[Epub] ❦ "Believing Women" in Islam: Unreading Patriarchal Interpretations of the Qur'an By Asma Barlas – Transportjobsite.co.uk

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  • Paperback
  • 272 pages
  • "Believing Women" in Islam: Unreading Patriarchal Interpretations of the Qur'an
  • Asma Barlas
  • English
  • 02 February 2017
  • 9780292709041

About the Author: Asma Barlas

Asma Barlas born 1950 , is a Pakistani American writer and academic Her specialties include comparative and international politics, Islam and Qur anic hermeneutics, and women s studies Barlas was one of the first women to be inducted into the foreign service in 1976 Six years later, she was dismissed on the orders of General Zia ul Haq She worked briefly as assistant editor of the opposition

10 thoughts on “"Believing Women" in Islam: Unreading Patriarchal Interpretations of the Qur'an

  1. says:

    I ll just come right out and say it I had very mixed feelings about this book It is certainly an important work, but I felt like I just could not get into some of the language used, first of all The author used many terms with a slash right in the middle of them, like sexual textual that confused me a bit I suppose I cannot blame the author for my not having a background in her specialty, but I felt that the average Muslim would be left scratching their head as much as I was Maybe I m wrong.I was also a bit taken aback by the way the author would almost cast aside ahadith, tafasir, and other extra Qur anic texts while then evoking the Tradition in the next breath when mentioning something such as A isha s RA age at marriage I do not believe the author was necessarily saying that ALL of these extra Qur anic materials are worthless, but it still seemed contradictory to me.The author did bring up some valuable points about how tafasir and the opinions of early scholars, which were undoubtedly set in the context of patriarchal societies since most societies are patriarchal , should not necessarily be taken as the end all, be all backdrop under which we should understand the Qur an Her assertion that many of the early commentaries examined the Qur an aya verse by aya also rang true, and it is well known that many of them focused on things like linguistics than deriving law I fully agree with her idea that hermeneutics is an important way to read any text.And yet there was just too much eschewing of traditional scholarship under the four established madhahib schools of thought for my taste While Imam ash Shafi i was only human and therefore liable to make mistakes, his school was developed over centuries, with the opinions of his students and his students students and so on being factored into the mix As such, none of these schools are monolithic, and thus have been open to interpretation by scholars even into the present day.While I do sympathize with the author s concerns and do not deny that many Muslims of today are misogynistic and ignorant of their own faith, I do not blame the classical study of Islam for this failure but rather the lack of study undertaken nowadays The author would mention how ijtihad should not necessarily be closed while going on in the postscript to state that she did not claim to be a mujtahid That statement confused me, since the entire work is essentially ijtihad.Still, despite my misgivings about some of the author s statements, I really enjoyed this book and did not find her opinions on the ayat in question radically different from how I had already understood them I owe that not to my own discernment but in fact to traditional Islamic scholars such as the late Mohamed Sa id Ramadan al Bouti For information on that, check out his book Women Between the Tyranny of the Western System and the Mercy of the Islamic Law It s not perfect, but I think it covers a lot of the issues mentioned by the author of this book.For further reading, I also recommend the recent book Misquoting Muhammad The Challenge and Choices of Interpreting the Prophet s Legacy by Prof Jonathan A.C Brown This tackles the problem of early scholarship while staying true to the Islamic tradition It acknowledges the fact that early scholarship was not infallible, but also denies the idea that we should eschew it or its extra Qur anic components ahadith, ijma , qiyas entirely Again, I am not saying that Ms Barlas was making such a claim in this work, but she seemed to come close a few times.So, why four stars despite all of my issues with this book Well, they are really minor nitpicks considering how much I enjoyed reading it, and I do think such a work by a female author is important in understanding how so many have just gotten it wrong and toed the patriarchal line She is certainly an excellent writer, and perhaps I would have enjoyed this book even if I was of an intellectual My opinion doesn t matter anyway Read the book, but do not expect it to keep too closely to Traditional Islam Also don t expect Ms Barlas to bash Islam like so many other female authors from Islamic backgrounds have done lately I don t know, just read it.

