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Assalamu alaikum,

Why isn’t a women’s testimony accepted in cases where a Hadd punishment is involved, or taken into account for the Hadd punishment?

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2 Answers 2

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A woman's testimony is not accepted in Hudood and Qisas under normal circumstances. This is the view of the vast majority of the madhabs, including the Hanafis, Malikis, Shafi'is and Hanbalis.

وأجمعوا على أن شهادتهن لا تقبل في الحدود

There is consensus that the testimony of women is not accepted in Hudud

Al-Ijma' - Ibn Mundhir

The evidence cited for it includes:

  • The Quran and Ahadith declare a defect in the testimony of women, i.e. a higher chance of error in it:

    فإن لم يكونا رجلين فرجل وامرأتان ممن ترضون من الشهداء أن تضل إحداهما فتذكر إحداهما الأخرى

    And if there are not two men [available], then a man and two women from those whom you accept as witnesses - so that if one of the women errs, then the other can remind her.

    Quran 2:282

    قال أليس شهادة المرأة مثل نصف شهادة الرجل ‏ قلن بلى‏‏ قال ‏ فذلك من نقصان عقلها

    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 'aql."

    Bukhari

    This raises doubt and Hudood and Qisas are averted because of doubts.

  • The Quran mentions female witnesses in loans only, when enough male witnesses are not available:

    يا أيها الذين آمنوا إذا تداينتم بدين إلى أجل مسمى ... واستشهدوا شهيدين من رجالكم فإن لم يكونا رجلين فرجل وامرأتان ممن ترضون من الشهداء

    O you who have believed, when you contract a debt for a specified term ... bring to witness two witnesses from among your men. And if there are not two men [available], then a man and two women from those whom you accept as witnesses

    Quran 2:282

    Transactions are treated similarly based on analogy, however Hudood are not. That is because the concession in transactions is for the sake of convenience, whereas what is prescribed in Hudood is rigorous proof and aversion of the punishment due to doubts and inadequacy of evidence.

  • The Quran requires four male witnesses for Zina, and does not mention anything about female witnesses:

    والذين يرمون المحصنات ثم لم يأتوا بأربعة شهداء فاجلدوهم ثمانين جلدة

    And those who accuse chaste women and then do not produce four witnesses - lash them with eighty lashes

    Quran 24:4

    ولفظ أربعة نص في العدد والذكورة

    The word أربعة is textual proof for the quantity and masculinity

    Al-Bahr ar-Raiq

    So any combination which falls short of four males will be contrary to the literal requirement of the verse, such as having three males and two females.

    Similarly the following verse indicates that the witnesses be from 'ourselves' (men) rather than 'our women':

    واللاتي يأتين الفاحشة من نسائكم فاستشهدوا عليهن أربعة منكم

    Those who commit unlawful sexual intercourse of your women - bring against them four [witnesses] from among you.

    Quran 4:15

    ولا بد أن يكون الشهود ذكورا ؛ لقوله : منكم ولا خلاف فيه بين الأمة

    And the witnesses must be male because Allah says منكم (from among you) and there's no dispute about this in among the Ummah

    Tafsir al-Qurtubi

    The requirement for all other Hudood is judged to be the same by using analogy.

  • The Quran prescribes male witnesses in divorce and bequests:

    شهادة بينكم ... اثنان ذوا عدل منكم

    Testimony [should be taken] ... [that of] two just men from among you

    Quran 5:106

    وأشهدوا ذوي عدل منكم

    And bring to witness two just men from among you

    Quran 65:2

    And the requirement for Hudood is judged to be the same by using analogy.

  • There exist several reports attributed to the sahaba and tabieen that the testimony of women is not valid in hudood. See Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah and Musannaf Abdur Razzaq. Similarly the jurists after them adopted the same stance. And a number of scholars treated this like an agreed upon matter, meaning that any dissent to it was considered rare and not credible.

Ibn Hazm, Ata ibn Abi Rabah and Tawus are among those who dissented with this and considered it valid for two women to replace one man, similar to the case of financial transactions.

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  • The answer is good on proving the premise of the question, but I think it does not really answer it. The question asks why, and not, if. They are asking why it is the case that a woman's testimony is not accepted, the reasonings for it. Commented Apr 20 at 9:28
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A woman’s testimony is accepted in Hadd punishment.

Narrated Sahl ibn Sa'd: A man came to the Prophet (ﷺ) and confessed before him that he had committed fornication with a woman whom he named. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) sent for the woman and asked her about it. But she denied that she had committed fornication. So he inflicted the prescribed punishment of flogging on him, and let her go. https://sunnah.com/abudawud:4437

And in the Quran it’s mentioned in the case of Adultery which is a had crime where the man accuses the wife her testimony is accepted.

But it will prevent punishment from her if she gives four testimonies [swearing] by Allah that indeed, he is of the liars. And the fifth [oath will be] that the wrath of Allah be upon her if he was of the truthful. https://legacy.quran.com/24/6-9

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    Pleading one's own innocence is not the same as testifying against another
    – Harun
    Commented Apr 22 at 4:29
  • It literally says she gives four testimonies this is the word of Allah not mine
    – IbnAqil
    Commented Apr 22 at 4:42
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    Four testimonies to acquit herself from an unproven accusation, not to cause Hadd punishment on another.
    – Harun
    Commented Apr 22 at 4:48
  • Have you not seen the Sunan Abu Dawud Hadith? He got additional lashes for saying he’s lying
    – IbnAqil
    Commented Apr 22 at 5:31
  • There is nothing in the Quran or Sunnah that prohibits women’s testimony in criminal cases on the contrary it shows the opposite, I know many scholars prohibited it based on Itijhad but we don’t take scholars as lords in Islam.
    – IbnAqil
    Commented Apr 22 at 5:33

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