Jump to content
Guests can now reply in ALL forum topics (No registration required!) ×
Guests can now reply in ALL forum topics (No registration required!)
In the Name of God بسم الله

Are these really Imam Ali's words?

Rate this topic


Recommended Posts

  • Veteran Member

(bismillah) (salam)

I can't get over this quote from a Letter 31 of Nahjul Balagha attributed to Imam Ali (as):

Do not seek the advice of women, their verdicts are often immature and incorrect and their determinations are not firm. You must guard and defend them and act as a shelter to protect them from impious and injurious surroundings and infamous sights, this kind of shelter will keep them well-protected from every harm. Their contact with a vicious and sinful atmosphere (even with all the shelter that you can provide) is going to prove more harmful than being left with protection. Do not let them interfere with affairs where you cannot personally guide or protect them. Do not let them aspire for things which are beyond their capacities. They are more like decoration to humanity and are not made to rule and govern humanity. Exhibit reasonable interest in things which they desire and give importance to them, but do not let them influence your opinions and do not let them impel you to go against your sane views.

OK I'm no scholar but even I can see some serious difficulties with this passage. According to the above, women are wrong most of the time, they constantly need a man to guide them since they have no sense of right and wrong, and the sole purpose behind their existence is merely to serve as a decoration. Is this right?

What I would like to know is, is this in fact what these words mean and if so, do scholars consider them to be the genuine words of Imam Ali (as)?

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Advanced Member
mashallah beautiful sayings, basically imam ali (as) is saying that rule is not for women, the woman is made for the man, i think ayesha was a great example in this respect, who waged against imam ali (as), she was supposed to be keep her mouth shut and stay at home, but she didnt and got taught a lesson by imam ali (as) at jamaal, however that aside women are not meant to dictate rule or govern, i dont see anything wrong with that saying.

Personally Im a married woman and would never dare offend my husband and even if i did id feel bad because in Islam woman is made for the man

are you the only one of a kind or there are more like you... i am looking for one.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Advanced Member

(salam)

there is not much problem with the extract really , the first embolded line , i cannot comment on perhaps the extract before it would do good , or the arabic version to avoid translation errors

however the 2nd embolded part - there is a certain condition in letting them interefere in affairs , it doesnt say they are not allowed to interefere , but only that they cannot interefere where you either arent there to guide them when they go wrong , or protect them when things get out of hand this is obviously not refering to petty things

3rd embolded - the part you highlighted would be very much misleading and deceitful and is the type ud find in an anti-islamic website , however your mistake is you didnt judge the meaning by the whole line , they are not meant to lead or govern or rule humanity that is why we see no women prophets or Imams , and this reminds me of one of sayed khomeinis (r.a) sayings - truly if fatima (as) was a man she would have been a prophet-

about decoration , arabic extract may prove the word to be otherwise right , unless the word used is zeena/manthar or any others like that

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Veteran Member
mashallah beautiful sayings, basically imam ali (as) is saying that rule is not for women, the woman is made for the man, i think ayesha was a great example in this respect, who waged against imam ali (as), she was supposed to be keep her mouth shut and stay at home, but she didnt and got taught a lesson by imam ali (as) at jamaal, however that aside women are not meant to dictate rule or govern, i dont see anything wrong with that saying.

Personally Im a married woman and would never dare offend my husband and even if i did id feel bad because in Islam woman is made for the man

So you believe that a woman is an extension of man and has no independent existence of her own? That sounds like Wahabbi thinking to me. The Quran tells us that man and woman are made for each other:

"They (your wives) are your garment and you are a garment for them." (2:187)

Edited by Talib-e-Ilm
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Veteran Member
(salam)

there is not much problem with the extract really , the first embolded line , i cannot comment on perhaps the extract before it would do good , or the arabic version to avoid translation errors

This letter consists of advice on various matters attributed to Imam Ali (as) (sorry have to qualify every hadith of the infallibles with that during ramadan in order to avoid breaking my fast). Its more like a list of sayings than a speech.

You can read the letter in full here: http://al-islam.org/nahjul/letters/letter31.htm Scroll all the way down to the 6th paragraph from the bottom.

however the 2nd embolded part - there is a certain condition in letting them interefere in affairs , it doesnt say they are not allowed to interefere , but only that they cannot interefere where you either arent there to guide them when they go wrong , or protect them when things get out of hand this is obviously not refering to petty things

The condition given here is the problem. It's basically reducing grown women to the level of children by saying they need constant male supervision because they are unable to think for themselves. Pretty insulting don't you think?

