‘Believing Women’- Unreading Patriarchal Interpretations, Asma Barlas   www.alim.org  www.asiapacific.amnesty.org  Pakistan and ‘real’ Islam, Samina Yasmeen,,Islam and Political Legitimacy, 2003  Pakistan, land, Gold and Women, Terence McKenna, The National, February 26,2006.  Violence against women in Swat, D Suba Chandran, IPCS Issue Brief, April 2009  Islamic Resurgence and Politics in Bangladesh, Taj I Hashmi.  Violence Against Women in Bangladesh, Rachel Marcus  Waging War against Walwar, www.safeworldforwomen.org
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Why is it that if a Muslim woman leads a ‘Namaz,’ it is widely condemned; but it is totally normal if women stand behind their male children while offering the prayers? Why most female Islamic scholars are attacked as being ‘western propagandists’ or ‘immoral,’ while male scholars with utmost ‘barbaric’ interpretations are left unquestioned? How and why have Muslim women accepted everything? To understand this problem we need to see Quran also as a historical text and not only as a divine revelation. We have to also see the political, economic and cultural aspects of the historiography of it. Historiography because it is a text that explains not just the ‘way of life’ but also tell us about Islamic history and the history of mankind. No historiography in this world can be immune to political/ideological inclinations. “Quran was revealed to an existing patriarchy and has been interpreted by adherents of patriarchies ever since” – Asma Barlas There is a need to undo the damages. This surly does not mean we re-write the Quran, but interpret it from a perspective that is fair to those who have been marginalized — the women. Hadees are many, and many Hadees are contradictory to not just one another but also to Quran itself. These were first attempted to be compiled more than 200 years after the death of Prophet Mohammad. These are texts that claim to impart knowledge on what is the ‘correct’ way of life, keeping prophet’s life as the basis. We won’t go into the debate of whose Hadees is more authentic, because there are many and no one has the monopoly over interpretation of the text. But we look at some of the text from these Hadees and compare them with what Quran says. The verses on women in these so called Hadees can be disturbing (to put it politely). People have argued that a lot is lost in the translation and what we read of Hadees in English might be misleading. Well, it is possible that a few words of Arabic, here and there, are misunderstood and projected as something else in the English language but the English language is also well equipped with enough words that can convey the intended meaning. What about pages and pages of misogyny that these translations fume with. These English translations are widespread on the internet. The internet search engines automatically place the web links at the top which are most viewed. So certainly a lot of people are reading the same literature that some may consider ‘wrong’ and ‘misleading’ because it doesn’t convey the pure intended meaning of Hadees. It is the most obscurantist interpretations that appear at the top. And all this is only a few clicks away. Quran doesn’t mention any ‘Hadees’ whereas it does mention guidance. Hadees is a ‘supportive’ literature which is nothing but only ‘contradictory’ to Quran’s basic principles of humanity, compassion, equality and love when it comes to ‘guidance’ on how women should be treated. Several Hadees attempt to fill the gap between Classical Arabic and modern day languages but these have only done a disservice to the women. The most modern liberal religious scholars have cheated the women in giving their rightful space. Even if they have, it is only conciliatory. The difference is only in intensity not in their intentions. Both extremists and liberals have dehumanized women when talking of their rights. Some have explicitly called them slaves and others have done worse by glorifying that slavery. Hadees is nothing but propaganda by certain groups to garner power, power that soothes their manliness. To exalt their manliness and boost their ego they need the women who they can suppress. And one wonders why is it that the women have come such a long way accepting this entire wrath. It is so because there minds have been imprisoned, to silence any dissent against patriarchy. The structural violence helps them in manufacturing the consent of the women, the consent for their own torture and other women folk. This structural violence that is denying them education, access to healthcare and legal aid is glorified in the name of Islamic culture by Taliban and the likes of it. They seek legitimacy from Hadees because it gives them readily available anecdotes on a platter full of misogyny. Hadees by Bukhari, one of the most popular and considered more ‘authentic’ has this to say about women (I quote only one of the versions of it, quoting here is not for the purpose of credibility but to show what kind of sentences are circulated):-
  ‘Believing Women’- Unreading Patriarchal Interpretations, Asma Barlas   www.alim.org  www.asiapacific.amnesty.org  Pakistan and ‘real’ Islam, Samina Yasmeen,,Islam and Political Legitimacy, 2003  Pakistan, land, Gold and Women, Terence McKenna, The National, February 26,2006.  Violence against women in Swat, D Suba Chandran, IPCS Issue Brief, April 2009  Islamic Resurgence and Politics in Bangladesh, Taj I Hashmi.  Violence Against Women in Bangladesh, Rachel Marcus  Waging War against Walwar, www.safeworldforwomen.org
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WE are living in a world that is governed by rules and regulations for everything, created not by anyone else but by US only. The walls of these rules and regulations are so high that one wonders what to speak, think even sometimes what to feel. Everything seems possessed and in chaos. Amidst all this pandem
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