Are women deficient in intelligence in Islam?
Frequently, individuals who are not Muslims tend to cite Hadith and Quranic verses in an attempt to argue that Islam regards women as having half the intelligence of men. However, it is important to clarify that these Hadith and Quranic verses do not make such claims. On the contrary, they express support for women and are not intended to be insulting. In the forthcoming article, we will present medical evidence to demonstrate that these Hadith and Quranic verses align with established medical knowledge. It’s crucial to note that this evidence will not imply that women are less intelligent.
📖Sahih al-Bukhari 304 | Bukhari 2658
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.” The women asked, “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! What is deficient in our intelligence and religion?” He said, “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. Isn’t it true that a woman can neither pray nor fast during her menses?” The women replied in the affirmative. He said, “This is the deficiency in her religion.
Gender Disparity in Heaven and Future Prophecy
The initial question pertains to why a majority of women are said to be in Hell. I would like to clarify that in Sahih Muslim 2834, it mentions that in a similar manner, more women will be in Heaven. This hadith also indicates that women will outnumber men in heaven. It is also important to note that according to Islam, a time will come in the future when women will increase in number, and men will decrease in number so much so that fifty women will be looked after by one man, as mentioned in Sahih al-Bukhari 81. This is most probably referring to the last day after the Armageddon (Malhama Al-Kubra), so during that time, men will be fewer, and women will outnumber men. Thus, they will constitute a larger number in Heaven as well.
Critical Observation on Behavior
The phrase conveys the following message: “You frequently use curses and show ingratitude towards your husbands. I haven’t observed anyone who appears more deficient in both intelligence and religious commitment than you. A cautious, sensible man could be led astray by some of you.” It’s important to note that Prophet Muhammad did not disrespect women or provide evidence that women are less intelligent or have half a brain. Quite the contrary, the Hadith being referred to is not about demeaning women. The Prophet simply explained to them the reason and the favor that Allah gives them, that during menstruation, they don’t need to pray and fast. Because of menstruation, women can forget something or feel depressed, and because of such things, a man can go astray without understanding their problems. So, in this passage, the Prophet said that because of such things, a cautious, sensible man could be led astray by some of you. It’s important to note that he also said in this passage “some of you,” not all. That means if a husband knows the problem of his wife, he can’t go astray because of women. Overall, the Hadith states that Allah has granted women certain privileges over men. Specifically, during menstruation, if women are unable to pray or fast, Allah forgives them for this lapse. Men, on the other hand, do not receive such allowances. In essence, the phrase highlights the favors that Allah has bestowed upon women. Now, regarding the question of whether it’s true that women can forget or feel sad or depressed because of menstruation, the answer is yes. Medically, there are references that support this claim. 👇
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a combination of symptoms that many women get about a week or two before their period. Most women, over 90%, say they get some premenstrual symptoms, such as bloating, headaches, and moodiness. For some women, these symptoms may be so severe that they miss work or school, but other women are not bothered by milder symptoms. On average, women in their 30s are most likely to have PMS.4 Your doctor can help you find ways to relieve your symptoms.
What are the symptoms of PMS?
PMS symptoms are different for every woman. You may get physical symptoms, such as bloating or gassiness, or emotional symptoms, such as sadness, or both. Your symptoms may also change throughout your life.
Physical symptoms of PMS can include:12
- Swollen or tender breasts
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Bloating or a gassy feeling
- Headache or backache
- Lower tolerance for noise or light
Emotional or mental symptoms of PMS include:12
- Irritability or hostile behavior
- Feeling tired
- Sleep problems (sleeping too much or too little)
- Appetite changes or food cravings
- Trouble with concentration or memory
- Tension or anxiety
- Depression, feelings of sadness, or crying spells
- Mood swings
- Less interest in sex
Reference: Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a health problem that is similar to premenstrual syndrome (PMS) but is more serious. PMDD causes severe irritability, depression, or anxiety in the week or two before your period starts. Symptoms usually go away two to three days after your period starts. You may need medicine or other treatment to help with your symptoms.
