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In the Name of God بسم الله
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.InshAllah.

Male vs Female Judges

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(bismillah)

As most of you know, the general opinion of Ulema is that only men can be judges. Ulema who believe otherwise include the Marji Ayatollah Sana'i. On his website Ayatollah Sana'i says:

The condition of masculinity has no particular bearing upon judgment and there is no religious reason to support this either.

http://www.saanei.org/page.php?pg=showbiography〈=en&id=15

He mentions 2 points:

(1) Sex has no impact on judgement

(2) There are no religious texts supporting the belief that only men can judge.

Most Ulema would obviously disagree with (2), and I have no intention of arguing either way. What I'm concerned with is (1) - that sex has no impact on the final decision of the judge. This is what you frequently hear from feminists, and Muslims who strongly believe in (2). It turns out that there have been numerous studies on whether males and females judge differently, and this allows us to evaluate point (1) in an objective manner. Most people accept that women are generally more emotional than men, but whether this difference has a significant impact upon judgement is another matter. One paper quotes a famous psychologist on this:

Often, difference debates in the field of public law proceed initially from an acknowl-

edgment of psychologist Carol Gilligan's In a Different Voice (1982). Gilligan asserted

that women and men make moral decisions by means of very different criteria-women

through an "ethic of care," and men through an "ethic of rights." Through the ethic of

care, according to Gilligan, women place greater value on such phenomena as concrete

relationships, attention to context, a concern for the welfare of others, "connectedness,"

and responsibility. In contrast, the ethic of rights places greater value on hierarchy,

abstract rules and principles, individual autonomy, and absolute individual liberty (see

Gilligan, 1982:164 ff.; similar discussions can be found in Chodorow, 1978:13-30 and

166-68; Sherry, 1986:580-91; and Scales, 1993:97).

The same paper studied the courtroom behaviour of male and female judges in Columbia. It found:

First, male and female voice traits were exhibited by both men and women judges. Second, women judges were more likely to rely on the prosecutors in issuing their rulings, while men judges were more likely to side with the defense. Third, women were likely to employ inclusive and procedural judicial styles. And fourth, men were more likely to employ both the consensual and the authoritarian styles.

Gender dynamics and judicial behavior in criminal trial courts: An exploratory study. Fox, R., Van Sickel, R. 2000 Justice System Journal 21 (3), pp. 276-280.

Another study looked at the differences between male and female judges in the sentencing criteria they used and the harshness of their sentences. It concluded:

Our results -- based on additive and interactive models -- indicate many similarities but some differences between women and men judges in their sentencing practices. Women judges are somewhat harsher (i.e.,more likely to incarcerate and impose longer sentences), and they slant toward a more contextualized style in weighing the effects of defendant characteristics and prior record sentencing outcomes. Notably, they are particularly harsh toward repeat black.

Women and men policymakers: Does the judge's gender affect the sentencing of criminal defendants? Steffensmeier, D., Hebert, C. 1999 Social Forces 77 (3), pp. 1163-1196

So it looks like there are real differences between the way men and women judge. The above doesn't suggest that one sex is better at being a judge than the other (although the quote from the psychologist that men rely more on abstract rules might come close), but it does make it much easier to see why Islam would differentiate between men and women on this issue. If a real difference exists, then it's likely that one sex judges less fairly than the other, and so should refrain from judgement.

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(salam),

It's a good issue you have raised, Mashallah! :)

As you have stated that many Ayatullahs rule out women from being judges with some exception like Ayatullah Sana'i, but I do not understand why anybody can state the (2) point you have stated. :huh:

You stated as your second point:

(2) There are no religious texts supporting the belief that only men can judge.

I would like to know whether you noted this point down from somewhere or is it your own assumption, since I believe the point is not very correct.

