Quran, Hadith And Women

Muslim Woman MosqueWhat is position of women in Qur’an and hadith? It is very interesting to compare what is stated in qur’an about women and what do we find on women in hadith literature? And here I am not referring to ahadith from an other source but from what is known as Sihah Sitta (.e. six most authentic sources of hadith). I wish our Ulama reflect on the contrast between how Qur’an treats women and how ahadith treat them. Much of woes of Muslim women will be over if we follow Qur’an rather than these ahadith.

Women lost in ahadith what they had gained through Qur’an. Today if world thinks Islam treats women in very unfair way it is because we follow hadiths rather than Qur’an as far as women are concerned. In pre-Islamic period women had lowest of low social status and Qur’an lifted them far above and our ‘Ulama never tire of saying this. But within few decades of the revelation of the Qur’an women came down to their pre-Islamic status in a fiercely male dominated society. And this was accomplished through ahadith as a legitimizing factor.

Those who narrated these ahadith never thought for a moment how they contradict Qur’an as these ahadith served the social purpose very well. Qur’an provided ideals and values but society could not rise to that level and instead dragged Islam to its own level and ahadith served that interest best.

When Islam was confined to Arabian peninsula it was different but when it spread to far off places, parts of Roman empire, Sasanid empire (Iran), Central Asia etc. these regions were very different in their culture, religious values and social ethos and it was quite natural for Islam to adapt to what these societies needed. Even Shari’ah, all jurists (fuqaha’) agree incorporated much of Arab ‘adati (customary law).

It was not easy to avoid these cultural values and customary practices found in non-Arab societies when people of these regions embraced Islam. Position of women in these regions was no different from what it was in pre-Islamic Arabia and when one embraces a religion which originated outside that region he/she does not automatically caste away his/her own cultural values and social ethos.

Also, it is a well-known fact that Islam spread far and wide much quicker than Shari’ah laws were compiled in different schools. In fact various Shari’ah schools (madahibi) came into existence in different regions where Islam had spread. Even before the Arabs could grasp full significance of Islam and adjust their lives to new values and ideals, it had already spread to various parts of the world, right up to China. In fact Islam spread to these regions with lightening speed.

It is also interesting to note that various companions of the Prophet (PBUH) also had spread to these parts of the world and these companions in many cases married local women and adopted cultural values of the region and being companions of the Prophet (PBUH) they were also source of Islamic knowledge and those converted to Islam would flock to them for guidance and hence number of ahadith were narrated by these companions relying on their memory and understanding. Thus along with authenticity of ahadith sociology of ahadith also becomes equally important.

While Qur’an was compiled during Prophet’s (PBUH) life time and when some deviations from standard recitation was noticed (on account mainly of tribal dialects) Hazrat Uthman had wisdom to compile standard copy and destroy all others and thus Qur’an was saved from differences in the text. All other copies of the Qur’an were prepared from this copy.

Ahadith, on the other hand, were compiled two to three centuries after the death of the Holy Prophet and underwent much changes due to passage of time. Though there was chain of narrators and despite honesty and integrity of narrators, there was every possibility of change in text with different narrators with even differences in their understanding and cultural background. Unfortunately for ahadith honesty and integrity of narrators became the only criterion rather than its conformity with the Qur’anic approach, values and ideals.

Also, there were those who did not hesitate to produce a hadith to legitimize some action or requirement of someone powerful and influential. Thus while there never arose any differences about the Qur’anic text, there have been all sorts of differences about authenticity or otherwise of ahadith. In fact much problems could have been avoided if ahadith in such large numbers and in different compatios had not been accepted. For these very reasons the Prophet (PBUH) had discouraged from compiling these ahadith. But ahadith became socio-cultural and socio-religious needs in vastly different circumstances.

These needs were such that a doctrine was evolved that even if a hadith stands in contradiction of the Qur’an hadith will prevail. Many Shari’ah injunctions were developed on this basis. Then various questions arose whether hadith is da’if (weak), narrated by only one or by several narrators or its different variations or whether its narrators (ravi) were da’if (weak) and so on. The whole hadith literature is full of these controversies. Also different sects relied on different ahadith to legitimize their positions. In short many controversies originated due to excessive reliance on ahadith.

