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Islamic Expansion . Women and Islam. Final exam. UGC 111LR-P1 May 13, 2014, Tuesday 11:45 AM – 2:45 PM Knox 109. Exam preparation. 1) Lecture Notes: all overheads for semester 2) My History Lab test exams: pre-tests, post-tests, and chapter exams 3) Final Exam Essay Outline

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Islamic expansion

Islamic Expansion

Women and Islam

Final exam
Final exam

  • UGC 111LR-P1

  • May 13, 2014, Tuesday

  • 11:45 AM – 2:45 PM

  • Knox 109

Exam preparation
Exam preparation

  • 1) Lecture Notes: all overheads for semester

  • 2) My History Lab test exams: pre-tests, post-tests, and chapter exams

  • 3) Final Exam Essay Outline

    • Go through all civilizations

  • 4) Bring enough paper for essay, #2 pencils, and erasers

  • 5) One “cheat sheet” allowed: one side 8 ½ by 11 inch, 6 pt. font minimum


  • 1) Different interpretations/translations of the Koran on Women

  • 2) Expansion of Islam: Holy War?

  • 3) Place of Islam in India

  • 4) Role of Sufism in the acceptance of Islam in India

    • Rumi’s Path of Universal Love

1 women in islam god treats women equally with men
1) Women in Islam: God treats women equally with men

  • “The lord responded to them: I never fail to reward any worker among you for any work you do, be you male or female, you are equal to one another.” Qur’an 3, 195

Adaptations to earlier civilizations
Adaptations to Earlier Civilizations

  • “[Certain scholars] argue that tribal, nomadic Arabia treated women with relative equality, but the neighboring empires with their settled, urban civilizations, veiled women and kept them home under male domination. The Arabs adopted these practices.

The quran is more liberal
The Quran is more liberal

  • “In effect, this group of scholars is also saying that the more liberal Quranic rules regarding women were reinterpreted after contact with societies outside Arabia. Whatever the rules of the Quran, in practice gender relations varied widely in different parts of the world of Islam.” (Spodek 353)

Contrary text
Contrary text?

  • “Men have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. Good women are obedient. They guard their unseen parts because God has guarded them. As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them and send them to beds apart and beat them. Then if they obey you, take no further action against them. God is high, supreme.” Koran 4:34, Spodek, 352.

Translations of the qur an
Translations of the Qur’an

  • Spodek: A.J. Arburry or N.J. Dawood, trans: “Men have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them.”

  • Ahmed Ali trans, in series Sacred Writings, vol. 3, ed. by Jaroslav Pelikan: “Men are the support (qawwam) of women as God gives some more means than others, and because they spend of their wealth (to provide for them).”

Qawwam rule over or care for
Qawwam: Rule over or Care for?

  • “. . . does not mean lord and master, but provider of food and necessities of life, and through its form qaim, to take care of . . .”

Obedience to whom
Obedience – to whom?

  • Spodek citation: “Good women are obedient. They guard their unseen parts because God has guarded them.”

  • Ali: “So women who are virtuous are obedient to God and guard the hidden as God has guarded it.”

  • “qanitat only means devoted or obedient to God, as in 2:116, 16:120, 33:35, etc.”

Admonish or persuade
Admonish or Persuade?

  • S: “As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them…”

  • A: “As for women you feel are averse, talk to them suasively;

  • “Nushuz: Apart from rising up, ill treatment, it also means aversion to an act, and has been used in this sense here as in 4:128 for men’s aversion… Raghib in his Al-Mufridat fi Gharib al-Qur’an . . . [says fa-’izu] means talk to them so persuasively as to melt their hearts.”

Beat or sleep with
Beat or Sleep with?

  • S: “and send them to beds apart and beat them.”

  • A: “then leave them alone in bed (without molesting them) and go to bed with them (when they are willing).”

Daraba strike or have intercourse
Daraba: strike or have intercourse?