Imam Ali's sermon, in Peak of Eloquence, goes as follows:

" O' ye peoples! Women are deficient in Faith, deficient in shares and deficient in intelligence. As regards the deficiency in their Faith, it is their abstention from prayers and fasting during their menstrual period. As regards deficiency in their intelligence it is because the evidence of two women is equal to that of one man. As for the deficiency of their shares that is because of their share in inheritance being half of men. So beware of the evils of women. Be on your guard even from those of them who are (reportedly) good. Do not obey them even in good things so that they may not attract you to evils. " Nahjul Balagha, SERMON - 80

http://www.al-islam.org/nahj/ (refer to SERMON - 80)

This clearly shows that women, are deficient to men in RELIGIOUS MATTER (mind you, not anything else!). Since punishment, can decide a person's fate, life or death, it is necessary that a wise, and some not intellectually deficient be the judge. Since this sermon states that men are superior to women with regard to intellect, I think it's quite clear why the profession of Judgment is prohbited for women in Islam.

A wrong decision, can destroy a person's life. To make is simple, there are always chances of error in judgement. It is just that these chances are reduced when a man judges as compared to a woman.

Moreover, like you said, women are more emotional than men, many of whom are 'hard-hearted'. For example, a prostitute can easily cry her way through a woman judge's heart and win a case in her own favour (despite her being guilty) as a woman feels the pain of another woman, no matter how less the truth in it. It's natural, that women are more tender hearted than men. However there are exceptions, and in some cases women mught actually prove to be better than men.

A male judge, on the other hand, would not see throught the prostitute's eyes, and judge as per the law, without being emotional, I believe. :)

No offense to women (judges).... :lol: :lol:

(wasalam)

Basim Ali Jafri

Edited by Basim Ali

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This graph shows the IQ scores of all scottish people who took the IQ test in 1932:

pinker_Page_41.jpg

http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/debate05/debate05_index.html

The black line represents women and the dotted line is for men. According to this there are far more very inteligent men than women, but also far more very uninteligent men than women. In other words there are more dumb men than dumb women but also more clever men than clever women.

According to wikipedia, some studies have foud that the average IQ of men is slightly higher tha women, but others have found no difference. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_and_intelligence

Edited by .InshAllah.

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This graph shows the IQ scores of all scottish people who took the IQ test in 1932:

pinker_Page_41.jpg

http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/debate05/debate05_index.html

The black line represents women and the dotted line is for men. According to this there are far more very inteligent men than women, but also far more very uninteligent men than women. In other words there are more dumb men than dumb women but also more clever men than clever women.

According to wikipedia, some studies have foud that the average IQ of men is slightly higher tha women, but others have found no difference. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_and_intelligence

if that graph were true, we would be walking around with way more complete idiots (even more than we have), you know the really dumb ones who rob a bank and wave to the security camera

anyway now that i am reading the fine print it is a test of 11 year olds, not men and women. the differences are probably due to the fact that girls usually have an easier time of mastering reading/verbal skills younger and probably other things related to how they were testing.

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This graph shows the IQ scores of all scottish people who took the IQ test in 1932:

pinker_Page_41.jpg

http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/debate05/debate05_index.html

Your graph shows results from 1932, when there was much less schooling than there is now. Moreover, the graph has included only the IQs of Scottish people, which makes the results biased, since IQ statistics of one area might vary from the other, especially in places like villages of Pakistan and India, where female education is far below that of male education.

(wasalam)

Basim Ali Jafri

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Malcolm Gladwell says the same thing; males are more variable. He has written a long article on it

In other words, although the average math ability of boys and girls is the same, the distribution isn't: there are more males than females at the bottom of the pile, more males than females at the top of the pile, and fewer males than females in the middle. Statisticians refer to this as a difference in variability.

This pattern, as it turns out, is repeated in almost every conceivable area of gender difference. Boys are more variable than girls on the College Board entrance exam and in routine elementary-school spelling tests. Male mortality patterns are more variable than female patterns; that is, many more men die in early and middle age than women, who tend to die in more of a concentrated clump toward the end of life. The problem is that variability differences are regularly confused with average differences. If men had higher average math scores than women, you could say they were better at the subject. But because they are only more variable the word "better" seems inappropriate.

http://www.gladwell....19_a_sports.htm

Even in the shia world you will see the same thing. I might get critisized a lot for saying this but here goes: If you look at the gems and jerks in the shia community what do you see? Even here on shiachat the more indepth islamic discussions are usually dominated my males and I bet most of the worst trouble makers on the forum are also men. It's only an observation of mine and I may be wrong.