Much more so ahadith were used to lower women’s status as Qur’anic ideals and values in respect of women could not be accepted by societies which treated women as subordinate to men. Men in any case wanted to retain his superiority. He thought he was ruler over women and many Qur’anic verses were explained under the ethos of men’s superiority. Most of the Qur’anic verses on women are not explained in the light of other Qur’anic verses (only reliable methodology to understand real intent of the Qur’an) but in the light of ahadith which degrade women.

I would like in this article to compare ahadith about women with Qur’anic verses and show how mutually contradictory these Qur’anic verses and ahadith are. Qur’an talks of equal dignity of men and women and even story of Adam and Hawwa is narrated in a way which does not blame Hawwa at all for eating the fruit of a tree which Adam was prohibited to go near to. Qur’an talks of creation of men and women from one nafs and hadith says Hawwa was created from rib of Adam. Qur’an says it is Adam who disobeyed his Lord and acted ignorantly Thus Qur’an says “And Adam disobeyed his Lord, and was disappointed” (20:121)

Also, the entire discourse in Qur’an on women is rights based but in Shari’ah, thanks to hadith literature, entire discourse is duty based for women and right based for men, something which one found during period of jahiliyyah. It was too hard for men to accept equal dignity for men and women in the feudal society within which Shari’ah rules were compiled.

Qur’an gives equal rights and equal dignity to both men and women but hadith literature is full of ahadith contradicting this Qur’anic approach. For example in Bukhari we find a hadith which stands in contradiction to the Qur’anic verse 33:35. The hadith is narrated thus:

“The Prophet (PBUH) urged the women to be generous with their gifts, for when he had glimpsed into the flames of Hell, he had noted the vast majority of people being tormented there were women. The women were outraged, and one of them instantly stood up and demanded to know why that was so. ‘Because,’ he replied, ‘you women grumble so much, and show ingratitude to your husbands! Even if the poor fellows spent all their lives doing things for you, you have only to be upset at the least of thing and you will say, ‘I have never received any good from you!’, At that the women began vigorously to pull off their rings, and throw them into Bilal’s Cloak. (Bukhari 1.28, Abu Dawud 439).

See the content and tenor of this hadith. It is full of anti women attitude and women are supposed to be, in this hadith, ungrateful to their husbands. As against this see the Qur’anic verse 33:35 which says, “Surely the men who submit and women who submit, and the believing men and the believing women, and the obeying men and the obeying women, and the truthful men and truthful women, and the patient men and patient women, and the humble men and humble women, and the charitable men and the charitable women, and fasting men and fasting women, and the men who guard their chastity and the women who guard, and the men who remember Allah and women who remember – Allah has prepared for them forgiveness and mighty reward.”

See how in this verse Qur’an treats men and women equally and talks of equal degree of forgiveness and equal reward. In the above hadith, on the other hand, more women than men are consigned to flames of Hell because they are ungrateful to their husbands. Qur’an no where requires women to be obedient to their husbands. It is husband who is exhorted to be kind to their wives (see 2:229) “keep them in good fellowship (bi ma’ruf) and let them go with kindness (bi ihsanin).

Also men and women are described each others garment (libas) (2:187). According to Qur’an men and women are each others zawj (one of the couple) thus indicating equal dignity and love and respect, not obedience or subordination. The Prophet (PBUH) never treated any of his wife as subordinate. He not only treated them with dignity, he often consulted them in various matters and even followed their advice. In fact Umm Salma’s advice to sacrifice animal at Hudaybiya proved very beneficial.

WOMAN HALF A WITNESS?

Let us examine one more hadith which apparently appears to be in conformity with Qur’anic provision but indeed it is not. We find it in Muslim. The hadith is narrated as under:

Prophet is reported to have said, ‘I have seen none lacking in common sense and failing in religion but (at the same time) robbing the wisdom of the wise, besides you.’ Upon this a woman remarked: ‘What is wrong with or common sense and with religion? ’He observed: ‘You lack of common sense (in) that the evidence of two women is equal to that of one man, that is the proof of your lack of common sense. And you spend some nights (and days) in which you do not offer prayer and in the month of Ramadan 9during the menstrual days) you do not observe fast; that is your failing in religion.’ (Muslim 31)

This hadith has several flaws. Qur’an nowhere states that she is half witness, much less because of lack of common sense. And messenger of Allah will not say such things which degrade women whom he consulted in difficult times as pointed out above. Qur’an simply says that when you take loan, write it down and let two male witnesses be summoned as witnesses and if two men are not available let one man and two women bear witness so that if one forgets, other can remind. (2:282)

