Women and Gender in Islam: Historical Roots to a Modern by Leila Ahmed

By Leila Ahmed

Explores the old roots of the talk approximately ladies in Islamic societies by means of tracing the advancements in Islamic discourses on ladies and gender as much as the current. The e-book describes the gender structures in position within the center East either prior to and after the increase of Islam.

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ARABIA FORMED, AS IT were, an island in the Middle East, the last remaining region in which patrilineal, patriarchal marriage had not yet been instituted as the sole legitimate form of marriage; although even there it was probably becom­ ing the dominant type of marriage, the evidence sug­ gests that among the types of marriage practiced was matrilineal, uxorilocal marriage, found in Arabia, in­ cluding Mecca, about the time of the birth of Muham­ mad (circa 570)— the woman remaining with her tribe, where the man could visit or reside with her, and the children belonging to the mother’s tribe— as well as polyandrous and polygamous marriages.

Explicitly identified itself as a monotheism in the tradition of Judaism and Christianity, indeed as a re­ newal of those faiths. Because at the time of the Muslim conquest the region was dominated by a Christian church that, to some extent, had legitimized and justified misogyny by reference to biblical stories, stories that Islam either openly or implicitly recognized as divinely revealed, the new religion could incorporate seamlessly an already-developed scriptural misogyny into the socioreligious universe it too would inscribe.

Like the societies of the Mesopotamian region, the societies of the Mediterranean Middle East have a history long predating the rise of Christianity. Indeed, . the Christian societies of this region were heir to such a diversity of cultures that it would be impossible to review them comprehensively here. In the following survey I will review salient features of the mores of only some cultures of the area: those of Byzantine society, as the dominant imperial power in the eastern Medi­ terranean, and those of Classical Greece and ancient Egypt, as two other major cultures of the region.

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