The Koran

The Simultaneous Proliferation and Subversion of Patriarchy in the Qur'an

The Qur'an1 is reflective of and conducive to the patriarchal social system in which it evolved. Many verses of the text attempt to structure and reaffirm patriarchal order and to reduce any threat to the patriarchal system. While the Qur'an is a text meant for all Muslims regardless of gender to abide by, it is evident that many if not most of the verses are addressed to a male audience. While the text contains many verses outlining the rights of women many of these verses are directed specifically toward men, in other words, the women's rights verses are written in a style that is suggestive of an instruction manual for men - not for women. The patriarchal systems that are reaffirmed in the Qur'an are not merely limited to controlling women's behavior; any substantial threat to patriarchy is condemned as wrong and deserving of punishment. Because of the patriarchal slant of the society into which the Qur'an was revealed, it is very interesting to explore the Qur'anic verses which seem to subvert the patriarchal system. Verses which undermine patriarchy are often more subtle than the ones that confirm it; some verses, depending on how they are interpreted could either support patriarchy or degrade...

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