Why does the Quran usually address men?

Details of the Question

Why does the Quran usually address men?

(editor) on Thu, 11/01/2018 - 09:59

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The Quran is a book that was sent to Hz. Muhammad (pbuh), addressing him. It is useful to know that the Quran was sent down in a speaking style and that it was transferred into writing from spoken language. Therefore, the style of the Quran is full of addresses like “Say”, “O people”, “O those who believe”, “O unbelievers”, “O People of the Book”, “O Prophet”, “They ask you; say”. The reason why the address is usually masculine is the fact that it was sent to the Prophet. In Arabic, the address can be masculine and feminine. The reason why the addresses to the Prophet (pbuh) are masculine is due to the properties of Arabic.

The Islamic orders, the promises about the world and the hereafter mentioned in the Quran and hadiths include both men and women if no exception is mentioned. It does not matter whether they are expressed with masculine verbs and pronouns or not. It is like that in terms of Arabic and Islamic methodology of law.

An order or prohibition addressing men does not have to be repeated for women. For, as we have mentioned, it is a necessity of the Arabic language and logic of law; in addition, it is also a necessity of the style of the Quran peculiar to it and the logic of its expression. For, the Quran declares believing men and believing women as friends and protectors of each other:

"The Believers, men and women, are protectors one of another: they enjoin what is just, and forbid what is evil: they observe regular prayers, practice regular charity, and obey Allah and His Messenger. On them will Allah pour His mercy: for Allah is Exalted in power, Wise." (at-Tawba, 71)

As a matter of fact, the phrase "they enjoin what is just, and forbid what is evil" and the other subjects and pronouns used in the verbs are all masculine. Is it possible to state that this verse excludes women acting upon this? No.

The Quran clearly promises the beauties and boons of Paradise to both believing men and women. As a matter of fact, the following is stated in verse 72 of the chapter of at-Tawba:

"Allah hath promised to Believers, men and women, gardens under which rivers flow, to dwell therein, and beautiful mansions in gardens of everlasting bliss. But the greatest bliss is the good pleasure of Allah: that is the supreme felicity."

Islam is not the religion of men only. The Quran does not address men only. There is a long chapter peculiar to women in the Quran: (the chapter of an-Nisa). It is stated in the Quran that Allah sends revelation (inspiration) to women. (al-Qasas, 7). "Men are women’s shaqiqs." "Shaqiq" is either of the equal parts of a whole that is divided into two. "If any do deeds of righteousness,- be they male or female - and have faith, they will enter Heaven..." (an-Nisa, 124). "The Believers, men and women, are protectors one of another..." (at-Tawba, 71). "To men is allotted what they earn, and to women what they earn." (an-Nisa, 32)

In the Quran, while the words "nisa, niswa, imraa, untha" meaning woman or female are mentioned 85 times along with their derivatives, the words "rajul, dhakar, mar’" meaning man or male are mentioned 86 times along with their derivatives.

There is no Islamic scholar or even a person who says the word "insan (human)" does not include women.

In Arabic, it is necessary to address people in general with either a male or a female word. It can only be normal to choose the masculine word in a society in which social life was on the shoulders of men. Besides, this language is the language that Arabs spoke before Islam too. Can it be thought that the Quran, which was sent down in their own language, distorted their language? The same property exists in French fully and in English partly. Can you claim the same thing for them?

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