If Nisa’ Meant “Women”…

It’s sad to see that some of those who strictly believe nisa’ in the Quran means “Women” are the ones who were least open to new opinions. Anyhow, I don’t want to define the word “nisa'” just yet, but first tell you WHY it cannot mean “Women”. True, we shouldn’t have assumed it meant women in the first place (since even the root-word itself wouldn’t suggest it means women, unless you’re a sexist little bastard with no life). However, the majority of the Islamic world believes so anyway.

In this post, I will discuss a few examples.

Example #1: 49:11.

49:11 O you who have believed, let not a people {QAWM} ridicule [another] people {QAWM}; perhaps they may be better than them; nor let women {NISA’} ridicule [other] women {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.

Regardless whether “sakhar” really means “redicule”, only very few translators (if I remember correctly) translated QAWM as “men”.

Let’s assume nisa’ does mean “women” and qawm does mean “people”. That would imply that women have a natural tendency to insult others more than anyone else (although women ARE a part of “people”). This would also mean women are quranically viewed as something LESS than “people”, since they were mentioned separately. Some would say, “No, it’s just a special warning to women because they are such gossipers”. I would say, “Go eat sh*t”. I had ha million sit-down with gossiping males, and they don’t only talk, but also talk sh*t. If you’re a man and you think women chat more, I hope something hits you in the eye.

Moreover, if we consider nisa’ to mean “women”, does that mean a woman can mock a man since she is not ordered to abstain from gossiping about men? Does it not surprise you that Allah (st) would say, “Do not mock” according to gender?

Example #2: 27:54-55

27:54 And [mention] Lot, when he said to his people {QAWM}, “Do you commit immorality while you are seeing? 
27:55 Do you indeed approach men {Ar-Rijal} with desire instead of women {An-Nisa’}? Rather, you are a people behaving ignorantly.”

First of all, you need to understand that shahwa or “desire” is not (“always”, while I believe it’s not at all) mentioned in a sexual way in the Quran, or is not mentioned along with any significant sexual suggestion whatsoever (see 77:42, 21:102, 34:54, 41:30-32, 16:57 (not being about homosexuality), 43:71, 56:21, 19:59, 77:42, 3:14 (which is example #3, discussed later)). The ones that may appear sexually-suggestive to many people are 4:27, 7:81 and 27:55.

Desire could include sexuality, but could include anything else (such as the many things you may lust as a HUMAN, not a man mentioned in 3:14). It would be unfair to limit it to sexuality only just as wrong as it would be to entirely rule sexuality out.

Now, back to our verses! 27:54 mentions the word “qawm” while 27:54 mentions both rijal and nisa’. This means that QAWM cannot, under any circumstances mean “men”, UNLESS rijal means something else! But rijal cannot mean something else, as it’s traditionally believed to either mean “men” or “traveling on foot”. Oh, the coincidence!

So, if rijal means “men”, and nisa’ means “women”, then qawm must mean “people”. However, this entire theory fails miserably since Lut is speaking to his “people”, which include BOTH men and women, and yet in 27:55, it seems as if he’s only speaking to the men, asking them why they would screw around with other men and not women, women being the only permissible thing to screw for men (although homosexuality is scientifically known to be natural, even in animals). But wait a second! Doesn’t the QAWM include both men and women? So why would Allah (swt) say QAWM then only have Lut speak to the males within this QAWM? Why didn’t Lut just say “ta’tuna ba’dakum” since he was talking to them men anyway?

Is the Quran degrading women or is it as simple as Nisa’ not meaning women?

The reader should know I am very influenced by the idea that one word in the Quran must have one meaning only, differently understood in context, but never different in meaning. Qawm meaning people means it can never, ever mean men, unless the verse says “the males of your qawm”.

Example #3: 3:14

3:14 Beautified for people {An-Nas} is the love of that which they desire – of women {An-Nisa’} and sons, heaped-up sums of gold and silver, fine branded horses, and cattle and tilled land. That is the enjoyment of worldly life, but Allah has with Him the best return.

Another translation glitch where both QAWM and An-Nas (from the root ANS, which I’m not even sure about) mean people. ANS in my favourite lexicon is described as something visible, seen in a non-beastly way (probably meaning civilized human).

Here, and yet again, women (and children) are viewed as a commodity along with gold, silver, cattle, land and horses. But what’s more productive nowadays? A factory or cattle? What’s more desirable? Silver and Gold or maybe jewels and a Visa? People want to own companies more than land. They’d rather have cars than horses. And why only men? Can’t women want all that as well? They would want earthly desires, but why not want men? If you think this means nisa’, you better believe being a lesbian is very Quranic, whilst being a gay man is certainly not (although humans, beside desiring women (depending on the individual) also desire men and a million other things. Have we misunderstood the verse?

I’ll leave it there while thinking of other examples to finally convince someone to re-investigate  the position of women and the authority of men in the Quran.



About this entry