Imru’ and Imra’a

I just posted this comment on Quranlogy Discussions (facebook group), and I wish to kind of brainstorm about it here.

Please read the following verses carefully (I removed the words under question and replaced them with the transliteration):

49/11 O you who have believed, let not a [qawmun/QAWM] disdain [another] [min qawmin/QAWM]; perhaps they may be better than them; nor let [nisaon/NISA] ridicule [other] [min nisa-in/NISA]; perhaps they may be better than them. And do not insult one another and do not call each other by [offensive] nicknames. Wretched is the name of disobedience after [one’s] faith. And whoever does not repent – then it is those who are the wrongdoers.

THEN after you finish, read this verse (also with the same work applied):

11/38 And he constructed the ship, and whenever an assembly of the eminent [min qawmihi/(his) QAWM] passed by him, they disdained him. He said, “If you disdain us, then we will disdain you just as you disdain.

The same word, sakhara (which could mean think low of, put low, make low, or disdain; see 14/33 with the transliteration, and you should be able to notice it, too.) is used in both verses, and the same word qawm is also used.

First of all, it would be unjust for women to be considered something less than people, and although many translate that verse as “do not let men ridicule…etc” it would be awkward to think that women aren’t able to mock other men or vice versa.

Qawm may imply two things: 1. a group of people, and 2. readiness and determination.

What do you think? Can’t qawm (meaning no. 2) also fit in other verses?

Why should nisa here mean women?

The post ended here, but my thoughts didn’t.

I strongly believe Allah, Most-High, made men and women equal, very equal, and no one should be able to deny that, except, of course, with the help of hadith, you may be able to.

Qawm is always translated as people, or almost always, let me say, but I am willing to try to fit in the other meaning of being ready, determined, at work, or independent. Nisa may roughly be translated as women, but the original meaning indicates something or someone to be left out, abandoned, or forgotten, giving “rijal” qawama over nisa. To think it’s all gender-based and that women are born to be forgotten (although we live longer than men) sounds childish and irrational! And although this “Qawama” given to rijal (and not men) depends on being a source of income, or spending this money (for the sake of being accurate), and other qualities or favoring Allah SWT made. To say that this particula favouring is gender-based would be slamming into 49/14 which sets both genders, and all nations to be equal, equal, equal!

Brings us to another important point: if Allah SWT would want males/men to be dominant over females/women, He could have easily used the two words thakar and untha.

Then, while thinking all these things through, I came across a facebook post about Abu Lahab and the meaning of chapter 111. Abu Lahab was translated to Father (of) Flame, which signifies consumption, greed, and a constant wish to burn more without satisfaction. In the same chapter, however, there came a mention of a woman. Actually, the feminine form of the word “Mar'”.

As a child, the teachers would always tell us that the plural of woman [mar’a] is nisa’! Although the same word can be used in masculine, simply by omitting the ‘a’.

Here are some occurrences of MRA (MaRaA’a) in the Quran –

im’ru-on (ٱمْرُؤٌا۟) noun
nominative masculine indefinite noun (اسم مرفوع)
  • (4:176:8) … a man …

Observations: how can rajul and imri’ all two mean man when no two words can have the same meaning? Notice that many of the words we are discussing are found in this verse: rijal, nisa, thaka, untha, and imri’!

l-maru (ٱلْمَرْءُ) noun (2)
nominative masculine noun (اسم مرفوع)
  • (78:40:7) … the man …
  • (80:34:3) … a man …

Observations: 78:40 cannot possibly be gender-based whatsoever. Same goes to 80/24. Yes, women have brothers, too. 😉

im’ri-in (ٱمْرِئٍ) noun (5)
genitive masculine indefinite noun (اسم مجرور)
  • (24:11:16) … person …
  • (52:21:16) … person …
  • (70:38:3) … person, …
  • (74:52:4) … person …
  • (80:37:2) … man …

Observations: Starting with 24/11, the word imri’ HAS to mean single individual or person, since the begining of chapter 24 (surat Al Nur) is very clear regarding gender-based discrimination for those who would go easy to women for doing something, and not punish them, or vice-versa. I find it very uncomfortable 80/37 was translated as “man”, and sincerely wonder what the heck that was based on!

l-mari (ٱلْمَرْءِ) noun (2)
genitive masculine noun (اسم مجرور)
  • (2:102:41) … the man …
  • (8:24:16) … a man …

Observations: Oh, 2/102’s translation is terrible! The word zawj means PAIR, not wife! And 8/24’s translation is worse, as well, if the translator did not mean to say person instead of male alpha man. Anyhow, 8/24 couldn’t possibly be about men only.

im’ra-a (ٱمْرَأَ) noun
accusative masculine noun (اسم منصوب)
  • (19:28:6) … an evil man, …

Observations: you mean an evil person?

However, I will not discuss the female version of “imru'” just yet.


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