What is PMDD?
PMDD is a condition similar to PMS that also happens in the week or two before your period starts as hormone levels begin to fall after ovulation. PMDD causes more severe symptoms than PMS, including severe depression, irritability, and tension.
Who gets PMDD?
PMDD affects up to 5% of women of childbearing age. Many women with PMDD may also have anxiety or depression.
What are the symptoms of PMDD?
Symptoms of PMDD include:3
- Lasting irritability or anger that may affect other people
- Feelings of sadness or despair, or even thoughts of suicide
- Feelings of tension or anxiety
- Panic attacks
- Mood swings or crying often
- Lack of interest in daily activities and relationships
- Trouble thinking or focusing
- Tiredness or low energy
- Food cravings or binge eating
- Trouble sleeping
- Feeling out of control
- Physical symptoms, such as cramps, bloating, breast tenderness, headaches, and joint or muscle pain
Reference: Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)
Dpression has been linked to memory problems, such as forgetfulness or confusion. It can also make it difficult to focus on work or other tasks, make decisions, or think clearly. Stress and anxiety can also lead to poor memory.
Reference: Can Depression Cause Memory Loss?
Brain Fog Before Period:
Brain fog can be related to Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD). PMDD is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) that can cause a range of physical and emotional symptoms, including cognitive issues like difficulty concentrating, memory problems, and mental fogginess. These cognitive symptoms are often referred to as “brain fog” and can significantly affect a person’s daily functioning during the luteal phase of their menstrual cycle (the two weeks before menstruation).
MEMORY LOSS IN PREGNANCY
Studies have suggested that a vast majority (50-80%) of pregnant women report memory impairment. Many of such reports were anecdotal or based on self-assessment. However, recent studies indicate that memory can be significantly impaired during pregnancy and the immediate post-childbirth period.
Reference: MEMORY LOSS IN PREGNANCY: MYTH OR FACT?
Pregnancy Brain” or Forgetfulness During Pregnancy
Pregnancy-induced brain fog is a true (and truly frustrating) hallmark of pregnancy. If you suffer from so-called “pregnancy brain,” you may forget appointments, what you just walked into the store for, where you left your purse, whether you turned off the stove — and, maybe, your phone number.
- A first-of-its-kind study has revealed that the architecture of women’s brains changes strikingly during their first pregnancies, in ways that last for at least 2 years. In particular, gray matter shrinks in areas involved in processing and responding to social signals.
- Mothers-to-be have long complained about forgetting the simplest things as soon as they fall pregnant, jokingly blaming their ‘preg head’ or ‘baby brain’. Now a major study has found that many women expecting a child do in fact suffer considerable memory loss, which continues even after birth.
Reference: Pregnancy ‘does cause memory loss
What is menopause brain fog?
If you’re a woman in your 40s or 50s, you may be going through menopause or the ending of your menstrual cycles. The average age to go through this change in the United States is 51. Symptoms are different for each woman, and include anything from night sweats to weight gain to thinning hair. Many women also reportTrusted Source feeling forgetful or having a general “brain fog” that makes it hard to concentrate.
Reference: What is menopause brain fog?
Reference: Menopausal Memory and Concentration Loss
Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disorder that gets worse over time. It’s characterized by changes in the brain that lead to deposits of certain proteins. Alzheimer’s disease causes the brain to shrink and brain cells to eventually die. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia — a gradual decline in memory, thinking, behavior and social skills. These changes affect a person’s ability to function, Women are disproportionately affected by Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Nearly two-thirds of the more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s are women and two-thirds of the more than 15 million Americans providing care and support for someone with Alzheimer’s disease are women. This devastating disease places an unbalanced burden on women at work and at home, forcing them to make difficult choices about their careers, their relationships and their futures.
