Why Do Women Agree to Being Described as Inferior?

800px-Be_stupid_@_AmsterdamOne of the islamic websites I sometimes visit published this quote yesterday. The source is given as  Sahîh al-Bukhârî 1/267-268.

al-Bukhari said:

101 – Adam told us: Shu’bah told us: Ibn-ul-Asbahânî told us: I heard Abu Salih Dhakwan retelling from Abu Said al-Khudri, who said:

The women said to the Prophet (Peace be upon him):” The men have taken you from us. Give us a day from you. “He decided to spend one day with them and met them, admonished them, and commanded them. He said among other things to them: “There is not a woman among you whose three children die, but they will protect her from the Fire.” Then a woman said: “What about two?” He (Peace be upon him) said, “And two.”

This hadîth consists of several curiosities. One of them is that the women of the Companions were looking for knowledge.

Another is that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) taught mostly men. This proves that the woman can not be compared to the man when it comes to knowledge, patience with the knowledge, the proclamation of knowledge, practice along the knowledge or vocation to knowledge.

It will never cease to amaze me how women can be attracted to a philosophy that describes them thus. Even worse when it’s a religion, claiming to be the guardian of universal and divine truths. What can possibly be attractive about a religion that describes you in this way? And how can anybody claim that women in quotes like these aren’t described as inferior?

Furthermore, I totally disagree with the conclusion made by the islamic scholar. As a teacher I know that you need to spend a lot more time explaining things to the stupid students. The smart ones understand things quickly, the stupid ones need constant reminding and aid. So clearly we must deduce that men are poor students and scholars while the women got it in one.

48 thoughts on “Why Do Women Agree to Being Described as Inferior?

  1. This is common talk also among muslim men and in the community where I grew up it is the way men and women are described. This is also why men learn that they have the right to have power over women and hurt and punish them. It could as well describe the relationship between man and dog. This kind of ahadith is common knowledge and an underlaying attitude in muslim societies. Even more moderate sites like jamylahs islamicanswers say that obedience to your husband is obligatory and that men and women are different and this is why woman is not allowed divorce for example without khula. I think if I hear “women want love, men want respect” one more time I am going to vomit!! I sure as hell want respect too!!!!

  2. Interesting. I would like to ask Olivia: maybe it is not about men wanting respect only and women wanting love only but for men respect is the major thing and for women love is the major thing? And is that bad? Why does it make you upset? And to Fiona: I agree the interpretation by this “scholar” is not good. Women learn just as well as men most of the time. But maybe it is more proper to teach the men instead of the women and then their husbands can teach them? In islam, mixing is to be avoided so as not make zina and temptation. This is out of respect for women not oppression. I thank you for a interesting site.

  3. //I think if I hear “women want love, men want respect” one more time I am going to vomit!! I sure as hell want respect too!!!!//

    There is no real mutual love to begin with if there is no respect between the couple. Other feelings may exist, but certainly not love. End of story.

    Hadith’s explanations such as these are rubbish. And not just explanation, there are dozens upon dozens of Hadith in the ‘Sahih’ books which are just as similarly rubbish. They are not degrading women, they are degrading half of humanity. They are degrading another set of human beings and making them second-class based on surface factors like gender. And we Muslims have degraded our reasoning and conscience by distrusting our minds and handing religious interpretations fully over to clerics and scholars, and also to give us information on gender differences and science, majority of which would most likely fall flat on it’s face when thoroughly investigated on by secular people.

    I would say it’s high time for us Muslims in particular to get out of the emotional, psychological and physical hell-hole we have created for ourselves, take responsibility of what is happening within our religion and peoples’ role in it, and investigate our religion for ourselves. All WHILE keeping our conscience, reasoning and observance of real world evidence intact.

    For me I am trying to look at my religion with open eyes without bringing much of societal and religious conditioning into it, and seeing it for what it says, and what sources we use. Muslims like to live in denial and blame things on others. For example, we have sex slavery and it’s rules within our Sahih Hadith books, but any complains on it were silenced by scholars giving a sugarcoated explanation on them. Now ISIS is finally pulling out such Hadith from the bookshelves, interpreting them as they are, and implementing them as well. And now we Muslims are horrified and immediately disregarding them even to be Muslims. Why? Why such dishonesty among Muslims? The real Munafiqun to me are the Muslims themselves.