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Malcolm Gladwell says the same thing; males are more variable. He has written a long article on it

http://www.gladwell....19_a_sports.htm

Even in the shia world you will see the same thing. I might get critisized a lot for saying this but here goes: If you look at the gems and jerks in the shia community what do you see? Even here on shiachat the more indepth islamic discussions are usually dominated my males and I bet most of the worst trouble makers on the forum are also men. It's only an observation of mine and I may be wrong.

Well, could that be because males are more in number than females, according to my GIRLS:BOYS ratio, poll? (see General Off-Topic Discussions)

Or maybe males are just more active.

(wasalam),

Basim Ali Jafri

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Well, could that be because males are more in number than females, according to my GIRLS:BOYS ratio, poll? (see General Off-Topic Discussions)

Or maybe males are just more active.

(wasalam),

Basim Ali Jafri

one explanation could be that males are more active in wanting to get into discussions and voice their opinions. I personally think that men are more "geeky" and that's why we see them getting more into islamic topics in the manner that they do. I don't think women havent got the ability to participate but I think they just don't want to. I personally think that we need to encourage more women to take a deeper interest in Islamic studies. It's good for them, for their husbands and for their children. Our communities tend to let women down. We have encouraged more girls to get a secular education and it has been been successful and now it's time to promote the religion of Allah.

At my local Islamic Center we have lectures open to both brother and sisters; and how many women turn up? one average one!.

This forum does have more men than women. I just did a quick count of the top 40 posters on the forum and we have 27 males 12 females and 1 unknown. Now all you need to do is look at many of the topics to see even more disparity, apart from the social issues/marriage and sisters' forums.

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. I personally think that we need to encourage more women to take a deeper interest in Islamic studies. It's good for them, for their husbands and for their children.

I agree with what you are saying but I would like to point out that this itself is a biased statement. I have never once heard anyone say 'We need to encourage more men to take a deeper interest in Islamic studies. It's good for them, for their wives, and for their children.' (even though it is if they do it properly)

Anyway does anyone know what the fiqh justification is that a lady should not be a religious judge?

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(bismillah)

I personally believe that most women are more caring then men but the ones that aren't caring are real monsters.

Also, don't forget that there were no female judges during the rule of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) and Imam Ali (as) .

Edited by akf

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(bismillah)

I personally believe that most women are more caring then men but the ones that aren't caring are real monsters.

Also, don't forget that there were no female judges during the rule of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) and Imam Ali (as) .

I don't believe that at all, in fact, I think women would be harsher judges, because they tend to be spiteful.

I'd rather be infront of a male judge than a female one any day.

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I agree with what you are saying but I would like to point out that this itself is a biased statement. I have never once heard anyone say 'We need to encourage more men to take a deeper interest in Islamic studies. It's good for them, for their wives, and for their children.' (even though it is if they do it properly)

It does sound like a biased statement but I am only pointing out that we need to remove the imbalance. It's similar to me saying: 'We need to encourage more men to become less aggressive. It's good for them, for their wives, and for their children.' Would you not agree that aggression is more of a problem for men than women?

I don't think spite has anything to do with it, but I do think male judges are more lenient than female. Women are used to having to accept full consequences of their actions, and they expect the same of others. A woman judge is going to be harsher in the name of justice and protection of the community at the cost of the individual. A male judge is more lenient because he is looking at the individual more than the wider community, and so when he judges with mercy, its mercy toward the convicted. When a woman judges with mercy, its mercy toward those affected by the crime.

I don't know who is more lenient but I wouldn't be surprised if some women judges tend to be less lenient for the sake of proving a point.

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There is a great deal of weak reasoning being used in this thread. The biggest error being made is rushing from statements that are true or arguable for the most part / on the average for a group to claims about all members of the group. This does not follow. On the average, men are taller than women. But there are many women out there with heights of 6 feet or more who are taller than most men. Similarly even if (for the sake of argument) the skillset of a judge is such that on the average men are more equipped for the role than women in some inherent, biological way beyond any effects of socialization and education (a huge and basically unfounded assumption for the sake of argument), there will still be women out there who are cut out for it. Even if the skillset of the ideal judge is more alligned with stereotypically "masculine" traits (again for the sake of argument only), the population of women has variation such that some subset of women will have the same traits, and, with the proper professional training, will be capable of filling the role.

