Deficiency Of Woman's Mind According To The Bible? Only when you interpolate it from Islamic view!

Quennel Gale

Recently Bassam Zawadi wrote a short article alleging that the Bible talks about a womanís mind being deficient to a man. Apparently he is trying to reconcile this false notion to what his religion teaches about women and men in relation to each other.

Deficiency Of Woman's Mind According To The Bible

By
Bassam Zawadi

 

 

Here is a verse from the New Testament talking about husbands and wives and the way they should treat each other...

1 Peter 3:7

7Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker (asthenes) partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.

The word asthenes means...

1) weak, infirm, feeble 

Source: http://www.blueletterbible.org/tmp_dir/words/7/1146844809-9534.html

Response:

Even though it doesnít even require a lengthy response to Zawadiís distortions, only a general observation would suffice, nonetheless we have decided to address him in some detail. But before addressing his gross distortion of the Bible it is important that we first see what the Quran says regarding womenís minds:

 

O believers, when you contract a debt one upon another for a stated term, write it down, and let a writer write it down between you justly, and let not any writer refuse to write it down, as God has taught him; so let him write, and let the debtor dictate, and let him fear God his Lord and not diminish aught of it. And if the debtor be a fool, or weak, or unable to dictate himself, then let his guardian dictate justly. And call in to witness two witnesses, men; or if the two be not men, then one man AND TWO WOMEN, such witnesses as you approve of, THAT IF ONE OF THE TWO WOMEN ERRS THE OTHER WILL REMIND HER; and let the witnesses not refuse, whenever they are summoned. And be not loth to write it down, whether it be small or great, with its term; that is more equitable in God's sight, more upright for testimony, and likelier that you will not be in doubt. Unless it be merchandise present that you give and take between you; then it shall be no fault in you if you do not write it down. And take witnesses when you are trafficking one with another. And let not either writer or witness be pressed; or if you do, that is ungodliness in you. And fear God; God teaches you, and God has knowledge of everything. S. 2:282 Arberry

 

Allah commands you as regards your children's (inheritance); to the male, a portion equal TO THAT OF TWO FEMALES; if (there are) only daughters, two or more, their share is two thirds of the inheritance; if only one, her share is half. For parents, a sixth share of inheritance to each if the deceased left children; if no children, and the parents are the (only) heirs, the mother has a third; if the deceased left brothers or (sisters), the mother has a sixth. (The distribution in all cases is) after the payment of legacies he may have bequeathed or debts. You know not which of them, whether your parents or your children, are nearest to you in benefit, (these fixed shares) are ordained by Allah. And Allah is Ever AllKnower, AllWise, S. 4:11 Hilali-Khan

 

These passages presuppose that women are inferior in worth and intellect in comparison to men, which is why Allah and Muhammad claimed that:

 

IF ONE OF THE TWO WOMEN ERRS THE OTHER WILL REMIND HER;

 

Allah and Muhammad already assume that two women are needed because one woman could give erroneous information while believing that no such thing is possible with the man. The idea that women were inferior in worth and intelligence in comparison to their male counterparts was something that Muhammad did believe and expressly stated:

 

Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri:


Once Allah's Apostle went out to the Musalla (to offer the prayer) on ĎId-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 Apostle?" 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 Apostle! 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." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 6, Number 301; see also Volume 2, Book 24, Number 541)

 

And:

 

Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri:


The Prophet said, "Isn't the witness of a woman equal to half of that of a man?" The women said, "Yes." He said, "THIS IS BECAUSE OF THE DEFICIENCY OF A WOMANíS MIND." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 48, Number 826)

 

Muhammad indirectly makes reference to Sura 2:282 regarding the testimony of two women being equivalent to one man as a basis to show why women are intellectually inferior. Thus, Muhammadís own interpretation of Sura 2:282 establishes the case that the reason why two women are required to testify is because they are inferior intellectual beings! Mr. Zawadi needs to be careful in trying to bring accusations against the Holy Bible when his own authoritative sources clearly devalue women in intellect. Sunni Quran exegete ar-Razi made these comments on Sura 4:11:

 

"(The males share is that of two females). Man is more perfect than the woman IN CREATION, AND INTELLIGENCE, and in the religious sphere, such as the suitability to be a judge, and a leader in worship. Also, the testimony of the man is twice that of the woman. So that whoever is given great responsibilities must be given correspondingly great privileges. As the woman is deficient in intelligence and of great lust, if she is given much money, much corruption will be the result."

