Woman between Islam and Western Society

An anthology of the Qur’an, prepared by English Orientalist Edward William Lane (1801-1876), was published in 1843. It carried a foreword by way of introduction to Islamic teaching, which, inter-alia, stated that” the fatal point in Islam is the degradation of woman.” Though an ill-considered observation it gained such currency that it was commonly repeated as if it were an established fact. Almost a century and a half has elapsed since then, and, with the passage of time, this conviction has, if anything, deepened. It has even been quoted as if it were gospel truth in a judgement passed in the Supreme Court of India by the Chief Justice of India, Mr. Y.V. Chandra Chud, in the now notorious Muhammad Ahmad-Shah Bano divorce case. Maulana Wahiduddin Khan clears this misconception in the book Woman between Islam and Western Society by highlighting the conceptual difference about women in Islam and in the west. He analyzes that the evils of Muslim Society stem from the gap between principle and practice; whereas the evils of western society are the result of a clash between principles and realities as the Western civilization has formed principles independent of religious principles.

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