The answers on Hawramani.com are based on the research of Ikram Hawramani in the Quran, hadith, scholarly works and respected fatwa sources. You can view Ikram Hawramani's credentials on the about page. Please note that we do not issue fatwas, we only compile the opinions of respected scholars (even when a fatwa is not explicitly cited) to make their opinions accessible to English-speaking Muslims. If an answer does not cite fatwas, please feel free to leave a comment asking for a fatwa citation and we will update the answer as soon as possible to include fatwas.

IslamQA: Is the hadith mentioning women as deficient in intelligence and faith authentic?

Assalamualaikum Are the Hadith mentioning women as deficient in intelligence authentic?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

The following hadith which mentions that women are deficient in religiosity and intelligence is extremely strong. It is one of the most authentic hadiths I have found in my studies and reaches the rank of ṣaḥīḥ al-ṣaḥīḥ, meaning that it is an order of magnitude more authentic than the average authentic hadith.

The Prophet said: I did not see more defective in respect of intelligence and religion than the wise of you (women). A woman asked: What is the defect of reason and religion ? He replied: The defect of reason is the testimony of two women for one man, and the defect of faith is that one of you does not fast during Ramadan (when one is menstruating), and keep away from prayer for some days.

Sunan Abi Dawud 4679 (Sahih)

But keep in mind that that is the Prophet himself speaking. He was simply expressing his observation about the women of Arabia at the time. So the women around him at the time were highly deficient in religiosity and intelligence according to him, but that does not mean all women will be like that for all time. The culture of that time kept women away from education and responsibilities, so that they grew up to be highly ignorant and catty as some women are today.

It is likely that any intelligent and well-educated woman would make the exact same observation about the women of that time and culture if she were to travel back in time and meet them.

As for the Prophet saying that it is a defect in women’s intelligence that their testimony is equal to half a man’s, and that it is a defect in their religiosity that they cannot fast or pray when menstruating, I admit that it sounds highly sexist by today’s standards. But keep in mind that the Prophet was simply expressing his own personal opinions about the women of his time, as a man living at that time. It made sense to him that women were deficient in these things because of the women he saw around him, and he used the issues of testimony and menstruation to justify why they were inferior. In my view this was his personal reasoning. This wasn’t a revelation from God telling us that women are inferior. This was an Arabian man thinking for himself. We know that the Prophet made a number of serious mistakes when he was acting on his own, and the Quran mentions many of them. There is a chapter of the Quran titled “He frowned”, which strongly reprimands the Prophet for his behavior:

He frowned and turned away. When the blind man approached him. But how do you know? Perhaps he was seeking to purify himself. Or be reminded, and the message would benefit him. But as for him who was indifferent. You gave him your attention. Though you are not liable if he does not purify himself. But as for him who came to you seeking. In awe. To him you were inattentive. Do not. This is a Lesson. (The Quran, verses 80:1-11)

Another mistake is mentioned in the following verse:

May God pardon you! Why did you give them permission before it became clear to you who are the truthful ones, and who are the liars? (The Quran, verse 9:43)

This was on the issue of letting some people in Medina stay behind when they should have accompanied him on a war campaign.

Another mistake is mentioned below:

It is not for a prophet to take prisoners before he has subdued the land. You desire the materials of this world, but God desires the Hereafter. God is Strong and Wise. Were it not for a predetermined decree from God, an awful punishment would have afflicted you for what you have taken. (The Quran, verses 8:67-68)

Yet another time when the Prophet was about to make a mistake and God had to intervene is mentioned below:

Had We not held you steady, you were about to incline towards them a little. Then We would have made you taste double (torment) in life, and double at death; then you would have found for yourself no helper against Us. (The Quran, verses 17:74-75)

So the picture that the Quran paints for us is that the Prophet was just a fallible man, a normal human, trying to carry out the mission God had given him, a man who occasionally made mistakes. The Quran tells us:

Muhammad is no more than a messenger. Messengers have passed on before him. If he dies or gets killed, will you turn on your heels? He who turns on his heels will not harm God in any way. And God will reward the appreciative. (The Quran, verse 3:144)

We never sent any messengers before you, but they ate food and walked in the marketplaces. And We made some of you tempters for one another—will you be patient? Your Lord is always Observing. (The Quran, verse 25:20)

The Quran reminds us that the Prophet is not an angel or perfect being. He was just a man, just like the prophets before him. I know that it is common for Muslims to think of the Prophet as a perfect being, and I’m sure if the Quran had not so constantly reminded Muslims that the Prophet is just a man, people would have started to worship him as God’s son just as Jesus was turned into a son of God.

