Muhammad accused women to be deficient in intelligence. This accusation brought a lot of hardships for women, and they were deprived of their testimonies (either partial or even full) in almost all cases. 

Due to the highly insulting nature of Muhammad's accusation, which went against human intellect, present-day Islamic apologists find themselves compelled to make various weak excuses in defence of Muhammad.

 

The First Excuse: "نقص" does not mean "deficiency", but "reduction in responsibility":

Islamic apologists claim (link):

This demonstrates the profound significance of the word “نقص” to which some scholars have interpreted it in this hadith to mean: “reduction in responsibility.” Therefore, in the context of two women being required as witnesses, it signifies a shared responsibility of bearing witness instead of it being solely entrusted to one individual. Thus, there is a reduced burden of responsibility when compared to a single male witness.

Response:

The context of Hadith itself makes it clear that Muhammad meant "Deficiency in intelligence", and not "Reduction in Responsibility"

Sahih al-Bukhari, Book 6, Hadith 298 (Translated by Aisha Bewley):

298. It is related that Abu Sa'id al-Khudri said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, set out to the place of prayer on the Day of Adha or Fitr and passed by the women. He said, 'O congregation of women! Give alms for I have seen that you will make up the majority of the inhabitants of the Fire!' They said, 'Why, Messenger of Allah?' He said, 'You call down too many curses and show ingratitude to your husbands. I have not seen anyone more deficient in intellect or deen. Yet the mind of even a resolute man might be swept away by one of you.' They said, 'In what way is our deen and intellect deficient, Messenger of Allah?' He said, 'Is not the testimony of a woman worth only half that of a man?' They said, 'Yes.' He said, 'That is how your intellect is deficient. Is it not so that when a woman is menstruating, she neither prays nor fasts?' They said, 'Yes.' He said, 'That is how her deen is deficient.'"

Please note that:

  • Muhammad is here clearly talking in the context that despite women being "deficient in intelligence", they are yet able to influence even a resolute man who is superior in intelligence and religion. Therefore, it is evident that Muhammad meant "Deficiency in intelligence" in this context.
  • Otherwise, it would make no sense for Muhammad to tell women that despite "reduction in responsibility", they can yet sweep away the mind of a resolute man.

Please note that the English translation of this Hadith by Mohsin Khan contains a distortion (Tehrif) as it disconnects the context and separates the issue of women being deficient in intellect from the issue of sweeping away the minds of resolute men.

Sahih al-Bukhari, 304 (translated by Mohsin Khan)

Narrated Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri: Once Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) went out to the Musalla (to offer the prayer) of `Id-al-Adha or Al-Fitr prayer. Then he passed by the women and said, "O women! Give alms, as I have seen that the majority of the dwellers of Hell-fire were you (women)." They asked, "Why is it so, O Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) ?" He replied, "You curse frequently and are ungrateful to your husbands. I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion than you. A cautious sensible man could be led astray by some of you." ....

It is important to highlight that this translation by Mohsin Khan is inaccurate, while Aisha Bewley provided the correct translation. ٖFurthermore, you can confirm this correct translation in English here and in Urdu here

Moreover, the Quranic verse (Quran 2:282) clearly states that the reason for requiring two women as witnesses is not a "reduction of the burden of responsibility," but because the writer of the Quran (i.e. Muhammad) believed that women often "err" due to their lack of intelligence.

Quran 2:282:

O you who have believed, when you contract a debt for a specified term, write it down. And let a scribe write [it] between you in justice. Let no scribe refuse to write as Allah has taught him. So let him write and let the one who has the obligation dictate. And let him fear Allah, his Lord, and not leave anything out of it. But if the one who has the obligation is of limited understanding or weak or unable to dictate himself, then let his guardian dictate in justice. And bring to witness two witnesses from among your men. And if there are not two men [available], then a man and two women from those whom you accept as witnesses - so that if one of the women errs, then the other can remind her.

Hence, the contradiction arises when Islamic apologists assert that two female witnesses are required to reduce their burden, while the Quran itself states that two female witnesses are needed because women often "err" according to its writer.

This leads to a significant question: Why are Islamic apologists contradicting their own Quran by making such a claim?

