Maqāsid Al Shari Ah, Gender Egalitarian Qur’Ānic Hermeneutics and the Reformation of Muslim Family Law
in Maqasid Al Shari’ah and Contemporary Muslim Reformist Thought, ed. Adis Duderija, Palgrave 2014, Forthcoming
21 Pages Posted: 23 Sep 2013
Date Written: September 23, 2013
Over the last two decades in particular there has been a growing interest, evident in the ever increasing number of publications, in topics such as maqāsid al shari ah (higher aims or objectives of Islamic law), masla ḥ a mursala (considerations of public interest), gender egalitarian Qur’ānic hermeneutics and the calls for the reformation of Islamic family law. While many noteworthy works have been written on these individual issues, to this author’s mind there is still a need for a study which systematically employs the insights from maqāsidi approaches to Islamic law and gender egalitarian Qur’ān hermeneutics in providing a new, non patriarchal or gender symmetrical reinterpretation of Muslim family laws. This article aims to accomplish this task by making a synthesis between and incorporating new maqāsid approaches to Islamic law with that of non patriarchal Qur’ānic hermeneutics.
To do so, first I outline the gender differences in rights and duties between men and women in classical Islamic law and examine the reasons for these. Second, I provide examples of classical and modern patriarchal interpretations of Qur’ānic verses 4:34 and 2:228 which are the lynchpins upon which patriarchal interpretations of Muslim family law are based. Third, I briefly discuss the interpretational assumptions which underlie these interpretations. Fourth, I provide Qur’ān and hadith evidence on the basis of which new maqāsid relevant to a reconstruction of gender just construction of Muslim family law. Fifth, I discuss how the recent discourses on gender just Qur’ānic hermeneutics are already utilising some of this evidence but not linking it to that of the maqāsid. Sixthly, I develop a model of interpretation and outline how a discursive synthesis between the maqāsid approaches to Islamic law and the non patriarchal Qur’ānic hermeneutics can bring about a gender just interpretation of Muslim family law.
Keywords: islamic law, gender and religion, women and gender in Islam
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