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Is the Testimony of a Woman Worth Half of That of a Man according to the Koran?

August 27, 2017 Leave a comment

I am going to deal with the subject regarding a woman’s testimony as taught in the Koran. Some critics of Islam and even some Muslims themselves think that a woman’s testimony is worth half that of a man. This belief is based on Koran 2:282.

O ye who believe! When ye contract a debt for a fixed term, record it in writing. Let a scribe record it in writing between you in (terms of) equity. No scribe should refuse to write as Allah hath taught him, so let him write, and let him who incurreth the debt dictate, and let him observe his duty to Allah his Lord, and diminish naught thereof. But if he who oweth the debt is of low understanding, or weak, or unable himself to dictate, then let the guardian of his interests dictate in (terms of) equity. And call to witness, from among your men, two witnesses. And if two men be not (at hand) then a man and two women, of such as ye approve as witnesses, so that if the one erreth (through forgetfulness) the other will remember. (Koran 2:282, Pickthall)

This is the longest verse in the Koran. David Wood, a harsh critic of the Koran, made this video. In it he says that the Koran teaches that a woman’s testimony is worth half of that of a man. He quotes from that massive collection of hearsay called the Sunna in order to support his interpretation.

I disagree with his interpretation of this verse. This verse is basically teaching that an expert witness is worth more than a non-expert witness. The verse deals with financial transactions in the seventh century. In seventh century Arabia, women were not educated as much as men and were not very knowledgeable about business matters.

The Koran asserts that women have similar rights to those of men.

And they (women) have rights similar to those (of men) over them in kindness, and men are a degree above them. (Koran 2:228, Pickthall)

I know that in some Islamic countries women are oppressed and do not have similar rights to those of men, but those countries are not following the teachings of the Koran regarding women’s rights. There are so-called Christian countries which also do not follow the teachings of the Bible. Many Christian countries have, for example, legalized abortion for any reason and even financially encourage this abominable practice. The Bible teaches that life begins at conception. Abortion is murder. So, just because a so-called Islamic country oppresses women, does not mean that that is the authentic teaching of Islam as found in the Koran.

If women have similar rights to those of men, then their testimonies are equal to those of men. However, an expert testimony is worth more than a non-expert testimony. So, we have this commandment in Koran 2:282 to use two men as witnesses or one man and two women. There must be at least one expert witness in a financial transaction in seventh century Arabia. If there are two women witnesses who witness along with the man, one of the women witnesses is supposed to insure that the other does not forget. Maybe those transactions back then were more complex than one would be prone to think.

In the 24th Surah, it is quite clear that a woman’s testimony is equal to that of a man in the case of being charged with adultery.

And those who cast it up on their wives having no witnesses except themselves, the testimony of one of them shall be to testify by God four times that he is of the truthful, and a fifth time, that the curse of God shall be upon him, if he should be of the liars. It shall avert from her the chastisement if she testify by God four times that he is of the liars, and a fifth time, that the wrath of God shall be upon her, if he should be of the truthful. (Koran 24:6-9, Arberry)

So, one should not think that Koran 2:282 is teaching that a woman’s testimony is worth half that of a man. A non-expert’s testimony is worth half of an expert’s testimony. That is what is being taught in this verse.

Here are some more videos made by Muslims to explain this verse. Some use the Sunna along with the Koran. If anyone has been reading my blogs, you already know what I think about the Sunna.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a Turkish cleric’s explanation. Notice how the Muslim women are dressed in this video. Also, notice that there are bottles of alcoholic beverages on the tables. There really is more than one version of Islam.

 

 

Well, I hope that my readers have learned something here. Do not believe everything that non-Muslim people tell you about the Koran and about Islam. Look at the sources themselves. Look at how people who follow the religion interpret various passages from the Koran. There are Muslims who do not believe that a woman’s testimony is worth half of that of a man. There are Muslims who think that this verse teaches that a woman’s testimony is half of that of a man, too, but I do not think that the Koran is teaching that.

 

 

 

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