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Shouldn’t Women Receive Lesser Punishment for Being Inferior to Men?

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Nov 22, 2016

Question

Assalamulaikum wa Rahmatullah. If a woman is inferior, shouldn’t her punishments be less than men’s? 1. I don't know but right now I am in a very bad state of mind. I have even stopped memorizing Quran after completing 5 juzz. I have started to feel that Islam is only for men especially when I read some ludicrous statements on islamqa websites like these: “men are inherently better in religious commitment than women” “they are inherently superior to them” “women have a natural lackness and that is why they have been given adornments”… If men are inherently better than women in religious commitment then why should she be punished exactly like men when she commits some major sins? Shouldn't she be punished lightly, since she was created weak in terms of intelligence and religious commitment? Purpose of a woman’s existence? 2. It seems that everything in Islam revolves around men. Why are women so much despised? Whenever I hear some Islamic lecture on these issues, it seems they are always attacking women like a woman is fitnah, they are stupid, they lack intelligence and religious commitment, they are ungrateful etc etc. No one highlights the problems and the difficulties a woman goes through. A women is good only if she runs after her husband and bears as many children as possible. I am not against it but is it the only purpose of her life? Was she created to fulfill the desires of men, or was she created to worship Allah, like men? I am so sorry for making these bold statements. I know many of the statements I made may amount to kufr but Allah knows I only mentioned them to you so that you could correct me and clear my confusions by the permission of Allah. I urge you to reply to this mail because I want to set things straight in my life. There was a time when I left everything for Islam and did my best to follow it but today, I am questioning every aspect of it especially when I read ahadeeth that seem to disregard women. I hope you will answer my questions. I ask Allah to reward you with goodness in this world and the next. Sorry for such a long message but I wanted to mention everything I feel.

Consultant

Answer


Shouldn't Women Receive Lesser Punishment for Being Inferior to Men?

Wa Alaykam Assalam Dear Sister,

Thank you for contacting us with your questions.

I will try to address each one of your concerns and questions separately, insha’Allah.

Women’s Intellect and Punishments

Now on to your next question. It is true, that there does exist a hadith that mentions Muslim women being deficient as compared to men, in intellect and religion, respectively. Sadly, this hadith is also widely used today by misogynists and feminists alike, to paint a negative image of how Islam purportedly treats women.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was a very truthful person, who spoke nothing but the truth. A cursory glance at the history of mankind in every era, clearly shows that few women have achieved what men have, because of their economic and social circumstances.

Even though this is changing in the contemporary world, the fact remains that, throughout history, women have been constrained due to their nature, ethos, and circumstances, to not be able to achieve as much as men in the fields traditionally dominated by the latter.

Fields such as governance, military, medicine, science, and administration have historically excluded women (except the rare exceptions), despite their innate talents and skills. If someone states this as a fact, it does not mean that he or she is putting women down. Rather, it is the truth.

The reason why the capital punishments in Islam are equal for men and women, despite their so-called differences in intellect and religion, is because both are held equally accountable for their sins. 

A woman cannot blame her sin on her deficient intellect or religion, rather, she has been granted as much of an equal free will as a man, to either resist an evil action, or to commit it.

Each human soul has been born with the same innate vices and tendencies to commit evil, such as greed, envy, hatred, and anger. Hence, both are given the same capital punishments, if they commit evil deeds.

Purpose of a Woman’s Existence

Now for your last question. To put it simply, no, even if it might appear to be so, a woman’s sole purpose in life is not to please her husband, or to bear him as many children as possible. This is not the purpose for which she was created. Her purpose in life is to worship Allah, period. Just like it is a man’s.

The role of pleasing a husband and bearing children is emphasized for married Muslim women only, but you might have noticed that many married Muslim women cannot bear children, or they get divorced or widowed. So how can Allah obligate something upon a woman i.e. marriage and motherhood, if He Himself decrees for her not to have it?

Many Muslim women do not get (or stay) married, despite wanting to enjoy domestic bliss. This is especially true for revert sisters in the West. Many do not bear any children, such as our mother Aishah bint Abi Bakr. Maryam, the mother  of Jesus (peace be upon them), never got married either.

The point is, that even though some patriarchal Muslim societies in the world today socially obligate marriage and motherhood upon women, there will still be many who will live single and/or childless — either by fate, or choice. They should never think that they do not have any meaningful purpose in life.

Muslim women can — and should — pursue positive and meaningful occupations that make them beneficial members of society. They should adhere to the limits and rules of Islam, and contribute to the fields of knowledge and business.

Islam emancipated women from the cultural domination of men, enabling them to inherit, own property, seek knowledge, teach, run a business, employ workers, and earn wages in return for providing skills or services.

Now, during this digitally connected, post-industrial-revolution ‘Internet era’ of virtual connectivity, women have gained enormous advantages via the ease of means.

The Internet now allows them to contribute to the world without needing to undertake physically taxing travails i.e. the rigorous manual labor and traveling that was required to get anything done throughout history, up till a century or so ago.

Sister, you should appreciate the priceless blessing of Islam that Allah has given you, and gain deep knowledge of the Quran and sunnah in order to remain steadfast upon the truth and dispel doubts.

I hope this helps address your concerns.

Salam and please remain in touch.




About Sadaf Farooqi

Sadaf Farooqi is an author, blogger and freelance writer based in Karachi, Pakistan. To date, Sadaf has authored over 300 original articles, most of which can be accessed on her blog, "Sadaf's Space" (sadaffarooqi.wordpress.com). She has recently started self-publishing her past articles as non-fiction Islamic books, which are available on Amazon and Kindle (www.amazon.com/author/sadaffarooqi)


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