Contradictions are indicators of falsehood. Therefore, if there exists a contradiction between the stance of Islamic apologists and the Quran, it suggests that they are not presenting the truth.

 

The Second Excuse: Women "err" due to their non-involvement in business/debt contracts

After the Quran refuted the first excuse of "reduction of responsibility" and acknowledged women's propensity to "err," Islamic apologists put forth their second excuse, asserting that Allah is correct in recognizing women's propensity to make mistakes. They claim (link). 

In the case of testimony, women in early Islam did not customarily involve themselves in business contracts, debts, and other matters. They were usually doing other important work, caring for their children and elderly parents, and so on. 

Response: 

Firstly, it is worth noting that many men and 14-year-old boys are also never involved in financial matters in their lives, yet their testimony is directly considered as "full", if they do participate.

Secondly, even if an uneducated and inexperienced man engages in contracts or debts, his testimony is counted as full. In contrast, even if an educated and experienced woman takes part in financial matters, her testimony remains half. This distinction is due to Muhammad's belief that women err not because of their lack of experience but due to their deficiency in intelligence.

Thirdly, although Muhammad considered women to have lower intelligence and memory, he still allowed them to own and manage their wealth. Perhaps, Muhammad had to allow it while Khadija (his first wife) owned wealth and she fed Muhammad out of her wealth. The point is, if women can look after their wealth and finances all the time and make all the decisions themselves, then they also can become a witness in a financial contract. 

Thus, even when women were capable of managing their finances, Muhammad still reduced the value of their testimony to half in financial matters, which does not make any sense.

Fourthly, it is not only in financial matters but also in cases of murder, rape, fornication, divorce, etc., that Islam does not accept a woman's testimony. This is not about involvement or experience, but about being sensible enough to provide accurate testimony in such cases. However, the writer of the Quran (i.e. Muhammad) does not consider women to be sensible enough, as he views them as deficient in intelligence.

 

A woman's testimony is considered as half ONLY in financial matters, and it is entirely Null in serious cases such as killings, rape, fornication, etc.

There is a widespread misunderstanding that women's testimony is universally accepted as half in all cases within Islam. However, the reality is much worse, as women have been severely degraded by the writer of the Quran (i.e., Muhammad).

In specific matters of relatively lesser significance (like in Financial Matters), a woman's testimony is accepted as half. Additionally, her testimony is considered as full in specific matters related to her body or personal affairs, where men lack firsthand knowledge and have to rely on women's testimony.

However, when it comes to grave cases, such as Hudud punishments (like rape, robbery, murder etc.), a woman's testimony is completely disregarded and considered as ZERO.

Similarly, in all other cases unrelated to a woman's body or affairs, her testimony is also entirely rejected, including matters like Nikah (marriage), Talaq (divorce), Raju' (restitution of conjugal rights), Ila (الإيلاء) (a husband's vow to abstain from his wife), Zihar (a form of divorce), Apostasy, parentage, al-Wakalah, will-testaments, and more.

The reason for this discrimination against women's testimony is not as Islamic apologists claim, which is to reduce their responsibility or due to their lack of experience in these fields. Instead, it is solely because the writer of the Quran (i.e., Muhammad) considered women to be deficient in intelligence.

Contrastingly, men's testimony is accepted as full right from the beginning, even in cases where they have no experience, such as rape, theft, robbery, Nikah, divorce, etc. This disparity is based on the notion that women are intellectually inferior, perpetuating discrimination against them in the legal system.

Saudi Salafi Mufti at the largest Fatwa website Isalm Q&A writes (link):

There is a case of Zina (adultery), where testimony of four people is needed, and women could not be included in those 4 witnesses (i.e. they all should be men). Quran say:

Quran 24:4:

وَٱلَّذِينَ يَرْمُونَ ٱلْمُحْصَنَٰتِ ثُمَّ لَمْ يَأْتُوا۟ بِأَرْبَعَةِ شُهَدَآءَ فَٱجْلِدُوهُمْ ثَمَٰنِينَ جَلْدَةً وَلَا تَقْبَلُوا۟ لَهُمْ شَهَٰدَةً أَبَدًا ۚ

Translation: And those who accuse the chaste women, then not they bring four (male) witnesses (Arabic شُهَدَآءَ, which is genitive masculine plural noun), then flog them (with) eighty lashe(s) and (do) not accept their testimony ever.

