Status of women's testimony in Islam

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The status of women's testimony in Islam is disputed.

Muzammil H. Siddiqi, a notable scholar from North America, has said the Quran makes very little reference to genders, in terms of testimony.[1]

In cases of hudud, punishments for serious crimes, 12th-century Maliki jurist Averroes wrote that jurists disagree about the status of women's testimony.[2] According to Averroes, most scholars say that in this case women's testimony is unacceptable regardless of whether they testify alongside male witnesses.[2] However, he writes that the school of thought known as the Zahiris believe that if two or more women testify alongside a male witness, then (as in cases regarding financial transactions, discussed below), their testimony is acceptable.[2][3][4][5] In case of witnesses for financial documents, the Qur'an asks for two men or one man and two women.[6][7] It is disputed whether this means that a woman's testimony worth half that of a man either in disputes about financial transactions or as a general matter.

On the other hand, Javed Ahmed Ghamidi writes that Islam asks for two women witnesses against one male because this responsibility is not very suited to their temperament, sphere of interest, and usual environment. He argues that Islam makes no claim that woman's testimony is half in other cases.[8] Ibn al-Qayyim also argues that the verse referred to relates to the heavy responsibility of testifying by which an owner of wealth protects his rights, not with the decision of a court; the two are completely different from each other.[9] It is also argued that this command shows that Qur'an does not want to make difficulties for women.[10]

In matters other than financial transactions, scholars differ on whether the Qur'anic verses relating to financial transactions apply.[11] This is especially true in the case of bodily affairs like divorce, marriage, slave-emancipation and raju‘ (restitution of conjugal rights). According to Averroes, Imam Abu Hanifa believed that their testimony is acceptable in such cases. Imam Malik, on the contrary, believes that their testimony remains unacceptable. For bodily affairs about which men can have no information in ordinary circumstances, such as the physical handicaps of women and the crying of a baby at birth, the majority of scholars hold that the testimony of women alone is acceptable. But the number of women witnesses needed is debated in different Islamic schools of law. Hanafi's and Hanbali's see even one woman enough. According to Maliki's two women are required. As for Shafii's, they see that 4 women are needed.

In certain situations, the scripture accepts the testimony of a woman as equal to that of a man's and that her testimony can even invalidate his, such as when a man accuses his wife of unchastity.[12]

Legal status[edit]

Countries where in some cases a woman's testimony is worth half of that of a man:

OIC countries where women's testimony is known to be equal to a man's in all cases:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.onislam.net/english/ask-the-scholar/shariah-based-systems/judiciary-and-police-systems/176429.html?Police_Systems=
  2. ^ a b c Ibn Rushd. Bidayatu’l-Mujtahid, 1st ed., vol. 4, (Beirut: Daru’l-Ma‘rifah, 1997), p. 311.
  3. ^ See also Sahih al-Bukhari, 1:6:301: "Is not the evidence of two women equal to the witness of one man?" They replied in the affirmative. He said, "This is the deficiency in her intelligence."
  4. ^ See also Sahih al-Bukhari, 3:48:826: "Isn't the witness of a women equal to half that of a man?" The women said "yes". He said "This is because of the deficiency of the women's mind."
  5. ^ See also Sahih Muslim, 1:142: "O womenfolk, you should ask for forgiveness for I saw you in bulk amongst the dwellers of Hell. A wise lady said: Why is it, Allah’s Apostle, that women comprise the bulk of the inhabitants of Hell? The Prophet observed: ‘You curse too much and are ungrateful to your spouses. You lack common sense, fail in religion and rob the wisdom of the wise.’ Upon this the woman remarked: What is wrong with our common sense? The Prophet replied, ‘Your lack of common sense can be determined from the fact that the evidence of two women is equal to one man. That is a proof."
  6. ^ See also [Quran 2:282]: "... and call in to witness from among your men two witnesses; but if there are not two men, then one man and two women from among those whom you choose to be witnesses, so that if one of the two errs, the second of the two may remind the other...".
  7. ^ According to Averroes, a 12th-century Maliki, "There is a general consensus among the jurists that in financial transactions a case stands proven by the testimony of a just man and two women on the basis of [this] verse." (Ibn Rushd. Bidayatu’l-Mujtahid, 1st ed., vol. 4, (Beirut: Daru’l-Ma‘rifah, 1997), p. 311).
  8. ^ Ghamidi. Burhan:The Law of Evidence. Al-Mawrid
  9. ^ Ibn al-Qayyim, I‘lam al-Muwwaqi‘in, 1st ed., vol. 1 (Beirut: Dar al-Jayl, 1973), 91.
  10. ^ Half of a Man!, Renaissance - Monthly Islamic Journal, 14(7), July 2004
  11. ^ Ordinary Muslims also challenge the extent of the application of the verse; see, e.g., http://www.submission.org/women/faq8.html.
  12. ^ Women In Islam Versus Women In The Judaeo-Christian Tradition
  13. ^ "Gender Equality Profile". Unicef. 2011. Retrieved 16 February 2014. 
  14. ^ "Gender Equality Profile". Unicef. 2011. Retrieved 16 February 2014. 
  15. ^ "Gender Equality Profile". Unicef. 2011. Retrieved 16 February 2014. 
  16. ^ "Gender Equality Profile". Unicef. 2011. Retrieved 16 February 2014. 
  17. ^ "Gender Equality Profile". Unicef. 2011. Retrieved 16 February 2014. 
  18. ^ "Gender Equality Profile". Unicef. 2011. Retrieved 16 February 2014. 
  19. ^ "Gender Equality Profile". Unicef. 2011. Retrieved 16 February 2014. 
  20. ^ "Gender Equality Profile". Unicef. 2011. Retrieved 16 February 2014. 
  21. ^ "Gender Equality Profile". Unicef. 2011. Retrieved 16 February 2014. 
  22. ^ "Gender Equality Profile". Unicef. 2011. Retrieved 16 February 2014. 
  23. ^ "Gender Equality Profile". Unicef. 2011. Retrieved 16 February 2014. 
  24. ^ "Right to equal protection by the law". BBC World Service. Retrieved 16 February 2014. 
  25. ^ "Gender Equality Profile". Unicef. 2011. Retrieved 16 February 2014. 
  26. ^ "Gender Equality Profile". Unicef. 2011. Retrieved 16 February 2014. 
  27. ^ "Gender Equality Profile". Unicef. 2011. Retrieved 16 February 2014. 
  28. ^ "Gender Equality Profile". Unicef. 2011. Retrieved 16 February 2014. 
  29. ^ "Gender Equality Profile". Unicef. 2011. Retrieved 16 February 2014.