Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Did Muhammad Teach that Women are Stupid and Inferior to Men?

Sam Shamoun


A resounding YES!

The Evidence from the Quran

Q. 2:228

The women who are divorced shall wait concerning themselves until they have their courses thrice, and it shall not be lawful for them to conceal that which God hath created in their wombs, if they believe in God and the last day; and their husbands will act more justly to bring them back at this time, if they desire a reconciliation. The women ought also to behave towards their husbands in like manner as their husbands should behave towards them, according to what is just: But the men ought to have a superiority over them. God is mighty and wise. Sale

“… And they (the women) have rights similar to those (of men) over them in equity; but men have a degree of advantage above them. And ALLAH is Mighty and Wise.” Sher Ali

“… And women have their rights similar to their obligations in an equitable and just manner; yet men have a place above them. And Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.” Amatul Rahman Omar

“… for, the same is due to them as from them; but the men should have precedence over them. God is mighty and wise.” Palmer

“… Women shall with justice have rights similar to those exercised against them, although men have a status above women. God is mighty and wise… ” N. J. Dawood

Q. 4:34

Men have authority over women because God has made the one SUPERIOR to the other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. Good women are obedient. They guard their unseen parts because God has guarded them…” S. 4:34 N. J. Dawood

Men are SUPERIOR to women on account of the qualities with which God hath gifted the one ABOVE THE OTHER, and on account of the outlay they make from their substance for them…” Rodwell

Men stand SUPERIOR to women in that God hath preferred some of them over others, and in that they expend of their wealth…” Palmer

Q. 2:282

“O you who believe! When you contract a debt for a fixed period, write it down. Let a scribe write it down in justice between you. Let not the scribe refuse to write as Allah has taught him, so let him write. Let him (the debtor) who incurs the liability dictate, and he must fear Allah, his Lord, and diminish not anything of what he owes. But if the debtor is of poor understanding, or weak, or is unable himself to dictate, then let his guardian dictate in justice. And get two witnesses out of your own men. And if there are not two men (available), then a man and TWO WOMEN, such as you agree for witnesses, so that if one of them (two women) errs, the other can remind her…” Hilali-Khan

Q. 4:11

“Allah commands you as regards your children's (inheritance); to the male, a portion equal to that OF TWO FEMALES…” Hilali-Khan

Q. 4:176

“… if there are brothers and sisters, the male will have TWICE THE SHARE OF THE FEMALE…” Hilali-Khan

The Evidence from the ahadith and commentaries

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 WOMAN’S MIND." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 48, Number 826)

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 (SUNY), Albany 1989], Volume 1, pp. 280-281; bold and capital emphasis ours)

“… And summon to bear witness, the debt, two witnesses, men, mature Muslim free men; or if the two, witnesses, be not men, then one man and two women, to bear witness, such witnesses as you approve of, on account of their piety and probity; the number of women is because of the fact, so that if one of the two women errs, forgets the testimony, GIVEN THEIR LESSER ASTUTENESS AND ACCURACY; the other, the one remembering, will remind her (read fa-tudhakkira or fa-tudhkira), the one that has forgotten — the ‘reminding’ clause is the reason [for the choice of two women], that is to say, so that she may be reminded if she errs or strays into error, because this [forgetfulness] is the cause of it (a variant reading [for an, ‘that’] has the conditional in, ‘if’, with [the verb inflected as] tudhakkiru, ‘she will remind’, making it a new sentence, the response to which [follows])…” (Tafsir al-Jalalayn, Q. 2:282; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Men are in charge of, they have authority over, women, disciplining them and keeping them in check, because of that with which God has preferred the one over the other, that is, because God has given them the advantage over women, IN KNOWLEDGE, REASON, authority and otherwise, and because of what they expend, on them [the women], of their property…” (Ibid., Q. 4:34; bold and capital emphasis ours)

“… And they (women) have rights) and inviolability with their husbands (similar to those) of their husbands (over them in kindness) in kind companionship and intercourse, (and men are a degree above them) in relation to the REASONING FACULTY, INHERITANCE, BLOOD MONEY, as WITNESSES in court and also that which they owe them in terms of expenditure and service.” (Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs, Q. 2:228; bold and capital emphasis ours)

“(Men are in charge of women) they are in charge of overseeing the proper conduct of women, (because Allah hath made the one of them) the men THROUGH REASON and the division of booty and estates (to excel the other) the women…” (Ibid., Q. 4:34; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Muhammad proclaimed that, as a result of their stupidity and religious deficiency, there wouldn’t be many women going to Islam’s paradise since the majority of them will end up in hell.

Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri:
Once Allah's Apostle went out to the Musalla (to offer the prayer) on ‘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 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)

“Narrated 'Abdullah bin Abbas… the Prophet replied… ‘I also saw the Hell-fire and I had never seen such a horrible sight. I saw that MOST of the inhabitants WERE WOMEN.’ The people asked, ‘O Allah's Apostle! Why is it so?’ The Prophet replied, ‘Because of their ungratefulness.’ It was asked whether they are ungrateful to Allah. The Prophet said, ‘They are ungrateful to their companions of life (husbands) and ungrateful to good deeds. If you are benevolent to one of them throughout the life and if she sees anything (undesirable) in you, she will say, ‘I have never had any good from you.’" (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 18, Number 161)

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)

Muhammad also taught that women are fields that men could plow into whenever and however they want.