If you want to look at averages, the vast majority of people, men and women are not cut out to be judges. These lame, weak arguments about the so called "essential differences between men and women" have no bearing on the question whatsoever.

But even beyond this weak reasoning I challenge the assertion that the skills of an ideal judge are somehow "masculine" in nature. A good judge should have a wide assortment of skills - hard analytical skills, intuition about people, mercy, empathy with both the victim of a crime and with the extenuating circumstances of the criminal, a deep understanding of abstract principles and an understanding of context. It's a mix of so-called masculine and so-called feminine skills. No fallible woman is going to have this ideal mix, and neither is any fallible man. Women judges might tend to bring out some of these key skills better, while men might tend to bring out others better. Ultimately it depends on the particular individual, and the presence of both male and female judges, with their relative strengths, is ultimately a good thing that will help jurisprudence develop, as the strengths of each remind the other of their weaknesses.

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He mentions 2 points:

(1) Sex has no impact on judgement

(2) There are no religious texts supporting the belief that only men can judge.

Most Ulema would obviously disagree with (2), and I have no intention of arguing either way.

What he means is that there are no religious texts that convincingly prove that the fact of judgeship residing solely in the hands of males in the past was anything other than historical contingency. That is, while there are texts to suggest that it was not workable for a woman to be a judge in the past, there is no reason to claim that women are inherently unfit for the role.

Women were not judges in the past for the same reason they were not political and religious leaders in the past - because in the past women were generally not given due respect by their societies in terms of their potentials as thinking, reasoning human beings. For people to submit themselves to a leader or submit themselves to a judge, there has to be a certain respect. This wasn't a workable proposition for women in the past, and so female judges and leaders were a non-starter proposition. Now, as the general mindset has shifted, this has become more possible.

Edited by kadhim

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There is a great deal of weak reasoning being used in this thread. The biggest error being made is rushing from statements that are true or arguable for the most part / on the average for a group to claims about all members of the group. This does not follow. On the average, men are taller than women. But there are many women out there with heights of 6 feet or more who are taller than most men. Similarly even if (for the sake of argument) the skillset of a judge is such that on the average men are more equipped for the role than women in some inherent, biological way beyond any effects of socialization and education (a huge and basically unfounded assumption for the sake of argument), there will still be women out there who are cut out for it. Even if the skillset of the ideal judge is more alligned with stereotypically "masculine" traits (again for the sake of argument only), the population of women has variation such that some subset of women will have the same traits, and, with the proper professional training, will be capable of filling the role.

If you want to look at averages, the vast majority of people, men and women are not cut out to be judges. These lame, weak arguments about the so called "essential differences between men and women" have no bearing on the question whatsoever.

The purpose of the OP was not to prove that the skill set of men was better than women, nor did I claim that. The purpose was to analyse the oft heard claim that males and females judge the same and sex makes no difference. This claim is clearly false. Of course there will be a minority of women that judge like most men and vice versa, thats to be expected. My post doesn't prove that one group is better at being a judge than the other, only that real differences exist. If Islam doesn't allow one group to be judges (as most Ulema believe), then you would expect real differences to exist. I showed that they do.

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I was told that in Islam, women aren't allowed to be judges because their emotions will get in the way..

Correct me if i'm wrong

You're wrong. Such "arguments" are lame excuses misogynists use to cover their true colors. Plain and simple.

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The purpose was to analyse the oft heard claim that males and females judge the same and sex makes no difference. This claim is clearly false.

I don't think you or anyone is in a position to make such a sweeping statement. Women have so far been judges in significant numbers for only a few decades. We're only really seeing the second generation of female judges. That's far too little data to jump to any conclusions about inherent gender characteristics in terms of how judges judge.

Of course there will be a minority of women that judge like most men and vice versa, thats to be expected.

There will be a minority of humans, period who are capable of being judges.