  2. says:

    For those who think Islam doesn t make room for human rights esp, womens rights this book is a great insight into Islam, the Qur an and its true meanings.

  3. says:

    Asma Barlas finishes this book with a Post Script stating, my objective in writing this book was to recover the scriptural basis of sexual equality in Islam and thereby to defend Islam against the claim, made by both Muslim conservatives and feminists, that it is a religious patriarchy that professes models of hierarchical relationships and sexual inequality Without doubt she has truly met this objective academically, it s up to the people to realise this objective practically.I myself am a Muslim woman who has been trained in traditional Islam and as such, her analysis of what she terms Muslim conservative positions and her deconstruction of these really struck me These are not superficial arguments, but deeply constructed and rigorously authenticated by the Quran itself To say it is a valiant piece of work is an understatement I enjoyed how she dealt with the other end of the critical spectrum too, by challenging the accusations of Western feminists She s not in this for making friends Just recently I had an exchange with a young Imam Muslim leader on the issue of domestic violence in the Muslim community He had written a paper on the matter and I had been quite critical as I felt he missed the point She covers marital issues in her book and analysis the Quranic verse that some have highlighted as a facilitator for DV against women Her analysis was so much superior and well thought through Not only that but her approach is one that is holistic, taking the Quran in its entirety, not just piecemeal, isolated verse by isolated verse This is crucial in the need to shift whole attitudes and understandings.I think if anyone gives this less than five maybe 4 stars, it s probably because they haven t been able to push through the highly academic vocabulary and the immensely scholastic approach she takes This is no light read , or because the patriarchal readings and commentaries of the Quran have become so internalised that the reader is not yet ready to entertain her writings If your aversion is due to the former I would urge you to soldier through it, what you get out of the book will be much than what you put in If it s because of the latter, I d recommend you continue to read around and to allow observations of the world around you to let you make good sense of what she has written.I had so many mind blown moments with this book and would highly recommend it If you have ever wondered about women in Islam as an insider or outsider, this book is for you.

  4. says:

    I read this in the manuscript form and felt that it would make the author an international success It has.Rather than a review, I would like merely to describe it It battles on two fronts against feminists who might like to think that Islam is anti women and Muslims who might like to think that Islam gives them license to subordinate women The core of the analysis is the idea that God created woman not, as in Christianity, from the rib of man Rather, that God creates men and women simultaneously and as ontologically different And, that this is God s way of showing humans how to understand, respect, and celebrate difference My own small difference with the author s world view is that, given that God s words must be interpreted by humans, why do we need to concern ourselves with original text I still worry about this question And I pose it for all sacred texts, including those that pass as secular like various constitutions.

  5. says:

    Interpreting religious texts, in particular the Qur an, has been the work of men for centuries Women are excluded from contributing to the Tafsir Although, women participated actively in the creation of religious knowledge in the early decades of Islam the prophet s wife Aisha as example , their opinions have been excluded for a long time.What are the consequences of the absence of women s voices Isn t it one important reason of the patriarchal reading of the Qur an Isn t it a reason of the understandings of Qur an that teach sexual inequality and segregation What if women participate in Tafsir communities Won t this suggest a balanced reading and understanding of the Qur an and avoidance of misreadings the verses related to women In her book Believing women in Islam , Prof Asma Barlas explains how Qur an is read in ways that seem to justify sexual oppression, inequality, and patriarchy She, first, discusses and criticizes the different traditional methods of generating the meanings from Qur an She introduces the concept of hermeneutics to observe Qur an s interpretation Hermeneutics is a theory that deals with interpretation of religious scriptures and advocates that it is not enough to ask what we know about religion, but equal attention must be paid to how we come to know what we know Besides, she re reads for us the Qur an position on a wide variety of issues that concern Muslim women, for instance, the relationships father daughter and husband wife She shows that Qur an can be read in different way that makes it a book of liberation for women.