So what we can conclude about this hadith is that it was the Prophet expressing his own opinion and using his own reasoning to justify it. I wish the Prophet hadn’t said that, but we can accept it and forgive him, knowing that he wasn’t an angel or a son of God, but just a man trying to carry a message.

The Prophet’s traditions (hadith) are there to help us apply the Quran better in our lives. When it comes to tangential things like these that do not have a basis in the Quran (the Quran never tells us women are inferior), we do not have to consider his opinions revelations from God. He may have been simply expressing his personal opinion. If there had been numerous other hadiths that constantly told us that women are inferior, then we would have been forced to accept them as true religious teachings. But since it is just one isolated hadith and there is no hint that the Prophet is transmitting God’s words or opinions, we can consider it simply his own opinion.

I know this is an extremely sensitive matter because it may seem like it can lead us to doubt everything the Prophet says since we cannot be sure if it is merely his own opinion or if he is acting according to God’s own words and teachings. But in reality the issue is quite simple. We judge things based on how much support they have in the Quran and in authentic hadiths. This particular hadith is isolated from the rest and has no basis in the Quran, so we can be reasonably sure that here the Prophet was acting as a man expressing his own opinions. We should keep in mind that he was sometimes merely a man speaking his own mind. We should always be eager to follow his teachings when the evidence suggests he is acting as a prophet, and this is something that is usually very clear. But we should not rule out the possibility that at times his sayings are merely his own opinions. When he says something that does not sound perfectly reasonable and justified, that is not supported by Quranic teachings, and that is not repeated in other hadiths, then that is a clear hint that he is acting on his own as a human expressing his own opinions.

And God knows best.
Asking questions is temporarily unavailable. Sorry for the inconvenience.
Learn Quranic Arabic with my book!
Available in both paperback and Kindle formats.
Commenting rules: Politeness is the only rule. We respect your right to disagree with anything we say. But comments with profanity and insults will be deleted.
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
11 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Anonymous
Anonymous
1 year ago

Dear brother, I am a fan of your content and find myself benefitting and agreeing with the majority of your viewpoints. However, respectfully, I believe your commentary published at this link (hawramani.com/is-the-hadith-mentioning-women-as-deficient-in-intelligence-and-faith-authentic) commits severe errors and I offer my brotherly advice that you re-evaluate and further research the matter in depth.

To clarify and specify my objections, I disagree with your assumption that a lack of corroborating evidence from the Quran & Sunnah renders a proven prophetic statement to be regarded as being derived from personal opinion based on his ijtihad without divine inspiration or direction. My esteemed and respected brother, the default assumption according to my understanding, is that all of the prophet’s (pbuh) statements is from the divine unless evidence is found to override this principle, such as those examples provided and sourced in your article. With regards to the hadith in question, since no evidence exists to the contrary, the assumption can never be the prophet (pbuh) spoke on a personal whim in this circumstance.

To possibly understand the context behind the hadith, may I suggest reading the following to gain further insight:

https://www.understanding-islam.com/are-women-deficient-in-intelligence-and-religion/

https://abuaminaelias.com/women-deficient-reason-religion/

Note: Sharing from the above sources does not necessarily imply I endorse all their content.

Finally, my esteemed brother, whether you agree or disagree with me, to even suggest that a statement from the noble prophet (pbuh) (whether his personal opinion or divinely inspired) “sounds highly sexist” is in my view unacceptable and frankly offensive. I also humbly believe you could have chosen better words and more appropriate language throughout your article to illustrate and express the circumstances surrounding the incidents in which the prophet (pbuh) acted or behaved according to what he thought was best with his limited knowledge, and to which God subsequently taught him, and by extension us, that which was ideal of which he was not aware and did not previously know.