If Islam doesn't allow one group to be judges (as most Ulema believe), then you would expect real differences to exist.

"Islam" has no such inherent, general prohibition. Shame on those who insult the religion and its Prophet by claiming it does.

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I don't believe that at all, in fact, I think women would be harsher judges, because they tend to be spiteful.

I'd rather be infront of a male judge than a female one any day.

Yes mY man has hit the nail on it ....

They are spiteful creatures.....they will base a judgement upon something so trivial like, "I don't like the way you wipe your nose...for God's sake there's swine flu going around..be a bit more considerate, you came in here for a parking ticket offence and are now leaving with ....25 YEARS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

or

"AWW WELL HE HAD THE CUTEST EYES...I JUST COULDN'T FATHOM HIM BEING A RAPIST....SO I HAD TO LET HIM GO"

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I don't think you or anyone is in a position to make such a sweeping statement. Women have so far been judges in significant numbers for only a few decades. We're only really seeing the second generation of female judges. That's far too little data to jump to any conclusions about inherent gender characteristics in terms of how judges judge.

These statements are based on academic studies. Its irrelevant that they've been judges for a few decades because both males and females are taught the same things. Yet they apply this knowledge in different ways. This isnt surprising given the different psychological make up.

There will be a minority of humans, period who are capable of being judges.

Those that have qualified are from this minority, and the scientific studies have found real differences between the males and females in this group.

"Islam" has no such inherent, general prohibition. Shame on those who insult the religion and its Prophet by claiming it does.

You and your fellow feminists are entitled to your opinions.

Edited by .InshAllah.

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These statements are based on academic studies. Its irrelevant that they've been judges for a few decades because both males and females are taught the same things. Yet they apply this knowledge in different ways. This isnt surprising given the different psychological make up.

Again, given that it has only been roughly a generation since it has become more common for women to be judges, and given the general difficulty in drawing sweeping conclusions about inherent nature in sociology and psychology, aside from influences of socialization and the like, it is quite premature to come to any conclusions that "women inherently judge differently from men." The data set is simply not sufficient to support that conclusion.

The result that this first generation of women judges, for example, have tended to judge more harshly may well be a relic of their personal histories of having to work harder than their male colleagues to prove themselves and prove that they're not "weak and soft." These women were "taught the same things," but experienced quite different life arcs in getting to where they did than theior male colleagues. It's quite natural for a young women to aspire to be a lawyer or judge today, but that is only because these early pioneers busted their arses against a lot of pig-headed, misogynistic resistance to get there.

People who had to work hard to earn their way tend to have less patience in general for human screwups. And if you want to prove you're "tough enough" and avoid being cast into stereotypes of being too compassionate and mothering, then you're going to tend to overcompensate in the opposite direction of cold, stern, and no-nonsense accepted.

If we see the same patterns two or three generations down the line when half the judges and lawyers and law students are women, then we will have something to talk about. Right now, you've got far too many plausible alternate explanations for the data to take your interpretations seriously.

You and your fellow feminists are entitled to your opinions.

If by "feminist" you mean I don't make unfounded claims challenging the inherent potential of women based on hokey folk "wisdom" and pseudoscientific misrepresentations of research, then guilty as charged, and proud of it.

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Well dear friends we all are trying to discover the ball again. As I also believe that women can make good judgments, but in there certain area of working as Ay'ma define in their preaches. But the as judge to the come man issues they unable to make decisions, good is so fore. Don't try to interpret the Ay'ma's religion as the guide us we have to follow not to put our views / ideas & I think. Just to obey no more. That is the true Muslim Islamic life. You all of know that the persons who try to drive the this greatest religion what they got only this world (Dunia) but in end (Akhrat) they will be empty hand or bagging for live in Jannah not in hell (dozakh) that is confirm their pace. That is the believe that I have only we can't make any of female judge for common to the public if her witness is half how her judgment is full astonish. So, just believe not to deicide. Some of my friend write if a female not appointed as judge by Rasulullah ( S.A.W.W) and not by Amir ul momineen (A.S) so who we are? that's it only. Our religion rules for ever not for a certain time.

Regards,

Wasalam

Shakir Hussain

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