  6. says:

    I initially wanted to give this book 4 stars but then I ended up giving an extra because I must have given 5 if I was women This is an excellent all encompassing text and not just another feminist reading of the Quran Barlas makes an extremely strong case for unreading patriarchical readings of scripture by principally moving the onus of mis reading from the Quran to the reader who is interacting with the text through his own subjectivities In my view, the work achieves a two dimensional success one, against the misogynist and predominantly male oriented interpretations and two, against those modernist theories which blames the text itself for its misreading.

  7. says:

    Dr Asma Barlas has written a wonderful scholarly work which may not be the easiest read but readers should stick with it on her view of the Quran and Islam as egalitarian and antipatriarchal Barlas challenges the methodology by which conservative mostly male interpretative communities empowered by state actors have read in patriarchal themes in the Quran She also challenges some Western feminist critiques of Islam trying to find a middle way between the two that remains faithful to the central principle of the oneness of God and the dignity of women and men as equals before God.

  8. says:

    Reread in 2019 Rounding up my rating to 5 stars.You would think that having to challenge multiple patriarchal practices and interpretations of Qur an would require someone thousands of pages of scholarly work, but Barlas manages to do so in around 200 pages That, in itself, blows my mind I initially gave this book a 4 star rating because I thought the book was dry at times, but mostly that the academic writing could be a barrier for new readers who are just trying to learn about sexual ethics in Islam But you know what, don t let that stop you This book is a special one and it deserves all the eyeballs that it can get ________Original review I read this for a class I know this isn t for everyone But holy crap, this was for me Throughout Believing Women in Islam, Barlas essentially challenges the widespread tendency to blame Islam for oppressing Muslims rather than blaming Muslims for misreading Islam She calls out those who have monopolized the meaning of God s word , which invariably reinforces systematic patriarchy Something that plagues than just Islam, I bet She explores certain Islamic cultural traditions, Shari a Law, questionable Ahadith, and uses the Quran to prove them un Islamic I m in awe And her arguments in favour of reading the Quran as a holistic text, thereby refraining from taking ambiguous Ayah s out of context, has me in complete agreement This would have received 5 5 if it wasn t for the fact that I found the writing to be dry at times So, 4 5 it is Would highly recommend

  9. says:

    Asma Barlas definitely knows what she is talking about Believing Women in Islam is an immensely valuable book, which has thoroughly researched and analyzed Qur anic exegeses in a multi faceted method that she carefully details The book itself offers readers with past experience regarding hermeneutics and the Qur an to read the book in a non linear fashion However, I did not follow that advice, having had a very minuscule background knowledge of traditional exegeses and hermeneutics Barlas offers readers the chance at an anti patriarchal reading by reading in front of the Qur an and behind it in addition, she discusses the intertextual, intratextual, and extratextual aspects of the scripture She also contests traditional canonized readings of the Qur an by inciting all different types of modern discourse, while still exploring the limits and boundaries of her own theoretical understanding Definitely a must for anyone interested in the supposed role of women in Islam.

  10. says:

    Pretty damn good book Very detailed account of how oppressive readings of the Qur an became confused with the Qur anic discourse itself Posits alternative intepretive approach that delineates a very convincing anti patriarchal theme within the text Nevertheless, it does not give a satisfactory account of how the institution of a highly patriarchal family structure sits with this anti patriarchal theme Further, to argue that orthodox readings of the Qur an are unholistic and ignore liberatory themes and are thus arbritary is a bit disengenous considering there are clear power relations instituted between men and women within the Qur an Because of this it verges slightly into the apologist territory for me Despite this shortcoming the themes identified such as displacing the soverignty of the father with God s was absolutly fascinating.

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