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Why Two Women Witnesses?
(He is a new convert to Islam, from the Netherlands)
Adapted from the book by Shamshad.M.Khan with modifications and additions by Abu 'Iyaad
A question that repeatedly arises is that concerning the 'position of women in Islaam'. Muslim scholars have been able with great success - despite the onslaught of distortion and mis-representation - to demonstrate the true position of Muslim women; especially of women's liberation in the advent of Islaam. The Islaamic ruling on issues such as inheritance, the right to earn, the right to own property etc. have reinforced this position and have been prescribed by Allaah - the One True God - long before western nations even thought of such concepts !
The issue of two women witnesses in place of one man is the concern of the present treatise. As will become clear to the sincere and objective reader, the intellectual status of a Muslim woman is neither marred nor degraded by the commandment that if two Muslim male witnesses are not available then one Muslim male and two Muslim females should be invited to witness. Rather, this injunction is in perfect harmony with the nature and psychology of the woman as will become evident through quotations from psychologists, psychiatrists and medical research.
The passage of the Qur'an Baqarah 2:282 in which the above-mentioned requirement is made has usury, capital and debtor difficulties as its theme. Allah grants guidelines in matters relating to monetary obligations. Then business transactions are dealt with. In this section, the requirement to commit all transactions into writing is stated most emphatically (Reduce them to writing...). The section after this describes the responsibility of the scribe, or in modern parlance, the person responsible for drawing up the agreement. The following section describes the responsibility and the obligation of the person incurring the liability. The section after this explains how if the party that is liable cannot effectively draw up the contract - out of being deficient or weak mentally, or being unable to dictate - then his or her guardian should help draw out the contract and choose two suitable witnesses to observe. It must be understood that this situation arises if it is not possible for the liable party to draw out the contract by him/herself. The condition to put things into writing is still supreme.
The next section then explains that two men should be called to witness and if two men are not available (And if there are not two men...) then a man and two women. The legislation then continues and reminds most emphatically that one should not be complacent about putting all agreements into writing - no matter whether these agreements are major or minor as this is more Just in the sight of Allaah and more reliable as evidence. The passage of the Qur'aan further explains that for practical reasons it may not always be possible to commit on-the-spot agreements into writing. In this case, it is also recommended that it be witnessed. The section which follows then lays down the guidelines which should be followed in the event that no witnesses are present.
The purpose in giving the above outline is to draw attention to the fact the question of women witnesses relates, in this instance, to commercial agreements and is not a statement on their status.
Let's look at the section under investigation in more detail. Allaah said:
And get two witnesses of your own men, and if there are not two men then a man and two women such as you choose for witnesses - so that if one of them errs, the other can remind her... Baqarah 2:182
A number of questions are raised when this section of the passage is read. The questions often posed include:
- Do women have weaker memories than men ? Why should two women be needed in the place of one man ?
- Are women inferior to men ?
One must remember that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was neither a physiologist, a psychiatrist and nor a surgeon. He was an illiterate and could neither read nor write. He passed on the revelation exactly as he received it. Allaah, the Creator, with His infinite wisdom gave the directives best suited to humankind. He is the Creator, therefore, He knows man better than a man himself.
In this scientific age we can explore the significance of this legislation. A great deal has been discovered since the early days of Islaam. And each day of advancement brings about a better understanding of the the last and final revelation from the Creator, Allaah to the creation, humankind.
As women, we are aware of the cyclical psychological strains that a woman has to encounter every month. The symptoms during early pregnancy, ante-natal and post-natal depressions, the phenomenon of menopause, the physiological and psychological problems due to infertility and last but not least the psychological problems faced after miscarriage.
It is under these situations that women can experience extraordinary psychological strains giving rise to depression, lack of concentration, slow-mindedness and short term memory loss. Let us examine these episodes in a bit more detail and with medical references from the scientific world. PMT is an umbrella term for more than 140 different symptoms and there is a lot of evidence that it causes a lot of unhappiness in many women, and consequently, to their families.
Furthermore, women face the problem of ante-natal and post-natal depression, both of which cause extreme cycles of depression in some cases. Again, these recurring symptoms naturally affect the mind, giving rise to drowsiness and dopey memory.
