Are Women Equal to Dogs and Donkeys? 1

Are Women Equal to Dogs and Donkeys ?

Recent­ly a Chris­t­ian mis­sion­ary by the name of Lazarus” pub­lished the results of an e‑mail dia­logue with a mis­lead­ing title of Is Islam Women-Friend­ly ?”. A pletho­ra of wild imag­i­na­tion and false inter­pre­ta­tions form the nuclei mate­r­i­al for the above dia­logue”. Most of what was addressed have been dealt with before.

How­ev­er, what we are con­cerned with here is the bla­tant twist­ing of one par­tic­u­lar hadith by the Chris­t­ian mis­sion­ary. In an attempt to show” that there is lit­tle dif­fer­ence in treat­ment of a dog with a woman in Islam, the mis­sion­ary stat­ed as follows :

    Please explain exact­ly what facts we have twist­ed by quot­ing Muham­mad’s wife Ayesha [sic] who said :

    Nar­rat­ed Aisha : Do you make us (women) equal to dogs and don­keys ? (Sahih Bukhari 1.486, cf. Sahih Bukhari 1.490, Sahih Bukhari 1.493, Sahih Bukhari 1.498)
    —-, I hope that you can see that we are not here to mis­lead or to deceive but rather because we love the truth and desire for Mus­lims to find and to know this truth. 

It is inter­est­ing to note here that the mis­sion­ary have pur­pose­ly not repro­duced the whole hadith from Bukhari which he had ref­er­enced. The fol­low­ing is the actu­al full cita­tion of the hadith par­tial­ly quot­ed by the missionary :

Vol­ume 1, Book 9, Num­ber 490 :

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.”

Does it require too much intel­li­gence to under­stand this hadith ? There was a dis­cus­sion between Aishah, the wife of the Prophet(P), with some Mus­lims who were not knowl­edge­able about reli­gious maters on the issue of what would nul­li­fy the salat (the Islam­ic rit­u­al prayer). She told them that she was knowl­edge­able about such rules. They remarked that when a woman or a dog, or a don­key passed in front of a pray­ing per­son, the lat­ter’s prayer was nul­li­fied. She cor­rect­ed their wrong under­stand­ing with sar­casm (by say­ing that they are equat­ing woman with dogs) and said that when the Prophet(P) prayed his taha­jjud (mid­night vol­un­tary prayers) in her room, her bed (where she lay) was right in front of him. Hence, those Mus­lims were wrong in their under­stand­ing of the rules of nul­li­fi­ca­tion of salat : a salat is not nul­li­fied if a woman is in front of a pray­ing person.

Oth­er aha­dith that close­ly fol­low in Bukhari fur­ther col­lab­o­rates the matter.

Vol­ume 1, Book 9, Num­ber 491 :

Nar­rat­ed Aisha :

The Prophet used to pray while I was sleep­ing across in his bed in front of him. When­ev­er he want­ed to pray Witr, he would wake me up and I would pray Witr.

Vol­ume 1, Book 9, Num­ber 492 :

Nar­rat­ed Aisha, the wife of the Prophet, I used to sleep in front of Allah’s Apos­tle with my legs oppo­site his Qibla (fac­ing him); and when­ev­er he pros­trat­ed, he pushed my feet and I with­drew them and when­ev­er he stood, I stretched them.” Aisha added, In those days there were no lamps in the houses.” 

Vol­ume 1, Book 9, Num­ber 494 :

Nar­rat­ed Aisha : (the wife of the Prophet) Allah’s Apos­tle used to get up at night and pray while I used to lie across between him and the Qibla on his fam­i­ly’s bed.

We won­der why this sim­ple issue was so hard for the Chris­t­ian mis­sion­ary Lazarus” to under­stand. The fact that he had to offer a dis­tort­ed inter­pre­ta­tion of hadith #490 (when this and oth­er aha­dith 491 – 7 plain­ly con­tra­dict­ed him) by equat­ing women with dogs cer­tain­ly speaks for itself. One has to be intel­lec­tu­al­ly dis­hon­est or have a diminu­tive lack of com­pre­hen­sion to assert from the hadith #490 that a woman is as impure as a dog and a donkey !

