There are several hadiths which claims women are inferior in intelligence to that of men. for example:

Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri:

Once Allah's Apostle went out to the Musalla (to offer the prayer) o '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 Bukhari 1:6:301

In another hadith:

Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri

On 'Id ul Fitr or 'Id ul Adha Allah's Apostle (p.b.u.h) went out to the Musalla. After finishing the prayer, he delivered the sermon and ordered the people to give alms. He said, "O people! Give alms." Then he went towards the women and said. "O women! Give alms, for I have seen that the majority of the dwellers of Hell-Fire were you (women)." The women asked, "O Allah's Apostle! What is the reason for it?" He replied, "O women! You curse frequently, and are ungrateful to your husbands. I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion than you. O women, some of you can lead a cautious wise man astray." Then he left. And when he reached his house, Zainab, the wife of Ibn Masud, came and asked permission to enter It was said, "O Allah's Apostle! It is Zainab." He asked, 'Which Zainab?" The reply was that she was the wife of Ibn Mas'ub. He said, "Yes, allow her to enter." And she was admitted. Then she said, "O Prophet of Allah! Today you ordered people to give alms and I had an ornament and intended to give it as alms, but Ibn Masud said that he and his children deserved it more than anybody else." The Prophet replied, "Ibn Masud had spoken the truth. Your husband and your children had more right to it than anybody else."
Sahih Bukhari 2:24:541


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 Bukhari 3:48:826

I know in pre Islamic Arabia women were deprived of basic needs such as education and other affairs that might have otherwise developed their critical thinking abilities and intelligence and might have made them equally intelligent like men. The same could also be true for even today's world when a woman goes through menstrual cycles, pregnancy etc which could have a negative impact on her brain.

However, to render them lesser in religion simply because they cannot pray or fast during menstruation seems unjust.

The reasons are simple: They could have been allowed to pray or fast even while menstruating, They did not vote to be pardoned from praying during that period of time. They had no choice in it and this decision was narrated to them by Muhammad pbuh who is not a woman.

Similarly, they also did not choose to get periods, they simply inherited it as part of their gender and they are paying the price.

Does this mean that a woman doing every 'good deed' she is able to do, and a man doing every 'good deed' they are able to, will result in the man receiving a higher reward from Allah because he was able to do more religious deeds because of no restrictions and the female was able to do less religious deeds because of restrictions put forth upon her beyond her privilege to control?

I know I could be wrong, Please explain why and how.


6 Answers 6


Islamic scholars need to address the issue squarely and honestly. The first three ahadith are clearly imcompatible with the view of equality of men and women and should be repudiated. There are enough doubts raised by orientalist scholars (such as Goldziher and Schact) about the general authenticity of ahadith content and chains of transmission that repudiation is not difficult.

  • The Islamic scholars did talk about this even a classical scholar, Ibn Hazm, talked about this and explained that this is not a misogynistic ontological statement that declares women are inferior to men in intellect and reason. The English translation is a bad translation and the interpretation of these hadiths cannot be used to support this misogynistic viewpoint. Check out my answer here to find out more on the actual meaning islam.stackexchange.com/a/77451/51636
    – YoMango
    Dec 12, 2022 at 23:10
  • Thank you for your reply and reference to your other post. I appreciate your desire to examine the meaning of the hadith in depth and parse the meaning of the word "nuqsan". I am still skeptical though - the hadith does not refer to "legal obligations" as you suggest, and the overall tone is certainly critical to women in general - "the majority of the dwellers of hell-fire are women". It would be better to accept this hadith as a historical observation on the (discriminatory) way women were regarded at the time, and not a universal one (continued) Dec 20, 2022 at 10:19
  • 1
    @Jammooly Thank you for the useful reference ot Quran 24:6-9 which does indicate the equality of testimony in that situation. However the hadith in queston here does have the prophet using the deficiency in financial intelligence to justify his reference to a general deficiency in reason. My reading of your other post on the womens witness rule in ISE suggests that you support the conclusion that the womens witness rule is specific to the historical situation in which women were inexperienced in finance and business, which is not the case now in many countries. Dec 22, 2022 at 20:01
  • 1
    Regarding Quran 2:282, I don't believe it is only historical. It can be applicable to any situation where the requirements fall into place. Many countries today still have male dominated societies, economies, etc. So not everyone will have access to same witnesses as we do for example. I believe the Quran is timeless and unless it specified something was historical (or a story) or the ulama agreed on something being historical then it is generally taken to be timeless. If I were to believe that 2:282 is only historical, then individuals against the hijab will say 24:31 is only historical.
    – YoMango
    Dec 24, 2022 at 10:59
  • 1
    "In any case, legal testimony should be evaluated on its credibility, not just on numbers, or on the sex of the person testifying." I 100% agree with you
    – YoMango
    Jan 5, 2023 at 5:43

Does this mean that a woman doing every 'good deed' she is able to do, and a man doing every 'good deed' they are able to, will result in the man receiving a higher reward from Allah because he was able to do more religious deeds because of no restrictions and the female was able to do less religious deeds because of restrictions put forth upon her beyond her privilege to control?

