Original Research

Revealing gender discourses in the Qurʾān: An integrative, dynamic and complex approach

Ghasem Darzi, Abbas Ahmadvand, Musa Nushi
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 77, No 4 | a6228 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v77i4.6228 | © 2021 Ghasem Darzi, Abbas Ahmadvand, Musa Nushi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 03 July 2020 | Published: 27 January 2021

About the author(s)

Ghasem Darzi, Department of Quran’s Systems, Faculty of Qur’an Mining Research Institute, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran, Islamic Republic of
Abbas Ahmadvand, Department of History and Civilization of the Muslims, Faculty of Religious Studies, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran, Islamic Republic of
Musa Nushi, Department of English Language and Literature, Faculty of Letters and Humanities, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran, Islamic Republic of


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Abstract

This study examines the Qurʾān’s view towards gender and argues that all three masculine, feminine and egalitarian (gender-inclusive) discourses exist in its text, and that these discourses do not follow a simple and linear model but rather a nonlinear and complex one. It also provides evidence, showing that gender equality in the Qurʾān is achieved in two ways: firstly, through linguistic devices that are devoid of gender distinctions, and secondly, through concurrent use of masculine and feminine gender markers in one context. The masculine discourse is, however, more prominent in the verses of this book and manifests itself to varying degrees in three ways: (1) in some verses, only masculine indicators are used but it can be inferred based on the (Taghlīb) principle that both men and women are the intended addressees; (2) in some verses, rules regarding women are stipulated, whilst men are, in fact, the main addressees and (3) in verses that state rules on reciprocal issues such as divorce and marriage but these rules are addressed to only men. The feminine discourse is also present in the Qurʾān and can be seen in verses that address women.

Contribution: Revealing gender discourses in the Qurʾān requires not only a historical but also an integrative and holistic understanding of its text. This study attempts to identify the relation of the Qurʾān to the three gender discourses based on the linguistic elements of the text and their classification.


Keywords

the Qurʾān; discourse; text analysis; gender equality; feminine; masculine

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