reading gender in islam

is very depressing. namelyAbdelwahab Bouhdiba’s ‘Sexuality in Islam’ (1985). it is very binary, very heterosexual and most of all, very misogynistic. so misogynistic that everytime bouhdiba quote the Sura such as this:

‘Men are the managers of the affairs of women, for that God has preferred in bounty, one of them over another, and for that they have expended of their property. Righteous women are therefore obedient, guarding a secret for God’s guarding. And those you fear may be rebellious, admonish; banish them to their couches, and beat them. If they then obey you, look not for any way against them; God is All-High, All-great.’

He has to insist that it is not misogyny. he had to insist this so often throughout the whole book that one can’t help but wonder perhaps that is what it is afterall.

i almost jumped from my 2 story high cottage, saved by the fact that the window to my room can’t be opened and that i perservered and read Leila Ahmed’s ‘Women and Gender in Islam’ (1995) which started as equally depressing and girl, she kicked intellectual ass in the end!

‘ Islamists assume that identifying the rulings regarding gender current in the first Muslim society –  rulings presumed to be ascertainable in some categorical fashion- and transposing and applying them to modern Muslim societies would result in the reconstitution of the meaning of gender inhering and articulated in that first society. Such an assumption fails to recognize that a society’s rulings in matters of gender form part of a comprehensive and integral system, part of a society’s variously articulated (socially, legally, psychically) discourse on gender, and thus that the transposition of a segment of the Arabian Muslim society’s discourse ( even if this were absolutely ascertainable) to the fundamentally different Muslim societies of the modern world is likely to result not in the reconstitution of the first Arabian Muslim understanding of gender but rather in its travesty.’ (Ahmed, 1995:240)

intelligence is such an objectifiable turn on isn’t it? i trod, slightly happier, back to my essay.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Ling
    Jan 08, 2011 @ 10:05:56

    I’ve just finished a biography called “Nomad” by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Half her book talks about islam in the western world from her life story. There’s a chapter on women and islam. not sure if it’ll help with your essay. I think its a great narrative. 🙂


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