3rd embolded - the part you highlighted would be very much misleading and deceitful and is the type ud find in an anti-islamic website , however your mistake is you didnt judge the meaning by the whole line , they are not meant to lead or govern or rule humanity that is why we see no women prophets or Imams , and this reminds me of one of sayed khomeinis (r.a) sayings - truly if fatima (as) was a man she would have been a prophet-

The meaning of the line is clear. Women exist not to serve as rulers or governers but to beautify humanity much like an ornament on a Christmas tree and this is the part that offensive.

I'm glad you mentioned Hazret Fatima (as). Do you or any Shia in their right mind believe Fatima (as) was a mere decoration for humanity? If her stature was so great that, according to Khomeini, she would be a prophet had she been a man, then obviously she was created to serve a higher role in her life than a decoration piece.

about decoration , arabic extract may prove the word to be otherwise right , unless the word used is zeena/manthar or any others like that

I'm hoping its a case of bad translation. Because the passage as its worded is very offensive and flys in the face of everything we know about the position of women in Islam and the example of noble women like Fatima (as) and Zaynab (as).

Edited by Talib-e-Ilm
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Advanced Member

(salam)

im not sure where to find the arabic version , due to the fact that i never read it in arabic before so if anyone can help that would be nice

bro again , you see , i dont think you understand it the right way , women are not meant to lead humanity , again thats why there are no woman prophets or Imams , but tthat doesnt mean they are not important , we see them CONTINUING the pace of islam many a times , as we see by sayeda zaynab after karbala and the speech

bro , lets look at what ayesha did , in her waging the war against Imam Ali (as) , imagine it wasnt Imam Ali (as) , and she had lost the war , who is there to protect her >? protect her honour as a wife of the prophet etc .. surely we know there was no one , unless Imam Ali (as) would stand up for her ... the consequences would be very extreme against a woman , than against a man

howeever you see that in the Imam Mahdis (may Allah hasten His reappearance there are hadiths of up to 40 woman in the 313 generals/choosen ones , this sums up to the fact that there is some one to turn to when things get out of control or out of hand

as for decoration , im not sure , cant find an arabic extract as i said

but a considerably weak arguement would be , that the extract says , they are MORE like , and not ARE DECORATIONS

again keep in mind this refers to Imam Hassan (as) this passage and advice , and remember that he was poisoned by HIS WIFE <<<<

and the last line should take away all confusion as it says , this is explicitly to keep them from varying your thoughts and changing decisions you make

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Advanced Member

women tend to follow their "gut" / "intuition at times..so thats not a reasonable way to rule or judge or lead by...and they sometimes dont think and only follow what their hearts tell them. dont get me wrong, at times it works.. and other times... it backfires.

well thats howthey explained it to me.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Veteran Member
I also brought this passage forth to an alim, he explained me this passage is about women as rulers not necessarily personal issues.

Hasan Sajjad

President

Okay, that helps explain the first two parts but what about the "decoration for humanity?" Can someone maybe look into the original Arabic to see if there's a more accurate meaning of 'decoration'?

Edited by Talib-e-Ilm
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Advanced Member

(salam)

i think ayesha was a great example in this respect, who waged against imam ali , she was supposed to be keep her mouth shut and stay at home, but she didnt and got taught a lesson by imam ali at jamaal,

im talking about this non-wahabi talk

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Muntuthra-Alnasr

(bismillah)

(salam)

^ I am aswell. However you can't judge these things by her posts aswell. What shia parents would name their daughter hafsa when fatima and khadija and zainab and sukaina and so on are available?

And she may be a wahabi from a wahabi family but doesnt know her beliefs and takes from shia thoughts. You never know guys.

Wasalam

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Advanced Member
Okay, that helps explain the first two parts but what about the "decoration for humanity?" Can someone maybe look into the original Arabic to see if there's a more accurate meaning of 'decoration'?

I dont think you are married?

And I dont think you have many women in your family OR had conversation with them on serious issues.

Otherwise would never have questioned this issue.

Edited by Ali Fazel
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Advanced Member
^

Umm, what the hell does being married have anything to do with it? If you have never met an intelligent female then you are either living a very sheltered life or think too highly of yourself to believe that a woman can be smarter than you.

LOL :D

never met an intelligent female !! :D :lol:

You are not trying to get me to say something that would bring the wrath of all ladies here on the shia chat upon me are you? SORRY IT WONT WORK. :P

:lol:

Edited by Ali Fazel
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Advanced Member
women tend to follow their "gut" / "intuition at times..so thats not a reasonable way to rule or judge or lead by...and they sometimes dont think and only follow what their hearts tell them. dont get me wrong, at times it works.. and other times... it backfires.

well thats howthey explained it to me.

