Shaykh Uthman Khan completed his ʻĀlimiyyah degree from Madrasah Taleemul Islam from the United Kingdom. He received a traditional Master’s Degree in Arabic and Islamic Sciences and Specialized in traditionalism and the traditional sciences. He also received an Academic Master’s Degree from the Hartford Seminary in Muslim and Christian Relations and specialized in Theology, Philosophy, Religious Scripture, Historiography, and Textual Criticism and Analysis.
His other academic achievements include certificates in Adult Psychology, Accounting, Phonetics, Phonics, and Phonology.
Scott Douglas Jacobsen: So, I gather three things from the previous conversations: epistemological sectarianism, chronic inerrancy, and ethnic divides. But then, if you take two figures Fatima and Ayesha, what is the big takeaway when interpreting the text there in terms of gender roles?
Uthman Khan: It’s the culture. Most times the culture defines how the scripture is interpreted. In reality, it’s the scripture that is being distorted. It is like children’s Play-Doh. Everyone molds it differently. What is done is the scripture is taken, objectified and then starts getting molded according to how one wants to mold it.
In reality, I would never want to live in a city that followed Shariah law. Because I have seen and lived a life wherein 100 people had 100 different interpretations of Islam. This is because of the molded interpretation of the scripture. And then if a city was to follow or impose Shariah law then it is literally just an interpretation of a person’s bias or molded understanding.
This is probably the biggest reason for sectarianism and each sect tends to break up further into smaller sects.
If you keep on digging deeper, every single person literally is following their own Islam. Gender roles are defined that way as well – strictly through culture. I actually read an article published in a traditional seminary that women shouldn’t be educated and that Islam was actually saying this. It was very clear that this was another version of a molded understanding of the religion based on the patriarchy a particular culture defined. It stems from having a preconceived idea and then trying to fit that idea into the scripture.
Technically all gender roles were defined by the culture but implemented as if they were religion. This is a very broad topic, but the result of it is that there is a culture and there is a mindset and there is some external motivation. This is then applied to the scripture and the scripture is understood this way. This mindset is then taught to the next generation and then the next generation and then it becomes an indoctrination. Eventually, a whole society ends up indoctrinated on a message that the Qur’an really never initiated. In your initial question, Fatima may have defined gender roles according to how she perceives her role of how she has been indoctrinated about her role and considers it Islam. Ayesha, on the other hand, will probably believe the exact opposite but consider that Islam as well. Very convenient approach haha, but a very nice way to discredit anyone who doesn’t agree with you. It is subjective and biased.