  4. I am currently talking this over with another Quranist privately who is doing a different letter-by-letter morpheme level of interpretation within the classical arabic and using them to interpret the entire message in the Quran. He says the initial letters at the start of many Surahs are like a trail left for us to figure out the morpheme level interpretations.

    Anyway, apart from I am figuring out that the actual message sent to us Muslims is hardly much different from that revealed to Jesus and Moses. They all taught the most fundamental concept possible; how to have spiritual affinity with God, regardless of outer religious label, not through mechanical rituals as widely accepted by Muslims, but more on separating the spirit from the flesh and achieving spiritual ascending and character assimilation with God. Our souls are also considered gender less which are then put in our ‘beast’ bodies, which is either man or woman, and a lot of gender roles are social construction in reality. The 10 basic commandments sent by Jesus is a start to look at. I guess I am looking at more of Unitarian Christianity principles now while being a Muslim as well (which consider Jesus to be a spiritual teacher only instead of the trinity concept and take the good teachings and examples from his life and also be a humanist), which is different from classic Christianity.

    I would say it is probably due to the values and spiritual teachings of Jesus (whether he is considered as a spiritual teacher only or a son of God), which using them caused the Western world to prosper.

    Other Muslims should not feel trapped in this religion. This is not a way to live. The concepts of God being ‘Most Compassionate’ and ‘Most Merciful’ becomes a joke then. I know Muslims are uncomfortable with other faiths since other faiths’ scriptures are largely distorted and clearly tampered with, and are afraid of questioning the organization of Islam and the teachings on modesty and some other factors, but they should still investigate if they really are tired and want to leave this hell-hole (I sure got tired myself from the one-sided reasoning and injustice). Either they can take a look at Quranism, which is still far better than Sunni Islam filled with excess patriarchy and ancient cultural behavior, and discuss matters in the website below:

    http://free-minds.org/forum/

    They should still learn to cherry-pick and use their conscience even among the currently accepted Quranic interpretations, since many interpretations of verses are distorted to quite an extent. Or I would say they should leave altogether if they can’t take it anymore, and hence have their minds cleaned from the dogma and religious/cultural brainwashing and see what to do from there. Either adopt secularism, or take a look at other faiths. Unitarian Christianity is a faith they can look at, where they learn to develop spiritual values and character, without the additional dogma and updated teachings after Jesus’s death. And they should not accept any dogmatism anymore from any religious faith, but question and resolve matters within themselves. Easier said than done, I agree, that is why usually these matters require quite a lot of time and effort to understand.

  5. I don’t understand why different must mean inferior. I know men and women are different. Then why should it be discrimination to say we are meant to do different things? Differens, not better and worse!

  6. //I don’t understand why different must mean inferior. I know men and women are different. Then why should it be discrimination to say we are meant to do different things? Differens, not better and worse!//

    We need to protect our conscience and reasoning lest they become tainted by such words. When we judge Hadith and even many verses of the Quran according to their current interpretations using our clean conscience and reasoning, their logic start to fall apart like a pack of cards, and we can see how destructive their teachings are to people and the general humanity. These Hadith, even with their sugarcoating, are meant to repress women and keep them down. But then keeping half of the humanity down among Muslims following such words also means the rest of the population gets down, since we cannot unreasonably oppress some people without also being affected ourselves. Basically such Hadith where women receive scraps are B.S, end of story.

  7. Why it is bad to say we are meant to do different things, because man and woman are different:

    Because this means I have to do things, and stop doing things, because I have a fairy cave between my legs instead of a dingeling. Not because I want to. And I don’t like to be excluded from things I really want to do, just because I have different plumbing down there. I like to do what I want to do, and my drainage system is of so little influence of 95% of what I want, hope and dream about that I find it preposterous I have to be treated differently because of a small anatomical bonus that 50% of the population doesn’t have.

