Ways that the fanatics slander women
The Idea that Women are Deficient in Intelligence and Faith
John William Godward's oil painting “Rich Gifts Wax Poor When Lovers Prove Unkind,” 1916
O women! You curse frequently, and are ungrateful to your husbands. I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion than you. (Sahih Bukhari, Chapter 24, Hadith 541)
God said: … I also make her stupid, although I had created her intelligent, and must make her suffer pregnancy and birth with difficulty …. (The History of Al-Tabari: General Introduction and From the Creation to the Flood, translated by Franz Rosenthal
[State University of New York Press, Albany], Vol. 1, pp. 280-281)
[State University of New York Press, Albany], Vol. 1, pp. 280-281)
There is no mention in any verse of the Qur’an of women being weaker than men in terms of intelligence. On the contrary, by referring to “believing women and believing men,” God tells us that they have equal responsibility in His Sight; in other words, that they are similar in terms of intelligence and conscience. Moreover, as in the example of the Queen of Sheba, women can even be rulers of states taking decisions on the most important matters. In addition, it is not having a different anatomy that makes a person more intelligent, but their fear of God, love of God, depth of faith and conscience. God always inspires the truth in the conscience of every human being, man or woman. Therefore, what makes people intelligent and devout is not whether they are men or women, but whether they abide by what is revealed to their consciences and, as revealed in this verse, You who believe! If you fear God, He will give you discrimination [between right and wrong]...” (Qur'an, 8:29) their fear of God: That is the sole measure of intelligence in the Qur’an. Therefore, in the same way that a man is not superior solely for being a man, a woman is not deficient in intelligence and faith simply because she is a woman. However, as we have said many times, the religion of the fanatics is totally different to the Qur’an and is full of slanders.
The way that they slander God Himself with the fabricated hadiths in question shows the extremes to which the fanatics will go. Nothing along the lines of “... I make her stupid, and must make her suffer pregnancy and birth with difficulty” appears in the Qur'an, so what is the status of these words alleged to be the words of God? Where is this revelation, alleged to have come from God, if it does not appear in the Qur’an? The greatest danger of the religion of the fanatics is that they speak lies in the name of God and are therefore capable of such slander.
Pregnancy is regarded as a sacred state in the Qur’an, for which reason mothers are also regarded as sacred in it. Our Lord’s verses on the subject read:
Sassoferrato's oil painting “The Virgin in Prayer.”
Mary (pbuh) fell pregnant in a miraculous manner by the will of God. Throughout her pregnancy she bore all her difficulties with fortitude, and she was made superior to all the women of all the worlds because of that fortitude and her devotion to God.
We have instructed man concerning his parents. Bearing him caused his mother great debility and the period of his weaning was two years: “Give thanks to Me and to your parents. I am your final destination.” .” (Qur'an, 31:14)
We have instructed man to be good to his parents. His mother bore him with difficulty and with difficulty gave birth to him; and his bearing and weaning take thirty months. Then when he achieves his full strength and reaches forty, he says, “My Lord, keep me thankful for the blessing You bestowed on me and on my parents, and keep me acting rightly, pleasing You. And make my descendants righteous. I have repented to You and I am truly one of the Muslims.” (Qur'an, 46:15)
Mary (pbuh) became pregnant by the will of God and was patient in the face of all the difficulties she encountered during that pregnancy; because of that fortitude and her devotion to God she has been made superior to all the women of the world:
And when the angels said, “Mary, God has chosen you and purified you. He has chosen you over all other women.” (Qur'an, 3:42)
The Messiah, the son of Mary, was only a messenger, before whom other messengers came and went. His mother was a woman of truth...(Qur'an, 5:75)
In exhibiting their own horrifying ways of thinking about women by talking about “stupidity,” and referring to pregnancy and childbirth as punishments from God, the fanatics are at the same time foolishly insulting Mary (pbuh), the Companions and all other devout women praised for their superior virtues.
William-Adolphe Bouguereau's oil painting “Mother and Children,” 1879
The idea that women are “deficient in mind and faith” is a slander from the religion of the fanatics. God addresses men and women equally in terms of responsibility. This is one of the reasons why many verses are addressed to men and women believers at the same time.
A difficult pregnancy and giving birth in pain is one of the tribulations of this world, and one that requires great fortitude, strength and willpower to bear. God reveals that a mother who displays fortitude in the face of this difficulty is very valuable in His Sight. For that reason, a mother who displays submission to God and love of Him despite all such difficulties is a very superior entity. This value attached to mothers is one of the moral values in the Qur’an.
As we have seen, there are ways in which women are even superior to men in the Qur’an, therefore the idea that they are “deficient in intelligence and faith” is a grotesque slander by the fanatics. God addresses men and women equally in terms of responsibility. That is one the reasons why male and female believers are addressed at the same time in numerous verses. One such verse reads:
Men and women who are Muslims, men and women who are believers, men and women who are obedient, men and women who are truthful, men and women who are steadfast, men and women who are humble, men and women who give the alms, men and women who fast, men and women who guard their private parts, men and women who remember God much: God has prepared forgiveness for them and an immense reward. (Qur'an, 33:35)
As seen in this verse, there is no distinction between men and women when it comes to such basic elements of being a Muslim as fearing God, remembering God, being loyal to God, having fortitude and giving alms; there is not the slightest suggestion in the Qur’an that women possess any less of any of the characteristics of a believer. Whether people are men or women they have a responsibility to fear God with all their might, love Him with a profound passion and earn His approval.