The above understanding is contradictory to verse of Quran.

Indeed, the Muslim men and Muslim women, the believing men and believing women, the obedient men and obedient women, the truthful men and truthful women, the patient men and patient women, the humble men and humble women, the charitable men and charitable women, the fasting men and fasting women, the men who guard their private parts and the women who do so, and the men who remember Allah often and the women who do so - for them Allah has prepared forgiveness and a great reward. (33:35)

Further, A man will not receive higher reward than woman for prayers done continuously for a month. A woman who prayed for 27 days will have equivalent reward of a male who prayed for 30 days. My source of evidence is hadith of bukhari.

Hadith - Al-Bukhari

A traveller's or sick person's deeds are recorded in accordance with what he used to do when he was resident or well.

PS: whoever wants to suggest edits or improve my answer, I welcome them


The fact their were women that were mentioned that will be in hell is not because they are in this state but rather it's referring to the subset of women who curse and are ungrateful as Muhammad Hijab(in video il past down below) said in beginning of video and is what the Hadith also mentions.
For the reduction in religion topic: God gave everyone a slightly different test and dosnt burden you from what you can't handle as stated in the Quran . So what the prophet (peace be upon him) is saying if you read context in beginning of that Hadith he is urging them to give charity because of this and balance out this reduction in religion. He is simply stating a fact about the matter. If 1 guy prays alot and one guy does not even though the person that does not pray was told not to pray the fact of the matter is that he clearly has a deficate in religion. And he becomes at fault in the day of judgment if he uses that as an excuse to not do other stuff in alternative and then he curses and is ungrateful and he's is led astray because of this and dosnt go on right path etc etc. And you are forgetting there will be many women that go to heaven and above the men because of their amazing deeds. So again As Muhammad Hijab said the women that will be in hell because of so and so are a subset of women , the ones ungrateful and such as mentioned in beginning of video and Hadith So inshallah their will be trillions of women in heaven https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpLDPg5UX2Y&lc=UgyGEa0nlJbgkTsxdr54AaABAg.9_BvuEyKBNrA3aMCNAwgcT&ab_channel=Caliph this video also addresses this point https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tjs053a59hg&ab_channel=FaridResponds


What is the meaning of women are more deficient in their intelligence and religion?

  • The ‘reduction’ (nuqsan) in mind and religion is related to a woman’s legal obligations. It is not an ontological statement that women are always less intelligent or religious than men. As applied to religion, women are not obligated to pray or fast while menstruating or enduring post-natal bleeding. As applied to mind, women are not obligated to perform some functions such as testifying before a judge in a criminal case.
  • Some authors have mistranslated nuqsan by using derogatory terms like ‘deficient in intelligence,’ or ‘lacking common sense.’ This rendition is inappropriate because the word in this context means a ‘reduction,’ as it is used in the Quran in ayahs such as Quran 13:41 and Quran 21:44.
  • The reduction for women is a manifestation of Islam’s leniency towards women, by not burdening them with the same obligations as men while they have their own particular duties and concerns.
  • Source: Are women deficient in intelligence in Islam?

When it comes to these hadiths, what is their message?

Yet, often missing is the specific context of this saying of the Prophet ﷺ, which actually was not a sermon on the topic of gender, but was instead about charity. He said it on Eid day as he ﷺ was preaching to the men and women after prayer. He turned to the men and called out to them to spend in charity for the sake of Allah (swt). He then turned to the women, and by way of encouragement, reminded them to increase in their charity as well, alluding to the fact that during their menstruation and the like, they were not responsible for prayer and fasting. Thus, by advising them to increase their donations, the Prophet ﷺ was pointing them to other opportunities for coming closer to Allah (swt). The intention behind his words was immediately understood by those who were there to actually witness them. Zaynab b. Abu Muawiyah immediately ran back to her home after the Eid prayer, rushing to adhere to the counsel of the Prophet ﷺ and give from her wealth in charity. This crucial context to the hadith illustrates that the Prophet ﷺ was not making any kind of ontological declaration about the relative worth or capacity of women in relation to men, nor was he delineating some kind of cosmological hierarchy of gender with men occupying a rank above women; rather, he ﷺ was making an exhortation in that particular situation to women to take the lead in charity in light of their lessened responsibilities in other domains and their tremendous influence on men.

These hadiths are about giving charity and that is their sole message and that's how the women who were in the audience of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) understood it as well.

