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Timeless Texts And Modern Morals: Challenges In Islamic Sexual Ethics

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Chapter Summary

This chapter takes two propositions as its starting point. First, any discussion of the unchangeable in Islamic contexts must begin - but cannot end - with the Qurʾān. Second, sexuality must be integral to the broader reformist quest for gender justice. The first section of the chapter discusses reformist and feminist hermeneutic approaches to the Qurʾānic text, with special consideration to the double-movement theory of Fazlur Rahman which considers the intention behind specific regulations. The second section summarizes the content of the Qurʾānic discussions of sex. The third section considers the limited guidance the Qurʾān provides for conduct within the boundaries of approved sexual partnerships. The chapter highlights both the divine oversight that these verses posit and the androcentric nature of the Qurʾānic guidance on sex. The Qurʾān presents two interrelated basic imperatives of "protecting chastity" and "avoiding indecency".

Keywords: Islamic sexual ethics; Qurʾānic text



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