This verse no where says she lacks in common sense. She may have lacked in experience as in those days women did not indulge in financial transaction. Lack of experience cannot be equated with lack of common sense. Also, if women cannot offer prayers or fast during menstruation, how can it be construed as ‘failing in religion’? It is state of disability, not lack of belief or commitment. Belief or religion has something to do with ones heart and soul, not physical condition. Our Prophet (PBU) had high respect for women and for his wives. It is unthinkable that he would say such degrading things for women. He loved Khadija, Fatima and Ayesha so much. All these women were highly intelligent and great upholders of Islam. In fact they were more firm in their belief of Islam than many men. Entire Muslim world holds these women in high respect. In fact Islam gave such high status to women and guaranteed their rights when all over the world women had no rights at all. In fact it was this general demeaning attitude towards women which is reflected in these ahadith.

WOMEN RULERS BRING BAD LUCK TO THOSE OVER WHOM THEY RULE

We find another hadith in Bukhari which is often quoted against women becoming rulers of countries or nations. In fact Bukhari has reported three traditions connected with this episode, two of which were in the chapter on “Letter of the Prophet to Chosroe and Caesar”. Abu Bakra’s hadith is no. 4425. The preceding hadith, no. 4424, was reported from Ibn Abbas who said that “the Prophet of Allah sent Abdullah Ibn Huzaifa with his letter to Chosroe. When Chosroe read it he tore it. I believe said Bin Musayyab said: Then the Prophet prayed to Allah that he tear them up completely.” The third hadith is No. 6639 reported by Bukhari in the chapter on “how the oath of Prophet was” and it goes: “When Ceaser dies there will be no Ceaser after him. When Chosroe dies there will be no Chosroe after him.

Bukhari (4425) reports from Abu Bakr ahthe following hadith: “Allah provided me with considerable benefit during the battle of the Camel with one word (or one statement). When news reached the Prophet (S.A.W.) that the Persians had appointed Chosroe’s daughter as their ruler, he said: “A nation which placed its affairs in the hands of a woman shall never prosper!”

Now it is well known that Abu Bakra narrated this hadith after battle of Camel in which Hadrat Ayesha participated and the battle was aimed against Hadrat Ali. This hadith surfaces only with the narration of Abu Bakra who was aspiring for governorship of one of the provinces and wanted to please Hadrat Ali. Abu Bakra obviously had a purpose in narrating such a hadith.

It is quite contradictory to Qur’an in as much as Qur’an upholds leadership of Queen of Sheba (Bilquis) who over-rules the advice of her male advisors and makes peace with prophet Salman (Soloman). See verses 32 to 35 of Chapter 27. When Bilquis asks for opinion of all her male advisors whether we should fight or make peace with Sulaiman, they advise her to fight and not to surrender. But she over rules them and decides to make peace arguing “Surely kings when they enter a town, ruin it and make the noblest of its people to be low; and thus they do.”

Thus we see that Qur’an upholds wisdom of a woman in not fighting and making peace with stronger ruler and saves the nation from ruin. But the hadith quoted above says just the opposite that if a woman becomes ruler it would prove ruinous for the nation. The hadith thus suggests that Prophet contradicts Allah’s revelation which is not thinkable. The only conclusion in either the narrator had his own motive in narrating the hadith or could not at all understand what the Prophet said. I leave conclusion to the readers.

We find even more shocking ahadith ascribed to the Prophet regarding women. One such hadith found in Sahih Bukhari and narrated by Sahl ibn Sa’d which says “Evil omen was mentioned before the Prophet (PBUH). The Prophet (PBUH) said, “if there is evil omen in anything, it is in the house, the woman and the horse.”

This hadith equates woman with house and horse. There cannot be any comparison between the three. Also both house and horse are extremely useful for human beings which facilitate his/her living and traveling. House is from basic necessity for human beings and horse was needed in those for travel and were valued highly. They were used in wars as well as their movement was quite swift. Such thoughts are product of very low kind of mind unfortunately ascribed to a mind Allah had graced with highest kinds of thought. He had chosen him to be His Prophet, His messenger. One cannot think he would say such things.

There is one interesting hadith found in Bukhari and narrated by Ayesha. The hadith is like this: the things which annul the prayers were mentioned before me (Ayesha). They said, “prayer is annulled by a dog, a donkey and a woman (if they pass in front of the praying people)”.

Ayesha said, “You have made us (i.e. women) dogs. I saw the Prophet PBUH) praying while I used to lie in my bed between him and the Qiblah. Whenever I was in need of something, I would slip away, for I disliked to face him.”