(Excessively) attractive has been made, for the people, the love of lusts (that) include WOMEN, children, and hoarded treasures of gold and silver, and branded horses and cattle and crops. (All) this is the provision of the worldly life and with Allah is the best abode. S. 3:14 Dr. Mohammad Tahir-ul-Qadri

Your women ARE A TILLAGE for you; so come unto your tillage AS YOU WISH, and forward for your souls; and fear God, and know that you shall meet Him. Give thou good tidings to the believers. S. 2:223 Arberry

The hadiths provide the reason why this passage was “sent down”:

Narrated Jabir:
Jews used to say: "If one has sexual intercourse with his wife from the back, then she will deliver a squint-eyed child." So this Verse was revealed:-- "Your wives are a tilth unto you; so go to your tilth when or how you will." (2.223) (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 51)


Bahz bin Hakim reported on the authority of his father from his grandfather (Mu'awiyah ibn Haydah) as saying:

I said: Messenger of Allah, how should we approach our wives and how should we leave them? He replied: Approach your tilth when or how you will, give her (your wife) food when you take food, clothe when you clothe yourself, do not revile her face, and do not beat her.

Abu Dawud said: The version of Shu'bah has: That you give her food when you have food yourself, and that you clothe her when you clothe yourself.

Grade: Hasan Sahih (Al-Albani)

Reference: Sunan Abi Dawud 2143

In-book reference: Book 12, Hadith 98

English translation: Book 11, Hadith 2138 (

According to renowned Muslim scholar/historian/commentator al-Tabari, one of Muhammad’s companions and the son of the second caliph named Ibn Umar claimed that this verse was “revealed” to justify having anal sex with a person’s wives, captives and/or sex slaves:

Others said, "Rather, it means that you may have intercourse whenever you want and in whatever manner you want." Of those who narrated this:

It was narrated Yaqub, Narrated by Hushaim, narrated by Ibn A’wn, narrated by Nafi’ who related that whenever Ibn Umar read the Quran he would not speak, but one day I read the verse, "Your wives are as a tilth unto you: so approach your tilth when or how you will" (Sura 2:223). So he said, "Do you know about whom this verse was revealed?" I replied, "No." He said, "This verse was revealed about PENETRATING WOMEN IN THEIR ANUS."

It was narrated by Ibrahim Ibn Abdullah Ibn Muslim Abu Muslim, narrated by Abu Umar Al Dariri, narrated by Ismail Ibn Ibrahim (owner of) Al Karabisi, narrated by Ibn A’wn, narrated by Nafi’ who said, "I used to (inquire) from Ibn Umar whenever he read the verse in the Quran, ‘Your wives are as a tilth unto you: so approach your tilth when or how you will’ (Sura 2:223), he would say, ‘Meaning to have intercourse with women IN THEIR ANUS."

It was narrated by Abdel Rahman Ibn Abdullah Ibn Abdel Hakam, narrated by Abdel Malik Ibn Maslama, narrated by Al Darawardi who stated that it was related to Zaid Ibn Aslam that Muhammad Ibn Al Munkadir used to forbid penetrating women through their anus so Zaid responded, "I bear witness against Muhammad that he informed me that he performed this."

It was related about Al Harith Ibn Yaqub that he narrated about Abi Al Habab Sa’id Ibn Yassar that he asked Ibn Umar and said, "O Abu Abdul Rahman! We buy slave girls, so may we commit ‘Nahmid’ with them?" So he replied, "And what is this ‘Nahmid’?" He responded, "(penetrating) the ANUS." Ibn Umar said, "Wow, Wow! Does a believer do that?" It was narrated by Abu Kilaba, narrated by Abdel Samad, who said that it was narrated by his father who narrated from Ayub, narrated from Nafi’, narrated by Ibn Umar who said that (Sura 2:223), ‘Your wives are as a tilth unto you: so approach your tilth when or how you will,’ WAS REGARDING THE ANUS. (Arabic Source; translation ours)

The hadiths even tell us how Allah and his angels feel about a woman that refuses to allow her husband to enter her when and how he wants:

Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah's Apostle said, "If a husband calls his wife to his bed (i.e. to have sexual relation) and she refuses and causes him to sleep in anger, the angels will curse her till morning." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 54, Number 460)

Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger as saying: By Him in Whose Hand is my life, when a man calls his wife to his bed, and she does not respond, the One Who is in the heaven is displeased with her until he (her husband) is pleased with her. (Sahih Muslim, Book 008, Number 3367)

In fact, women are so low according to Muhammad that he even placed them on the same level as dogs and asses.

Narrated ‘Aisha:
The things which annul the prayers were mentioned before me. They said, "Prayer is annulled by a dog, a donkey AND A WOMAN (if they pass in front of the praying people)." I said, "You have made us (i.e. women) dogs. I saw the Prophet praying while I used to lie in my bed between him and the Qibla. Whenever I was in need of something, I would slip away, for I disliked to face him." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 9, Number 490)

Abu Dharr reported: THE MESSENGER OF ALLAH SAID: When any one of you stands for prayer and there is a thing before him equal to the back of the saddle that covers him and in case there is not before him (a thing) equal to the back of the saddle, HIS PRAYER WOULD BE CUT OFF BY (passing of an) ASS, WOMAN, AND BLACK DOG. I said: O Abu Dharr, what feature is there in a black dog which distinguish it from the red dog and the yellow dog? He said: O, son of my brother, I asked the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) as you are asking me, and he said: The black dog is a devil. (Sahih Muslim, Book 004, Number 1032)

Abu Huraira reported: THE MESSENGER OF ALLAH  SAID: A WOMAN, AN ASS AND A DOG DISRUPT THE PRAYER, but something like the back of a saddle guards against that. (Sahih Muslim, Book 004, Number 1034)

We have a lot more to say about Muhammad’s views of women over here.