  • Ali: “Raghib points out that daraba metaphorically means to have intercourse . . . It cannot be taken here to mean “to strike them (women). This view is strengthened by the Prophet’s authentic hadith found in a number of authorities, including Bukhari and Muslim: ‘Could any of you beat your wife as he would a slave, and then lie with her in the evening?’ There are other traditions in Abu Da’ud, Nasa’i, Ibn Majah, Ahmad bin Hanbal and others, to the effect that he forbade the beating of any woman, saying: “Never beat God’s handmaidens.”

Final reconciliation
Final reconciliation

  • S: “Then if they obey you, take no further action against them. God is high, supreme.”

  • A: “If they open out to you, do not seek an excuse for blaming them. Surely God is sublime and great.”

Rights of women
Rights of women

  • Divorce

  • Inheritance

  • Veiling

  • Polygamy

  • Public life in early ummah

  • Hijacking by patriarchy

  • Karen Armstrong, Islam, p. 15-16

2 extent of islamic expansion
2) Extent of Islamic Expansion

  • See map p. 355, 365

  • In 1453 Byzantine Empire falls to Muslim Turks

  • By 1500: Islamic states in Arabia, Persia, India, Indonesia, Turkey, Greece and Balkans, Egypt, North Africa, Sahara, East Africa, Spain

Beginning of islamic expansion
Beginning of Islamic Expansion

  • 1) Successful unification Arab tribes establishes peace between them, and a united power of herding people naturally trained in war.

  • 2) Traditional raids to the north are now more successful, and provoke the responses of the Byzantine and Sassanid (Persian) empires.

Collapse of persian empire
Collapse of Persian empire

  • 3) “the Sassanid Empire collapsed almost immediately…. Meeting little opposition, Arab armies swept across Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and central Asia.” (354)

Why was there little opposition
Why was there little opposition?

  • “For centuries the Arabs had tried to raid the richer settled lands beyond the peninsula; the difference was that this time they had encountered a power vacuum. Persia and Byzantium had both been engaged for decades in a long and debilitating series of wars with one another. Both were exhausted.” (Armstrong, 30)

Recall previous history
Recall previous history

  • 1) Recall Gilgamesh: the people cry out against their hard ruler, and the god sends the animal man (herder) Enkidu.

  • 2) Recall easy victory of “Cyrus the shepherd” (herder) after terrible wars of Assyria and Babylon.

  • Greater freedom, tolerance of religion of one God for all (Zoroastrianism)

History repeats itself
History repeats itself

  • 3) Once again, the people of old Mesopotamia are subject to terrible wars by their rulers.

  • Now it is the herders from the south—the Muslim Arabs—who fill a void created by war, and bring about peace.

  • with a religion of one God for all peoples, and respect of religious differences (among monotheists).

3 hinduism and islam
3) Hinduism and Islam

  • On surface: thousands of gods

  • Muslim conquerors say: “idol worshipers”

  • Deeper understanding of Brahmins – Hindus are also monotheists

Unity in diversity
Unity in Diversity

  • Hindu Trinity, gods, avatars are diverse expressions of unity of Brahman

  • Hinduism acquires dhimmi (protected) status (Spodek, 363, 376)

  • Gandhi, a Hindu: Both the Koran and the Bhagavad-Gita are the inspired word of God

Islam s role in india
Islam’s role in India

  • Recall: geography of India

    • role of caste system in the weakness of India’s political culture

    • Islamic culture is state-centered

  • Muslims save India from Mongols

    • Ala-ud-Din1297-1306

    • Taxes rich Brahminsto build strong army

    • A Hindu warrior caste ruler could not do this

    • Stops Mongol army at Khyber pass

The islamic state in india
The Islamic State in India

  • Next enduring empire after Guptas (320-540 CE): Muslim Moghul Empire:1526 – 1857 CE

    • After 1000 years of disunity

  • Reasons for success

    • Political nature of Islamic religion

    • Religious tolerance of Moghul ruler Akbar

    • Openness or niche in Indian society for a more effective ruling group

Hindu solutions and problems
Hindu solutions and problems

  • Muslims are assimilated into caste system as another caste

  • Tolerance: Muhammad seen as another expression (avatar) of the divine, like Jesus, Krishna, Buddha

  • Problems

    • of Hindu immanence v. Muslim transcendence??

    • Unity of Atman (the true self within) with Brahman ??

    • Reincarnation??

