VEILING, SECLUSION AND SEXUAL PRAXIS: AN ANALYTICAL READING OF ASMA BARLAS’ HERMENEUTICS
Ibrahim Ilyasu Adam
This paper analyzes Muslim feminist hermeneutics in relation to the position of Muslim women in society making a special reference to Asma Barlas. The paper focuses on the concept of seclusion and veiling as perceived by Barlas and other Muslim feminists and reflected in her book “Believing Women” in Islam: Unreading Patriarchal Interpretations of the Qur’an, 2002. Barlas believes that patriarchal reading of the Qur’Én has negatively affected woman’s progress, and potentially impeded her from taking certain roles in public spheres. This created a patriarchal mentality that expounds that women need to be secluded from public spheres. Barlas’ central argument is that veiling and seclusion constitute gross discrimination against women because Qur’Énic injunctions do not categorically state that women shall be secluded and their body is pudendal and must be covered. In other words, the Qur’an does not impose a specific dress mode on women. Thus, imposing veiling and seclusion on women is a strong violation of women’s right which has no meaning; hence, it should be discountenanced. This paper critically analyses the exegetical methodology of Asma Barlas in rereading gender-sensitive verses related to seclusion and veiling and examines the extent to which she breaks with traditional exegetes in interpreting those verses.
Dr. Ibrahim Ilyasu holds PhD in Tafsir and Islamic family law. He is lecturer I , at Yusuf Maitama Sule University, Kano. . He could be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, and mobile, +234 90257 15 524. He dedicated his blog www.ibrahimilyas.wordpress.com to propagating true teachings of Islam and social justice.