The holy Quran speaks more often to men than women

Written and collected by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times

There is a commonly known verse of the Quran: “If you fear that you cannot treat orphans with fairness, then you may marry other women who seem good to you: two, three, or four. But if you fear that you cannot maintain equality among them, marry one only or any slave-girls you may own. This will make it easier for you to avoid injustice.” (4:3)

You don’t have to trust my translation of the verse and right now you can read almost fifty different English translations of this verse.

This verse talks to the Muslim men, how to find a wife and how many.  There is no verse in the holy Quran that tells women to go about and find a man of their liking and when and if he brings a second wife or already has a wife, what to do!

I am not talking about polygamy here, not even a little bit, not at all.

Point I am trying to make is very simple. Very often the Quran talks to men and address to women is implied only indirectly and they are often not the first addressee of the scripture. So, as regards the women we are always interpreting the text for them.

Read on and in the words of Sir Francis Bacon, “Read not to contradict … but to weigh and consider.”

The Quran was not revealed in ‘he or she’ idiom as its first addressee was a  male dominant society of the seventh century Arabia, where young daughters were buried alive.  No doubt, it was a very progressive text in its time.  Today, in the context of emphasis on the women rights for the last century or more, we have to read the text in the present day needs and demands of our age.

When Islam or the Quran is criticized by advocates of human rights and women rights, in the West, often the problem is not of the Quran, the left leaning philosophers or the feminists, but of those zealot Muslims and the so called religious scholars, who have such severe nostalgia that they are not open to modern reading of the Quran.

For every believing Muslim lady, who wants to stand on her own two feet, let me help by providing some readings for a more progressive understanding of the Quranic text:

Suggested reading about the holy Quran

The Holy Quran and the Seventh Century Arabian Metaphors

Is God Alive or Dead: A Metaphor for the Scriptures from the US Constitution?

God Is Living, So Why Does Religion Treat God As Dead?

Sources or Criteria for Interpretation of the Holy Quran

A Sexual Offender from ISIS: Is the Quran to Blame?

BBC Video: Ramadan in Iceland: Would Two Hour Fast in December be a Joke?

One of the Best English Translations of the Quran Now Available Online

A New Commentary of the Holy Quran Emphasizing Compassion, Justice and Human Rights Launched

Suggested reading about gender equality

Gender Equality in the Holy Qur’an – In the Beginning Man and Woman Were Equal

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2 replies

  1. Mashalla this was a very insightful article about the misinterpretations of the Holy Quran and how we can all learn how to understand it better using modern perspectives. Inshallah Muslims around the world can encourage the true meanings of the Holy Quran and adhere to it according to our time period.

  2. In the name of God, the Gracious, the Merciful.

    This is a message of truth taught by the Creator of all people. There is misinterpretation of the Holy Qur’an by most people. When the Creator uses the word “Men” in the Holy Qur’an, it does not refer to only the Males but both Males and Females. For example, Men comprises: the Men (Males) and Females (Women).

    Moreover, “Marry” as used in the Holy Book is not the way that is seen by most people of the world. The “Marry” as used in the Qur’an is to help those who have no one to care for them. One may also see the word “Marry” like adopting those in need and caring for them.

    Women, Wives are not always Females but can also be Males depending on their situation. For example, most people see some as disabled. But no Man (Human being) is disabled based on the Word of Truth, the “weak ones among men” are the Women and Wives.

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