... And there are few cases where testimony of only 2 people is needed, but women are not included in them (i.e both witnesses should be men). These cases are of Hudud and Qisas, for example cutting hands for stealing, drinking alcohol, Hirabah (i.e. treason), and all Islamic scholars agree upon it.

And then there are cases, (which are not about woman's body and affairs, and thus) men could get direct information about them, and they are also not about the financial matters. These cases are like Nikah, Talaq, Raju' [restitution of conjugal rights], Ila (الإيلاء), Zihar, Apostasy, parentage, al-Wakalah, will-testaments etc., then according to majority of Fuqaha (Islamic jurists) testimony of 2 men is needed, but women are not included in it.

And a proof for it lies in this Quranic verse of divorce too:

Quran 65:2:

فَإِذَا بَلَغْنَ أَجَلَهُنَّ فَأَمْسِكُوهُنَّ بِمَعْرُوفٍ أَوْ فَارِقُوهُنَّ بِمَعْرُوفٍ وَأَشْهِدُوا۟ ذَوَىْ عَدْلٍ مِّنكُمْ وَأَقِيمُوا۟ ٱلشَّهَٰدَةَ لِلَّهِ ۚ

Translation: Then when they have reached their term, then retain them with kindness or part with them with kindness. And take witness two men (Arabic ذَوَىْ accusative masculine dual noun) just among you and establish the testimony for Allah.

And also, proof is found in the Quranic verse of will-testament:

Quran 5:106:

يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ شَهَٰدَةُ بَيْنِكُمْ إِذَا حَضَرَ أَحَدَكُمُ ٱلْمَوْتُ حِينَ ٱلْوَصِيَّةِ ٱثْنَانِ ذَوَا عَدْلٍ مِّنكُمْ أَوْ ءَاخَرَانِ مِنْ غَيْرِكُمْ إِنْ أَنتُمْ ضَرَبْتُمْ فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ فَأَصَٰبَتْكُم مُّصِيبَةُ ٱلْمَوْتِ ۚ تَحْبِسُونَهُمَا مِنۢ بَعْدِ ٱلصَّلَوٰةِ فَيُقْسِمَانِ بِٱللَّهِ إِنِ ٱرْتَبْتُمْ لَا نَشْتَرِى بِهِۦ ثَمَنًا وَلَوْ كَانَ ذَا قُرْبَىٰ ۙ وَلَا نَكْتُمُ شَهَٰدَةَ ٱللَّهِ إِنَّآ إِذًا لَّمِنَ ٱلْءَاثِمِينَ

Translation: O you who believe! (Take) testimony among you when approaches one of you [the] death, (at the) time (of making) [the] a will two men (Arabic ٱثْنَانِ: nominative masculine dual noun), just, among you, or two other men (Arabic اخَرَانِ: nominative masculine dual noun) from other than you if you (are) travel(ing) in the earth then befalls you calamity (of) [the] death. Detain both of them from after the prayer and let them both swear by Allah if you doubt, "Not we will exchange it for a price even if he is (of) a near relative, and not we will conceal testimony (of) Allah.

And about Nikah (marriage) too, the holy prophet (pbuh) said:

( لا نكاح إلا بولي وشاهدي عدل )

Translation: Nikah could not be held without the guardian and 2 male witnesses.

This tradition has been recorded by Imam Bayhiqi.

While Imam Malik narrated from Imam Zuhri:

مضت السنة بأنه لا تجوز شهادة النساء في الحدود ولا في النكاح والطلاق

Translation: It has been a regular practice according to Sunnah that testimony of women is not accepted in Hudud, Nikah and Talaq.

Therefore, all the Quranic Verses (24:4 regarding adultery, 65:2 regarding Talaq and 5:106 regarding will-testament) demand only males as witnesses.

Please read our detailed article: The Testimony of a Woman Is Not Accepted (Not Even as Half) in Serious Hudud Cases such as Rape, Robbery, Murder, etc.