    Suggesting that I should be in the kitchen, and am better at cleaning because I have two X-chromosomes is ridiculous and offensive. One only has to look at how dust-less the household of my dad is, or my brother, and stare in desperation at my dustbunny farm to realize that the whole ‘women broodmare housekeeper’ is utter cattledung.

  8. Science has long proven that the differences between men, and the differences between women are as significant – and larger in effect size! – as the differences between men and women. This means: Yes, men are different from women. Women are different from men, statistically. But men are at least as different from other men than from women, and women as a group are much more different from each other still than from men. This is the crucial side of neuroscience that keeps getting omitted when people talk about “biological” differences. It’s just not as fancy when we admit that painting half of humanity with one brush, and the other half with another brush, we are oversimplifying things.

    What people who insist on the “women are different from men, it’s a fact, why deny it” fail to see is while they may coincidentally fit the stereotype, millions of men and women don’t.

    And the polar gender stereotypes the Abrahamitic religions portray have done so much harm. To men and women who just don’t see themselves the way they allegedly were created.

  9. Hi Fiona, these days i am studying philosophy. i was wondering if you can suggest me some books? Can you name some philosophers who have had some impact on you? as in they being source of inspiration for you? 😉

  10. Oh – Thanks for telling us!! Many happy returns Kim, I hope you have a great day!! ❤

  11. I believe Schopenhauer and Kirkegaard are my absolute favourites, along with Mary Wollstonecraft and Riceour. Either/Or is a wonderful book, it can well alter your perceptions regarding both yourself and others. If you know me you might find it odd but I do also appreciate C S Lewis as a philosopher and soulsearcher. A Grief Observed has helped me through some bad times. Schopenhauer should only be read when you’re happy! 🙂

  12. Thanks Fiona i have heard about Arthur Schopenhauer so i am going to start with him. By the way from Atheistic point of view do you believe in soul/spirit? i mean since they can’t be scientifically verified so normally Atheist are skeptic about them.

  13. I am not a materialist in the Feuerbach sense of the word. I do believe in some kind of soul. I’m not sure however that the soul survives the body. And I don’t really see myself as an atheist. I’m an agnostic. If there is a god however, I’m sure she does not approve of the way religions interpret her work.

  14. I know. It is beyond comprehension. And if you visit ummah fora you’ll see that islamists at once blame the west. Again. I was reading the other day how these fora describe Malala. It is astonishing how hateful the posts were. And no blame whatsoever on religion. Anyway, my thoughts are with the poor families in Pakistan.

  15. Saad,
    Your grief is my grief. The whole world is shocked at the violence and stupidity.
    D.

  16. I went and sat for a moment in our old nursery. The thought of a child’s bed, never to be slept in again due to hatred and violence, is unbearable.

  17. Dale, To be honest, terrorist attacks happen every other day in Pakistan. So they are not news any more. 50-60,000 Pakistanis have died since 9/11 and generally people feel sad hearing about bomb blasts. But this is first time i see people crying in different cities on TV.

  18. I was shocked and extremely saddened when I read the news. And that too not one child, but 132. I wonder how the children felt when they were ruthlessly attacked by grown-ups like that in school 😦 May God have mercy on the grieving families.

    By the way I wonder what’s with the Islamist groups attacking schools? Because they know by a proper secular education you get to develop reasoning, and hence are less likely to be indoctrinated through religion or other preachers, as well as can actually take steps to transform a nation? Seems much more likely.

  19. Saad, I believe many people thousands of miles away, in the so-called West, cried with Pakistan’s people in front of the tv yesterday. It must be yet another thing to watch these horrid news as a Pakistani. My sincere condolences, I hope your country will at some point regain inner peace and safety for all, including the most vulnerable within society!

