Monday, March 24, 2008

Quraan, Hadith and Women


Asghar Ali Engineer, February 1, 2008

Moderator's comments are followed by the essay.
The more I learn about Qur’aan, the more confidence I derive knowing that God is Just, Equitable, Kind and Merciful. In this essay Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer brings to the fore the Just words of God with reference to Women.

Muslims ought to take pride that they are more equipped with knowledge of Islam today than ever before in the history of Islam. The message of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is coming to fruition, in his last speech he had said that I am leaving Qur’aan to you for guidance, read and understand on your own. No one was given the authority to interpret the book for us, we are back to full circle now focusing on the original source for knowledge, and certainly must respect what was interpreted in Sharia but fine tune it to reflect Qur’aan. A tremendous research work is being put out and thank God for the internet.

The primitive societies were termed as “Jahiliya” characterized by ignorance. Only few could read and write and the scholars who knew had an upper hand and passed on their local traditions as Universal traditions that Qur’aan had fine tuned all the native practices to be in tune with what would be universally acceptable regardless of where one lived. However the writers of Sharia law remained entrenched with their traditions.

Sharia laws were essentially compiled to understand Qur’aan in terms of “how to”, when the Lord talks about the need to pray, Sharia lays it out in terms of “how to”. The men extended the “how to’s” to cover every aspect of life. The intention was good and certainly benefits the followers. However in the areas of women, apostasy, and adultery their understanding did not reflect the universality and Justness of Qur’aan.

Islam means peace and peace is an outcome of Justice and Qur’aan is all about Justice.

A few highlights are as follows;

1. Women lost in hadiths what they had gained through Qur’an

2. Unfortunately for hadiths honesty and integrity of narrators became the only criterion rather than its conformity with the Qur’anic approach, values and ideals.

3. He thought he was ruler over women and many Qur’anic verses were explained under the ethos of men’s superiority.

4. 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)

5. 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.

6. Qur’an gives equal rights and equal dignity to both men and women but Hadith literature is full of hadiths contradicting this Qur’anic approach.

7. 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

Please read and reflect.

Mike Ghouse

Asghar Ali Engineer
(Islam and Modern Age, February 2008)

What is position of women in Qur’an and Hadith? It is very interesting to compare what is stated in Qur'aan about women and what do we find on women in Hadith literature? And here I am not referring to hadiths 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 hadiths treat them. Much of woes of Muslim women will be over if we follow Qur’an rather than these hadiths.

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.


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.


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?
Institute of Islamic Studies, Mumbai.


Pamela Taylor
Salaams Mike,

Thanks for forwarding the article. I don't know if I had mentioned it on this list, but not long ago I had a remarkable (for me at least) epiphany. We are all probably aware of the verse that says women have rights like unto men's, but men have a degree above them. (usually translated as a degree of advantage). This has always been a stickler for me, until I happened to be reading about divorce (not rights per se) and came across the verse of which that fragment is a part.

2:227 But if their intention is firm for divorce, Allah heareth and knoweth all things.
2:228 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 would do better 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.

A light went on! The degree (of advantage) is that men don't have an iddah, they do not have to wait three months to remarry because they don't get pregnant. Hello! That makes sense! That men would have more rights did not.

Perhaps the most striking thing about this, is I consider myself both pretty well versed in the Qur'an as well as a dyed in the wool muslim feminist, and the obvious hadn't struck me before now. Geesh. If I, of all people, didn't realize this obvious interpretation, how many other women haven't? As far as women's rights go, we have such an easy fight -- because the tools are right in front of our eyes if we just open them up!

Of course, the iddah these days could be much shorter... pregnancy tests that are 99% effective can be used two or three days after a missed period (or, if you'd rather, a couple-three weeks after the last sexual encounter with one's ex).



Mike: Pamela, thanks for highlighting this - "A light went on! The degree (of advantage) is that men don't have an iddah, they do not have to wait three months to remarry because they don't get pregnant. Hello! That makes sense! That men would have more rights did not."



yes, I do share your interpretation and I also take it one step further not only to include the iddah, but also the right of the x-husbands to go back on it (in case the divorce isn't the third and final one) and to return their wives during the iddah, whereas the wife cannot ask her ex-husband for the same, but on the other hand, couple that step with the verses about dignity and voila, women are honoured that way because they retain their dignity in terms of being asked back and not doing the asking.


Dr. Javed Jamil
Dear Mke,


I happened to be present at the lecture by Dr Asghar Ali Engineer on the subject of "Women in Islam". I was requested by the organisers to be present in the lecture and I hoped to reflect upon what the eminent speaker said. But there was such a hostile reaction to what he said that the whole lecture ended in a pandemonium. Seeing the mood of the people, the organisers did not invite me to speak, which further infuriated the audience as they believed I would undo the damage done by Dr Engineer.

