Are women indeed treated as second class within Islamic culture? Certainly there is plenty of divine sanction for their being thus treated. The Quran declares that a womans testimony is worth half that of a man: Get two witnesses, out of your own men, and if there are not two men, then a man and two women, such as ye choose, for witnesses, so that if one of them errs, the other can remind her (2:282). It allows men to marry up to four wives, and have sex with slave girls also. (4:3)
It rules that a sons inheritance should be twice the size of that of a daughter. (4:11)
Worst of all, the Quran tells husbands to beat their disobedient wives.(4:34)
Numerous hadiths even have Muhammad informing a group of women that their gender will populate hell: Once Allahs Apostle went out to the Musalla (to offer the prayer) of Id-al-Adha or Al-Fitr prayer. Then he passed by the women and said, O women! Give alms, as I have seen that the majority of the dwellers of Hell-fire were you (women).
When they ask him why, he explains, You curse frequently and are ungrateful to your husbands. I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion than you. A cautious sensible man could be led astray by some of you.
Muhammads assessment of their deficiencies comes from his Quran, as he explains further: Is not the evidence of two women equal to the witness of one man? [cf. Quran 2:282, above]...This is the deficiency in her intelligence. Isnt it true that a woman can neither pray nor fast during her menses?...This is the deficiency in her religion (Bukhari 1.6.301). The idea that hell will be filled with more women than men occurs frequently in the hadith. According to Muhammad, I looked at Paradise and saw that the majority of its residents were the poor; and I looked at the (Hell) Fire and saw that the majority of its residents were women (Bukhari 7.62.126).
Excerpts from Robert Spencer, Canadian Dishonor Murder, FrontPageMagazine.com, December 19, 2007)