Asma Barlas is one of the most prominent “Islamic feminists” today. I just began reading her book “Believing Women in Islam” and so far it is amazing! I wanted to quote the following:
“I read the Qur’an as a “believing woman”, to borrow the term from the Qur’an itself. This means that I do not question its ontological status as Divine Speech or the claim that God speaks, both of which Muslims hold to be true.
“I do, however, question the legitimacy of its patriarchal readings, and I do this on the basis of a distinction in Muslim theology between what God says and what we understand God to be saying. In the latter context, I am especially interested in querying the claim, implicit in confusing the Qur’an with its patriarchal exegesis, that only males, and conservative males at that, know what God really means. It is this claim that I believe underwrites sexual oppression in Muslim societies and therefore needs to be contested.”
Do you think that a general belief exists among Muslims that only men can know what God means? Do you believe this?
If not, then why have so few women interpreters existed?
Do you think people often confuse the Qur’an itself with it’s tafsir/interpretation?