We can see how some narrators equated women with dogs and donkeys and Ayesha challenged them. It shows how men held women in low esteem and ascribed their despicable thoughts to the Prophet (PBU). Always there may not be women like Ayesha to challenge such low thoughts and hadith may be believed uncritically.

Similarly we find another hadith in Sahih Bukhari narrated by Osamah which is again totally contradictory to the Qur’an. The hadith says “And I advise you to take care of the women, for they are created from a rib and the most crooked potion of the rib is its upper part. If you try to straighten it, it will break, and if you leave it, it will remain crooked, so I urge you to take care of the women.”

Very degrading to women, like similar such ahadith. It completely contradicts the Qur’an where there is no mention at all of Hawwa’s creation from the rib of Adam. This hadith also has been created to prove inferiority of women. In all the verses on women in Qur’an there is not a single verse which degrades women like this or proves her inferiority to men in any way.

This was prevailing social attitudes of men towards women which made them create such ahadith so that they could rule over them and women could not use Qur’an to claim equality with men. Qur’an was revealed to the prophet so that he could give equal dignity and status to women but society was not prepared for this in any case and sought to lower the status of women by producing such ahadith as they could not temper with the Qur’an they used another weapon to bring down status of women.

It is unfortunate that still our Ulama are not prepared to critically evaluate these anti-women ahadith. On the contrary they keep on quoting them to keep status of women lower in the society and under the thumb of women. It is precisely for this reason that non-Muslims think very adversely about Islam and how Islam has ‘suppressed’ dignity and status of women.

Time has come for Muslim women to evaluate these ahadith critically and refute the fatwas Ulama issued on the basis of such ahadith. We need great scholars of Islam among the women who could take independent position. Where are such women?

Muslim Woman In Mosque Photo By Beth Rankin

About Asghar Ali Engineer

Asghar Ali Engineer is a Muslim scholar. Internationally he is known for his work on liberation theology in Islam, the leader of the Progressive Dawoodi Bohra movement, and his work on (and action against) communalism and communal and ethnic violence in India and South East Asia. He is an advocate of a culture of peace and non-violence. He has authored more than 40 books and many articles in various national and international journals, and is founding chairman of the Asian Muslim Action Network, director of the Institute of Islamic Studies, and head of the Center for Study of Society and Secularism in Mumbai.
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20 Responses to Quran, Hadith And Women

  1. Mohan says:

    Whenever I see such articles from educated, intelligent Muslims, I wonder: how does it matter what the Quran says or what the Hadiths say? Is it so difficult to think for ourselves how we should lead our lives? How to treat women or for that matter any fellow human being that we have to rely on some medieval texts? I am an atheist myself, but even among believing Hindus I have never seen any such discussion in this day and age. No one goes into great lengths to find out what the Manu Smriti says or what Shankaracharya has said or whatever. And even if such a discussion happens, it is only on some philosophical point, not on day to day matters.

  2. zeph says:

    This article relies on selective reading of the Quran to carry the author’s point of view. Both the Quran and the Hadiths have numerous instances where both the powers and the rights given to women have been circumscribed. A few of these are:-
    1. This hadith removes any ambiguity about women in Sura 2:282:

    Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri:

    The Prophet said, “Isn’t the witness of a woman equal to half of that of a man?” The women said, “Yes.” He said, “This is because of the deficiency of a woman’s mind.” (Bukhari)

    2.The Quran in Sura 2:228 says:

    . . . Wives have the same rights as the husbands have on them in accordance with the generally known principles. Of course, men are a degree above them in status . . . (Sayyid Abul A’La Maududi, the Meaning of the Qur’an, vol. 1, p. 165)

    3. The Quran in Sura 4:34 says:

    Men are managers of the affairs of women because Allah has made the one superior to the other. (Maududi, vol. 1, p. 329)

    4.The Quran in Sura 4:11 says:

    The share of the male shall be twice that of a female . . . . (Maududi, vol. 1, p. 311) (See Sura 4:176.)

    Although all the ills in Islam can be put at the doorstep of once host, now non-existent cultures, it can only be considered as a rather weak attempt to escape from the reality of a religion which has consistently refused any attempt at reform.The need of the hour is for Muslims to throw their yoke behind much needed societal reform, lest it be forced upon them.

