The Idea that Women Are Crooked
Frederic Leighton's oil painting “Light of the Harem,” 1880
According to the Qur'an, people should be advised of their errors in a kindly and gentle language, and these should be corrected by addressing the person's conscience, showing them right and wrong.
Woman has been created from a rib and will in no way be straightened for you; so if you wish to benefit by her, benefit by her while crookedness remains in her. And if you attempt to straighten her, you will break her, and breaking her is divorcing her. (Sahih Muslim, Book 8, Hadith 3467; an-Nasai)
The creation of human beings is described in detail in the Qur’an:
We created man from the purest kind of clay; then made him a drop in a secure receptacle; then formed the drop into a clot and formed the clot into a lump and formed the lump into bones and clothed the bones in flesh; and then brought him into being as another creature. Blessed be God, the Best of Creators! (Qur'an, 23:12-14)
No verse of the Qur’an says anything about woman being created from a rib bone and being crooked. In contrast to these terms employed by fanatics, our Almighty Lord reveals that men and women were created “in the best of forms:”
It is God Who made the earth a stable home for you and the sky a dome, and formed you, giving you the best of forms, and provided you with good and wholesome things. That is God, your Lord. Blessed be God, the Lord of all the worlds. (Qur'an, 40:64)
The words “if you attempt to straighten her, you will break her” in the false hadith in question implies that she is crooked in both body and mind and can never be put right; however, no such words appear in the Qur’an. This shows the basis of the fanatics’ anger-filled attitude toward women.
The lesson we receive from the Qur’an is this; everyone, man or woman, has flaws and can make mistakes. According to the Qur’an, these flaws should be corrected by pointing them out in kindly language, showing the person what is right and wrong, and addressing the conscience of the person in question. Nobody has the right to cast anyone aside and say, “This person can never be put right.” Someone who does that and regards himself as superior may see that the person he regarded as “incorrigible” is actually in a better position than him in the hereafter. Only God knows who is on the true path.
The fanatics’ superstitious belief that women are flawed and deficient right from the outset has been strengthened by the idea that it is also impossible for them to change subsequently. Many false hadiths therefore contain false information to the effect that good women are very few in number and that most women are not worthy of paradise.
Hadiths and Claims Fabricated to Debase Women
A pious woman among other women is like unto a raven marked with a white leg. (Nahj al-Fasahah, p.20)
One out of 99 women is in paradise, the rest are in hell. (Sahih Bukhari)
O womenfolk, you should give charity and ask much forgiveness for I saw you in bulk amongst the dwellers of hell. ... (Sahih Muslim, Book 1, Hadith 142)
The false hadiths in question make it clear how women are belittled and regarded as second-class citizens in societies made up of fanatics. Following the fabrication of these hadiths, some Islamic communities turned into societies of fear and fanaticism that despised and belittled women and shut them up indoors. Women being regarded as second-class citizens led to communities developing a terrible lack of civilization, cultural deformities, lack of taste and emptiness; the representatives of that fanatic mentality never grew or developed. Many countries in the Middle East today are in the middle of that cultural deformity and lack of quality produced by that terrifying perspective. Yet the religion in the Qur’an is lovely, plain, high-quality and peaceable.
The fanatics in question have completely failed to grasp that God attaches great value to women, the jewels of paradise, in both this world and the hereafter. Most important of all, they never sought guidance from the Qur’an.
None of the terms in the false hadiths in question appear anywhere in the Qur’an. God described people with impaired morals, who do evil and commit unlawful deeds in detail in the Qur’an, and none of these descriptions say anything about them referring particularly to women.
For example, God reveals in the Qur’an that a great many people will not believe, and that a great many of those who do will ascribe equals to Him:
Alif Lam Mim Ra. Those are the signs of the Book. And what has been sent down to you from your Lord is the Truth. But most people have no faith. (Qur'an, 13:1)
Most of them do not have faith in God without associating others with Him. (Qur'an, 12:106)
In another verse, God reveals that despite His creating all possible means for people to learn from, the majority of people still do not learn, but continue with the same moral degeneration:
We have variegated it for them so they might pay heed but most people spurn anything else but disbelief.(Qur'an, 25:50)
As we have seen, neither these nor any other verses of the Qur’an say anything about people with poor morals and behavior being women, in the way that fanatics allege. People who behave immorally are not classified on the basis of their gender in any verse. There is nothing in any verse saying that women are more immoral or less women will enter paradise any less. The information in false hadiths is all fraudulent and fabricated in order to spread hostility toward women. The Qur’an absolutely and definitively refutes the false hadiths in question.