 

The reason for depriving women of their testimonies: Muhammad discriminated against people based on their STATUS

Muhammad considered women to be of lower status compared to men, as evident in Quran 4:34

Quran 4:34:

ٱلرِّجَالُ قَوَّٰمُونَ عَلَى ٱلنِّسَآءِ بِمَا فَضَّلَ ٱللَّهُ بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ وَبِمَآ أَنفَقُوا۟ مِنْ أَمْوَٰلِهِمْ

Men stand superior to women in that God hath preferred some of them over others, and in that they expend of their wealth.

This verse demonstrates Muhammad's belief in the superiority of men over women, based on God's preference.

Moreover, Muhammad's discrimination extended beyond gender. He also deprived slaves, including male slaves, and non-Muslims of their testimonies, considering them to be of lower status than free Muslims.

Imam Shafii wrote in his book “Ahkam-ul-Quran, vol 2, page 142 (link):

And the testimony should be from the free men, and not from the slaves. Similarly, these free men should be the follower of our religion (i.e. they should be Muslims), while the testimony of non-Muslims free men is not accepted

Imam Abdullah Ibn Abi Zayd writes in his Fiqh Book (link):

ولا تجوز شهادة المحدود ولا شهادة عبد ولا صبي ولا كافر
The testimony of someone who has been given a fixed punishment, or of a slave, a minor or a Kafir, is inadmissible.

A male slave and a male Kafir didn't suffer from deficiency of memory and intelligence according to Muhammad, but it is their lower status which Muhammad used in order to discriminate against them and deprive them of their testimonies.

Even many Muslim Scholars also openly admitted that women are deprived of their testimonies, while they are lower in Status. 

For example, Hafidh Zubair Zai is a well-respected Salafi Hadith Master. He writes under the commentary of this Hadith (link):

This authentic Hadith indicates that men have a general superiority over women. This is also confirmed in the Noble Quran:

"Men are in charge of women." [Surah An-Nisa: 34]

 

Depriving slave women their testimony led to their rape and their inability to get any justice

Some people used to force their slave girls into prostitution.

When those slave girls complained to Muhammad, he didn't punish their owners for compelling them to fornication

But the question is: Why didn't Muhammad/Allah punish those owners for compelling their slave women to do prostitution?

The answer is: The witness of slave women is no acceptable in Islamic courts. 

This incident is present in the Quran itself.

Quran 24:33:

And do not compel your slave girls to prostitution, if they desire chastity, to seek [thereby] the temporary interests of worldly life. And if someone should compel them, then indeed, Allah is [to them], after their compulsion, Forgiving and Merciful.

Sunnan Abu Dawud, Kitab-ul-Talaq (link):

Musaykah, a slave-girl of some Ansari, came and said: My owner forces me to commit fornication (in order to earn money from it). Thereupon the following verse was revealed: "(Quran 24:33) And do not compel your slave girls to prostitution, if they desire chastity, to seek [thereby] the temporary interests of worldly life. And if someone should compel them, then indeed, Allah is [to them], after their compulsion, Forgiving and Merciful."

Actually, slaves are absolutely not allowed to go to court against their owners in any matter.

Therefore, a slave girl could cry as much as she can about her rape, but her witness is not accepted in any Islamic court, which makes it impossible that her owner can be punished for such heinous crimes as forcing them into prostitution.

That is why, the writer of the Quran (i.e. Muhammad), at maximum, ONLY Recommended the owners not to force the slave women into fornication, but he was unable to punish the owners for forcing their slave girls into prostitution.

 

The Third Excuse:  Women's testimony is half, while they are emotional

Muhammad accused women of having lower memory and low intelligence. In addition to this, some Muslim apologists added another allegation, stating that women's testimony is rejected in serious Hudud cases or considered half valid in financial matters because they are emotional and prone to making mistakes while testifying due to their emotions.

However, this claim by Muslim apologists lacks concrete evidence. In non-Muslim countries, there is a vast amount of data containing testimonies from several million women, and nowhere is it suggested that women's emotional nature leads to significant mistakes in their testimonies.

Therefore, Muslim apologists should refrain from making baseless assumptions about women's ability to testify accurately based solely on their emotions. Instead, they should provide scientific studies that support their claim.

