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It is He who created you from one soul and created from it its mate that he might dwell in security with her. And when he covers her, she carries a light burden and continues therein. And when it becomes heavy, they both invoke Allah, their Lord, "If You should give us a good [child], we will surely be among the grateful." -- Qur'an 7:189

Translations of the part highlighted in bold vary (see Islam Awakened), e.g.:

  • "...so that man might incline [with love] towards woman";

  • "...that he might take rest in her";

  • "...so that he may find comfort in her";

  • "...that he rest in her";

  • "...so that man might incline towards women [with love]".

They all assert that women were created with a purpose. Moreover, most imply that the purpose of this creation is to benefit men in some way (even though what the purpose is varies from translation to translation). This implies that for a woman to realize the purpose she was created for, she needs a man (her husband).

I'm wondering if this is a correct interpretation.

Question: Does Qur'an 7:189 imply women were created to benefit men?

There are some translations that don't seem to imply women were created to benefit men, e.g.: "...he may settle down with her"; and "...to reside with" (and the Sahih International, quoted at the top of the question). These sound more mutually beneficial.

Tafsir al-Jalalayn gives another version again: "...that he might take rest in her and become intimate with her", which is partly to benefit men, and partly mutually beneficial.

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    Relevant verse: 30:21: "And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquillity in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. " – Kilise Jun 26 '17 at 14:03
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    The statememt of tafsir al-Jalalayn presents the literal meaning of the verse that a good native speaker would conclude. – Medi1Saif Jun 27 '17 at 11:44
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If you are asking whether women are created with the sole purpose of being serene for men, and whether its important for them to marry and do that to achieve salvation. The answer is no.

Quran 51:56 And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.

Women are subject to the same religious obligations as men such as prayer, fasting, charity, sacrifice, pilgrimage etc. and are rewarded and punished same as men for their deeds.

Quran 33:35 Indeed, the Muslim men and Muslim women, the believing men and believing women, the obedient men and obedient women, the truthful men and truthful women, the patient men and patient women, the humble men and humble women, the charitable men and charitable women, the fasting men and fasting women, the men who guard their private parts and the women who do so, and the men who remember Allah often and the women who do so - for them Allah has prepared forgiveness and a great reward.

Two of the best women in the world, exalted by Allah in the Quran, are Mary and Asiyah. The virtue of both was their iman, and not their marriage (Mary was a virgin and Asiyah was married to an enemy of Allah).

Quran 66:11 And Allah presents an example of those who believed: the wife of Pharaoh, when she said, "My Lord, build for me near You a house in Paradise and save me from Pharaoh and his deeds and save me from the wrongdoing people."

Quran 66:12 And [the example of] Mary, the daughter of 'Imran, who guarded her chastity, so We blew into [her garment] through Our angel, and she believed in the words of her Lord and His scriptures and was of the devoutly obedient.

Quran 3:42 And [mention] when the angels said, "O Mary, indeed Allah has chosen you and purified you and chosen you above the women of the worlds".

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No. Both the male and the female were created for the purpose of worshiping Allah (swt): (Every Quran verse will be in the M.M Pickthall translation)

Quran 51:56: I created the jinn and humankind only that they might worship Me.

and both were placed as "khilafah" on Earth:

Quran 2:30: And when thy Lord said unto the angels: Lo! I am about to place a viceroy in the earth, they said: Wilt thou place therein one who will do harm therein and will shed blood, while we, we hymn Thy praise and sanctify Thee? He said: Surely I know that which ye know not.

This is a reference to humankind (males and females) as in the Quran both Hawwa and Adam were placed on Earth at the same time

The most revered women in Islam is Maryam bint Imran And she is the only woman mentioned explicitly by name in the Quran. Maryam was a 'waliyah' according to Imam Razi (the best translation is saint) and interestingly enough, Ibn Hazm and Al Qurtubi believed her to be a prophetess Regardless of what exactly she was, she is known by all Muslims for her piety and faithfulness

Quran 3:42 : "And when the angels said: O Mary! Lo! Allah hath chosen thee and made thee pure, and hath preferred thee above (all) the women of creation."

Quran 3:43 : "O Mary! Be obedient to thy Lord, prostrate thyself and bow with those who bow (in worship)."

Quran 66:12: "And Mary, daughter of 'Imran, whose body was chaste, therefor We breathed therein something of Our Spirit. And she put faith in the words of her Lord and His scriptures, and was of the obedient."

None of the verses quoted connote that she was good because she gave comfort to her nonexistent husband but that she was good because of her iman and submission to God

Maryam also has titles in Islam:

Qānitah - The Arabic term implies the meaning, not only of constant submission to God, but also absorption in prayer and invocation

Siddiqah - She who confirms the truth or she who has faith

Sājidah: She who prostrates to God in worship.

Rāki’ah - She who bows down to God in worship.

Tāhirah: She who was purified

Mustafia: She who was chosen

Sa’imah: She who fasts

Again her titles reflect that she was great because of her ascetic nature and devotion to God

As well as that men and women have the same religious obligations in Islam and are spiritually equal:

Quran 9:71 : "And the believers, men and women, are protecting friends 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."

Quran 33:35 :

"Lo! men who surrender unto Allah, and women who surrender, and men who believe and women who believe, and men who obey and women who obey, and men who speak the truth and women who speak the truth, and men who persevere (in righteousness) and women who persevere, and men who are humble and women who are humble, and men who give alms and women who give alms, and men who fast and women who fast, and men who guard their modesty and women who guard (their modesty), and men who remember Allah much and women who remember - Allah hath prepared for them forgiveness and a vast reward."

If women were made for the purpose of comforting men then surely that would be their sole religious obligation

  • "If women were made for the purpose of comforting men then surely that would be their sole religious obligation" That's an assumption you make, but just because something may not be your sole purpose does not mean that it isn't your purpose at all. – The Raven Queen Jul 5 '17 at 17:24

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