I respect Dr Asghar Ali nginner as a crusader against communalism in India; but as Islamic scholar he is rank apologetic and defeatist in his approach. Reinterpretation of Quran does not mean distortion to make things suitable to the demands of the modern world. I am not going to dwell upon the subject in detail here. But I would like to make a few points in the context of Dr Enginner's lecture:

1. Men and women in Islam are equal not uniform. They have many common but many uncommon functions to perform and Islam has given each of them privileges in specific areas.

2. Dr Engineer said that there was no evidence that there were no women prophets. This is absolutely ridiculous, as this is agreed upon by all. But women not being prophets does not in any way reduce their status as a whole. Prophetic mission is a difficult mission to perform that alows a huge, uninterrupted action, which the biological woman will find hard to sustain. There are other reasons as well which require separate treatment. Women as mothers are more respectable than fathers; they are allowed the privilege to earn if they like and not earn if they like; their husbands are duty bound to earn for them and their children. They are also privileged to eiher join the armed Jihad or refuse it. If they are not prophets, they are the mothers, daughters and wives of prophets; and many of them like Mary, Saara, Hajrah, Jasiah, Fatima and Aishah are excellent examples of missionary activists.

3. Women have certain disadvanatages that can render them vulnerable to pressures; so their evidence in certain matters has half the importance of men.

4. Women have lesser economic duties to perform and liablities on them are much less; so their share in inheritance is half.

Attempts to turn equality into uniformity are ridiculous. Though all human beings basically enjoy the same rghts but the privileges change according to the functions the individuals perform. A President of the country and a CEO of a company have privileges in their own positions.

Dr Javed Jamil

Mike: Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer brings out perspectives in the light of what is just and right, that has been my reading. It is easy to misunderstand him on the face of it, but it is the right thing for you, me and every one to question everything in life - that is the essence of one's freedom. On the issue of Women Prophets, Dr. Engineer has raised a serious question, none of us may have an answer to it, but that question is legitimate. Just because it is not mentioned any where, it does not mean that there were no women prophets. Our renaissance has really begun in this millennia and we may be in surprise with the discoveries - (Pamela above has pointed out the logic for Iddah) God knows all, and we may learn little by little... may be once we understand every one of God's Hikmah, the world would come to an end.

From Dr. Javed Jamil – Islam, Quraan and Sharia

Pamela is right in saying that men as husbands have a degree of advantage ove women as wives. These relate to not only Iddah but also the fact that it is the woman who leaves her house to live with her husband. Iddah is of extraordinary importance. I have a full article on the issue. But here I am reproducing parts of what has appeared in my book, "Islam means Peace":

"Iddah is the period for which a woman has to wait after the initiation of the process of divorce or after the death of her husband. The following facts about Iddah are to be noted:

(1) The period of Iddah in case it follows the pronouncement of divorce is three menstruation-cycles if by that time she shows no signs of pregnancy.

(2) If a woman undergoing Iddah develops signs of pregnancy her Iddah will be extended till the termination of the process of delivery. (This must include the postnatal period of 40 days.)

(3) If she is having irregular menstruation cycles her Iddah will be of three months.

(4) If she is undergoing Iddah after the death of her husband its duration will be four months and ten days.

The legal provision of Iddah has enormous implications on family and social health. I was struck with the extraordinary role of Iddah during the compilation of my monograph, “Islamic Model for Control of AIDS” when to my amazement I found that Iddah would play a crucial role in protecting men and women from sexually transmitted disease. Since then I have continued to get more and more convinced about the extraordinary importance of Iddah in Family Health and Peace. One of the primary objectives of Iddah is to ensure that right from the first day of conception till the completion of the process of delivery (including postnatal period) she would be looked after financially, physically as well as socially by her husband. During this period, the husband is not entitled to formalise the divorce even if he has decided to part with her. Thus the antenatal, natal and postnatal cares are obligations imposed by Islam on fathers. This also provides the couple with an opportunity to reconcile their differences; the news that she is pregnant is more often than not likely to facilitate this reconciliation. It is obvious that such an extraordinary status of mother also ensures the safety of child.