Please also note that the question is not about whether women experience emotions or not, but the question is whether women are emotional to Such an EXTENT that they start giving false testimonies. Thus, Islamic apologists don' have to bring those studies which merely say that women are emotional, but they have to bring those scientific studies which prove women to be emotional to this EXTENT where the disadvantages of their testimonies outweigh the advantages due to their being emotional.

 

The Fourth Excuse: 'Aisha's witness was considered as full in the case of Hadith

Islamic apologists also make this excuse:

Muslims unanimously accept 'Aisha's testimony as full in the case of Hadith. This serves as evidence that Islam does not consider women deficient in intelligence or memory.

Response:

Even though the testimony of a woman like 'Aisha is considered full in the case of Hadith, the credit for this recognition does not belong to Islam. Instead, it was the circumstances that practically  "compelled" Muslims to accept the testimony of women as full in Hadith.

Allah (i.e. Muhammad) did not leave behind any organized book on many subjects, such as Sharia rulings, Sunnah (practices of Muhammad), and history etc. Numerous incidents, especially those occurring inside the house of Muhammad, had no male witnesses, and only his wives witnessed those events. Similarly, there were various Fiqh issues concerning women, where once again, only Aisha and other wives of Muhammad were the witnesses, as Muhammad failed to communicate those matters to any man directly. As a result, during the time of Muhammad and even after his demise, women would approach 'Aisha and other wives to seek answers to those issues, and they were answering them in the light of Muhammad's Hadith. 

In this situation, the only available source was the Quran, which is not only extremely vague but also useless for life's practical issues. For example, there are not even 1% of Sharia Rulings present in the Quran. The whole Quran is mainly filled with praises of Allah's power and some ancient tales.

Thus, Muslims were practically "compelled" to admit the testimony of 'Aisha, as they had no other way to know the rulings about many issues.

Similarly, NATURE also clearly contradicted Muhammad's opinion that women are inferior in intelligence and memory. 'Aisha possessed a remarkable memory and could recall incidents and rulings without error. Her natural ability and intelligence left Muslims with no excuse to deny her testimony in the case of Hadith.

However,  when it will come to any financial matter, then these same Muslims will make 'Aisha's testimony to be half (again blaming her to be deficient in intelligence and making errors). And also 'Aisha's testimony would be reduced to  ZERO by these same Muslims in Hudud's cases of drinking wine, rape, stealing, robbery, or even in cases of divorce, Nikah and will-testament' and start blaming her to be too "emotional" to give testimonies in these cases. Yes, 'Aisha may be emotional, but not to the EXTENT that she starts "erring" in her testimony. 

 

The Fifth Excuse: The Prophet didn't mean All Women, but Only the Women of the Ansar Tribes

Islamist apologists also claim that the Prophet didn't mean all women in this Hadith, but only the women of the Ansar (link). 

Reply:

Firstly, there is absolutely no mention of Ansar women, but this hadith is clearly addressing all women. No one stopped Muhammad from openly taking the name of Ansar women in the Hadith. 

Secondly, even millions of Muslim scholars of the past 14 centuries themselves never claimed that Muhammad meant only the women of Ansar. There is only one present-day Sufi Islamic scholar Sheikh Sha'arawi, who made this excuse for the first time. But again, he was unable to present any proof for this claim. 

Thus, the CONJECTURES of Islamic apologists hold no value, but they have to come with solid proof. 

 

The Sixth Excuse: But later coming few Zahiri Scholars indeed accepted the witness of Women

An Islamic apologist wrote:

Ibn al-Qayyim, Ibn Taymiyyah, Ib Qudamah agreed that witness of a woman is accepted and can be equal to a man

https://yaqeeninstitute.org/nazir-khan/women-in-islamic-law-examining-five-prevalent-myths/

https://www.dar-alifta.org/en/article/details/143/the-testimony-of-women-in-islam

Response:

Firstly:

  • All above mentioned Islamic Scholars (i.e. Ibn Qudamah, Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn al-Qayyim) belong to the later coming "Zahiri" sect of Islam. 
  • And they came only 600 years after Muhammad. This means, they claimed that the whole Salaf (early) Ummah of the first 600 years got unanimously misguided on this issue, and indeed the witness of a woman is acceptable and equal to a man. 
  • Even after them, only a handful of Muslims followed them, while the remaining Muslim Ummah kept on denying the witness of a woman. 