Are you kidding me? I know many women who are more logical and better decision makers then most men, there is no legitimacy to this claim

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Advanced Member

(salam)

I recall reading a very similar Hadith but with a different translation, and the part

"They are more like decoration to humanity and are not made to rule and govern humanity"

is translated like

"Women is like a flower, not an administrator"

Link to post
Share on other sites

The fact is that women are not good judges. When you translate arabic or farsi or any language for that matter some meaning gets lost in the proccess. Basically what he is saying is that the female gender is very emotional and base their verdict on feelings rather than logics. There is nothing wrong with that in general, but its not the characteristics of a leader.

A example is. Say a mother of 3 is also a judge part time. When she is on a case where the guilty is a mother, and the victim is a man, she will most likley automatically lean towards the female because there is a motherly conenction, rather than base their opinion on facts.

The male gender also have some characterisitcs that makes then unsuitable for made tuties that females are better at.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Advanced Member
mashallah beautiful sayings, basically imam ali (as) is saying that rule is not for women, the woman is made for the man, i think ayesha was a great example in this respect, who waged against imam ali (as), she was supposed to be keep her mouth shut and stay at home, but she didnt and got taught a lesson by imam ali (as) at jamaal, however that aside women are not meant to dictate rule or govern, i dont see anything wrong with that saying.

Personally Im a married woman and would never dare offend my husband and even if i did id feel bad because in Islam woman is made for the man

(salam) NO NO NO why is it that Allah says that men and women r equak?!! how can a woman be MADE 4 a man astaghfirallah! its not meant in the way it seems (salam)

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...
  • Veteran Member
(salam)

I recall reading a very similar Hadith but with a different translation, and the part

"They are more like decoration to humanity and are not made to rule and govern humanity"

is translated like

"Women is like a flower, not an administrator"

Thank you Bro. Bahlool. I actually read this in a different translation of Nahjul Balagha recently.

The thing that gets me is, if we take these words of Nahjul Balagha at face value, then what about women in Iran serving in the Parliament? Aren't they serving as administrators and rulers albeit indirectly?

What's ironic is these same words are enshrined in IRI's constitution yet it goes on to permit women to do all of these things.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...
  • Advanced Member
are you the only one of a kind or there are more like you... i am looking for one.

if the following paragraph of the subject extract is any constellation;

"Do not force them into marriages which they abhor or which they consider below their dignity because there is danger of thus converting honourable and virtuous women into shameless and dishonourable beings."

this comes right after the paragraph in question. U know i notice a lot on this forum that when the topic of women in islam comes up people tend to open with "oh but look at Aisha, and hafsa, and imam Hassans (as) wife"--lol dont be opening with that we all know very well that these are not worth looking up to or using examples in anything. would Hafsa and Aisha have been able to do what they did if the central men in their lives (their fathers) werent worldy usurpers?- i doubt that. i think many men in islamic history are responsible for greater atrocities than women. i think the extract in question may have been lost in translation, Ali (as) who honoured his wife fatima (as) would not have meant this in a derogetory way. we need to look at the examples such as Fatima (as), Zainab (as) given the title of the 'heroine of Karabala' and whose sermons after the battle of Karbala inflamed grief in the hearts of muslims and helped undermine the Ummayad dynasty, a factor that led to its collapse. Nafisa bint Hassan (as) whose intellectual discourses were famous throughout egypt at the time, Pharoahs wife.

"and God sets forth as an example to those who believe, the wife of Pharoah"

the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) said "Allah the exalted is more kind to females than males"

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Advanced Member

ok i previoulsy posted a comment regarding the extract in question saying it could be a problem with the translation..but i dont no what to make of this one from nahj al Balagha

sermon 79 after the battle of Jamal

"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."

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Advanced Member
(bismillah) (salam)

I can't get over this quote from a Letter 31 of Nahjul Balagha attributed to Imam Ali (as):

OK I'm no scholar but even I can see some serious difficulties with this passage. According to the above, women are wrong most of the time, they constantly need a man to guide them since they have no sense of right and wrong, and the sole purpose behind their existence is merely to serve as a decoration. Is this right?

What I would like to know is, is this in fact what these words mean and if so, do scholars consider them to be the genuine words of Imam Ali (as)?