Brother, I do not doubt your sincerity and intent not to intentionally diminish from the prophet’s high status and noble character, but great care must necessarily be taken in our speech as we communicate and convey events that concern the prophet (pbuh). I implore you to heavily scrutinize the language used and to very carefully re-read your article to eliminate and modify any instances that are objectionable in order to politely articulate your points in a respectful manner befitting the prophet’s (pbuh) high status.

May Allah guide and reward us.

Anonymous
Anonymous
1 year ago

Correction in second paragraph: …all of the prophet’s (pbuh) statements (whether from the divine or his own ijtihad) is correct and true and beyond crticism unless evidence is found in the Quran (God’s speech) or Sunnah (i.e., subsequent words of the prophet) to override and indicate this, such as those examples provided and sourced in your article. With regards to the hadith in question, since no Quranic evidence or subsequent prophetic statement exists to the contrary, the assumption can never be the prophet (pbuh) spoke incorrectly or falsely in this circumstance.

The Mbx
The Mbx
5 months ago

”I have seen no strong evidence that the Prophet’s statements PBUH are to be taken as divinely inspired in all possible circumstances.”

”Your companion [i.e., Muḥammad] has not strayed, nor has he erred,
Nor does he speak from [his own] inclination.”(Quran (53:2,3)

If he ﷺ made an ijtihadi error then the Quran would have said so but he ﷺ did not make an error in this statement because nothing has been revealed about it. You should visit the websites shared by the other reviews. In my opinion, you should remove this article because it can confuse some Muslims.

Last edited 5 months ago by The Mbx
Pat
Pat
1 year ago

My husband packed out of the house to live with another lady who he met at the supermarket and went in a relationship with her. He sent me divorce papers. I did not accept the divorce because I love him very much. I don’t want my family to break apart. I was searching for tips on how i can save my marriage from divorce. I came across a comment on how to save marriage, i made a contact and my problem got solved. my husband back through the help of_______________________________ [robinsonbuckler11 @ gmail .com]

Wellington Escort Services
Wellington Escort Services
1 year ago

Thanks a lot to you for sharing the hadith mentioning women as deficient in intelligence and faith authentic here, these kind of ideas are were much needed. I really appreciate that you have provided the data too, really appreciative and useful blog for us. Looking for more!!

https://www.thekittenlounge.co.nz/

Strippers Bar Auckland
Strippers Bar Auckland
1 year ago

Looking for the things on the hadith mentioning women as the deficient in the intelligence and faith authentic. In order to get better information and guidance can be taken from this blog specifically. It plays a vital role in taking us through. It can be really great for people like me who are looking for grabbing more knowledge about it. Find an incredible site http://www.vipstrippers.co.nz/ having lots of ideas and tips that can be handy

Sex Club Auckland
Sex Club Auckland
1 year ago

On this article you will get to know about the hadith mentoring women as deficient in intelligence and faith authentic. I loved reading this article. Before hitting on the other blogs I would request all to give a try here to get the best available content here. The article is much informative regarding work as well. I found this https://femmefatale.co.nz/ Having loads of data, if possible do have a look

Classicclassifieds
Classicclassifieds
1 year ago

I loved your blog and thanks for publishing this about the hadith mentioning women as deficient in intelligence and faith authentic!! I am really happy to come across this exceptionally well written content. Thanks for sharing and look for more in future!! Keep doing this inspirational work and share with us.
For more info:- https://classicclassifieds.ca/vancouver-adult-personals.php

Anonymous
Anonymous
1 year ago

Assalamu alaikum
This article would make sense if the testimony of two women were contextualized at the time of the prophet muahmmed (psb) but it is not so because still today in the Islamic law the woman must testify with women

Ibn 'Abdul-Aziz
Ibn 'Abdul-Aziz
1 year ago

Listen you jaahil shaytan, cease giving fatawas with your ignorance. Remove these ignorant things you write alongside the Ahadith of the Prophet (sallAllahu \aleyhi wa sallam)