  20. Very sad time for the whole world. Here is a poem a friend shared on Facebook
    Originally posted/written by Leena Saldanha
    I’m sorry.
    I’m sorry I’m part of the problem.
    Because I’m not yet part of the solution.
    I’m sorry your children aren’t coming home today.
    I’m sorry the world still goes on.
    And time doesn’t stop.
    Even after your world has ended.
    I am just one mother.
    Just one distant voice.
    But I’m raising it today.
    And I’m saying I’m sorry.
    I’m so so sorry.
    For the endless years of pain ahead of you.
    For the endless moment when everything ended.
    For futures that will never be.
    For the present that will never end.
    Take whatever strength I have
    You mothers of Peshawar
    My heart weeps with you today
    As my head hangs in the shared shame of all humanity.

    Your children are not coming home today.
    And I am so so sorry.

  21. ^that is heartbreaking. I’m numb with shock….having lived so close by, in Kashmir, another beautiful region rocked by communal violence and intolerance and hatred. I loved the kids there and miss them more than anyone else. The boys my sons hung out with were like my own kids, and to think that this could have been them fills me with an indescribable anguish.

  22. Saad, i watched the TED talk. It was also being shared in my friend circle along with the discussion on suicide attacks. I feel sad for innocent minds being brainwashed. I consider the killers of children as victims too

  23. Laila; In Pakistan thousands of people have died but Not 1 terrorist was hanged. Good thing is now Pakistan has lifted moratorium on death penalty and two convicted terrorists were hanged yesterday. But i am thinking since these dogs are fighting for sharia.they should be given punishment according to sharia for fasad fil ardh. i.e. slow and painful death. Just hanging them is no punishment because they are always ready to die.

  24. This is a 23 years old School teacher, Hafsa Khush confronted the marauding gunmen when they burst into her classroom and told them: ‘You can only kill my students over my dead body.’
    The militants doused her with petrol and set her alight, but she still mustered the strength to beckon her pupils to flee.
    Hifsa Khush is thought to have been burned alive in front of her pupils after being doused in petrol.
    .
    One of her students, 15-year-old Irfan Ullah, wept as he recalled her incredible bravery.
    He said: ‘She was a hero, so brave.
    ‘She jumped up and stood between us and the terrorists before they could target us.
    ‘She warned them: ‘You can only kill them over my dead body’. I remember her last words – she said: ‘I won’t see my students lying in blood on the floor’.

    https://fbcdn-sphotos-e-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xpa1/v/t1.0-9/10858446_10205298058481639_708457175531059624_n.jpg?oh=32383a982b457b3715c0c387f727a4a6&oe=55070153&__gda__=1429721657_6ed401a83a548f64833b6e79b865e2e9

  25. Still very shocked at the brutal killings. Where are we going as a whole, the human race? Looking at how we use/misuse natural resources and the prevalent violence and wars, it seems we are clearly heading towards total destruction (literally if terrorists got hold of nukes).

  26. Saad, You mentioned that killings of innocents are common in Pakistan and how this incident has shaken everyone more because the victims were kids. I do follow other news and feel very sorry for the prevalent violence in Pakistan and everywhere else in the world. I see some of my fellow Indians in social media are taking this opportunity to bash Pakistanis for their Military/political support to some of the terrorist groups. I wanted to express my apologies if any such harsh comments at such a painful time hurt you or others in your circle. However i do admit that similar thoughts are natural to come to peoples minds because we all suffer and feel helpless about those unfortunate political games in and outside India. But this is a time for all to stand united and be kind in their words and actions. I again apologize if anything being said in media was hurtful to you or people around you.

  27. Saad, I recommend that you search Leena Saldanha’s profile on facebook and share her original post. I think her post with this poem is public so you should be able to see.

  28. Fiona, Dale, Chris, Laila, Kim… If you guys don’t mind i wanted to ask you about your astrology signs?

    Mine is Aquarious and Mariam is Leo.

  29. Good and bad people are every where Laila. I will rather focus on what good indians are doing than paying attention to some low lives. On December 16 many indians showed support to Pakistan on twitter trending #IndiawithPakistan.