 

And:

 

"The male is mentioned first in Q. 4:11 because the male IS BETTER THAN THE FEMALE." (At-tafsir al-kabir, commentary on 4:11; bold and capital emphasis ours)

 

One Muslim source states that women were made stupid because of the sin of Eve:

 

According to Yunus- Ibn Wahb- Ibn Zayd (commenting on God's word: "And he whispered"): Satan whispered to Eve about the tree and succeeded in taking her to it; then he made it seem good to Adam. He continued. When Adam felt a need for her and called her, she said: No! unless you go there. When he went, she said again: No! unless you eat from this tree. He continued. They both ate from it, and their secret parts became apparent to them. He continued. Adam then went about in Paradise in flight. His Lord called out to him: Adam, is it from Me that you are fleeing? Adam replied: No, my Lord, but I feel shame before You. When God asked what had caused his trouble, he replied: Eve, my Lord. Whereupon God said: Now it is My obligation to make her bleed once every month, as she made this tree bleed. I ALSO MAKE HER STUPID, although I had created her intelligent (halimah), and must make her suffer pregnancy and birth with difficulty, although I made it easy for her to be pregnant and give birth. Ibn Zayd said: Were it not for the affliction that affected Eve, the women of this world would not menstruate, AND THEY WOULD BE INTELLIGENT and, when pregnant, give birth easily. (The History of Al-Tabari: General Introduction and From the Creation to the Flood, translated by Franz Rosenthal [State University of New York Press, Albany], Volume 1, pp. 280-281; bold and capital emphasis ours)

 

Also notice that Muhammad, in the first narration, claims that the majority of those in hell are women! This teaching of Muhammad is found in virtually all of the major hadith collections such as that of Al-Tirmidhi:

 

Narrated Zaynab, the wife of Abdullah


Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) addressed them saying, "You women should give alms even if it consists of your jewellery, for you will be THE MAJORITY of the inhabitants of Jahannam on the Day of Resurrection." Tirmidhi transmitted it. (Al-Tirmidhi Hadith, Number 573; ALIM CD-ROM Version)

 

In fact, Sahih Muslim has a whole section on this very topic:

 

Chapter 1: THE MAJORITY IN PARADISE WOULD CONSIST OF THE POOR PIOUS PERSONS AND THE MAJORITY OF THE DENIZENS OF HELL WOULD CONSIST OF WOMEN, AND THE TRIAL BY MEANS OF WOMEN

 

Usama b. Zaid reported that Allah's Messenger (way peace be upon him) said: I stood at the door of Paradise and I found that the overwhelming majority of those who entered therein was that of poor persons and the wealthy persons were detained to get into that. The denizens of Hell were commanded to get into Hell, and I stood upon the door of Fire and the majority amongst them who entered there was that of women. (Sahih Muslim, Book 036, Number 6596)

 

Ibn Abbas reported that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: I had a chance to look into the Paradise and I found that majority of the people was poor and I looked into the Fire and there I found the majority constituted by women. (Sahih Muslim, Book 036, Number 6597)

 

Imran b. Husain reported that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: Amongst the inmates of Paradise the women would form a minority. (Sahih Muslim, Book 036, Number 6600)

 

There are other Quranic passages which clearly illustrate the fact that men are above and superior to women in a more explicit manner:

 

And the divorced women should keep themselves in waiting for three courses; and it is not lawful for them that they should conceal what Allah has created in their wombs, if they believe in Allah and the last day; and their husbands HAVE A BETTER RIGHT to take them back in the meanwhile if they wish for reconciliation; and they have rights similar to those against them in a just manner, and the men are A DEGREE ABOVE THEM, and Allah is Mighty, Wise. S. 2:228 Shakir

 

Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them TO EXCEL THE OTHER, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, AND SCOURGE THEM. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them. Lo! Allah is ever High, Exalted, Great. S. 4:34 Pickthall

 

Since men excel over women they have the right to beat them if they fear any rebellion on their part. Hence, these texts clearly state that men are in charge of women BECAUSE Allah made them to excel women.