Again there is a need to study the effects of the menopause about which very little is known even to this day. This phase in a woman's life can start at any time from the mid-thirties to the mid-fifties and can last for as long as fifteen years.
It is in light of the above findings of psychologist, psychiatrists and researchers that the saying of Allaah, the Exalted:
And get two witnesses of your own men, and if there are not two men then a man and two women such as you choose for witnesses so that if one of them errs, the other can remind her Baqarah 2:182
can be understood. One must also bear in mind that forgetfulness can be an asset. A woman has to be put up with children presenting all kinds of emotional problems and a woman is certainly known to be more resilient than man. The aim of presenting these research findings on a number of aspects related with the theme is to indicate that a woman by her biological constitution faces such problems. It does not however make her inferior to man but it does illustrate that she is different. Viewed in this way, it can only lead one to the conclusion that Allaah knows His creation the best and has prescribed precise laws in keeping with the nature of humankind.
Allaah, the Creator is as always All-Knowing, and man (or the disbeliever in Allaah and the final, perfected, revealed way of life, Islaam) is as usual ignorant.
1 Psychiatry in Practice, April 1993, p.14.
2 Psychiatry in Practice, April 1993, p.18.
3 Psychological Medicine, Monograph Supplement 4, 1983, Cambridge University Press, p.6.
4 Psychological Medicine, Monograph Supplement 4, 1983, Cambridge University Press, p.7.
5 Psychiatry in Practice, October-November, 1986, p.6.
6 Psychiatry in Practice, May, 1987, p.18.
7 Psychiatry in Practice, May, 1987, p.18. As has been mentioned above the Prophet Muhammad (sas) was neither a psychologist nor a psychiatrist. Rather, he merely conveyed the truth that was revealed to him. It is in the context of this quotation and the one before it that the following saying of the Prophet Muhammad (sas) can be understood: "Treat your women kindly. The woman has been created from a rib, and the most curved part of a rib is its upper region. If you try to straighten it you will break it, and if you leave it as it is, it will remain curved. So treat women kindly." And in another narration: "If you try to straighten her you will break her and breaking her means divorce." [Reported by Bukhari and Muslim]. This is very important advice for the man - for him to have patience and not to try to 'reform' the behavioural pattern of the woman during these times i.e. 'to straighten her'. He will not be able to do that, as it is biological in origin. Instead, he should maintain and protect his relationship with her by showing kindness.
8 Psychiatry in Practice, November, 1987, p.26.
9 Psychiatry in Practice, Winter, 1989, p.16.
10 Psychiatry in Practice, Winter, 1989, p.17.
11 Katherine Blick Hoyenga and Kermit T. Hoyenga in 'Sex Differences in Mental Health', p.336.
Back to women in Islam and the Bible.
Brother Karim's section.
GENETICALLY, women are less interested in math, problem
solving and engineering than men.
physiologically speaking, men are not smarter than women, but
genetically speaking, it's been scientifically proven that
women have LESSER
INTEREST than men in mathematics, problem solving and
Allah Almighty Said in the Glorious Quran:
"O ye who believe! When ye deal with each other, in transactions involving future obligations in a fixed period of time, reduce them to writing; let a scribe write down faithfully as between the parties: let not the scribe refuse to write: as God Has taught him, so let him write. Let him who incurs the liability dictate, but let him fear His Lord God, and not diminish aught of what he owes. If they party liable is mentally deficient, or weak, or unable Himself to dictate, let his guardian dictate faithfully, and get two witnesses, out of your own men, and if there are not two men, then a man and two women, such as ye choose, for witnesses, so that if one of them errs, the other can remind her...." (The Noble Quran, 2:282)
Does Science support the Quran's Claim?
These videos demonstrate the Scientific Proofs for these claims from renowned Biologist Dr. Lewis Wolpert and others...
* Equality between men and women in the Noble Quran by Dr. Tariq Al Swaidan.
* Men and Women in Islam: Equal or Equally Balanced?
* Is there equality between men and women in Islam?
* "Two women equal to one man in Islam" is a lie.
* Why Two Women Witnesses?
* Are women deficient in intelligence and religion? Answer, No!
* Women have no Inheritance in Islam?
* Women's Rights in Islam.
* The Bible does not prefer for women to be born, but Islam does.
* The true meaning (tafsir) of the 'Daraja/degree' men have above women (Quran 2:228).
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