Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Reza Aslan's "The Keeper of the Keys"

Aslan, Reza. "The Keeper of the Keys: Muhammad in Mecca" (Chapter 2) No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam. New York: Random House, 2005.

Reza Aslan holds degrees in Religion from Santa Clara University, Harvard University, and the University of California, Santa Barbara, as well as a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Iowa. He also writes for the Daily Beast (an American news reporting and opinion website) and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (an American nonprofit organization committed to improving the understanding of U.S. foreign policy and international affairs) and the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities. His first book, No God but God: the Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam is an international bestseller and has been translated into thirteen different languages.  He is also the author of Beyond Fundamentalism: Confronting Religious Extremism in a Globalized Age.
In Chapter 2 of his book No God but God, Aslan provides two different translations of verse 4:34 of the Quran, the verse that seems to command men to beat their wives if the latter are disobedient. Offering various meanings of the Arabic terms qawwam and adribuhunna, both which have multiple meanings, Aslan argues that these terms should not be seen as conclusive, because how one interprets the terms depends on one’s overall understanding of the Quran.  He then declares that Umar, the third caliph of the Muslim community after Prophet Muhamamd’s death, was a misogynist who sought to confine women to their homes—and his violent attitude towards women was, Aslan says, acknowledged by Aisha, the Prophet’s youngest wife, who refused to allow him to marry her sister. To support his argument, Aslan narrates a series of misogynistic acts by Umar. He explains that the reason that many Muslim women, some of whom are self-identified feminists, are fighting to have their exegesis of the Quran heard is that their voice has been missing from Islamic scholarship. It is not that they accuse Islam of being a woman-hating religion, he clarifies; it is that the Quran has been in the control of men who have interpreted the Quran from an overly patriarchal point of view that has subjugated women.


  1. Wonderful Islamic Arts catch the attention of some high-end want to award our lives which is so contemporary in nature. Historic sign in arts has cemented the way to swallow Islamic arts and crafts which are extreme investment in lieu of the years to be as long as. Our natural attachment with our homes need the luxury issue & these wonderful unique designs of Islamic arts in Dubai are twisted by supply and excessive genre paints. This is something bake them a genre apart.

  2. And this is why I love Reza Aslan. His book is translated into Danish as well :P

  3. I didn't know his book was translated into Danish! That's great! :)


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