  3. Amit says:

    Time has come for Muslim women to evaluate these ahadith critically and refute the fatwas Ulama issued on the basis of such ahadith. We need great scholars of Islam among the women who could take independent position. Where are such women?

    What we need is common sense, not great women scholars of Islam. Basic human rights and equality always trump whatever is written in any religious books. As for where are the women, Shabana Azmi did a wonderful job of challenging and criticizing Mr. Bukhari over his comments related to Taliban etc. I’m sure that Muslim men rose up in one voice to support her.

    One doesn’t have to be an Islamic/religious scholar to recognize what other people (like Bukhari) are doing.

  4. Yusuf says:

    Thanks for the article, a nice one. And I agree with almost all points. However, there is one issue that should have been emphasized: Those examples do not mean that we muslims must be against hadith tradition at all. The life and statements of the prophet was a way to show us how to practice/interpret Quran. There are what is called “strong hadith”, which must be always treated with equal respect and importance as Quran.

  5. To mohan
    Perhaps this post explains it better :
    http://molvi.wordpress.com/2007/04/06/parallel-universes/
    From a muslim perspective , in every action we must be aware of the presence of God and do everthing for His pleasure.
    To use a sufi thought : like a lover would do everything to earn the pleasure of his beloved every muslim should strive for His pleasure.
    How to know which actions lead to his pleasure ?
    Through the Quran and Sunnah .

  6. anon says:

    One of the best articles to have every appeared on this issue.

  7. Anis says:

    Dear Ashghar Sahab,

    I admire you as one of the rare Muslim intellectuals in India, however, this article shows incomplete understanding of Islam on your part. Nowhere a hadith is to contradict Quran; if it ever happens, the hadith is null in the first instance. If you argue that some of the hadith have considered women as a weaker sex, so it has basis in Quran also, as goes in following verses:

    2:228 And women shall have rights similar to the rights against them, according to what is equitable; but men have a degree (of advantage) over them. And Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise.

    4:34 Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means.

    Let’s not follow the ideals of feminism that are already busted; which is why 80% of the new converts to Islam are women from the western world. Even the country where feminism originated, did not have a women president till date.

    Islam is NOT about equality; Islam is about FAIRNESS and JUSTICE. The two gender have different biological built, emotional strength, skill set; and they complement each other in different roles. Women are tender, as they take care of children, like no man would ever be capable of doing. Which is why, they have to be treated in a tender manner. A lot of verses from Quran and Hadith narrations advocated that women should be handled in gentle manner.

    Equality of the genders is a farce, and never applied in any part of the world. If equality of genders was a reality; we would have see boxing competition between men and women, which never happens because they are different.

    Islam propagates fairness and justice, which is taken away from women under the garb of emancipation; she is supposed to work and take care of children as well; which is already a full time job.

    Women are not given the responsibility of leadership because they can be emotionally unstable under panicky situations; their menstrual cycles upsets hormonal level affects moods, which is proven scientifically as well. She has responsibilities of children as well- all these compulsions do not make her suitable for the leadership role. Women have been competing men in all fields in the western world; despite that fact only 10 of the fortune 500 companies are being run by women. Of course Islam is not there to create this bias, but there are some fundamental truths that cannot be ignored.

    You argued that hadith do not support women in general; and you quoted several hadith as well- I don’t want to go in details, but I am quoting essence of several sahih hadith that given women even better status than men:

    - The best men are those who are best to their wives
    - A man nurturing three daughters and fulfilling their rights will be close to the Prophet (peace be upon him) as close as fingers
    - A mother has three times more rights than a father
    - Women should be dealt with tenderness
    - Accusing a chaste woman of adultery is one of the biggest sins

    PS: It is one of the biggest fitna among Muslims today that some people advocate adhering to Quran only, and ignoring hadith. I had written a post on the same a couple of months ago, and the link for the same is as follows:

    http://beliefinunseen.blogspot.com/2007/12/questioning-hadith-for-sake-of-it.html

  8. MysticSaint says:

    there is no doubt and a sincere study of hadith will show that hadith which have been potrayed as shahis are not really so. many are fabricated over the years and muslim scholars seriously need to look into that.

    those who still with cheap emotion still wish to act ignorant lest they appear less religious better start educate themselves. there are a lot of hadith in the very book of Bukhari which questions the very integrity of the Prophet and doesnt go at all with his character. its shame that muslims who dont even study hadith properly come forward to defend them just for the sake of it.

    i appreciate this article very much and we need such intellectual and progressive take on islamic thoughts.

    peace be with you all.

