Controversial Questions About Islam & Comments

Prepared By: Dr. Saeed Ismaeel Sini

Why is Women’s testimony half of Men’s Sometimes?

     As a corollary to the above-mentioned facts, it is natural for a man to be charged with the responsibility of supervision in his family. And this made him entitled to a greater weight in voting; i.e. the chairman’s vote has a special weight. In addition to that, because of man’s greater freedom to move around the environment and because he is less emotional and physically stronger he is more suitable to attest in some cases, especially in cases which may endanger the witness.

     However, there are cases where a female’s testament is equal to more valuable than a male’s. For example, even in learning the religious teachings, which is of utmost important, Muslims took some of their knowledge from the wives of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and studied at the hands of some prominent female teachers. In others, women are more qualified to attest, and their testament is weightier, such as in the purely female affairs. Similarly, in some cases only men are qualified to testify.

     As a matter of fact, by some secular or manmade laws, the female is considered more qualified to take care of the children. In the USA, for example, when the parents are separated the children are usually given into mother’s custody. We do not say that the law discriminates against men here, or vice versa. The question is: Who is more appropriate for the case we have on hand?

     After all, the verse that is quoted to support the case that a woman’s testimony is half of a man’s testimony reads: {O you who believe, if you deal with each other in transactions involving future obligations in a fixed period of time reduce them to writing, and get two witnesses out of your own men. And if there are no two men, then a man and two women, such as you choose for witnesses. So that if one of them errs the other can remind her…} (Qur’an 2:282 and the commentary on the verse.) In other words, the verse may be considered a recommendation for the parties involved, rather than a judgment. What confirms this fact is that the testimonies accepted by judges in court could differ. For example, a judge may reject a testimony of a man who is a relative to the plaintiff and accept the testimony of a non-relative woman.