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Koranic battle against violence against women

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#1
Ahmad\

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UBC prof launches Koranic battle against violence against women

February 24, 2014. 5:43 pm • Section: The Search

 
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UBC professor Ayesha Chaudhry is working on a fresh interpretation of a passage in the Koran, which has been translated as “men are in authority over women” and used to sanction the hitting of wives. She invites Muslims to see it mainly as a reflection of life in 7th-century Arabia. Times, she suggests, have changed.

University of B.C. professor Ayesha Chaudhry is going to the source of Islam to make a case against what many people in the West believe is a global scourge: Religiously sanctioned violence against Muslim women.

Chaudhry makes the case in her new book that patriarchal Muslims are misinterpreting a key passage of the Koran, which has often been traditionally understood to allow husbands to hit their wives.

In her new book, Domestic Violence and the Islamic Tradition (Oxford University Press), Chaudhry offers non-violent readings of a key passage about male authority in the Koran, Verse 4:34.

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“The fact is religious texts only mean what religious communities say they mean – and the meanings of these texts can change over time,” says UBC scholar.

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Growing up as a young Muslim girl in Toronto, Chaudhry said she struggled with K. 4:34. “It appeared to say that husbands could hit their wives if they were disobedient.”

“Later, when I learned of Muslim scholars who interpreted this verse in ways that do not condone violence or inequality, I was puzzled as to why these interpretations were considered by some to be outside the Islamic tradition.”

Chaudhry has gone on to become an assistant professor with the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice and the Department of Classical, Near Eastern and Religious Studies at UBC.

And she decided to fight back against what she feels is a dangerous and incorrect interpretation of the Koran, which many believe has led to sanctioned religious violence in many parts of the one billion-member Muslim world.

As a result of immigration there are now one million Muslims in Canada, making Islam the country’s second largest religion. (Four per cent of Metro Vancouver’s population is Muslim.) Her book is relevant in this country.

As Chaudhry says: “My book traces the many interpretations of this verse, and argues that Muslim communities have the ability to embrace non-violent interpretations, because religious texts mean what religious communities say they mean.”

Similar efforts to critically focus on the historical context of passages in the Hebrew Bible and New Testament, the books at the heart of Judaism and Christianity, have been occurring for the past century and longer. They’ve lead moderate Jews and Christians to new Biblical interpretations and meanings.

UBC today released a helpful Q & A with Chaudhry on this passage in the Koran. Here’s an excerpt:

Q. Is it possible to read 4:34 of the Qur’an in gender-equal terms?

Yes. For example, the first sentence of Q. 4:34 can be translated as “men are in authority over women.” However, if we see this statement as describing life in 7th-century Arabia when the Qur’an was revealed, rather than necessarily prescribing what must happen for eternity, gender-equal interpretations become possible.

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There are now more than one million Muslims in Canada. This mosque is in Port Coquitlam, B.C.

This line can be re-read to mean that “men were the protectors/breadwinners of women” in 7th century Arabia and can be understood as a historical statement of how things were in the past rather than how they should be in the present. This allows the Qur’an to represent the past while also reflecting social changes that allow for greater gender equality.

Q. What changes do you hope to come as a result of your book?

The fact is religious texts only mean what religious communities say they mean – and the meanings of these texts can change over time. The first goal of this book is to show that verse 4:34 can legitimately be read non-violently, and that the interpretation a Muslim chooses – violent or non-violent – says more about them than it does about the Qur’an. Muslims can and must hold themselves responsible and accountable for their interpretations.

The second goal is to give Muslims the interpretive tools to choose non-violent readings of this verse over readings that permit violence against women. It is only natural that modern Muslims look to our sacred text to protect women against gendered violence.

Finally, I hope that Muslims will see the relationship between the Islamic tradition and today’s Muslim scholarship as more harmonious, so that modern conversations enrich and carry on the Islamic tradition.

 

 

Thoughts??


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#2
Pastafarian

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Lol.

Religion of peace, requires fresh interpretation.



#3
Sarmad

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Lol.

Religion of peace, requires fresh interpretation.

 

No re-interpretation is needed to 'make' it a religion of peace.

 

Criminals always find an excuse for their behavior, religion or not. You could throw away religion altogether and it wouldn't change a thing. Instead of twisting religion to hide behind, they'll use the secular approaches: pleading insanity at trial, concocting a self-defense strategy, etc.



#4
Pastafarian

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No re-interpretation is needed to 'make' it a religion of peace.

 

Criminals always find an excuse for their behavior, religion or not. You could throw away religion altogether and it wouldn't change a thing. Instead of twisting religion to hide behind, they'll use the secular approaches: pleading insanity at trial, concocting a self-defense strategy, etc.

 

No one is denying criminals will always find an excuse for their behaviour or that secular approaches cannot be used to do bad things

 

I'm just making the point that most religions, Islam included, have horrible things in their scripture (according to me at least), despite claiming to be perfect. I have no doubt others would disagree with me on that, but yeah.



#5
lahoriii

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No re-interpretation is needed to 'make' it a religion of peace.

 

Criminals always find an excuse for their behavior, religion or not. You could throw away religion altogether and it wouldn't change a thing. Instead of twisting religion to hide behind, they'll use the secular approaches: pleading insanity at trial, concocting a self-defense strategy, etc.

 

But those people think that there interpretation is right. In their view your interpretation is wrong. 



#6
Sarmad

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But those people think that there interpretation is right. In their view your interpretation is wrong. 

 

yep, as with any laws/rules, people have the tendency to try and mold the rules to accommodate their behavior, not the other way around as it ought to be... hence the need for judges.. which is why an inept or corrupt judiciary, secular or not, is the ultimate enabler of crime if they don't have the guts or integrity to do the right thing.



#7
Pastafarian

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yep, as with any laws/rules, people have the tendency to try and mold the rules to accommodate their behavior, not the other way around as it ought to be... hence the need for judges.. which is why an inept or corrupt judiciary, secular or not, is the ultimate enabler of crime if they don't have the guts or integrity to do the right thing.

 

Precisely why laws and rules should be based on judgement and subjective reasoning which evolve over time, with the times and according to the context of the situation, as opposed to texts which are "set in stone and have to not be changed."



#8
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Loll at people making their own claims by basing it off on reading only translations and doubting those who do their research.

My thoughts with the article are the same as the author of the book. Npt only this translation but many verses of the Book have been taken out of context. Arabic like many languages has evolved and simple translation of the quran at times has been lost in translation. Its beautiful and amazing..! In my opinion, everyone should try to atleast take one surah ( chapter) of the Quran and study it. The interpretation are different but they all in the end mean one thing. The analogies are beautiful. I can personally relate and so many people can. There were people who openly criticized the quran and in the end decided to analyze on their own only to conclude that this Book is infact not written by man.

Say (O Muhammad SAW): "Verily, my Salat (prayer), my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of the 'Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists). [6:162]


#9
Sarmad

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Precisely why laws and rules should be based on judgement and subjective reasoning which evolve over time, with the times and according to the context of the situation, as opposed to texts which are "set in stone and have to not be changed."

 

You do know what ijtihad is, right?



#10
Electric

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You do know what ijtihad is, right?

Which is why we have Fiqh ;) Makes the whole ijtihad process so simple.


Say (O Muhammad SAW): "Verily, my Salat (prayer), my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of the 'Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists). [6:162]


#11
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very easy to armchair ijtehad sitting cozy in virginia ! :D






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