  9. Mohd Gayasuddin says:

    to
    Anees.
    nicely said.

  10. Nilanjana Som says:

    I agree with MOHAN… why do we need to look into religion for upliftment. Why can we not come over it. I said it somewhere Ram rejected Sita in fear of social rejection of his wisdom. Our constitution also says ‘sexual harassment against morally correct women not allowed” (thats why u find in films and serials, lawyer raising question about woman’s character in rape cases)….. Morally correct? Raping a prostitute is fine?
    Religion, time or whatever, society has always been unfair to women and treated it as a second class citizen.
    I agree with Anis that women have lot of biologcal problems. Thats why even in Hinduism it is for a man alone to practice brahmacharya, grihasta and vanastha…. because a woman cannot.
    But if u read Upanisads and all, u will find women were educated, Gayatri and all were women sages or philosophers….. Well I do not want to discuss Hinduism. But Elizabeth I and Victoria ruled England successfully. Razia Sultana on the other hand was a weak ruler (nothing to do with her religion, but she was a puppet)…..
    It is only USA who did not have woman President (is it even necessary?) but UK did, Israel did…… China did not…. And do not forget Condeleza Rice!! And many women who hold key position in many companies world over.

    Coming back to India, our social set up itself does not allow women to rise. I will not confuse it with religion as the author had a different object and I do not want to side track any further.
    But as a woman I would request the society to look at us a contributing human being in whatever respect we are capable of. At least Bengalee women irrespective of their religion have managed to come up and they were led by men, who challenged Hinduism. Remember? I am sure, your (every Indian) acceptance of your woman as an individual alone would help her come up…

  11. Asif says:

    This is another interesting topic close to my heart. I am all for debate here. Lets debate rationally and peacefully as to what is correct.

    Let us start to first understand what is Hadith. Hadith refers to the statements or actions of the Prophet Muhammad(PBUH). It is something attributed to him as opposed to Quran. The sources of Hadith have been always under question as they were passed on from one person to another. The hadiths were basically collected at the start of the abbasid period. The scholars at that time
    were faced by statements many of which flatly contradicted each other. The science of hadith deals in establishing whether a hadith is sahih(authentic) or mawdu(fabricated). All in all no Muslim will deny that hadiths are the words of Muhammad(PBUH) and not word of God as in Quran. The sunni use the six major hadith collections while the shia hadith collections are written by 3 authors and the shia view is that none of the hadith is sahih and needs to be evaluated at all times.

    Allthough I will leave this to personal views however Hadiths are something like the modern grapevine. With your father telling that his grandfather was told by his grandfather that Muhammad(PBUH) told his friend this.

    My first question to the momins is how many of us have read and not mastered the Quran completeley in our life time. I mean read as in understanding and not memorising it. We have very few good scholars of the Quran.

    I believe hadiths are a research tool for an individual. Preserve the knowledge but apply common sense and by this I mean your own sense.

    And here I throw a question. If a certain Islamic law has been misused against women, non Muslims or to safeguard an oppressor based on the hadiths then is it right or wrong? And if the complexity of the laws is such that a contradicting law can always be found then should we look at the primary source Quran first or not? In one of the other articles Islam, Democracy and violence I discussed the laws in case a women is raped. 4 Muslim male witnesses and yet they are advised not to report Zina based on the Hadiths.

    I agree with Asghar here. First strengthen your primary knowledge. You can not lay a house in the sky. Lay your first bricks.

  12. Milind Kher says:

    @All,

    The ahadith are narrations of the Holy Prophet (SAWA) while the Quran is the revealed word of God. Even a Hadithe Qudsi where God speaks in the first person does not have a sanctity equal to that of the Quran.

    This being the difference at the fundamental level, in one sense, the Quran too is a hadith, but is a mutawatir hadith end to end. Not a single portion is munqata, zaeef, ghareeb etc. This is where a hadith suffers in comparison to the Quran.

    The biggest contrast is presented where, for adultery, the Quran prescribes 100 stripes whereas the ahadith prescribe stoning.

  13. Huda says:

    I completely agree with the article and I commend you on writing so strongly and truthfully about the real disease of Islam. Islam is not the disease the world, the hadiths are, as the undermine the rights of women bestowed on women 1400 years ago from God himself.

    to Zeph,

    The quotes you are using are indeed in the Quran but the translation is not all correct and I have compared with at least 3 quranic translations. I think you should too validfy something before just assuming it is accurate:

    This is what Verse 34 of Surat Nisa says for instance:

    “Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means. ”

    Protection and maintainers refer to the mans physical and financial strength – NOT his strength to manage the affairs of women.