(salam)

I completely agree with the notion that women should not be heads of states or even judges. However, the decoration to humanity part and the last sentence don't sit well with me.....some women give perfectly good and more sane advice than men do, perhaps not most, but some. In light of this, the wording of the hadith doesn't seem right.

edit: now that I think about it, pretty much all women are emotional to a degree that it can cloud their judgement.....even the extremely intelligent women out there can be naive/emotional and their emotions can be easily played with (not anywhere near the same extent ofcourse but it still happens).....so yeah, when it comes to the issue of giving advice, I wouldn't trust female advice in certain (very few though) situations regardless of how intelligent the woman is.....but I still don't get the decorations to humanity part.

ok i previoulsy posted a comment regarding the extract in question saying it could be a problem with the translation..but i dont no what to make of this one from nahj al Balagha

sermon 79 after the battle of Jamal

"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."

Yeah, I'm very uneasy with this hadith and have yet to see a good explanation. If women cannot pray because of their menses then I don't understand how that can make them deficient in faith. They would technically be deficient in their frequency of carrying out Islamic deeds but I don't see how it makes them deficient in faith. Getting their menses is not something they control.

As for deficiency in intelligence.....I agree that generally speaking women are not as intelligent/logical as men (this is not necessarily completely a natural thing, there are important factors to consider such as women not having the right to education in virtually all societies/cultures throughout history and other factors....however I still think it is natural to a large degree). I have seen some very intelligent women (they're just fewer in number than men from what I've seen) but I don't think I've ever seen a genius woman whereas I've seen genius men. HOWEVER, the problem is that in this hadith, it says that the reason for women being deficient in intelligence is because their evidence is equal to two men.....but this doesn't really constitute a reason which satisfactorily explains the statement that precedes it, for why is their evidence equal to that of two men? Thus while I agree that women are in a sense deficient in intelligence, generally speaking, the reason that the hadith provides doesnt really prove the statement.

As for the last three sentences of the hadith, they don't make any sense to me at all. The explanation I usualyl get is that he was not talking about all women for what about lady fatima (as), lady zeinab (as) and so on. So obviously, yes, he couldn't have been talking about all of them but then why does he word his statements the way that he did? Again, it's an issue of wording. Why didn't he say some women etc. Then again I don't speak arabic so maybe it's the translation that has limitations.

I'd love to see the reasoning behind this hadith, it just doesn't seem right to me at the moment.

wasalaam

Edited by ~RuQaYaH~
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Advanced Member
If women cannot pray because of their menses then I don't understand how that can make them deficient in faith

well, most of the time when women are in their menses they dont do any extra acts of ibadah eg since they are not praying they should sit at the prayer mat with wudu and recite tasbih or something but very few do!

Imaan isnt an easy thing to keep, one needs to work on it all the time therefore these periods of lapses in Ibadah might make Iman weaker at times. I dont know if youve noticed this but many women before their menses tend to read moer Quran and do more Ibadah like as though its a provision to carry them through the period when they'll not be reading.. And if you dont do this, you'll have stayed for very long without reading Quran for example..this will definitly take atoll on your spiritual life

just my opinon!

Edited by maqnouteh
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Advanced Member
well, most of the time when women are in their menses they dont do any extra acts of ibadah eg since they are not praying they should sit at the prayer mat with wudu and recite tasbih or something but very few do!

Imaan isnt an easy thing to keep, one needs to work on it all the time therefore these periods of lapses in Ibadah might make Iman weaker at times. I dont know if youve noticed this but many women before their menses tend to read moer Quran and do more Ibadah like as though its a provision to carry them through the period when they'll not be reading.. And if you dont do this, you'll have stayed for very long without reading Quran for example..this will definitly take atoll on your spiritual life

just my opinon!

Salam sis,

Yeah but that still doesn't make them deficient in faith, it makes them deficient in something else (can't remember the word for it atm....but it basically means the carrying out of amals/prayers etc). Faith means belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion. Deficiency in faith is by no means a necessary result of a reduction in frequency of amals. Plus, many amals can still be performed during menses and as you said, many women do extra amals before they get their menses so that makes up for it to a small degree.....these amals do not have the same effect as obligatory prayers ofcourse but they do have some effect. Anyway, the faith point still stands.

