The term “fitna” is often used as a weapon against women, a way to silence us, to afford minimal space for us, keep us out of the public sphere, financially dependent, and hidden. But can this interpretation really be the intentions of the ḥadîth in question?
Written by Theresa Corbin and originally posted onAljumuah.com
You are fitna! If you’re a Muslim woman, it’s likely that you have heard this a thousand times. You might have even been convinced that your own existence is somehow bad or the cause of evil or misguidance (which is essentially what fitna means).
“Women are Fitna” has unfortunately turned into a blanket statement and a kind of religious manipulation to keep women from participating in, well, pretty much everything including their own lives.
Much of what Muslim women face in terms of oppression is because many misunderstand the meaning of one particular ḥadîth(a saying of the Prophet Muhammad [PBUH]):
I have not left behind me any fitna more harmful to men than women. (Bukhâri)
And this misinterpretation plays out in very real and destructive ways in Muslim women’s lives.
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