    You quote “Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri:

    The Prophet said, “Isn’t the witness of a woman equal to half of that of a man?” The women said, “Yes.” He said, “This is because of the deficiency of a woman’s mind.” (Bukhari)”

    Although the inheritence part is correct, nowhere in the Quran does it state that the mind of a woman is deficient. That is solely the ill intention of who ever conveyed this hadith. And that sentence has little to do with why women should inherit less. In those days men were the breadearners therefore it was natural they inherited more as they had to maintain the entire household and all the women ranging from sisters, mother to wife.

    You then proceed to quote ayat 228 from the Surat Al Bakarah. You are not misleading the people more or less. Let me elaborate:

    “Divorced women shall wait concerning themselves for three monthly periods. Nor is it lawful for them to hide what Allah Hath created in their wombs, if they have faith in Allah and the Last Day. And their husbands have the better right to take them back in that period, if they wish for reconciliation. And women shall have rights similar to the rights against them, according to what is equitable; but men have a degree (of advantage) over them. And Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise. ”

    The verse relates to rights in divorce. The reason for mens extra rights is again their duties and responsibilties for instance if there are children involved they must be maintained. The wife must be maintained for 3 months after a divorce in case she is bearing the mans child.

    Nowhere in the holy Quran from Allah does it state that man and women are not equal. God would not create a less equal mate for his subject (man). Eve was fully equipped both physically, mentally and emotionally to handle Adam.

    The hadiths do and have worsened the situation for females by suggesting women are less strong in faith and have less rights because we menstruate. What kind of silly assumption is that? Women menstruate so we may bear children an ensure heritage for the man. It is by the will of God because man is unable to carry a child as well he is the man and the woman is the woman. Different roles to play in this life. But that does not mean less rights.

    This verse from the Quran shows that women or men are considered equal in work and effort. No mention of menstruation, lack of intelligence or other derogatory comments on womens status:

    [16:97] Anyone who works righteousness, male or female, while believing, we will surely grant them a happy life in this world, and we will surely pay them their full recompense (on the Day of Judgment) for their righteous works.

    Hadiths also suggest contradictory to the Quran that women are the satans tool in misleading man. False. The Quran states she is the equal mate of the man created by God. Was Eve the devils snare? If Adam faulted it was on his own account. You can not hold women accountable for all ills of the world. That is a sick and outdated view.

    Fact remains if God intended the words of the hadith to be valid and obligatory on us or to follow then these would be in the Quran. Not as a seperate text derived from men 300 years after the prophet (pbuh) died. The criteria of relying on the perfect of mens nature through their supposed honesty and good character is a simplistic and illogical stance to say the least. The ill intentions are not painted on our faces but in our hearts and men can easily forget what happend so and so years ago, or what was really said and they will convery as the recall it even changing things along as they go.

    But at the end of the day God says that all manmade things contain discrepencies and flaws unlike his work (the Quran). He also says the Quran is fully detailed so there is basically no need to follow something that may or may not be what the prophet said or did.

    ” A Revelation from (Allah), Most Gracious, Most Merciful;- A Book, whereof the verses are explained in detail;- a Qur’an in Arabic, for people who understand;- Giving good news and admonition: yet most of them turn away, and so they hear not. ” (44:3-4)

    Moreover, We gave Moses the Book, completing (Our favour) to those who would do right, and explaining all things in detail,- and a guide and a mercy, that they might believe in the meeting with their Lord. (6:154)

    So either God is forgetful and thus left the rest to be to be explained by Bukhari a mere man even if the best of intentions thus overiding the Quran following contradiction after contradiction OR the Quran is correct.

  14. Fadiya Hassan says:

    Assalamvalaikum

    I am sorry for asking for help, but i m too depressed.
    I was in search for Islamic college for female. But i didnt found any. I found this website. Impressed by this website, thought of seeking your help in finding Islamic College for Ladies. Where i can study about islam and Quran.

    If you could help me, I would be thankful.

    Take care
    Faiza

  15. Milind Kher says:

    Although all the people who collected the ahadith in the Sihahe Sittah, viz Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Daud, Tirmizi, Ibne Maja and An Nisai followed the isnad (chain of narrators) very thoroughly, they did not focus as much as they should have on the matn (matter).

