Does Islam Elevate Women?
Hello Mr. Sina,
Could you give me your opinion about the following three accounts please? It is a clear fact in many hadith records and quranic verses that women are degraded naturally and intellectually, but Muslims always keep forwarding the following three hadith accounts to defend their claim that Islam elevates women.
1.Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with him) reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: A believing man should not hate a believing woman; if he dislikes one of her characteristics, he will be pleased with another.
2. It has been narrated on the authority of Ibn ‘Umar that the Holy Prophet (May be upon him) said: Beware. every one of you is a shepherd and every one is answerable with regard to his flock. The Caliph is a shepherd over the people and shall be questioned about his subjects (as to how he conducted their affairs). A man is a guardian over the members of his family and shal be questioned about them (as to how he looked after their physical and moral well-being). A woman is a guardian over the household of her husband and his children and shall be questioned about them (as to how she managed the household and brought up the children). (NOTE from Author: We should just stop right here! If the Holy Prophet (S) mistrusted woman, then he wouldn’t have said that women are a guardian over the household!) A slave is a guardian over the property of his master and shall be questioned about it (as to how he safeguarded his trust). Beware, every one of you is a guardian and every one of you shall be questioned with regard to his trust.
3.Salim narrated it from his father (‘Abdullah b. Umar) that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: When women ask permission for going to the mosque, do not prevent them.
I never read the first hadith and could not find it. However, to say don’t hate women is not the same as giving them equal rights. This hadith is condescending.
There is a story that Abdul’Baha attributes to Jesus. He said, one day, Jesus accompanied by his apostles, passed by the corpse of a dead dog. Everyone was disgusted, but Jesus told them to look at its white teeth.
The morale of the story is to emphasize that one should try to find the good even in bad things. The morale of this hadith is no different. It does not give women any right and does not recognize their equality. It tells the men to be condescending and overlook their flaws.
The second haith is from Muslim 20: 4496. It defines the responsibility of each category. This hadith confirms the Quranic verse 4:34 that says “the righteous women are the truly devout ones, who guard the intimacy which God has [ordained to be] guarded.”
They are the protectors of what belongs to their husband in the same way that a slave is the protector of what belongs to his master. The hadith could have added that dogs are guardians of what belongs to their owners. The logic of the hadith would not have changed.
This Muslim apologist is trying to find some rights for women in a hadith where there is none. This hadith is not about rights, but about duties. A slave has no right over the property that he is in charge of protecting, just as a dog does not have any right over the property he is guarding. A woman is the protector of her husband’s property and responsible to guard it, but she has no right to it. The only right she has is to her dowry, which she will get when she is divorced. A Muslim woman has no right even to her children.
The third hadith establishes the superiority of the man over the woman. It determines that her permission is in the hand of her man. She cannot make decisions on her own.
This apologist brags that Muhammad encouraged men to grant permission to their wives if they want to go to the mosque. How liberating! What if she wants to visit a friend, a relative or just go out for shopping or have fun with her friends? The very idea that women cannot make their own decisions, that they should have guardians and should ask permission to do things that any adult is entitled to, is enough to demonstrate that Islam is a misogynist religion. Why in the hell a woman should ask permission from anyone?
From the above hadiths one cannot infer gender equality or any rights for women. In fact they confirm the contrary. There are many clear Quranic verses and hadiths that unequivocally show that women in Islam have lower status and very little rights. Their rights are similar to those of slaves.