The equation of testimony 1 man=2 women!
Justice in Islam is genderless. Still some people claim Islam to be a sexist religion, in favor of men. One may find many such followers, but never will one find Allah’s words biased!!
Recently, I received a comment “No matter how better you say it, women in Islam are second class citizens, especially when it comes to the ‘”rule of witness, 2 women=1 man.” Is that the way it is??
The Qur’anic verse known as “verse of indebtedness” in which Allah prescribes writing debt contracts as a precautionary measure is: (O ye who believe! When ye deal with each other, in transactions involving future obligations in a fixed period of time, reduce them to writing. Let a scribe write down faithfully as between the parties: let not the scribe refuse to write: as Allah Has taught him, so let him write. Let him who incurs the liability dictate, but let him fear His Lord Allah, and not diminish aught of what he owes. If they party liable is mentally deficient, or weak, or unable Himself to dictate, let his guardian dictate faithfully, and get two witnesses, out of your own men, and if there are not two men, then a man and two women, such as ye choose, for witnesses, so that if one of them errs, the other can remind her.) (Al-Baqarah 2:282)
No reference is made to the inferiority or superiority of one gender’s witness or the other’s. The only reason given is to corroborate the female’s witness and prevent unintended errors in the perception of the business deal. The Arabic term used in this passage, tadhilla, literally means “loses the way,” “gets confused,” or “errs.” But are females the only gender that may err and need corroboration of their testimony? Definitely not, and that is why the general rule of testimony in Islamic law is to have two witnesses, even when they are both male.
First, when generally considered, in some instances of bearing witness to certain civil contracts, two men are required or one man and two women. Again, this is no indication of the woman being inferior to man. It is a measure of securing the rights of the contracting parties, because woman as a rule, is not as experienced in practical life as man. This lack of experience may cause a loss to any party in a given contract. So the Law requires that at least two women should bear witness with one man. If a woman of the witness forgets something, the other one would remind her. Or if she makes an error, due to lack of experience, the other would help to correct her. This is a precautionary measure to guarantee honest transactions and proper dealings between people. In fact, it gives woman a role to play in civil life and helps to establish justice. At any rate, lack of experience in civil life does not necessarily mean that women are inferior to man in her status. Every human being lacks one thing or another, yet no one questions their human status (2:282).
The key difference between men and women is their physiology. Women give birth and men don’t, women must rest for a lengthy period after child birth while men don’t, women as mothers must suckle their children while men don’t, women have menstrual cycles which incapacitate there movement somewhat while men don’t. These differences exist as a matter of physical fact and have nothing to do with intelligence or will.
This precious Quran speaks of nothing but fairness and equality for both men and women, yet it is the evil wishes of those who have corrupted the religion to turn it into a book that serves their own purposes and desires.
Other than ‘future financial transactions’ listed in 2:282, the testimony of 1 woman = 1 man as can be seen:
· “If any of your women are guilty of lewdness, Take the evidence of four (Reliable) witnesses from amongst you against them; and if they testify, confine them to houses until death do claim them, or Allah ordain for them some (other) way.” (Verse 4:15)
· “And those who launch a charge against chaste women, and produce not four witnesses (to support their allegations), – flog them with eighty stripes; and reject their evidence ever after: for such men are wicked transgressors;-” (Verse 24:4)
In-fact, there is even one instance where the testimony of a woman OVERRIDES that of a man!
· “And for those who launch a charge against their spouses, and have (in support) no evidence but their own, – their solitary evidence (can be received) if they bear witness four times (with an oath) by Allah that they are solemnly telling the truth; And the fifth (oath) (should be) that they solemnly invoke the curse of Allah on themselves if they tell a lie. But it would avert the punishment from the wife, if she bears witness four times (with an oath) By Allah, that (her husband) is telling a lie; And the fifth (oath) should be that she solemnly invokes the wrath of Allah on herself if (her accuser) is telling the truth.” (Verses 24:6-9)
It must be added that unlike pure acts of worship, which must be observed exactly as taught by the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, testimony is a means to an end, ascertaining justice as a major objective of Islamic law. Therefore, it is the duty of a fair judge to be guided by this objective when assessing the worth and credibility of a given testimony, regardless of the gender of the witness. A witness of a female graduate of a business school is certainly far more worthy than the witness of an illiterate person with no business education or experience!