Family is not an artificial creation of man for every born has a father and a mother. It is therefore necessary that the parentage of every child must be established beyond doubt. The establishment of the identity of mother is a foregone conclusion, as she physically delivers the child. But the establishment of the identity of father will create huge problems if the propriety of the institution of marriage is not maintained. If there had been no provision of a mandatory period of waiting it would have become impossible, in case a woman married within a few days of separating from her husband, to know the real father. If the identity of the father of the child is not established, it is bound to cause immense damage to the future prospects of the child; he or she may have to grow outside the shadow of fatherly protection. Thus Iddah preserves the family system ensuring that the children and parents live without their mutual love and affection getting diluted by any kind of suspicion. This of course also preserves the credibility and honour of the woman.

Another important role of Iddah is to prevent the sexually transmitted diseases. The provision of Iddah means that no woman can ever have sexual relations with two men without a gap of at least three months. This is greatly helpful in minimising the risks of HIV and other STDs. It is interesting to note that the incubation period of all STDs is less than 90 days, and the window period of HIV/AIDS is also about 90 days. In Syphilis for example the median period of incubation is 21 days though occasionally it may be up to 90 days. Thus in the case of Syphilis, the woman will develop symptoms of Syphilis within and not more than three months. The development of a painful swelling in her private parts is likely to prevent her from marrying till she gets relieved. The same is true of other STDs like Lymphogranuloma venereum, Reiter’s disease, Herpes etc. In the case of AIDS, while the incubation period may be several years, the blood test for HIV becomes positive within three months. So if the spread of AIDS warrants a strict vigilance a woman may get her HIV tested after the expiry of Iddah before getting married again. This rule may be used with good effect for the AIDS prevention programmes. (See my book “The Killer Sex” for details)?

Dr Javed Jamil

Moderator: Dr. Jamil, this is good research indeed and goes along with extensive research work you have done. Thanks for highlighting these items. It is critical indeed and is amazing to have included in Quraan. Though these deceases may not have been known to the common public then, but the prevention is mentioned in the book. It reinforces the idea that Quraan is for all ages. Thank you.

Dr. Inayat Lalani
A lot of of what passess for the Sunnah of the prophet must be the mischief of Abu Sufyan who hijacked Islam upon the Prophet's (PBUH) passing away and reintroduced the Jahaliyah into the body of Islam through the back door, robbing women of so many of their gains under Islam as revealed by the Quran. This, as I understand it, was the gist of a speech given by Sister Merve Kavakci last June and I was astounded by her very courageous assertions (with most of which I heartily agree). The authentic ahadith, under the Shi'a school, is said to include only about 300 whereas the ahl-e-Sunnat assert the number at 6,000 (not counting a large number of additional ahadith characterized as 'weak' ahadith, one of them including endorsement of Nikab!).

Every time I express an opinion to this effect, I am challenged as lacking the expertise (true) and not having spent the years other Ulema have devoted to the study of Islam. This is clearly an attempt to stifle debate which alone can lead to enlightenment. My answer is that you can spend your life persuing false 'knowledge' and one doesn't need a Ph.D. in anything to understand what is written. Many a voracious readers of everything have grave difficulties with the body of ahadith (Imam Bukhari clearly did) and besides, many thinking people have asserted the need for Ijtihad. If the injunctions of the Ahadith were satisfying and adequate, there would be no calls for Ijtihad (which really amounts to reassessment of the false knowledge of the deen as prescribed by the ahadith, in clear contravention of the Quran).

So let us submit every Hadith to the test of reason, reasonability and consistency with the Quran.

Inayat Lalani

Mike Ghouse

"Words" are usually the source of conflict. Through the right use of words we can bring understanding or aggravate conflict. Consider this sentence " Women have certain disadvantages that can render them vulnerable to pressures; so their evidence in certain matters has half the importance of men." and check the effects of this alternate sentence " Men and women are endowed with different physical capabilities that generates different responses to a given pressure, men or women can be half as productive at times".

God is just and his word cannot be unjust towards men or women, it is in this light we may want to understand the Qur'aan.

A Muslim is one who on consistently works on mitigating conflicts and nurturing peace and harmony.

Send your comments to:

Subject line write: Qur'aan, Hadith and Women

The World Muslim Congress is driven by the Qur'an, Al-Hujurat, Surah 49:13: "O mankind! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. The noblest of you, in sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Allah Knows and is Aware." Our Mission is to work for a world of co-existence through inclusiveness and participation. As a member of diverse family of faiths, our efforts will be directed towards justice and equity to attain peace for the humankind with a firm grounding in commonly held values. No one should have advantages at the cost of others. Such benefits are temporary and deleterious to lasting peace. We believe what is good for Muslims has got to be good for the world, and vice versa, to sustain it. Indeed we aspire to promote goodwill amongst people of different affiliations, regardless of their faith, gender, race, nationality, culture or any other uniqueness blessed by the creator.

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