Why women are mentioned separately in verse 49:11
Fatwa No: 338263

  • Fatwa Date:6-12-2016 - Rabee' Al-Awwal 7, 1438
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Assalaamu alaykum. I was just wondering why women have been mentioned separately in 49:11, because when it says people, I thought that that would include men and women, and even if it did mean men, then why are men and women mentioned separately? May Allaah reward you.


All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger. 

The word Qawm in this verse (49:11) refers to the men only, and it does not include both genders according to the semantic indication; the poet Zuhayr ibn Abi Sulma said in one of his poems:

I do not know and I do not think that I know

Are Aal-Hisn Qawm or are they women? 

What is meant is that he does not know whether they are men or women.

Tafseer Al-Maawardi (5/331) reads:

As for the term Qawm, it refers especially to men; it is for this reason that the women were mentioned after them (in the verse).” He went on to explain why men are called Qawm based on the root of the word (Qaama) in Arabic, and he cited the line of poetry of Zuhayr ibn Abi Sulma that was mentioned above.

Tafseer Al-Bahr Al-Muheet authored by Abu Hayyaan reads, “Qawm is a synonym for men, as Allah says (what means): {Men are [Qawwaamoon] in charge of women.} [Quran 4:34]; it is for this reason that He countered it here with the saying {...or let women ridicule [other] women…}.” 

However, the word Qawm may be mentioned in the Quran while it includes men and women, as in the address of the Prophets to their people (Qawm), it includes both sexes. There are many verses about this; Allah says (what means):

{We had certainly sent Noah to his people, and he said: O my people, worship Allah; you have no deity other than Him.} [Quran 7:59]

{Said Moses to his people: Seek help through Allah and be patient.} [Quran 7:128]

{And We did not send any messenger except [speaking] in the language of his people.} [Quran 14:4]

{And We have already sent messengers before you to their peoples, and they came to them with clear evidences; then We took retribution from those who committed crimes, and incumbent upon Us was support of the believers.} [Quran 30:47]

At-Tahreer wat-Tanweer of Ibn 'Aashoor (247/26) reads, “The women were mentioned in particular even though the term Qawm (people) includes them in customary speech, in the same manner that the term believers includes believing women (as well as  believing men) in Quran terminology as understood from the legislative context of the verses; as in principle they (men and women) are equal in regard to the rulings unless there is evidence which necessitates specifying one of the genders. Here, the women were mentioned in particular as a way of repelling the assumption of restricting the prohibition of mocking to men, since mocking is inherent in women…” 

The lessons of Shaykh Muhammad Al-Hasan Ad-Diddo Ash-Shinqeeti on the site of Al-Maktabah Ash-Shaamilah, read:

Allah mentioned the women after mentioning the men to indicate that mockery exists much in women, because oftentimes women do mock each other; it is for this reason that Allah says {…nor let women ridicule [other] women…}, despite the fact that if the women were not mentioned along with the men, the term ‘Qawm’ still includes them, because the term ‘Qawm’ includes both men and women in its common use, among which is the saying of Allah (which means): {But your Qawm (people) have denied it while it is the truth.} [Quran 6:66] In the context of mentioning all the prophets, Allah mentions Qawm while meaning men and women. Nevertheless, the term people may refer to the men only as in this verse and in the saying of Zuhayr ibn Abu Sulma:

I do not know and I do not think that I know

Are Aal-Hisn people [Qawm] or are they women?

Allah knows best.

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