Women have Crooked Characters
All the scholars confirm that Muhammad said that women have crooked characters. He
also said that a husband should not attempt to straighten his wife of the perversity.
He must enjoy her though she is still subject to this waywardness. In Sahih of
al-Bukhari (part 7, p. 80) the following is recorded,
"Allahís Apostle said: ĎThe woman is like a rib: if you try to straighten her,
she will break; so if you want to get benefit from her, do so while she still
has some crookedness."í
Also in "Riyadh al-Salihim" by Imam al-Nawawi (p. 106), we find a quote by Sahih of
"Muhammad said, ĎA woman was created from a crooked rib; thus she would never be
straightened by any means. If you enjoy her, you do that along with her
crookedness and if you endeavor to straighten her, you will break her, and
breaking her is divorcing her."í
We have here two questions: First, why is the woman the one who is crooked?
Muhammad answers: "Because she is created from a crooked rib!" Is it possible that
man is free from any crookedness? Can we not find one thousand women who would say,
"My husband has many detestable characteristics. He is always drunk, gambling, or
violent and abusive." Why is it always the woman who is crooked?
Then there is the other question which we cannot avoid: If there is a crookedness
in a woman, why does the husband not attempt to straighten her in humility, love,
prayer and understanding? Why does he have to leave her on her own without rendering
any help lest the crooked rib breaks; namely, to be divorced? Why all this
ill-advice by Muhammad? Do prophets tell the husband to scourge his wife or forsake
her on the one hand and urge him to leave her alone with her crookedness on the
other? Muhammad himself told his wives upon occasion that he would divorce them and
replace them with other women.
The Sheikh al-Sharawi, the contemporary Sheikh of Islam in Egypt, acknowledges in
his book, "You Ask and Islam Answers" (part II, p. 5) that Muhammad said this, but
the Sharawi tries intelligently to justify Muhammadís statement by saying that
Muhammad meant that the woman usually shows compassion and is bent over her child
like a crooked rib! If this is what Muhammad meant, then how are we to interpret
his saying she will never be straightened by any means, it is impossible to change
her, and men should not attempt to do so because that will be conducive to divorce,
but they should rather enjoy women along with their crookedness? Is this crookedness
a virtue, like showing tenderness towards a child? Crookedness is something bad and
difficult to change or straighten.
The Sharawi also interprets Muhammadís testimony that women lack intelligence and
faith as being not required to perform all the duties and ordinances of the
religion; they lack faith by way of commission! We tell him: Do they lack
intelligence by way of commission also? What about their testimony being regarded
equal to a half manís testimony? Is that by way of commission also or lack of
intelligence so that if one of them forgot something the other one would remind her?!
Taken from http://answering-islam.org/BehindVeil/btv3.html#CH3 (Note: We do not necessarily endorse this site or its views.)