The Idea that One Should Never Be Guided by Women
Never will succeed such a nation as makes a woman their ruler. (Sahih Bukhari, Book 88, Hadith 219)
Obedience to women is regrettable. (Nahj al-Fasahah, p. 35)
Seek women’s advice, and then do the exact opposite of what they say." (Al-Maqasid al-Hasana: 248, Tazkirat al-Mawzuat: 128, Tenzihus Sharia: 2-204, Silsilat al-Ahadith: 432)
Do not seek women’s advice, but oppose them. Oppose them, because prosperity lies in opposition to women. (Religious Information for Women 44,45 Suyuti, al-Laali II, 147; Ibn Arrak, Tenzihus Sharia II, 210)
Whoever obeys his wife, God will cast him face down into hell. (Ibn Arrak II, 215)
People who entrust the administration of their affairs to a woman will never be saved (prosperous). (Nahj al-Fasahah, p. 188)
Ruin is the end of men who obey women. (Nahj al-Fasahah, p. 203)
Those who are under the reign of women will not reach salvation. (Nahj al-Fasahah, p. 271)
John William Godward's oil painting “The Bouquet,” 1899
And to recite the Qur’an.’ Whoever is guided is only guided to his own good; if someone is misguided just say, ‘I am only a warner.’ (Quran 27:92)
Woman in the Qur'an can be a head of state, a ruler, and can make decisions and issue commands regarding business. Woman in the religion of the fanatics is the exact opposite of the nature of woman in the Qur'an.
As we have seen, one of the most important reflections of the way in which fanatics despise women is their fervent wish never to see them in positions of authority. They are therefore opposed to women rulers; they are even against the notion of women being consulted at all. They have this idea that everything women think and everything they do is wrong. This is part of their unpleasant stratagem of excluding women from society. The fabricated hadiths above have also served that end and in many countries fanatical communities in which such perverse ideas prevail and which are hostile to women have formed. Yet that mentality is diametrically opposed to the practices of our Prophet (pbuh) in the Qur’an, and is in manifest conflict with Islam.
For example, as the peddlers of superstition spread the foolish idea that “Never will succeed such a nation as makes a woman their ruler,” God cites the Queen of Sheba, a female ruler, in the Qur’an. Despite all the superstition about “not consulting women,” the Queen of Sheba was the sole ruler who made all the final decisions on matters of state. Verses report the leadership qualities of the Queen of Sheba as follows:
However, it was not long delayed, and then it said, “I have comprehended something you have not and bring you accurate intelligence from Sheba. I found a woman ruling over them who has been given everything. She possesses a mighty throne.” (Qur'an, 27:22-23)
That is how the Queen of Sheba, a female ruler who governed her people, was described to the Prophet Solomon (pbuh). After the Prophet Solomon (pbuh) had sent the Queen of Sheba a letter of invitation, she consulted the leading members of her people who sent the following reply:
They said, “We possess strength and we possess great force. But the matter is in your hands so consider what you command.” (Qur'an, 27:33)
As we have seen, in the Qur’an women can rule states and be rulers and have their decisions and commands enforced. The conceptions of women in the religion of the fanatics and the Qur’an are totally at odds with one another.
When fanatics shamelessly insult women through these false hadiths, they are unaware that they are also insulting Mary (pbuh), the devout female believers in the Qur’an, the blessed wives of our Prophet (pbuh) and his female Companions. It must not be forgotten that a mentality that so despises women turns that contempt toward all women.
We can clearly see how different the lives of the fanatics is from the Qur’an when we look at the position of women in the time of our Prophet (pbuh):
For example, the wife of the Prophet (pbuh), Khadija (ra) was one of the wealthiest merchants of Mecca. She sent trading caravans to Damascus and employed people for that purpose. In the Medina period, women worked as leather workers, manufacturers of thread, weavers, pharmacists, tailors and perfume sellers and took an active part in all spheres of life. Women took part in wars alongside men, and even served in the front line when necessary.
John William Godward's oil painting “Autumn,” 1900
Women in the time of the Prophet (pbuh) provided for their households and had a voice in the family life; our Prophet (pbuh) praised these activities.
Raita bint Abdillah says to the Prophet (pbuh): "O Messenger of God, I am a craftswoman. My husband (Abdullah ibn Masud) and my child have nothing; I sell the products I make with my own artistry" and asks whether her expenditure on her family will earn merit. The Prophet (pbuh) replies, “Of course there is merit in your expenditure on them.” (Ibn Sa'd, Kitab al-Tabaqat, VIII, 290; Abu Nu’aym, Hilya, II, 69; Ibn al-Asir, Usd al-Gaba, VII, 121.)
As we have seen, the women of the time of our Prophet (pbuh) provided for their households and had authority in the life of the family; our Prophet (pbuh) praises their efforts.
Quayba bint Sa'd, of the people of Aslam tribe, is reported to have treated the sick and injured in the time of our Prophet (pbuh); in other words, women in the time of the Prophet (pbuh) worked as doctors. Indeed, Asma bint Umais, a highly intelligent, educated and experienced women who migrated to Abyssinia (present-day Ethiopia), is known to have been a very good doctor. Ummu Salama says that Asma bint Umais made medicine for the Prophet (pbuh) from "plants and olive oil brought from India and Yemen.” That account also says that Asma learned to make that drug in Abyssinia.(Ibn Sa'd, Kitab al-Tabaqat, II, 236.)
The names of some of the women who sold attar of flowers in Medina in the time of our Prophet (pbuh) are known. One of these, Mulayka Ummu as-Saib al-Saqafiyya, entered into the presence of the Prophet (pbuh) in order to sell scents; this clearly shows us that women in the time of our Prophet (pbuh) worked as sales people.
The position of the female companions who took part in battles alongside all other Muslims is described as follows in one of the accounts that set the matter out quite perfectly:
“Polytheists who took advantage of the negligence of the believers entered in such a way that a group of 10-12 people charged with protecting the Messenger of God had to also enter the fighting. At one moment our Prophet (pbuh) was left alone, with only Nasiba with him. That isolation lasted 40-50 seconds. One of the polytheists seized the moment and attacked, but Nasiba slew him with her sword. A second polytheist attacked the Messenger of God. That polytheist was double-armored. No matter how much she struck, she could not kill him. She received a sword blow from her shoulder to her lower back. Other believers then arrived and neutralized that unbeliever. Those few seconds were so important! Nasiba received 11 wounds at Uhud. Yet she never left until the end of the battle.
As we have seen, in stark contrast to the false hadiths, women in the time of the Prophet (pbuh) were present in even the most crucial places such as the battlefield. Female companions occupied such eminent positions as protecting the Prophet (pbuh) in battle. The way that our Prophet (pbuh) regarded it as appropriate for women to assume the role of protecting him in such a dangerous and life-threatening situation is an important indication of how much he trusted the intelligence and conscience of the female companions in question.
Not only male believers, but also female believers are addressed in the verse “You who believe! Do not say, ‘Ra’ina’ [be our shepherd], say, ‘Undhurna’ [watch over us] ...” (Qur'an, 2:104). In this verse, women, as well as men, are advised not to say “be our shepherd.” This means that in the Qur’an, women are not regarded as entities needing to be looked after and governed by men because of their weakness of mind, but on the contrary as strong, intelligent people, capable of standing on their own two feet and whose conscience is to be trusted. However, many people in some Islamic countries that have been shaped by these false hadiths that have been brought in over the course of centuries are devoid of that conception: Therefore, when we say, “Men and women enjoy the same rights in the Qur’an,” those who vehemently deny that knowingly or unknowingly rebel against God’s verses.
In the Qur'an, a woman is regarded as a person who can stand on her own feet, who is strong, sensible and intelligent and whose conscience can be trusted.