Beyond the Exotic: Women's Histories in Islamic Societies by Amira Sonbol

By Amira Sonbol

This quantity introduces new resources for the examine of the earlier and current lifetime of Muslim ladies that problem paradigms in regards to the ways that "they" were studied long ago. so much study has taken care of stereotypical photographs of Muslim women's outward manifestations, resembling veiling, as passive and oppressivewomen have been depicted as assorted. Exoticizing (orientalizing) Muslim womenor Islamic society in generalhas intended that "they" are handled open air of normal women's background and hence have little to give a contribution to the writing of global background or to the lifetime of their sisters around the globe. by means of imminent time-honored assets with varied questions and methodologies, and through the use of new or little-used study (with a lot fundamental research), this ebook redresses those deficiencies. Amira El-Azhary Sonbol and the participants deconstruct the earlier and provide clean new views. Authors revisit and reevaluate scripture and scriptural interpretation; church documents concerning non-Muslim girls of the Arab global; archival court docket files courting from the current again to the Ottoman interval; and the oral and fabric tradition and its written list, together with artwork and structure, oral heritage, textbooks, sufi practices, and the politics of gown.

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Authority in the traditional framework is often acquired through the strict practice of working backwards. What this means is that the interpretations of the scholars of previous generations are read systematically going right back to original interpreters of the Qur’an during the classical period of Islam. This is supposed to provide historic continuity as well as legitimacy for the current crop of guardians of interpretation. But it also repeats all the mistakes of history, undermines criticism, and retains the ethos and morality of medieval times.

The significance and meaning of the verses of the Qur’an have to be rediscov10 THE QUR’AN AND ME ered by each generation in the context of its own time. Things change, contexts change, and old meanings, the customs born of old interpretations, far from liberating you can actually suffocate you; or worse, can be turned into means to oppress or oppose other people, whether fellow Muslims or not. I have come to see the Qur’an as a text that simultaneously promotes thinking and doing. It is a dynamic text whose relevance and implications for our time we have yet to discover fully.

On the whole, traditional interpretations of the Qur’an pay little attention to changes in society. A complex text, particularly one that is seen as eternal, can be interpreted in a number of different ways. Not surprisingly, Muslims have approached and interpreted the Qur’an from a host of different perspectives: theological, devotional, literary, literal, legal, allegorical, rhetorical, mystical or philosophical as well as from purely sectarian outlooks. Western scholars have approached the Sacred Text critically, sympathetically, caustically, and sometimes with the intention of undermining it.

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