 

From the very inception of Islam men were considered superior to women in intellect and value. Zawadi apparently knows this so he must resort to attacking Christianity and seems to believe that by devaluing Christianity he manages somehow to justify Islamís view of women. He fails to realize that his approach regarding the Bibleís teachings also discredits his own religion since the Quran and the hadiths emphatically and unashamedly teach that womenís minds are deficient and they are inferior in value. Thus if the Bible does teach that women are mentally and intellectually inferior to men then this does nothing to justify Islamís degrading view of women.

 

Yet Biblical Christianity, unlike Islam, does not degrade women but actually honors and dignifies them as image bearers of God and heirs of Godís kingdom. This leads us to 1 Peter 3:7. Zawadi claims that this text refers to a womanís weakness in a physical sense but later on claims that it refers to a mental sense also:

 

It usually refers to weakness in a physical sense. However, it could also refer to weakness in a mental sense as well...

1 Corinthians 8:7,10

7But not everyone knows this. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat such food they think of it as having been sacrificed to an idol, and since their conscience is weak (asthenes), it is defiled. 10For if anyone with a weak (asthenes) conscience sees you who have this knowledge eating in an idol's temple, won't he be emboldened to eat what has been sacrificed to idols?

So does this mean that the wife is not only weaker physically but mentally as well? Well a well known commentator sure did think so...

and here "the weaker"; being so for the most part, both as to strength of body, and endowments of mind; (John Gills Exposition to the Bible, Commentary on 1 Peter 3:7, Source)

Response:

 

What Zawadi fails to inform his readers is the reason why the Bible renders the woman as the weaker vessel. In the overall teachings of Scripture, women are image bearers of God and heirs of Godís eternal rule, eternal kingdom,

 

"Then God said, ĎLet us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let THEM have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.í So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male AND FEMALE he created them." Genesis 1:26-27

 

"This is the book of the generations of Adam. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. Male AND FEMALE he created THEM, and he blessed THEM and named THEM MAN when THEY were created." Genesis 5:1-2

Here women and men were given equal rule over everything in the universe! Neither one had a degree over another as in the case of Islam. In fact, 1 Peter 3:7 itself says that women are co-heirs of salvation:

 

Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and AS HEIRS WITH YOU of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. 1 Peter 3:7

 

The above verses conclusively demonstrate that the Holy Scriptures expressly teach that woman is equal to man in essence, value, intellect etc., since she too bears the Divine image.

 

Thus, if Zawadi is trying to use 1 Peter 3:7 to refute what Biblical Christianity teaches overall he has done a very bad job. Gill is correct to mention the endowment of the mind in his comments on 1 Corinthians 8:7-10 since that text clearly mentions a personís conscience being weak. However it is false for Zawadi to argue from the basis of what is stated in 1 Corinthians 8:7-10 that women are deficient in their minds when 1 Peter NOWHERE IS HER MIND OR CONSCIENCE MENTIONED! This text never even mentioned anything about the mind of women and strongly implies that the inspired authorís point was that women are weaker in a physical sense, which is true for the most part.

 

The reference is commanding the husbands as the physically stronger vessels to bear the infirmity of their wives and do everything in their power to accommodate and protect them!

 

The man isnít allowed to beat her nor is he in charge of her like she is some mindless possession as Islam teaches. Even Gill verifies this in his commentary:

