''Believing Women'' in Islam - Unreading Patriarchal by Asma Barlas

By Asma Barlas

"This is an unique and, from time to time, groundbreaking piece of scholarship." --John L. Esposito, college Professor and Director of the heart for Muslim-Christian knowing, Georgetown college Does Islam demand the oppression of ladies? Non-Muslims element to the subjugation of ladies that happens in lots of Muslim nations, specifically those who declare to be "Islamic," whereas many Muslims learn the Qur'an in ways in which appear to justify sexual oppression, inequality, and patriarchy. Taking a totally assorted view, Asma Barlas develops a believer's analyzing of the Qur'an that demonstrates the extensively egalitarian and antipatriarchal nature of its teachings. starting with a old research of spiritual authority and data, Barlas exhibits how Muslims got here to learn inequality and patriarchy into the Qur'an to justify latest spiritual and social constructions and demonstrates that the patriarchal meanings ascribed to the Qur'an are a functionality of who has learn it, how, and in what contexts. She is going directly to reread the Qur'an's place on quite a few matters so one can argue that its teachings don't aid patriarchy. on the contrary, Barlas convincingly asserts that the Qur'an affirms the total equality of the sexes, thereby providing a chance to theorize radical sexual equality from in the framework of its teachings. This new view takes readers into the center of Islamic teachings on girls, gender, and patriarchy, permitting them to comprehend Islam via its such a lot sacred scripture, instead of via Muslim cultural practices or Western media stereotypes.

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I do not therefore valorize communities of women readers as the sine qua non of liberatory readings, as feminists do. To me, the fact that both men and women can produce patriarchal readings or liberatory ones is an acknowledgment of the relationship between texts and the contexts of their reading (or between discourses and materiality) and an argument against biological essentialism. On Methodology I employ the hermeneutic principles the Qur’ān suggests for its own interpretation as outlined above, to read the Qur’ān as text, as well as to read behind it and in front of it.

In terms of this argument, subjectivity ‘‘is not so much what initiates understanding as what terminates it’’ (Ricoeur , ). ’’ As such, awareness of subjectivity can foster a critical hermeneutic self-consciousness that can lead to better selfknowledge and thus to more meaningful engagements with texts, transforming the hermeneutic circle into what D. A. Carson () calls a hermeneutic spiral. Many Muslims, however, are of two views with regard to the role of subjectivity. On the one hand, they hold that modern readings of the Qur’ān, especially by women, are tainted by biases, while on the other they embrace the religious knowledge produced by a small number of male scholars in the classical period as the only objective and authentic knowledge of Islam.

For instance, it praises ‘‘Those who listen To the Word And follow The best (meaning) in it’’ (:; in Ali, ), clearly indicating that we can derive more than one set of meanings from the Qur’ān, not all of which may be equally good. , the Tablets given to him]’’ (:; in Ali, ). ) While it may not be easy to say what would be the best meaning of every Āyah—especially given the (sufi) view that each verse in the Qur’ān can be read in up to , ways—in light of our idea of a Just God and of the Qur’ān’s concern for justice, it is reasonable to hold that the best meanings would recover justice (fairness, impartiality) broadly conceived.

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