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Does Islam Accept Women’s Curses?

27 August, 2019
Q Respected Sheikhs, As-Salamu `alaykum. Could you please describe the 18 sins that women are automatically cursed with? Jazakum Allah khayran.


Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. 

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

In this fatwa:

1- The attitude of the Quran and the early Muslims bear witness to the fact that woman is as vital to life as man himself, and that she is not inferior to him, nor is she one of the lower species.

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 2- The status of woman was taken for granted to be equal to that of man. It was, of course, a matter of fact, and no one then considered it as a problem at all.

3- There is no basis in Islam for the so called conception of women’s curses; we must therefore reject it outright as an un-Islamic importation. We must state both unequivocally and categorically that no Muslim can adhere to such false beliefs without compromising the fundamental Quranic principles.

Answering your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:

Your question savors of non-Islamic influences, for it has absolutely no basis in genuine Islamic concepts. Islamic teachings concerning the nature of men and women do not endorse such views.

While one may find similar views in certain Jewish and Christian sources or scriptures, they have no counterparts in the authentic Islamic sources.

According to the consensus of Muslims, the only authentic sources of Islamic religious beliefs and practices are the Quran and the Sunnah.

Since such ideas are nowhere to be found in them, we can rest assured that they have been imported from non-Islamic sources. In all likelihood they are part of what is known as isra’iliyyat or materials borrowed from the Jewish and Christian sources.

We read in the Jewish sources:

“To the woman He gave nine curses and death: the burden of the blood of menstruation and the blood of virginity; the burden of pregnancy; the burden of childbirth; the burden of bringing up the children; her head is covered as one in mourning; she pierces her ear like a permanent slave or slave girl who serves her master; she is not to be believed as a witness; and after everything death.” (Leonard J. Swidler, Women in Judaism: the Status of Women in Formative Judaism, Metuchen, N.J: Scarecrow Press, 1976, p. 115.)

Likewise, we read in the Catholic Bible:

“No wickedness comes anywhere near the wickedness of a woman…..Sin began with a woman and thanks to her we all must die.” (Ecclesiasticus 25: 19, 24)

At the root of such negative ideas concerning women is their narration of the story of Adam’s Fall; for, according to Genesis (see 2:4-3:24), the brunt of the burden of sin falls on Eve, who is said to have tempted Adam to eat of the forbidden fruit, and so, God is reported to have told Eve:

“I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you.”

To Adam, He reportedly said,

“Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree …. Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life…”

As opposed to the above, we find no trace of any stigma attached to Eve in the Quranic narration of Adam’s story, for the Quran, instead of putting the blame on Eve, places it jointly on both of them.

Moreover, it further states that both Adam and Eve were forgiven by God and accepted into His grace when they eventually repented and asked forgiveness of Him. Hence, no question arises of the transmission of the so-called original sin to Adam’s progeny.

The fact that there is no room in Islam for entertaining such negative ideas about woman’s nature can be further supported by the following:

1- One of the central ideas of the Quran concerning the creation of humankind is that both men and women are created of a single soul, and as such, neither of them possesses any intrinsic superiority over the other.

Allah says: {O mankind! Fear your Lord Who created you from a single soul, and from it created its mate and from the two of them spread abroad a multitude of men and women…}  (An-Nisaa 4: 1; see also: Quran 6:98; 7:189; 39:6)

2- Allah rejects any discrimination between men and women based on gender differences; both are rewarded or punished equally for their actions; gender differences play no role in this at all.

Allah says: {And their Lord accepted (their prayers): ‘Never will I suffer to be lost the work of any of you, whether male or female; you are (the offspring) of one another.} (Aal Imran 3:195; see also Quran 40:40; 16:97; 74: 38: 65: 7; 2: 286; 4: 111) 

3- Both men and women, according to the Quran, are equal partners and companions; both of them have been jointly entrusted with the divine mandate of being God’s representatives on earth.

Allah says: {And the believers, men and women, are allies to each other; they enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil, and they establish the ritual prayer and pay the zakah and obey Allah and His Messenger. On these, Allah will have mercy. Allah is Almighty, All-Wise.} (At-Tawbah 9:71; see also: Quran 33:72)

4- Salvation and ultimate felicity is a divine gift shared by both men and women by virtue of their faith, divine grace and virtuous deeds.

Allah says: {Muslim men and women, believing men and women, obedient men and women, truthful men and women, patient men and women, humble men and women, charity-giving men and women, fasting men and women, chaste men and women, and those men and women who remember Allah abundantly, for them Allah has prepared forgiveness and an immense reward.} (Al-Ahzab 33:35)

Almighty Allah knows best.

Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.