Thursday, March 04, 2010

women equality and Islam...,

AsianNews | In the Koran there is plenty of discrimination. More specifically there is no equality in principle, that men and women have equal rights. This is not surprising. In the Bible we find, perhaps even greater, inequality between men and women. It is normal, because God speaks to men according to their language and their mentality, but it is up to men to understand the intent of the revealed text.

In Islam, there is the same principle that consists of finding "the purpose of the Sharia" (maqâsid al-shari'ah). Muslims who read the Koran as if it were an immutable text literally applicable to all times and in all places, create the problem. It is their way of understanding the Koran, and of applying laws, which poses problems.

Is it possible to reinterpret the Koran? Of course! But it is easier said than done. We must establish criteria for interpretation, ie a "hermeneutics." This is what exegetes of the Koran are lacking today. The reason? For at least seven centuries, no one has done so: thinking has been blocked. The more time passes, the more difficult this task becomes. Today, some Muslims are trying to do so academically, but are immediately accused of ignorance in religious matters or indeed, of heresy. As for the learned in religious matters (the ulamâ ' or "ulema"), they only serve to repeat the comments of the ancient classical interpretations (tafsîr).

Only a cultural problem?

It is often said that the problem is not the Koran, which is perfect. The problem is the ignorance of the faithful, ancestral traditions, or the culture of the various Islamic countries. Which is also true. But the question, without resolving the problem, results in another: where does this ignorance, these traditions, this culture come from? Why do so many Muslims attribute to these traditions and this macho culture an Islamic religious value? But if the problem is the traditions and cultures in which it is interpreted, then by what right are they transformed into divine laws?

The argument that it is only a problem of some countries and some cultures is not correct: it is a very general problem in the Islamic world. Taking Tunisia and Syria as examples of equality between the sexes, is rather the anti-demonstration. Indeed, in Tunisia or Syria if there is more freedom for women and more equality between the sexes, it is not because of Islam, but for the fact that these two countries have made moderate secular choices. In the 1950’s under the influence of President Bourguiba, Tunisia adopted secular law to solve this problem, and Syria did the same with the secular ideology of the Baath.

In fact, where there is a secular, not Muslim, system there is a certain freedom. Every time a country tries to be more "Muslim", to "return to authentic Islam," it is the woman who pays the consequences! However, where Sharia law is not enforced, there is more freedom.