Created as male and female
created from a male and a female
Surah al-Hujurat (49:13)
|Sarwar||Pickthall||Yusuf Ali||Shakir||Sher Ali||Rashad Khalifa|
|People, We have created you all male and female and have made you nations and tribes so that you would recognize each other. The most honorable among you in the sight of God is the most pious of you. God is All-knowing and All-aware.||O mankind! Lo! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. Lo! the noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Lo! Allah is Knower, Aware.||O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of God is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And God has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).||O you men! surely We have created you of a male and a female, and made you tribes and families that you may know each other; surely the most honorable of you with Allah is the one among you most careful (of his duty); surely Allah is Knowing, Aware.||O mankind, WE have created you from a male and a female; And WE have made you tribes and sub-tribes that you may know one another. Verily, the most honourable among you, in the sight of ALLAH, is he who is the most righteous among you. Surely, ALLAH is All-Knowing, All-Aware.||O people, we created you from the same male and female, and rendered you distinct peoples and tribes, that you may recognize one another. The best among you in the sight of GOD is the most righteous. GOD is Omniscient, Cognizant.|
In the context, the flow of the argument, the translation of Sarwar and Pickthall seem to make more sense. "Being different in gender" is a parallel thought to "being different ethnically" (in tribes and nations) but that this difference in us should lead us to get to know each other, make us interesting to each other, learn from each other and be challenged to compete in doing good, not to dispise and fight each other because he is different. The context quite clearly supports this meaning. The ayahs 49:11-13 say:
O ye who believe! Shun much suspicion; for lo! some suspicion is a crime. And spy not, neither backbite one another. Would one of you love to eat the flesh of his dead brother? Ye abhor that (so abhor the other)! And keep your duty (to Allah). Lo! Allah is Relenting, Merciful.
O mankind! Lo! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. Lo! the noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Lo! Allah is Knower, Aware.
However, most translators make this a reference to the first human couple of the creation story and that all others people are descendents of those. That doesn't fit very well into the logic of the text, though it seems to be grammatically the more obvious translation. Yusuf Ali even inserts the words "a single (pair) of" and Rashad Khalifa a "same" into their translation to make this point.
Certainly, this is quite different in meaning. If only one is a correct translation, why do some corrupt the meaning of the Qur'an? If both are possible translations, maybe the (Arabic) Qur'an is not as clear as it claims its message to be (saying, it is in clear Arabic)?
Furthermore, the question might come up: Who is addressed? (It arose in the discussion of this article.) All of mankind without exception or is it to the people standing in front of Muhammad when hearing him recite the message? "O mankind!" or "O you people!"? It makes the most sense, that there were quarrels and fighting and in response those verses are Muhammad's admonition to them to see their differences as a incentive to do good, instead of hating each other.
If all of mankind were addressed, without exception, then this would lead to a small a contradiction to the message that Jesus (a member of mankind) was not coming from Adam and Eve the natural way, but was created directly by the word of God. Also, obviously, Adam and Eve are members of mankind, and were not their own children either.
Answering Islam Home Page