 

and as being heirs together of the grace of life;
not of a natural life, and the good things of it; though husbands and wives partake of the same kind of life, and have a right unto, and share in the same necessaries of life; so Adam and Eve were partakers of the same life, and sharers of the same benefits; and which is a reason indeed why they ought to live lovingly together: but something more is intended; not the external gifts of the Spirit, which, unless in some few instances, are bestowed on men, and not on women; nor the Gospel, and the ordinances of it, which are the means of grace and life; though men and women, called by grace, HAVE AN EQUAL RIGHT TO THEM, and enjoy them; see (Galatians 3:28) but grace here, and glory hereafter, are here meant. Some copies, as the Alexandrian, and others, read, "heirs together of the manifold grace of life"; God's own people, without any difference as to sex, as men and women, equally share in grace, as it signifies the love and favour of God; which is the same to all the objects, as to the date of it, which is from everlasting, one not being loved before another; and as to the quality of it, which is free, sovereign, special, discriminating and unchangeable, one being loved not with one sort of love, another with another; and as to the quantity of it, it not admitting of more or less; and as to the duration, which is for ever: and so they are heirs of it, as it denotes the blessings of grace; being equally heirs of, and sharers in electing, redeeming, justifying, pardoning, and adopting grace: and as it may intend the internal graces of the Spirit, as faith, hope, and love; which as to their principles are the same in all the saints, though different as to the degree of the exercise of them: and which may be called "the grace of life"; or "living grace", as some copies and the Complutensian edition read, and so the Arabic version, because by it men and women, who were dead in trespasses and sins, are quickened; and in distinction to counterfeit grace, which differs as much from true grace, as the picture of a man from a living man; and because it lives for ever, and never dies, and gives a meetness for eternal life, which it springs up to, issues in, and is inseparably connected with. Moreover, by it may be meant eternal life and salvation, of which the saints, without any difference as to sex, are heirs of: so some copies read, "heirs of manifold grace, and life"; by the former, meaning grace here, and by the latter, glory hereafter; which is a life of vision of God, and uninterrupted communion with him; of perfection and pleasure, and which will last for ever; and may be called (
Source)

As you can clearly see, women are equal to men and sharers of the same benefits in Christianity. In Islam men excel women and have a degree above them intellectually and in their value. Muhammad says this best here:

 

Narrated Qays ibn Sa'd:


I went to al-Hirah and saw them (the people) prostrating themselves before a satrap of theirs, so I said: The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) has most right to have prostration made before him. When I came to the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him), I said: I went to al-Hirah and saw them prostrating themselves before a satrap of theirs, but you have most right, Apostle of Allah, to have (people) prostrating themselves before you. He said: Tell me, if you were to pass my grave, would you prostrate yourself before it? I said: No. He then said: Do not do so. If I were to command anyone to make prostration before another I WOULD COMMAND WOMEN TO PROSTRATE THEMSELVES BEFORE THEIR HUSBANDS, because of the special right over them given to husbands by Allah. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 11, Number 2135)

 

Prof. Hasan, the translator, claims that:

 

This shows the superiority of man over women. The wives have been commanded to obey their husbands in respect of lawful things. (Hasan, Sunan Abu Dawud, p. 574, fn. 1461)

 

Al-Tirmidhi recorded a similar narration:

 

Narrated Aisha


Once when Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) was with a number of the Emigrants and Helpers a camel came and prostrated itself before him. Thereupon his companions said, "Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) beasts and trees prostrate themselves before you, but we have the greatest right to do so." He replied, "Worship your Lord and honour your brother. If I were to order anyone to prostrate himself before another, I SHOULD ORDER A WOMAN TO PROSTRATE HERSELF BEFORE HER HUSBAND. If he were to order her to convey stones from a yellow mountain to a black one, or from a black mountain to a white one, IT WOULD BE INCUMBENT ON HER TO DO SO." Ahmad transmitted it. (Al-Tirmidhi Hadith, Number 963- ALIM CD-ROM Version)

 

What more do we need to say on this issue? Zawadiís argument of a womanís deficiency in the Bible falls flat on its face. Zawadi has committed a false analogy by trying to read the Islamic view that women are morally and intellectually deficient into the Christian Scriptures. A womanís deficiency in 1 Peter 3:7 has reference only to her physical abilities, which explains why the text exhorts the men to bear with their wivesí infirmities and to protect them. In Islam a womanís deficiency refers to her mind, intellect and design which presents the male as being superior to her in almost everyway in the sight of Allah. Authentic Christianity considers both genders equal in their essence, in their nature, even though one is physically weaker than the other, while Islam considers one gender (male) better than the other in reference to intellect, mind, worth etc.

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