It would be a use­ful point at this junc­ture to look at how some West­ern observers have viewed the sta­tus of women in Islam. To quote Hen­ry Bayman :

The peo­ple of the Mid­dle East where Islam orig­i­nat­ed belonged to a male-dom­i­nant cul­ture. The peri­od before Islam, referred to as the Age of Igno­rance’, was replete with the ill treat­ment of females. A woman was a vehi­cle for sex­u­al sat­is­fac­tion and lit­tle else — lack­ing, in many cas­es, even the legal pro­tec­tion of a mar­i­tal arrange­ment. Lit­tle girls were dis­posed of by bury­ing them alive. Very few women had the means to become promi­nent and pow­er­ful mem­bers of soci­ety. Women could be gam­bled on and giv­en away in bets ; they could be inher­it­ed like a house­hold object.Hen­ry Bay­man, The Mean­ing of the Four Books, p. 138 – 9

This dis­mal sit­u­a­tion of women how­ev­er was lat­er changed when Islam came into the picture.

Against this back­drop, Islam intro­duced almost every right that women enjoy in the 20th cen­tu­ry. The right of women in France to exer­cise prop­er­ty rights inde­pen­dent­ly of their hus­bands was grant­ed only at the begin­ning of the 20th cen­tu­ry. In Italy, the right to divorce had to wait until the last third of the 20th cen­tu­ry. God’s instruc­tion to the Prophet to accept the alle­giance of women (60:12) has been inter­pret­ed by Moslems as the right to vote ; in the USA, women could not vote until 1920. Today, at the end of the 20th cen­tu­ry, uni­ver­sal suf­frage still does not exist in Switzer­land. In Ger­many, a woman could not hold a bank account until 1958, in France until 1965. The true eman­ci­pa­tion of women in Europe is the mat­ter of a scant fifty years.ibid.

Writ­ing about the con­tri­bu­tion of Muham­mad(P) in improv­ing the sta­tus of women of his age, Stan­ley Lane-Poole states that :

No great law­mak­er has ever made such sig­nif­i­cant changes as Mohammed did on the sub­ject of women. Rul­ings con­cern­ing women have been out­lined in the Koran (Qur’an) in great detail. This is the point at which Mohammed’s great­est reforms have occurred. Although these reforms may appear insignif­i­cant to a Euro­pean, they are actu­al­ly tremen­dous. The restric­tion placed on polygamy, the rec­om­men­da­tion of monogamy, the intro­duc­tion of degrees of pro­hi­bi­tion in place of the appalling col­lec­tivism and inter­mix­ing of Arab mar­riages, the lim­i­ta­tions on divorce, the duty of a hus­band to take care of his ex-wife for a cer­tain peri­od even after they are divorced, the severe rul­ings to ensure her liveli­hood, the intro­duc­tion of the nov­el­ty that women are legal heirs even if at half the rate of men” so that chil­dren may be prop­er­ly looked after, and the abil­i­ty of a wid­ow to receive her dead hus­band’s inheritance?all these con­sti­tute a pro­gramme of far-reach­ing reforms.Cit­ed in Hen­ry Bay­man, The Mean­ing of the Four Books, pp. 142 – 3

Lau­ra Vec­cia Vaglieri con­trasts the sit­u­a­tion of women in Europe with the Islam­ic world and says that :

Even though woman has risen to a high social sta­tus in Europe, she has not, at least until recent­ly, attained in many coun­tries the inde­pen­dence and lib­er­ty enjoyed by a Moslem woman in the face of the law. In real­i­ty, the woman in Islam pos­sess­es the right to share in inher­i­tance, even if to an extent less than her broth­ers ; the right to mar­ry accord­ing to her own choice and not to tol­er­ate the ill treat­ment of a brutish hus­band ; but fur­ther, the rights to receive dowry pay­ment from her hus­band, to have her needs met by her hus­band even if she is rich, and to be absolute­ly inde­pen­dent in the dis­pos­al of her inher­it­ed prop­er­ty.ibid., p. 143

