Common Misconceptions & Myths In Islam
Myth: Two witnesses who are
women are equivalent to only one witness who is a man.
Since financial responsibility is shouldered by men, they are expected to be well versed in financial transactions as compared to women. As a second option, the witness can be one man and two women, so that if one of the women errs the other can remind her. The Arabic word used in the Qur’an is ‘Tazil’ which means ‘confused’ or ‘to err’. Many have wrongly translated this word as ‘to forget’. Thus financial transactions constitute the only case in which two female witnesses are equal to one male witness.
However, some scholars are of the opinion that the feminine attitude can also have an effect on the witness in a murder case. In such circumstances a woman is more terrified as compared to a man. Due to her emotional condition she can get confused. Therefore, according to some jurists, even in cases of murder, two female witnesses are equivalent to one male witness.
In all other cases, one female witness is equivalent to one male witness. There are about five verses in the Qur’an which speak about witnesses without specifying man or woman. While making a will of inheritance, two just persons are required as witnesses.
In Surah Maidah chapter 5 verse 106, the Glorious Qur’an says: “Oh you who believe! When death approaches any of you, (take) witnesses among yourself when making bequests.” [Al-Qur’an 5:106] two just persons of your own (brotherhood) or other from outside if you are journeying through the earth and the chance of death befalls you.” [Al-Qur’an 65:2] Two persons endued with justice in case of talaq. “Four witnesses are required in case of charge against chaste women, [Al-Qur’an 24:4]
There are some scholars who are of the opinion that the rule of two female witnesses equal to one male witness should be applied to all the cases. This cannot be agreed upon because one particular verse of the Qur’an from Surah Noor chapter 24, verse 6 clearly equates one female witness and one male witness: “And those who launch a charge against their spouses, and have (in support) no evidence but their own - their solitary evidence can be received.” [Al-Qur’an 24:6]
Hazrat Ayesha (RA) hadith narrated of one witness Many jurists agree that even one witness of a woman is sufficient for the sighting of the crescent of the moon. Imagine one woman witness is sufficient for one of the pillars of Islam, i.e. fasting and the whole Muslim community of men and women agree and accept her witness! Some jurists say that one witness is required at the beginning of Ramadaan and two witnesses at the end of Ramadaan.
It makes no difference whether the witnesses are men or women. Some incidents require only female witness and that of a male cannot be accepted. For instance, in dealing with the problems of women, while giving the burial bath i.e. ‘ghusl’ to a woman, the witness has to be a woman.
The seeming inequality of male and female witnesses in financial transactions is not due to any inequality of the sexes in Islam. It is only due to the different natures and roles of men and women in society as envisaged by Islam.
Shaykh Muhyiddin Ibn ‘Arabi—may Allah bless his soul—mentioned in his Futuhat al-Makkiyah (The Meccan Revelations):
“God has made the divergence in legal questions a mercy for His servants and a broadening (ittisa’) of what He has prescribed they should do to testify to their adoration. But in the case of those who follow the jurists of our time, these jurists have prohibited and restricted what the sacred Law had broadened in their favour. They say to the person who belongs to their school, if for example he is a Hanafite: ‘Don’t go looking for a rukhsa (an alleviation or exemption) from Shafi’i regarding this problem you are faced with’; and so on with all of them. This is one of the greatest calamities and heaviest constraints in the matter of religion. God Himself has said, ‘In religion he has not imposed anything difficult on you’ (Qur’an 22:78). The Law has affirmed the validity of the status of anyone who makes a personal effort at interpretation for himself and for those who follow him. But in our days the jurists have condemned this effort, claiming it encourages people to make a mockery of religion. For them to say this is the height of ignorance.”
of anything, whether living or non-living things are not prohibited per
se. Although there are a number of narratives ascribed to the Prophet
(pbuh) in which, apparently it
seems that prohibition of pictures, in general, has been referred to but if all
the narratives regarding the issue are gathered and analyzed, it becomes
apparent that the Prophet (pbuh) has actually prohibited pictures, which were
used for worship in the society.
the Arab society, during the times of the Prophet (pbuh),
pictures and paintings were primarily used for the purpose of polytheistic
worship. Therefore it could be said that these were the pictures, which have
actually been referred to in the narratives ascribed to the Prophet (pbuh) in
Besides all the narratives ascribed to the Prophet (pbuh), the following narrative in which Saalim ibn Abd Allah is reported to have explained the nature of the prohibition mentioned in the narratives ascribed to the Prophet (pbuh). This narrative is reported by Ahmad ibn Hanbal:
should be clear from the explanation given above, therefore pictures are not
se. It is only when a picture entails polytheistic veneration that it
becomes prohibited. If a picture of a living thing, like the picture of a
person's father etc. does not entail a polytheistic belief, it would not be
prohibited. On the other hand, if a picture of a non-living thing [non-living
does not imply "non-living" in the scientific sense] entails a
polytheistic belief, like for instance, the picture of a particular tree or a
stone, such picture shall stand prohibited.
The reason for this prohibition is, obviously, to save people from the fatal sin of Shirk [polytheism].
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