''... inna kayda hunna 3adheem..''

what does that mean?

wasalaam

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Advanced Member
Salam sis,

Yeah but that still doesn't make them deficient in faith, it makes them deficient in something else (can't remember the word for it atm....but it basically means the carrying out of amals/prayers etc). Faith means belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion. Deficiency in faith is by no means a necessary result of a reduction in frequency of amals. Plus, many amals can still be performed during menses and as you said, many women do extra amals before they get their menses so that makes up for it to a small degree.....these amals do not have the same effect as obligatory prayers ofcourse but they do have some effect. Anyway, the faith point still stands.

thanks sis. u know i'd never really thought of it that way! will look into the circumstances of this particular sermon Inshallah

Inna kayda hunna adheem is in refernce to women and their plots..meaning is something like: surely their plans/plots are great

ie women are very crafty people!

Edited by maqnouteh
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Advanced Member
thanks sis. u know i'd never really thought of it that way! will look into the circumstances of this particular sermon Inshallah

Inna kayda hunna adheem is in refernce to women and their plots..meaning is something like: surely their plans/plots are great

ie women are very crafty people!

maybe it should be looked at in context after the battle with Aisha which she initiated and in which many muslims died. but i dont imagine Ali(as) would ever talk out of anger and if he was adressing her he should not have spoken in such general terms. the fact that a woman gets half a mans share does in no way reflect on her intelligence..i dont see how this connection was made. but think about it a man gets twice a womans share of inheritance because he must go on to marry a woman to which he will have to give a dower, therefore the inheritence becomes equal because it is given back to a woman. it has nothing to do with intelligence. as for the menses thing, again that does in no way make females deficient in faith, this is completely contrast to the quraan and the sayings of the russool (pbuh) where a woman is praised for her role of bearing children and now is called deficient in faith because her biological processes work in such a way so that she can be able to concieve children. i dont care for the word deficiencey it makes it seem like its a choice and if it were such a deficiency than Allah (SWT) would make it and obligation on women to make up for the prayers missed, but he doesnt (only in Ramadan of course). truth is that during this period in the month women are limited as to what they can do, we arent to make contact with anything holy (the quraan, prayer mat, mosque etc) the first convert to islam was a woman, Khadijah (ra), whom the Prophet (pbuh) loved and honoured dearly- would she be called deficient in faith??-- :no: ---the first martyr in islam was a woman-- would she be deficient in faith?? :no: , there were women who fought alongside the Prophet (pbuh) in battle, the daughter of the Prophet (pbuh) was a woman about whom her blessed father (pbuh) would proclaim "Fatima is part of my flesh, whoever causes her to be upset, upsets me" . if anything science has proven that a women are often more intelligent than men and yes it is true as stated in islam that men and women have different ways of thinking, but this is not necessarily a shortfall in eithers characters or abilities. Hazrat Zainab (as) prooved a very powerful figure during and after the battle of Karbala. she delivered sermons after the tradgedy in which she fuelled grief over the great atrocities comitted and had a role in undermining the cursed Ummayad dynasty. it seems he was directing it at Aisha though its not clear i mean, the evil plots and the idea of blindly following woman, im sure a following a great woman like Hazrat Fatima (as) would not have led to the same disasters. Ali (as) considering who his wife was would not have meant this of all women again i just wish it was not in such general terms.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Advanced Member

hmm..makes alot of sense..

Maybe we just shouldnt really compare men and women coz they are essentially diferent..Look at the matter of witnesses for instance. Why is it that 2 women are required in the place of one man? we are told its because women are naturally more forgetful so one would remind the other on what happened. Could this sort of measure be applied in the case of faith deficiency? :unsure:

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Advanced Member

Many people say that when Imam Ali(as) gave this sermon, he was actually referring to Ayesha and women of her like. My question is that if this is true then why did he not use the term..."some women are like this"? Why did he generalize his statement by saying that "women (not just some women) are like scorpions...are deficient in faith, deficient in intelligence"...etc.

There must be some reason why he included ALL women in this, rather than including only some. There can be no fault in these words of wisdom. Infact, he is like a mouth-piece of Allah almighty. Therefore, including ALL women in this statement must have a very sound and amazing logic that we ordinary humans are unable to understand.

However, as devoted shia muslims, it is our duty to wholeheartedly accept and believe that whatever Imam Ali(as) has said about women, is 100% correct, beyond any doubt and is exactly what Allah himself thinks about women. Perhaps this is a test for a women in its own right. A pious shia woman would accept Imam Ali(as)'s comments wholeheartedly and acknowledge that she may be deficient in faith or intelligence etc. Wheras the less pious women would make a fuss out of it, consider this a sexist sermon (naoudobillah) [someone here actually said that] and bring up all anti-male, feminist points against Imam Ali(as) words of wisdom.

Edited by Maisam Haider
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You are posting as a guest. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...