On Monday evening, I gave a presentation on women and Islam for Dr. Barney Cochran's honors seminar on Islam. It was good to see familiar faces and interact with students I haven't had yet in class. Here are some references and links for the resources I talked about in the lecture.
The negative teachings include frank insights into the practice of polygamy, allowing every believing man to have four wives, how women are accorded half the value of men according to the law, especially family inheritance, and the seeming justification found in the Qur'an to support honor killings, notably Q4:15:
"If any of your women are guilty of lewdness, take the evidence of four (reliable) witnesses from amongst you against them; and if they testify, confine them to houses until death do claim them, or Allah ordain for them some (other) way."
The hadiths are also a key reference, especially Sahih Muslim Book 1, Number 142 which includes the Prophet's response to the limitations of female intelligence and religious faith.
Women's Rights Around the Islamic World
The tide seems to be turning around the world regarding women's rights. Saudi Arabia has allowed women to begin practicing law but still does not allow them to drive. See academic research by Safaa Fouad Rajkhan, Women in Saudi Arabia, Status, Rights, and Limitations (2014) and the blog Saudi Women Driving.
Women's Islamic Initative in Spirituality and Equality is an organization dedicated promoting Muslim women's issues.
Examples of women highlighted on this site include the following female political leaders from the Islamic world:
Sheikh Hasina Wazed, (left), prime minister of Bangladesh. Here is a link to her address to the nation from January 2016.
Atifete Jahjaga, (right), prime minister of Kosovo. She is the youngest female head of state elected to office. She has made over 50 bilateral talks with various countries and has made nearly 30 state visits. Here is an address given at Columbia University in New York City.
This week's passages for the second week of Lent Year C are just plain difficult to wade through. They are comparatively short, but much is said in a few words.
Here is a helpful bit of commentary on this week's Gospel reading from Luke 13:31-35:
"What needs to be heard here is not the fixing of blame for the death of Jesus on Judaism or the whole city of Jerusalem. This text is a call to all of us who have been immersed in a particular religious tradition to search ourselves. When a religious institution views itself as the sole custodian and broker of religious faith, it becomes so obsessed with itself and so determined to perpetuate its authority that any perceived threat to its status is interpreted as blasphemy against God and must be squelched. How easy it is to think that our own understanding of the faith is the absolute truth and therefore any view that challenges our own must be interpreted as unorthodox and condemned and eliminated. Religious arrogance can easily be camouflaged as zeal for God's truth." [Bold text added]
by Jirair Tashjian, CRI The Voice (2015)
These thoughts are quite appropriate as the United States are in the midst of another election season, and for my students at The Naz as we engage some of the more difficult chapters of Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas as the theologian enters into conspiracy against the Third Reich.