    The Kutub al Arba (Al Kafi, Man la yazahiru al faqih, Tehzeeb and Istibsar) are four books where they have insisted on the final link before the Holy Prophet (SAWA) being someone from the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.)

    However, it is a clearly established fact that if anything in the ahadith is contradictory to the Quran, it must be rejected. This has not been really followed.

    I was very fortunate that in the initial stages of my spiritual journey to Islam, I was exposed only to the Quran. That helped me a lot in judging ahadith.

  16. Arif Jamal says:

    Hi Milind,
    I would like you to show me one sahih hadth which contradicts any qura’nic verse. I assuem that during your “JOURNEY TO ISLAM” you must have come to study scholars who have shown more than hundred ways to reconcile between quran and hadith as well as between two ahadiths when there is a contradiction on teh face of it.
    Please show me one example to strenthen my knowledge based faith that peophet never contradicted Quran with his Hadiths.
    Thanks

  17. Nimmy says:

    @Arif,

    Though your qstn is directed towards Milind,I would like to interfere..All those anti human rights issues in Sharia have their base in Hadiths..I cannot point out any injustice from Allah’s words..

    Allah says,there is no compulsion in religion..but the sharia punishment of stoning to death of an apostate is from hadith..what makes you think Allah is forgetful enough to levae out such an important matter..and you think Prophet will act more smart than Allah himself..??This stoning crap was injected into sharia by people who wanted to control masses.It has political and cultural motives alone,it is not Allah’s or His Prophet’s law..

    What about punihsment for adultery?Quran prescribes lashes,but hadith imposes stoning to death..WHy ?Again should we infer that Allah is forgetful and careless?

    Nowhere in Allah’s wordss,He talks about taking away someone’s life as punishment for any activity..But in real time,it is otherwise..Now you can sya,”Allah has asked us to follow Prophet”..Agreed,Allah sent Prophet to deliver the message and He says it clearly “I leave Quran for you to follow” ..Allah talks about almost all various aspects of life in Quran and it is hard for me to accept that Hadith is more smarter than Quran,which in turn says that Prophet is more smarter than Allah..

    I can carry on for long,but just pointed out few of them..I am not at all a hadith rejector..But i am not deluding myself to think that hadith can override Quran…

    finally,

    “Shall I seek other than God as a source of law, when He has revealed to you this book fully detailed?” 6:114

    “These are God’s revelations that We recite to you truthfully. In which Hadith other than God and His revelations do they believe?” 45:6

  18. Milind Kher says:

    Nimmy,

    Thanks for the intervention. I appreciate it. There are a lot of ahadith which are contrary to the Quran, and if need be, I shall present them too. However, the point is not to indulge in religious polemics.

    We rather need to act upon Quranic principles and a great number of ahadith that unequivocally support Quranic principles. Allah has himself declared that the Quran is a book without equal, so to give a hadith the same sanctity as a Quranic verse would surely be wrong.

  19. Abdullah Rahim says:

    Alhamdulillah, a very well written and argued article indeed.

    I am a married man with three wonderful grown-up daughters. We live in Malaysia. My wife and I are professionals in our career and heading our respective Companies.

    It really saddens us that the true Quranic teachings, in many aspects of our lives, especially in relation to the dignity and position of women has been distorted and as in some cases as highlighted in your article, totally contradicts Allah’s words. This happens in India, Malaysia and in many so called ” muslim countries”.

    It is sad indeed but as long as we muslims (both men and women alike) propogate the notion that women are not as equals but inferior to men with respect to intellectual capacity and wisdom, the muslim world will not be able to grow to become a strong and respectable community.

    We need God-fearing, hard working men and women who read and understand the Quran to strengthen our faith, knowledge and reasoning so that we can compete in the ever challenging 21st century. Yet, we are still stuck with issues and rituals that has no Quranic basis whatsoever.

    I don’t think we have any other choice. Returning to the Quran, The Source, the Criterion and absolute standard, if you will, should be a priority for all muslims. We can do our small part as parents of our children. That should be a good start.

  20. Milind Kher says:

    People who hold women inferior have no clue regarding the exalted position of Hazrat Khadija, Hazrat Fatima and Sayyida Zainab. Let people refer to their history and deen and they will educate themsleves.

    And yes, the Holy Quran is the only conclusively authoritative book, all others are adjuncts. There is no doubt that there has to be a return to Quranic principles.

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