According to today’s Muslim scholars and leaders, women are not fit to rule or hold any office of significance because God has indicated that they are deficient when compared to men. The Muslim scholars will tell you that in the Quran God has made the testimony of ONE man equal to that of TWO women because women are forgetful and emotionally driven.
Any sane and rational person who has worked or studied with women will know that they can be just as smart, if not smarter, than most of their male counterparts. At the same time, I have yet to find this fictional woman who forgets or whose memory is weaker than a man’s (we all wish this was the case sometimes). Let us examine the verse where all these unequal and sexist conclusions have been drawn:
"O you who believe, if you borrow until a delayed period then you will write it amongst you, and let he who is an official record keeper write between you, and let him not refuse to write as God has commanded it. And when he writes, let he who has borrowed give the details of the transaction and he shall fear his Lord God and not omit anything. If the one who has borrowed is not fit, or if he is weak, or if he can’t complete the information; then let he who is responsible for him fill-in on his behalf. And you shall have TWO witnesses from your men, and if they are not two men then let them be ONE man and TWO women from those whose testimony you accept, so if one of them is misguided <Tudhil>, then one will remind the other….." (2/282)
The word used in 2:282 which has caused the misunderstanding of the witnessing requirement is 'Tudhil'.
-Khalifa has translated this as: 'biased'.
-Yusif Ali used: 'errs'.
There are also a few translations which used: 'forgets'.
The word for 'forgets' in Arabic is 'Tansa/Nasi'...Thus we can rule out this possibility from the start.
'Dhal' is used in opposition to 'Huda' (guidance)...Thus its prime translation could be 'Misguided'.
"You guide (Tahdi )whom you will, and you misguide (Tidhil) whom you will'.
Its derivative is also used in Sura # 1, Al-Fatiha (Al-Dhaleen) - Those who are misguided.
Another derivative is 'Dhilal/Dhil' which means 'Shade' (area without complete light).
Thus, looking at 2:282 we can say:
"If you cannot find, then one man and two women FROM WHO'S TESTIMONY IS ACCEPTABLE TO YOU. If one of them is 'Tudhil', then one will remind the other..." (2:282)
Please note that the issue of 'honesty/biasness' is not at question since the choice of witnesses has to be of people who are already acceptable or honest.
We also said that 'Forgetfulness' is not a possible translation.
Tudhil = Becomes Misguided / Lost / Shaded.
A clearer understanding of 2:282 taes place when we analyze the steps involved:
- If there is a financial transaction involving debt between two or more parties and whose repayment will be at a later stage, then it must be documented.
- The documentation of such a transaction is to be done through an official record keeper or institution.
- The one who has borrowed the debt will be the one giving the record keeper the details of the transaction as he/she will put his signature or print on the document.
- If the one who has borrowed is incapacitated for any reason from giving information, then his/her guardian shall take such responsibility.
- Two witnesses are required to seal the transaction.
- It is preferable that the two witnesses be males, but if that is not possible then one man and two women will suffice.
- At the time of testimony ONLY TWO witnesses are required; if one of the women is incapacitated then the other must take her place.
The question we should all ask ourselves is "What would cause one of the women to be 'misguided' in her testimony?"
The answer is obvious: 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.
It is obvious from the Quran that God calls on TWO witnesses to be present (this is clear from the sequence of words in the verse). God being the knower and creator of all things knows that having one man and one women as a witness is not practical since on the day they are called the women may be incapacitated while the man may not, and since God calls on TWO witnesses, then the chances of having both present becomes much higher when TWO women and ONE man are selected so at the time of calling there are three people to choose from (please note that had God meant that the testimony of ONE man equals TWO women then He would have continued the verse and said: If TWO women and One man are not available then you shall select FOUR women).
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.
Please note: 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)
May God increase our knowledge and grant us wisdom.
Written for www.free-minds.org