Non-Muslims often reference the hadith that states, ‘Is not the evidence of two women equal to the witness of one man?’ Alongside this, they cite Quran verse 2:282 to argue that it implies women’s witness credibility is equated to half that of men’s, thus suggesting a perceived inferiority of women in Islam. Some even go so far as to claim this indicates women possess half the cognitive abilities of men. However, in my earlier explanation, I provided references to demonstrate that women, during menstruation, may experience memory lapses attributed to factors such as depression and sadness, which have been medically proven. This lends support to the accuracy of both the Quran and the Hadith in describing this phenomenon. It’s essential to recognize that the hadith specifically relates to the context of menstruation. With this clarification, I can conclude this article. Still, I would be interested in adding further explanations.
3. The passage in the hadith says: “A cautious, sensible man could be led astray by some of you.” It refers to some, not all. According to this passage, because of such things, a sensible man could be led astray by their wife. Therefore, why don’t non-Muslims accept this passage to mean that women have this ability to lead men astray? Does it mean that men are less intelligent than women because women can lead astray? The answer is definitely no. So, the hadith doesn’t suggest that women are less intelligent than men. It refers to the medical aspect as I added in this article. It’s crucial to avoid misinterpreting the passage by suggesting that women inherently lead their husband astray. Instead, any misunderstanding arises from how some men perceive it. During menstruation, women can face various challenges, including feelings of depression and sadness, which might affect their memory. Therefore, it’s essential for men to empathetically understand the unique circumstances women may encounter.
4. The phrase, “Is not the evidence of two women equal to the witness of one man,” originates from a Hadith in which the Prophet quoted it from Qur’an 2:282. However, there is a common misinterpretation of this passage, particularly on social media, where some individuals falsely claim it implies that women are less intelligent. These claims are inaccurate. The actual passage does not convey such a message. In reality, the Qur’an verse referred to states that when you contract a debt for a specified term, you should write it down. However, many contracts can occur without written documentation. In such cases, it is necessary to have two men and two women as witnesses. If only one man is available, his testimony is acceptable. Nevertheless, due to the possibility of forgetfulness during women’s menstrual cycles, it is preferable to have two women as witnesses. This is because if one woman forgets something, the other woman can confirm it, ensuring the testimony’s validity. This arrangement benefits women by providing a system where if one woman accidentally forgets something, the other woman can corroborate it. Furthermore, this dual testimony holds various advantages; for instance, if a man falsely denies the contract’s terms, two women can testify against his falsehood, and the judge will regard their testimony as more reliable than that of a single man. After all the evidence, if someone continues to assert that in Islam, women are less intelligent or possess only half a brain, it indicates that those making such claims are themselves less intelligent and lack education. I’d like to include a hadith where it is also required for four male witnesses in certain situations. 👇
📖Sahih al-Bukhari 4747
Narrated Ibn `Abbas: Hilal bin Umaiya accused his wife of committing illegal sexual intercourse with Sharik bin Sahma’ and filed the case before the Prophet. The Prophet (ﷺ) said (to Hilal), “Either you bring forth a proof (four witnesses) or you will receive the legal punishment (lashes) on your back.” Hilal said, “O Allah’s Apostle! If anyone of us saw a man over his wife, would he go to seek after witnesses?” The Prophet (ﷺ) kept on saying, “Either you bring forth the witnesses or you will receive the legal punishment (lashes) on your back.
- According to this hadith, it is not acceptable for a single man to be a witness; instead, the Prophet said in such situations, it’s required to provide four witnesses. Therefore, according to enemies of Islam, men are considered less intelligent than women. So, I hope you will understand the hadith and the reason behind the witnesses; the hadith doesn’t refer to anyone as less intelligent or having half a brain.
“In our article, we have added references from a medical perspective and integrated them to validate the accuracy of the mentioned hadith from a medical standpoint. Our findings align with the hadith in question, reinforcing its credibility. If you have any inquiries or seek further clarification, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. We are here to provide you with comprehensive information and answers to your questions.