Dominance vs. Prestige

In our species, the attainment of social status, and the mating benefits that come along with it, can be accomplished through compassion and cooperation just as much (if not more so) as through aggression and intimidation. Scholars across ethnography, ethology, sociology, and sociolinguistics believe that at least two routes to social status — dominance and prestige — arose in evolutionary history at different times and for different purposes.

The dominance route is paved with intimidation, threats, and coercion, and is fueled by hubristic pride. Hubristic pride is associated with arrogance, conceit, anti-social behaviours, unstable relationships, low levels of conscientiousness and high levels of disagreeableness, neuroticism, narcissism, and poor mental health outcomes. Hubristic pride, along with its associated feelings of superiority and arrogance, facilitates dominance by motivating behaviours such as aggression, hostility, and manipulation.

Continuous Remembrance

Continuous remembrance can replace supererogatory deeds, whether they be physical, monetary or both such as a supererogatory pilgrimage. This is clear from a hadith which Abu Hurayra transmitted. The poorest of the Emigrants [to Medina] came to the Messenger of God (peace be upon him) and said, 'O Messenger of God, the wealthy have taken the highest degrees and eternal happiness. They pray as we do and fast as we do, but they also have the advantage of wealth, which they use to go on the greater and the lesser pilgrimages and to combat.' The Messenger said, 'Shall I teach you something by which you can catch up with those who have surpassed you and surpass those who are behind you, something in which no one can better you, unless he does as you do?'

Conscious Awareness

It is related that the Prophet, on him be peace, once omitted a verse from the part of the Quran he recited in the course of a ritual Prayer. As he was turning to leave, he said: 'What did I recite?' Nobody spoke, so he repeated the question to Ubayy ibn Kab, may God be pleased with him, who said: 'You recited such-and-such a Sura, omitting a particular verse. We are wondering whether it has been abrogated or taken out.' The Prophet, on him be peace, said: 'Good for you, Ubayy!' Then he turned to the others and said: 'What are we to make of people who come for their Prayers, line up in their rows behind their Prophet, but do not know what he is reciting to them from the Book of their Lord? That is just how the Children of Israel behaved, so God, Great and Glorious is He, spoke to their Prophet through inspiration, saying: "Tell your people: 'You present your bodies before Me and you offer Me your tongues, but you keep your hearts from Me. What you are doing is futile.'"' [Nas-Sahih]

Dark Closets

In order to evaluate the authorial enterprise behind the fitnah traditions, we need to examine the totality of the evidence including the rhetorical dynamics of these traditions along with their functions and potentialities. For instance, among the traditions that some jurists frequently cite in support of their argument for the exclusion of women is one which was reportedly transmitted by Ibn Umar. In this report, Ibn Umar narrates that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "Do not forbid your women from going to the mosque, but praying at home is better for them." A version of this report purportedly transmitted from the Prophet by Abd Allah b. Umar, becomes more extreme. It states: "The prayer of a woman in her room is better than her prayer house and her prayer in a dark closet is better than her prayer in her room" [Fath al-Bari]. The same message is then conveyed but this time through the involvement of a woman who reportedly goes to the Prophet to tell him that she loves to pray in the mosque with him. To this, the Prophet responds that he knows that she loves to pray with him but gives her the same advice as above. As a result, the woman went home and prayed in the most isolated and the darkest area of her house until she died [Musnad]. The least one can observe about these traditions are their remarkable vindictiveness — the more removed and inaccessible a woman is, the better, and even the love of the Prophet cannot change that fact.

Continual Sacrifices

Some great sacrifices are such as are made once in life, like that of life. Some are very minor but must be made continuously. Their continuing nature makes them important because of many intangible aspects: