Answered by Ustadha Mahdiyah Siddique
Assalamu alaikum Mufti saab,
I have a question regarding the testimony of women.
In Surah al Baqarah ayat 282 it mentions 2 male witnesses or 1 male and 2 female witnesses are required. Is this a general principle of the Shariah in all aspects or is it only limited to the contract of debt as mentioned in the verse?
In response to your question;
Verse 282 of Surah al-Baqarah does indeed mention the Law of Contract, however the specific principle mentioned in regards to the number of witnesses is not only limited to contracts but is rather the general rule of evidence and will apply in all matters of religion. One man alone, or on the other hand two females alone, would not stand as sufficient witnesses. (Maulana Mufti Muhammad Shafi in Ma’ariful Quran, [1/709-712], Maktaba-e-Darul-‘Uloom, Karachi, Pakistan)
Furthermore, a narration by Abdullah bin Umar (radiallahu anhu) includes the statement of the Messenger of Allah (sallahu alaihi wa sallam) regarding women; “As for the shortcoming in her mind, the testimony (Shahadah) of two women equals the testimony of one man”. (Sahih Muslim, Hadith no. 132, p692, Al-Kutub Al-Sitta: Darussalam). There is no mention in this Hadith or its context of this being specified to a certain matter of religion, rather it is stated as a generic statement.
Please note, the aforementioned Hadith is by no means an indication that women are inferior to men or that they are lacking in intellect to them rather it is on the basis that women are of a delicate nature and happen to be more emotionally vulnerable than men (the reason that the right of divorce [talaq] been given to the male) and this could cloud their judgement or cause it to be biased.
Only Allah Knows Best
Written by Ustadha Mahdiyah Siddique
Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham