Jow’s Statement Is Blasphemous

Rebuttal – Coach – Pa Samba Jow’s statement that; “religion has been the biggest problem of Africa because it has far too long subjugated and marginalised woman”.

I want to begin by confessing the profound respect I have for my brother – Coach for his level of maturity and meticulous choice of words even when debating his opponents. However, my love for him demands that I rise up to the challenge to rebut his recent statement allegedly attributing “the biggest problem of Africa to religion because it has far too long subjugated and marginalised woman.” Certainly this utterance is purely out of ignorance and misunderstanding of religion and being impressed by the attitudes and ways of the 21st century so-called civilisation which I believe many have unfortunately fallen prey to. I am rather going to limit my counter argument to just one of the Abrahamic faiths – Islam where I feel I am better disposed and qualified to prove to my learned brother that this statement is utterly incorrect and blasphemous. Islam is sanctioned and ordained by God for the salvation of mankind in both worlds and thus such a statement is tantamount to blaming God for the problems of Africa. The root cause of this misconception is the propagation of the idea of separation of state from religion which I believe is an illusion and agnostic doctrine. Religion is a way of life which includes every bit of a persons life but that is not within the scope of this rebuttal.

Contrary to what many erroneously belief, Islam has given more right and respect to women than all the religions combined. For example, Islam enjoins that pleasing ones mother is worship and that paradise lies under her feet whiles the so called civilised world (west) reduces women to old folks home and total isolation when they need help most. The following points elucidate how Islam has uplifted and honoured women:

Ibn Majah reported that Mu’aawiyah Ibn Jaahimiah al- Sulami (may Allah be pleased with him – (RA)) said he had come to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) intending to join him in jihad (battle) seeking the pleasure of Allah and the hereafter. The Prophet (pbuh) replied, “Woe to you! Is your mother alive?” He replied in the affirmative and the former said, “Go back and honour her.” He then approached the Prophet (pbuh) from the other side and then in front of him with the same question and for the second and third times he was told “Go back and honour her for there is paradise”..

Al-Bukhaari (5971) and Muslim (2548) narrated that Abu Hurayrah (RA) said: A man came to the Prophet (pbuh) and said: “O Messenger of Allaah, who is most deserving of my good company?” He said: “Your mother.” He said: “Then who?” He said: “Your mother.” He said: “Then who?” He said: “Your mother.” He said: “Then who?” He said: “Then your father.” Again only after the third time was he told his father and therefore our scholars deduced from this hadith that the mother is entitle to three times of whatever is given to the father. Hence for many centuries it was unheard of for a mother to be left in an old folks home or for a son to kick her out of the house much less to spend on her.
In Bukhari and Muslim the Prophet (pbuh) said; “I urge you to treat women well”.

In Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah the Prophet (pbuh) said; “The best of you is the one who is best to his wife, and I am the best of you to my wives.”

Islam also honours women as daughters, and encourages us to raise them well and educate them. For example, the Prophet (pbuh) said: “Whoever takes care of two girls until they reach adulthood, he and I will come like this on the Day of Resurrection,” and he held his fingers together. Narrated by Muslim, 2631.
Ibn Maajah (3669) narrated that ‘Uqbah ibn ‘Aamir (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: I heard the Prophet (pbuh) say: “Whoever has three daughters and is patient towards them, and feeds them, gives them to drink and clothes them from his riches, they will be a shield for him from the Fire on the Day of Resurrection.”

The only non prophet mentioned by name in the Quran because of her righteousness is Mary (pbuh) – the mother of Esa (Jesus) (pbuh).
One of the greatest scholars of our religion who was thought by the Prophet (pbuh) himself was his wife Aisha who also doubles as the second highest narrator of hadith.

Space is of the essence but these few narrations are enough to proof that its inconceivable for anyone to believe that Islam subjugates and marginalises women. I am cognisant of the inherent limitations of women which most womens right activists tend to ignore and thus equating men and women in the literal sense. Yes, men and and women are equal in many things but not all; women are better placed to perform than men in some aspects and vice versa. Allah (God) who created both men and women knows us better than ourselves including our strenghts and weaknesses and as such is the only qualified being to set user manuals for us. Going against His user manual is dangerous and deadly as it is in our mundane worldly life for a vehicle driver or pilot to operate without the manufacturers manual.
Needless to say that other civilisations some of which the world is dirting towards have not given women as much right and honor Islam gives them. For example, theologians even gathered at the Council of Macon to discuss whether a woman was merely a body or a body with soul. They thought that it was most likely that women did not have a soul that could be saved, and they made an exception only in case of Mary (pbuh).

The French on the other hand held a conference in 586 CE to discuss whether women had souls or not, and if they had souls, were these souls animal or human? In the end they decided that they were human! But they were created to serve men only.
Until 1805, English law allowed a man to sell his wife, and set a price at six pennies. In the modern age, women were kicked out of the house at the age of eighteen so that they could start working to earn a bite to eat. If a woman wanted to stay in the house, she had to pay her parents rent for her room to pay for food and laundry.
In the area of economic rights, we have to remember that in Europe until the 19th century, women did not have the right to own their own property. When they were married, either it would transfer to the husband or she would not be able to dispense of it without permission of her husband. In Britain, perhaps the first country to give women some property rights, laws were passed in the 1860’s known as “Married Women Property Act.” More than 1300 years earlier, that right was clearly established in Islamic law.

Furthermore there is no restriction in Islamic law that says a woman cannot work or have a profession, that her only place is in the home. In fact, by definition, in a truly Islamic society, there must be women physicians, women nurses, women teachers etc. And if she chooses to work, or if she’s married with the consent of her husband, she’s entitled to equal pay, not for equal work, but for work of equal worth.

How can these civilisations including the western/21 century civilisation offer women better rights and status than Islam? I humbly refer my noble brother Coach to go down memory lane into Islamic history to learn how much islam honours and profers rights upon women as conspicuously manifested during the glory days of Islamic civilisation.

On a finaly note, I sincerely apologies if I come across short in civility and substance. I do hope this would be an apetizer for us all to learn about our religion in order to appreciate its comprehensiveness and immaculateness. Make no mistake all these isms and cisms that are been presented as the solution to the worlds problems are in fact the cause of our degeneration.




  1. Jaddus the higher priest

    It will be illusion if religion would still be the manager of our daily affairs. Just go few centuries back, the inhumanity, degradation the total lack respect for human beings. YOU Call it blasphemous but look deeply into the meaning of that word.The teachings and the intended purpose were one that something is fundamentally wrong with man and its purpose is to transform man to line with his natural habitat and connect with his spiritual realm but before it is fully understood we turn into superstition and mythology and thinking that we have the whole truth. The problems pose byreligion our society are WORDS,whose interpretation created section ,thus bringing divisions within the same religion breeding hatred and all kinds conflict within the same communities fueling instability resulting warfare or animosity for a prolong period sometimes definitely.

  2. Thanks Mr Sanneh for the excellent exegesis on this issue. Mental slavery is not only reneging on your culture values but disdain for your spiritual tenet with an implicit and a cynic persuasion that material success is tantamount to superior civilisation. This is shallow thinking divorced from reality and history.
    If you go to care homes and see the condition of afortime so called successful people and compare it to the life and respect for old people in Muslim and African country, you will be convinced that in many ways we are more civilised. According sahih hadith, Rasiolullah stated that “the best among you is the one who is best to Family” and in African environment we cherish our mums more than anyone. It is not hard to see in many compounds in Africa that the man had passed away and the mum is still alive to enjoy the fruits of her patience with the kids. It seems Allah always reward women abundantly with long life and the heritage of her husband’s endeavour.
    Although this is a sentimental response there is a lot of persuasion and befitting answers in the pages of Islamic history and scholarship . In the western world, sexualisation of women is seen as advancements while in Africa this contemptuous regarded as an igorable exploitation and degradation of our beloveth mothers. African males respect and adore their mums more than western men do and it is seen as morally wrong to disobey and matter your mum.
    Yes there are men who treat their wives badly but this is not an African phenomena bit global especially India, Pakistan etc. Even in those areas it is cultural more than religious.
    Lamin Darboe

  3. in love with the Gmabia

    Thank you very much Mr. Sanneh. You did a grate job by giving our brother this important information. Not only him will benefit from this, there are many Muslims in the world who have no idea when it comes to understanding the teachings of Islam and what Islam brought to humanity. I personally think that our brother must do two things right away, 1-To ask the Almighty Allah for forgiveness.2- To start studying Islam as a Muslim just to have some knowledge about Islam. Pa Samba is a serious person no doubt about that but he as many Muslims, don’t understand what Islams really is and it is very important for someone to do everything possible to understand the religion you claimed to be following. Our creator and sustainer who brought us this NOBLE religion to be the catalog of our life CANNOT be misleading us. It is us who are misleading ourselves by choosing everything we want for our selves and then blame the Almighty Allah when things went wrong. Example, you see parents who don’t want to speak their language to their own children and they deny them their culture and religion and when the children grow up and reject them, they start to blame the kids for not respecting them and for not listening to them. It is not bad to take what we believe is good from other cultures and civilizations and add that to what we have, what is not acceptable though, is to abandon what you have for what others have. As the saying goes: No matter how long a piece of wood stays in the rive, it will never be a crocodile.