  • Solution? Sufi form of Islam

4 main forms of islam
4) Main forms of Islam

  • Sunni: adapts to preexisting political systems of conquered states

  • Shiite: demands spiritual leadership by a descendent of Muhammad’s son-in-law Ali

  • Sufis: mystical movement emphasizing unity of the worshipper with God

    • Major exponent: Al-Ghazzali (1058-1111): “renewer of Islam.” (Spodek 369)

The most popular poet in the us today
The most popular poet in the US today

  • 13th century Sufi Muslim poet, Rumi (1207-73 -- Afghanistan)

    • Film “Hideous Kinky” (Kate Winslet)

  • See photo of Whirling Dervishes, Spodek 368


Become a sea
Become a Sea

“Every form you see draws its origin from the unseen divine world. So if the form vanishes, what does it matter? Its origin was from the Eternal. Do not grieve that every form you see, every mystical truth you hear will one day vanish. The Fountain is always gushing water. Neither Fountain nor water will ever stop flowing, so why mourn? Your spirit is a fountain; river after river flow from it, put all mourning out of your mind forever and keep on drinking from the water. Do not be afraid. The water is limitless.” --Rumi

Bhagavad gita

  • I am the fresh taste of the water; I

  • The silver of the moon, the gold o’ the sun,

  • The word of worship in the Veds, the thrill

  • That passeth in the ether, and the strength

  • Of man’s shed seed. I am the good sweet smell

  • Of the moistened earth, I am the fire’s red light,

  • The vital air moving in all which moves,

  • The holiness of hallowed souls, the root

  • Undying, whence hath sprung whatever is . . .

Stage after stage
Stage After Stage

  • “In the beginning, when man was nonexistent, God brought him into existence. Then God took him through stage after stage– from sheer existence into the inanimate world, from there into the vegetable world, from the vegetable world into that of the animal, from the animal to the human, from the human to the angelic world, and so on and on forever. Why did God manifest all these amazing transformations? So we can all be certain that He has many further stages each more exalted than the other. You will certainly traverse stage after stage.” --Rumi

Do not be afraid
Do not be afraid

  • Recall Jesus: consider the lilies, prodigal son

  • Rumi: you are part of an infinite ocean -- go with it, into it

  • Allah, the Infinite, is the Ocean in which we exist and can merge ourselves through love

  • We undergo transformation: stage after stage -- don’t be afraid of change

  • (Recall Buddha)

Yesterday at dawn
Yesterday at dawn

  • Yesterday at dawn

  • My friend said, How long

  • Will this unconsciousness go on?

  • You fill yourself with

  • The sharp pain of love

  • Rather than its fulfillment.

  • I said, “But I can’t get to you!

  • You are the whole dark night,

  • And I am a single candle.

  • My life is upside down

  • Because of you.”

The friend replied
The friend replied

  • I am

  • Your deepest being.

  • Quit talking about wanting me!

  • I said, “Then what is this

  • Restlessness?”

  • The friend:

  • Does a drop

  • Stay still in the ocean?

  • Move with the Entirety,

  • And with the tiniest particular.

  • Be the moisture in an oyster

  • That helps to form one pearl.

Unity of mystical teachings
Unity of Mystical Teachings

  • Chinese Taoists

  • Jewish Kaballah

  • Hindu Yogis – Kundalini, Moksha

  • Buddhist Nirvana--Enlightenment

  • Muslim Sufi mystics – Rumi’s Path of Love

Christian mystics
Christian mystics --

  • (Gnostic) Gospel of Philip:

    • The one who truly knows is “no longer a Christian, but a Christ.”

  • Meister Eckhart (1260-1328 CE)

    • “The eye with which God sees me is the eye with which I see him: my eye and his eye are the same.”

    • “If God did not exist nor would I; if I did not exist nor would he.”

Basic lessons of mystics
Basic lessons of mystics

  • Moral message is only preliminary -- not the core teaching of religion

  • Human beings are capable of much more than ordinary joys and sorrows: bliss of existence

  • Need to “Awaken” to our true nature and possibilities

  • = transformation of the personality, mental and physical abilities

  • Not in the next life, but here and now