be such a cumbersome task for the “Ulemas, Imams, Aalims, to give a thorough explanation of Sahih Bukhari – 1:6:301, 3:48:826 and Sahih Muslim 1:142 with reference to Surah Al-Baqarah (The Heifer) – Chapter: 2 – Verse: 282?

Very respectfully yours,

Mohammed Rafiq Lodhia

   A Pen1  



Position of Women in Islam by Dr. K. G. Saiyadain

The institution of Purdah (women veiling their faces) among Muslims in various countries, was inspired by the need to ensure that women did not dress and deck themselves in a manner that would arouse the list of evil-minded men. But it has been greatly exaggerated in the course of years and it often made them utterly helpless and became a hindrance to their normal development and participation in national life. It often prevented half the population from making its contribution to the work and welfare of the nation. There is no precedent for Purdah at least as it developed in India. Many women in India till recently, and in some parts of the country even now, did not go out of their houses without being fully clad in the burqa’ and then too in a palanquin carried by two or four coolies! It has become the usual practice to marry without seeing the girl. In some of the traditions, the Prophet has insisted that men see their brides before they marry them. There have been instances where girls married by their parents to some persons against their wishes, who complained to the Prophet, had such marriages annulled. One of his sayings has it that an unmarried woman has a greater right than her guardian to decide whom she shall marry.

Conservative Mullas, religious writers and sometimes genuinely misled scholars have, on the other hand, taken the view that women should have no freedom and should not be permitted to participate in the life of the nation. Writers, like Maulana Maududi of Pakistan, for instance, bolster their position by citing “revolting details of western brothels given by western writers” and argue that, if Muslims women were given any freedom, similar results will follow. As if decency of behavior means anything morally, if enforced by compulsion or denial of freedom! Fazlur Rahman rightly asks:

“Might one not, on the same basis, question man’s right to exist at all
in view of evil human trends and the terrific aberrations humanity

He might have gone further and asked if God was right to give man his freedom knowing as He did that it was beset with great risks? We might go further and ask why the restrictions should apply to women only. Why not in fairness to men also? The Qur’anic viewpoint essentially good for men and women is as we have stated:

“Indeed We have shown the way? It is for man to adopt the path of
gratitude or ingratitude (i.e. the right way or the wrong way.)”

Surah: Al-Insan (Man) – Chapter: 76 – Verse: 3

Family Murder, Rape and Honor Killings

   Fighting Female Genital Mutilation

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