Source: Is Feminism the Problem? Why Ideological Bandwagons Fail Islam


The claim that women are ‘deficient in religion’ is based upon a misinterpretation or a poor translation of a prophetic statement that is about giving charity. The ‘reduction’ in a woman’s intelligence is a reduction in her legal responsibilities related to it, not in her inherent intelligence itself. The preponderance of other evidence indicates that women can be just as intelligent as men and, therefore, they should be consulted and their perspectives respected.

Extra links you can check out which touch upon these types of hadiths and their topics:


To me, this is an important question and a very legitimate one, too. My answer will probably find some resistance here, but I will say unequivocally that for such questions we should return to the Quran, the word of Allah which cannot be changed or edited and does not contradict itself. There is absolutely nothing in the Quran that suggests women are inferior or deficient in intelligence or religion. On the contrary, we find examples that they are not deficient in intelligence or religion. Regarding intelligence, the wisdom of the queen of Saba' was evident in the narrative about her in the Quran (27:34).

The Pharoah's wife recognized the value of Moses when he was a baby and insisted that her husband take him into their household to be their dear child (she was childless), and he agreed to take him in for her sake, to be dear to her but not him. From Surat Al-Qasas 28:9:

  1. The wife of Pharaoh said: "(Here is) joy of the eye, for me and for thee: slay him not. It may be that he will be use to us, or we may adopt him as a son." And they perceived not (what they were doing)!

At the time, the Pharoah was ordering the killing of the first-born child of each family (every other year—and Moses was born in a "killing year"). She raised him up lovingly in her home, and later accepted Islam and prayed to Allah to grant her a place in paradise, whereas her husband completely rejected faith. This is a case of a woman who is superior in religion and intelligence to a man and Allah recognized and accepted her faith (which she had to keep secret).

From Surat Al-Tahrim 66:11: 11. And Allah sets forth, as an example to those who believe the wife of Pharaoh: Behold she said: "O my Lord! Build for me, in nearness to Thee, a mansion in the Garden, and save me from Pharaoh and his doings, and save me from those that do wrong".

There are examples of both good and bad men as well as good and bad women, and both are judged fairly because of their faith or disbelief that is in their hearts, and their deeds, according to if they were righteous or otherwise.

Maryam is an example of a good woman recognized repeatedly in the Quran. She had many of the qualities of signs that Allah showed us are for those of high religious stature, mainly the prophets. She had a righteous parent (her mother) ask Allah that she be a faithful servant of Allah. She had miracles — the virgin birth of Jesus, and food would miraculously appear in the mihrab where she prayed. She was visited by the archangel Jibreel who gave her the message of her son's birth. She was mentioned as being faithful and praying regular salat, and also of being pure. (This is a state of the heart accorded to prophets.) She was tested and suffered, ostracized by her family who thought the child was out of wedlock. Allah provided dates for her after she delivered Jesus alone. Jesus was also called "the word" -- remember she did not have a "message" like prophets, so Jesus, the "Word", was her "message". And she was told to fast from speaking for 3 days, during which time Jesus miraculously spoke on her behalf in front of her relatives. He also comforted her by speaking to her after birth using sophisticated adult language. Another miracle. Allah mentions her in Surat Al-Tahrim 66:12, the aya immediately following the one quoted above:

  1. And Mary the daughter of 'Imran, who guarded her chastity; and We breathed into (her body) of Our spirit; and she testified to the truth of the words of her Lord and of His Revelations, and was one of the devout (servants).

This is an example of a woman Allah chose and elevated to the highest status. Her status was not conferred by a man: neither her father, as she was an orphan cared for by her uncle, nor her husband, as she had none, gave her that status. It was her purity of heart and fulfillment of that faith in her patience which Allah recognized. She was not, and should not, be called "deficient in religion" or intelligence.

There are more ayat confirming this train of thought in the Quran, but insha' Allah this should give us some proof. Allah promised to preserve the Quran. But not the hadeeths. Therefore we should examine such hadeeths to see if they uphold or contradict the Quran in any way, rather than rely on names in a series of oral transmission. Even Bukhari claimed to have memorized some 2,000 false hadeeths. He did not include them, but the fact and alleged number of their existence should give us pause and consider the Quranic repeated injunction to "t'aqiloon" -- to think, use our minds, try to comprehend the message as a whole. Maybe there was another context to that hadeeth, but overall it doesn't seem consistent with even other hadeeths showing the respect Prophet Mohammad had for the minds and hearts of women. Why then would he accord so much consideration for the mother in another hadeeth?

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. Jul 12, 2017 at 23:01
  • why was this answer downvoted? someone explain plz
    – Hisham
    Sep 26, 2019 at 17:12

I think these two videos will give you the full answer:

  1. https://youtu.be/Tjs053a59hg

  2. https://youtu.be/zpLDPg5UX2Y

I would advise watching both :)

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .