ملاحظات أولية حول وضعية المرأة عند ابن رشد / Ibn Rusha on the Question of Women: Preliminary Remarks



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عطية, أحمد عبد الحليم; Atiyya, Ahmad Abdul-Halim

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Research Article

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Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics

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[To investigate the views of Ibn Rushd on women, it is important to look in both the juridical works attributed to the Judge of Cordoba and to his Commentaries, some of which are no longer extant in Arabic, but available only in translations. Furthermore, as the author points out, an assessment of Ibn Rushd's contribution to elucidating women's importance and upgrading their social position can only be appreciated through an overview of how rarely this topic had concerned other philosophers in the socio-religious context of Ibn Rushd. One of the few philosophers in the Arab-Islamic tradition who devoted space in his writing to women and their concerns was Abu al-Hasan al-'Āmirī (d. 381/992). He discussed in his Kitab al-sa'ada wa'l-is'ad (Book of Happiness and Rendering Happiness) the position of women and wavered between considering them equal to men and subordinating them to men. This ambivalent attitude seems like an improvement over other philosophic silences on the question. The author combines a reading of selected passages from Ibn Rushd's work in jurisprudence, Bidāyat al-mujtahid wa-nihāyat al-muqtaṣid (Inception of Interpretation and the Perfection of Concision) with Ibn Rushd's explication and commentary on Plato's Republic as reconstructed from the Hebrew translation (made by Samuel ben Judah in Provence in the fourteenth century), in its most recent translation into English, by Ralph Lerner. One can only discern Ibn Rushd's point of view on the subject by shifts in pronouns (third person likely to point to Plato and first person to Ibn Rushd). Such reading-though it cannot be conclusive as two translations mediate the lost original-does point out, in combination with Ibn Rushd's direct pronouncements on women in Bidāyat al-mujtahid that Ibn Rushd was a precursor of women's emancipation. Other readings of gender issues in the works of Ibn Rushd are referred to in this study, in an effort to draw attention to the convergence of readings on this question, and to solicit interest in investigating such a vital issue in Arab-Islamic legacy at this critical conjuncture.]

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