Writ­ing in the 19th cen­tu­ry, Gaude­froy-Demom­bynes stat­ed that :

The rul­ings of the Koran, which are amaz­ing­ly in favor of woman, pro­vide her, even if the­o­ret­i­cal­ly, with a sta­tus bet­ter than present [19th cen­tu­ry] Euro­pean laws allow. The Islam­ic woman has the right to a sep­a­rate for­tune in finan­cial mat­ters. She owns her share, her prop­er­ty received through dona­tion or inher­i­tance, and her labor’s dues to the end of her life. Although it is dif­fi­cult for her to make prac­ti­cal use of these rights, her sus­te­nance, shel­ter and oth­er require­ments are guar­an­teed in accor­dance with her stand­ing.ibid.

These tes­ti­monies of well-known his­to­ri­ans and Ori­en­tal­ists reveal that the dis­cov­er­ies of West­ern research in this field have not yet become com­mon knowl­edge, and espe­cial­ly to the likes of Lazarus”. He who likes to pick and choose parts of the hadith or the Qur’an to con­form to his views, with­out look­ing into the con­text, can make a total­ly oppo­site case of the very inten­tion for which such state­ments were made. The mis­sion­ary Lazarus” tried to do just that but failed mis­er­ably in con­vinc­ing any­one oth­er than equal­ly-dement­ed bigots.

To recap, we quote again the mis­sion­ary boast :

    Please explain exact­ly what facts we have twist­ed by quot­ing Muham­mad’s wife Ayesha[sic]…I hope that you can see that we are not here to mis­lead or to deceive.

Based on the facts we have pre­sent­ed above, we can eas­i­ly attest that the claim of the mis­sion­ary not here to mis­lead or to deceive” is cer­tain­ly most doubt­ful. Now that the mis­sion­ary has seen for him­self the facts that he had twist­ed, it remains to be seen what his next excuse for this pur­pose­ful twist will be to con­ceal his big­otry and extreme hatred of Islam.

And only God knows best.Endmark

Cite this arti­cle as : Mohd Elfie Nieshaem Juferi, Are Women Equal to Dogs and Don­keys ?,” in Bis­mi­ka Allahu­ma, Octo­ber 14, 2005, last accessed May 27, 2024, https://​bis​mikaal​lahu​ma​.org/​h​a​d​i​t​h​/​e​x​e​g​e​s​i​s​/​w​o​m​e​n​-​e​q​u​a​l​-​d​o​g​s​-​d​o​n​k​e​ys/


  1. Wow ! A woman can nul­li­fy a man’s prayer to Allah ? She is real­ly powerful !

  2. Alham­dulil­lah. Very clear and precise.

  3. Let us look at Song of Songs 4:5 Your two breasts are like two fawns, like twin fawns of a gazelle that browse among the lilies.”

    Let us look at Song of Songs 1:13 My lover is to me a sachet of myrrh rest­ing between my breasts.”

    Prais­ing the bed that they had sex on : Let us look at Song of Songs 1:16 How hand­some you are, my lover ! Oh, how charm­ing ! And our bed is verdant”

    Let us look at Song of Songs 1:2 – 4 Let him kiss me with the kiss­es of his mouth– for your love is more delight­ful than wine. Pleas­ing is the fra­grance of your per­fumes ; your name is like per­fume poured out. No won­der the maid­ens love you ! Take me away with you – let us hur­ry ! Let the king bring me into his cham­bers. We rejoice and delight in you ; we will praise your love more than wine. How right they are to adore you !

    I hope that you can see that we are not here to mis­lead or to deceive but rather because we love the truth and desire for Chris­tians to find and to know this truth

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