  30. My salute to the brave teacher Hafsa Khush! It was very brave of her to not panic and confront the terrorists to buy some time for kids to flee the scene. Every second counts in those situations. If there is a Jannat/heaven i am sure she is there. My heart goes out to the children who had go through such traumatic experience. I am wondering why terrorists didn’t just shoot her immediately. Looks like they planned ahead to bring petrol to this to anyone who confronted them to instill terror in people. Its very important that sick masterminds of these attacks be captured and punished immediately keeping all the politics aside.
    Saad, I am Gemini. I don’t believe in these things but when i read Linda Goodman’s descriptions of Gemini child and Gemini Woman i felt a lot of info correctly described my personality. Still i feel that in description of every sign many people can find things that match their personality. If they don’t they will be like oh may be its because i am born one date closer to this other sign thats why i am not a typical gemini/cancer/leo ..

  31. I’m Aries. But I must admit, I’m not even sure what that indicates, astrology isn’t really my cup of tea. Do you know anything about it Saad?

  32. Three of us are fire signs, awesome! I am Leo (queen of the jungle), Dale is Sagittarius (one of my favorite signs), and the fire sign that beats the other two, in terms of instinctive leadership and energy, is Aries, which is Fiona. Woot!

    Gemini is a cool one too, supposed to be an intellectual sign, besides Aquarius. Such people can be usually quite mind-oriented and never gets bored of thinking.

    I wonder about Unchained and the others.

    Me and Saad discussed astrology for hours after hours on Facebook. I was the one who sparked his interest in astrology actually hahaha. I think many details of astrology according to their zodiac sign can be a good match within a person.

  33. I never believed in astrology but thanks to mariam now i follow daily horoscope 😉 I always used to think that i am weird because of my personality type. But now i know majority Aquarians are like me.
    Friends just try this for once. It matched my personality type 95%. Let us see how accurate it turns out to be for you guys.

    http://alabe.com/freechart/

  34. Chris you are Aries too! Looks like all the cool zodiac signs are here. I also had a high regard for Gemini as well. My moon sign is Aries by the way. Usually people see their sun sign, moon sign and rising sign to understand more of their collective personalities. Although to know themselves more better they could refer to a complete zodiac chart, which details a number of specific areas of their lives (which may or may not work for people).

    By the way I like all the 12 signs, each is unique and distinct in it’s own way. Each have their pros and cons. I don’t do fortune reading or horoscope though, those stuff are fables to me and selling snake oil. I also have serious doubts regarding “the motion of planets and stars” to affect human personality and nature. Most likely mother earth and it’s environment itself could have something to do with people being a certain way due to their birth date, and their place of birth. I would never have cared about astrology though if I didn’t see how well it matched my personality in several areas, and helped me understand myself better.

    Although I have a friend who is supposed to be a fire sign, but in reality resembles none of the zodiac signs. As in nada. I haven’t come across too many of such cases though.

    Nice, Saad raising this topic here lol 🙂

  35. I’m a Sagittarian also. I’m a very firm believer in Astrology, but feel it’s not complete without a natal chart to know your rising sign and such, and it has to also be considered incomplete (in my opinion) unless studied alongside Numerology. I do Numerology readings for folks once in awhile and it’s scarily accurate 🙂 I’m a #7 Sag by birth.

  36. Hello Unchained, I have heard similar things regarding Numerology, and it being quite accurate for people. I have not taken much of a look at it yet though. Is there any good online resources you can point me towards? Thanks 🙂

  37. I’m not aware of any online but that’s because I’ve never actually looked, I guess. I got my system from a book I read eons ago, and it’s proven to me to be pretty spot-on. It’s based on Kabbalah teachings, it also delves into the concept of “Karmic Destiny”, I know that much and it does work hand in hand with astrology. When I have a bit more time (i.e. when it’s not 2:41am!) I’ll try to get something accessible for you if you want to look at it further 🙂 Otherwise, take a look for the book “Star Signs” by Linda Goodman. I’m sure it’s still in print or can be gotten on Amazon.com or something. My copy has been through the wringer and it shows…cover’s missing, pages are dog-eared, it’s a very well-loved book. Some of the author’s musings are just a teeny bit “out there”, but she herself says to use what works for you and toss the rest if it doesn’t.

  38. Thanks Unchained for your reply. I had no idea Numerology and Astrology were related to religious based teachings. I have been interested in Numerology in particular now. Thanks for sharing your information.

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