Ads by Muslim Ad Network

Does the Quran Disrespect Women?

08 March, 2020
Q As-salamu `alaykum. The Quran says that a woman is like a field for you, so go to them in every way you like. Does that mean that the woman is an object for the man, and that the woman is only there for the man to have intercourse and fun with? Why is the woman a field for the man? Why does the Quran often speak to men and not to women as well? Does the Quran disrespect women?

Answer

Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. 

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.


In this fatwa:

1- To understand the descriptions mentioned in the Quran correctly, one ought to understand the contexts and topics in which these descriptions are mentioned. One should also understand the language of the Quran.

2- The Quran described women as a ’tilth’; it did not refer to them as an object. Rather, they were described as such in the context of stating what is permissible and impermissible between a husband and his wife during intercourse.

Ads by Muslim Ad Network

3- When the Quran uses ‘masculine address’ it does not exclude women nor does it degrade them in any way. One of the original usages of ‘masculine address’ in the Arabic language is to address a general mass that includes both men and women.

4- Therefore, the Quran does not disrespect women.


In response to your question, Sheikh `Abdel Khaliq Hassan Ash-Shareef, a renowned scholar and da`iyah, says:

Description of Women in the Quran

This is not the only way Allah the Almighty described women in the Glorious Quran. Describing them in a certain way does not mean this is the only way they are described. Allah the Almighty says in the Quran,

{They are your garments and you are their garments.} (Al-Baqarah 2:187)

{How can you take it (back) after one of you have gone in unto the other, and they have taken a strong pledge from you?} (An-Nisaa 4:21)

{And of His signs is this: He created for you helpmeets from yourselves that you might find rest in them, and He ordained between you love and mercy. Lo! Herein indeed are portents for folk who reflect.} (Ar-Rum 30:21)

As you can see, this is not the only description of women in the Quran.

Proper Understanding the Context

In addition, you have to understand the context in which they were described as a ’tilth’. Allah the Almighty says, {Your women are a tilth for you (to cultivate) so go to your tilth as you will, and send (good deeds) before you for your souls, and fear Allah, and know that you will (one day) meet Him. Give glad tidings to believers, (O Muhammad).} (Al-Baqarah 2:223)

To understand the context of this verse, you should read the verse before it which states, {They question you (O Muhammad) concerning menstruation. Say: It is an illness, so let women alone at such times and go not in unto them till they are cleansed. And when they have purified themselves, then go in unto them as Allah hath enjoined upon you. Truly Allah loves those who turn unto Him, and loves those who have a care for cleanness.} (Al-Baqarah 2:222)

Allah the Almighty described women as such in the context of talking about menstruation, stating what is permissible and what is not during intercourse between a husband and his wife.

Therefore, you should not take this out of context to draw such a generalization.

Usages of Masculine Address

With regard to your question about why the Quran talks to men and not to women, it is said in the Glorious Quran, {And the believers, men and women, are protecting allies one of another; they enjoin the right and forbid the wrong, and they establish worship and they pay the poor-due, and they obey Allah and His messenger. As for these, Allah will have mercy on them. Lo! Allah is Mighty, Wise.} (At-Tawbah 9:71) Women are not excluded in any way whatsoever and the Quran does not disrespect women or degrade them.

Moreover, one of the original usages of ‘masculine address’ in the Arabic language is to address a general group that includes both men and women. Therefore, one ought to understand the language of the Quran first before drawing any conclusions.

Almighty Allah knows best.

Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.