Umm Amara - Sexist Language in the Quran
Lady Knights


Kaan Ya Makaan, Fee Qadeem Al-Zamaan…
There was a Place, in Times of Old…

Where a new verse of the Quran was heard: "For Muslim men and women, for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for true men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in Charity, for men and women who fast (and deny themselves), for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in God's praise, for them God has prepared forgiveness and great reward." [Surat: Al-Ahzab, Aya: 35].

Upon hearing this new verse, Umm Amara, a brave woman and staunch feminsit, was stunned. She had just recently spoken to Muhammad PBUH about something that had been troubling her. She had unhappily told him, "I see nothing (in the Quran) that is for anyone but the men. I see no mention of women."

And now here was a new verse of the Quran, very specifically mentioning women for every mention of men.

To have her words considered, and so quickly and kindly responded to, was a salve to Umm Amara's brave heart. She had boldly taken God and his messenger to task over the sexist language of the Quran. She was answered by neither reproof nor rebuff, but by a considerate mention of women, just as many times as men, in the latest verse of the Quran.

Neither God nor his messenger were sexists, and Umm Amara loved them both all the better for it.

(إِنَّ الْمُسْلِمِينَ وَالْمُسْلِمَاتِ وَالْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتِ وَالْقَانِتِينَ وَالْقَانِتَاتِ وَالصَّادِقِينَ وَالصَّادِقَاتِ وَالصَّابِرِينَ وَالصَّابِرَاتِ وَالْخَاشِعِينَ وَالْخَاشِعَاتِ وَالْمُتَصَدِّقِينَ وَالْمُتَصَدِّقَاتِ وَالصَّائِمِينَ وَالصَّائِمَاتِ وَالْحَافِظِينَ فُرُوجَهُمْ وَالْحَافِظَاتِ وَالذَّاكِرِينَ اللَّهَ كَثِيرًا وَالذَّاكِرَاتِ أَعَدَّ اللَّهُ لَهُمْ مَغْفِرَةً وَأَجْرًا عَظِيمً)
[الأحزاب, 53]

*Written by © 2011. Care to read or leave Comments?

Notes:
  1. Names, Translations and Aliases:
    • Muhammad : خاتم الأنبياء الرسول محمد صلى الله عليه و سلم
    • Umm Amara aka Nusaeba bint Ka'ab: أم عمارة نسيبة بنت كعب الأنصارية
  2. Gender-Language in the Quran: It was later made clear, that anything in the Quran that was addressed to the men, would apply equally to the women unless otherwise specified. The reason the Quran seems to address men more than women is in order to simplify it and make the verses shorter and keep them from being tedious or repetitive. The nature of the Arabic language is such that all words must be formed in either the female or male form. There is no neutral form or no doubt the Quran would have been phrased using it.

Sources:
  1. Ahlul Bayt Digital Islamic Library Project. "The Noble Quran". quran.al-islam.org. Ahlul Bayt Digital Islamic Library Project. Sura: Al-Ahzaab (33). Aya: 35. Accessed July 4, 2011.
  2. Al-Qurtubi, Muhammad bin Ahmad Al-Ansari. Tafseer Al-Quran - Tafseer Al-Qurtubi. Islamweb.net. Surah: Al-Ahzab. Aya: 35. Accessed July 5, 2011.

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