The Qur’an’s View of Woman
Religion/Philosophy < Article <

The Qur’an, a Guidance for Mankind:

The fact that woman has a sublime status in Qur’an is based on the status mankind has in the Qur’an since the glorious Qur’an was not revealed to guide a man, but to guide mankind. Hence, when the Qur’an explains the objective of the prophetic mission or of the revelation, it says, “The month of Ramadhan in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for mankind.” The word “mankind” in this verse refers to no particular clan or group. It refers to women and men on no equal footing. The glorious Qur’an sometimes mentions the word “mankind” and sometimes the word “man”: “The Beneficent hath made known the Qur’an. He hath created man. He has taught him utterance.”

The first verse refers to the making known of the Qur’an, then the creation of man and then the teaching of utterance, are mentioned. The Qur’an is for edifying and purifying the soul of man. The soul is an abstract entity, neither masculine, nor feminine. The Qur’an refers to purification of the soul, not to woman and man, but both, since they are equal.

The western world sometimes says that there are two kinds of human beings, woman and man, who enjoy the same status regarding their education and edification; that is, they are similar to each other. This is, so to speak, negation of the affirmative or causative relation between the subject and predicate because of non-affirmation of the predicate. But when Islam says that the objective of revelation is to edify the minds and purify the souls of humans, there is no distinction between men and women.

Briefly, speaking, firstly, masculinity of femininity is related to the body, not the soul; secondly, edification and purification is for the soul; thirdly, the soul is other than the body. The lessons of the Qur’an benefit the soul, not the body, and the soul is neither male nor female. The glorious Qur’an refutes the femininity of angels, not to prove their masculinity. The Qur’an says angels are neither masculine nor feminine. The Qur'an describes angels as “honored slaves” in this verse: “… but (those whom they call sons) are honored slaves; they speak not until He has spoken and they act by His command.” The Qur'an also mentions, these attributes for devout people, whether men or women. The very truth of the soul is manifest, either in the form of human beings or in the form of angels. Angels, abstract entities, differ in terms of their celestial standing and raison d’être. Perfect human beings are superior to angels.

“Whoever does right, whether male or female, and is a believer, him verily We shall quicken with good life…” to be rewarded with a good life, thee are two prerequisites: doing right and being a believer. Here, what is meant by “doing right” is that the doer must be upright and pious.

Although the Almighty says about punishment for wrongdoing: “Every man is a pledge for that which he has earned…” The word “man” means people, not male as opposed to female. When men and women were present in the scene of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, they say that the Iranian people became revolutionary; or when it is said that women and men have raised a certain question, they mean, it is meant that people have done so.

In another Qur'anic verse, Allah says: “Every soul is a pledge for its own deeds.” Here the word “man” means human being. Hence, the question of punishment and of eschatology refers to return and nearness to the Author of Creation and all human beings, whether male or female, are accountable for what they have done.

These are spiritual expressions of the Qur'an, the Almighty says: “Lo! Suffer not the work of any worker, male or female, to be lost.”


Message, vol. 5, No. 4, June-august 1996

Authors: Ayatollah Javadi Amoli
Submit a Comment :
Name :  
email :
* Comment
Type the text