Saturday, 10 May 2014

Women are equal in Islam... except when they aren't

Apologists for Islam tie themselves into pretzels trying to excuse its misogynist texts.  Here's a good example from The Muslim Times, by one M. Imran Hayee.
After an etymological excursion on the meaning of the word "nashuz", often translated as "disobedience",  he concludes with an internally contradictory paragraph. 
But, first to note some drearily disingenuous dissimulation from Hayee. He says "nashuz" does not mean "disobedience" as such, but "a clear deviation from the expected conduct of a partner...".  Later he says this can be by "either" partner, man or woman.
But the relevant text in the Koran is quite clear: it is a woman, a wife, only, who can commit "nashuz".  There is nowhere mention of the husband.  And the punishment for "nashuz" by a wife (a wife, note, not a husband) is to be "beaten", "scourged" or "chastised".
The relevant text is the Koran 4.34.  On this site are ten different translations, from Orthodox Muslims (OM), Non-orthodox Muslims (NOM) and Non Muslims (NM).  So, a pretty good cross section there. 
Here's the summary of what a husband may do to a wife that is disobedient.  (Or, if Hayee wishes, "deviates from the expected conduct of a partner").  The husband may:
  • Beat the wife: Yusuf Ali (OM), Hilali-Khan (OM), Shakir (OM), Khalifa (NOM), Arberry (NM) Palmer (NM). (I won't link to a definition of "beat"; surely self-explanatory; certainly it is so to the legion of men in Islam who batter and kill their wives and female kin).
  • Scourge the wife: Pickthall (OM).  (Scourge = "to whip with a scourge; lash.")
  • Chastise the wife: Sher Ali (NOM), Rodwell (NOM), Sale (NM).  (Chastise = "to discipline, especially by corporal punishment.")

Note that all OMs and NOMs (i.e., Muslims all) favour a translation that is either "scourge" or "beat". You'd think that if Muslims translators wanted to downplay the beating of a wife, they might choose "chastise", but they don't.  And even in the case of chastise, the primary meaning of that word is "to discipline, especially by corporate punishment".  So no let out there, in any case.  My own hard copy of the Koran, by Dawood, published by Penguin, translates the phrase as "beat" the wife.  

Back to Hayee's final para.  Here it is (and remember that this is supposed to show how "Islam embraces gender equality"):
In all other matters, Islam gives both men and women equal rights, including the right to an education, to choose whom to marry, or which career to pursue. Although the Quran makes the husband responsible for providing for the family and the wife responsible for homemaking, it neither restricts them to lend a hand to each other nor does it make one superior to the other
So, women and men are equal. As long as the little lady is a homemaker. Some equality that.  It's what feminists and the human rights folks have fought against for decades.  Yet from western feminists one will hear nary a squeak about this outdated form of so-called "gender equality".  The right for a woman to sit at home.  And they will lap up Hayee's tendentious tripe.
See also: What Sharia says about women.