Secondly:

  • They failed to bring a single Quranic Verse which proves that women are allowed to witness in cases of Hudud cases etc. 
  • They failed to bring a single Hadith of Muhammad, where he allowed any free or slave woman to testify in the cases of stealing, fornication, rape, robbery, drinking, Nikah, divorce, will-testament etc.

Thirdly:

  • If Allah truly exists and possesses knowledge of the "Unseen" about the future, and He knew that for the next 14 centuries, the entire community would continue to make this mistake,
  • And If Allah really knew that due to this mistake, hundreds of thousands of women and slave women are going to suffer as their witnesses are going to be denied in almost all cases except for some minor issues like financial matters etc. 
  • Then why didn't Allah reveal a clear verse in the Quran specifying that the witness of a woman is accepted in all Hudud cases and is equal to a man's witness? 

The Quran is a voluminous book, but Allah filled it with boasting about His grandness and powers, some old stories, and tales.

Why didn't Allah have the capability to straightforwardly present the commandments of Sharia in a scholarly manner so that countless innocent women and slave girls wouldn't fall victim to injustice?

The only logical conclusion drawn from all this is that there is no all-Knowing, all-Wise, 100% Perfect and Flawless Allah above the heavens. Instead, it was Muhammad himself who was formulating the Sharia. And since Muhammad was just a human and not 100% perfect, and he didn't possess knowledge of the future "Unseen," we are left with a Sharia that is full of imperfections and human errors.

Fourthly:

Actually, it proves that Allah/Quran made a false promise. 

The Quran claims that:

  • Its verses are "easy to understand" (Quran 54:17)
  • Its verses are "clear", "manifest" and "guidance" (Quran 27:1-2)
  • It was revealed in the Arabic language so that they could understand it (Quran 12:2)

So, the question is:

  • Why did those billions of Muslims of the first 14 centuries still get misguided?
  • They firmly believed firmly in this Quran from the depth of their hearts.
  • They read it day and night.
  • They pondered upon it their entire lives. 

But if they still misunderstood it, and got misguided, then it is not the fault of those billions of Muslims of the last 14 centuries, but it becomes the fault of the Quran itself. 

 

Islam contains dozens of Misogynist claims regarding Women

Please don't see Muhammad's claim of "deficiency of intelligence" in women in isolation, but there exist dozens of such MISOGYNIST clams in Islam. For example: 

  1. Women are deficient in intellect, their testimony is worth half
  2. Women inherit half, or often far less
  3. Women can be raped as slaves
  4. Husbands can unilaterally marry more women and dozens of slave girls.
  5. Women can't lead prayers
  6. Women can't travel alone
  7. Women aren't fit to be leaders
  8. Women "come in the shape of the devil"
  9. Women are the majority inhabitants of hell (and no, more men are born than women so the number of souls based on birth is majority men)
  10. Women can't marry christian men but men can
  11. Women are burdened with far higher control of clothing and sexuality
  12. Menstruation is unpure
  13. You can beat your wife
  14. Women are ungrateful to their husbands
  15. Women's laugh, scent, sound of her shoes is zina
  16. An Infertile woman has no worth, should not be married, and could be divorced, while a woman could not take divorce from her infertile Muslim husband [Double Standards of Islam]
  17. If Muslim Men Get Houris, What Will Muslim Women Get in Paradise?
  18. Islam and the Disease of Virginophilia (i.e. only women have to be virgins, but there is no problem if men are virgins or not)
  19. Blaming Eve for Wives Betraying Their Husbands (Allah's/Muhammad's Logic)
  20. Halala (Tahleel Marriage)
  21. Liaan (Accusation of Adultery): A Husband Can Accuse His Wife of Adultery Without Any 4 Witnesses, but if a Wife Accuses Her Husband of Adultery (or Rape) and She Does Not Produce 4 Eyewitnesses, Then She Will Be Lashed 80 Times
  22. ‘Iddah (waiting period) is illogical & injustice against women