Zinā and Gender (In)Equality in Ismāʿīlī Druze Law

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Serval ID
serval:BIB_C27AF293113C
Type
Article: article from journal or magazin.
Collection
Publications
Institution
Title
Zinā and Gender (In)Equality in Ismāʿīlī Druze Law
Journal
Der Islam
Author(s)
Halawi Wissam H.
ISSN
1613-0928
0021-1818
Publication state
Published
Issued date
06/10/2022
Peer-reviewed
Oui
Volume
99
Number
2
Pages
514-551
Language
english
Abstract
In the 5th/11th century in Cairo, Imam Ḥamza, the founder of the Druze faith, abrogated the entire substantive laws, including the Islamic one. And yet, four centuries later, Druze jurists in the mountainous regions of Syria developed their own legal doctrine. This essay explores the evolution of Druzism from an esoteric doctrine according to the Ismāʿīlī vision to a madhhab (doctrinal school of law) using the prism of gender (in)equality. Through a close reading of the Imam’s epistles in the Ḥikma (i.e., the Druze canon of scripture) and Druze law treatises from the 9th/15th century, I show how premodern Druze jurists were influenced particularly by Shāfiʿī and Mālikī law. Although they remained faithful to the strict gender equality articulated in their sacred book, Druze jurists established a gender hierarchy in marriage and permitted wife beating based on Q 4:34. They however expounded an original doctrine of zinā (adultery): despite their construction of femininity as inferior and irrational, and their assumption of women’s intellectual deficiency, Druze jurists considered nonconsensual marriage as well as nonconsensual sex in marriage to be crimes of zinā. I argue that Druze jurists developed rules that enforced sexual equality but simultaneously conformed to their patriarchal vision of society to maintain the social cohesion of their religious community, clans, and extended families, all of which provided local networks for informal conflict resolution.
Keywords
History, Cultural Studies, Gender Studies, Islamic law, Islamic ethics, Shiʿism, Ismailism, Druze, Q 4:34, zinā, musāwāt
Create date
12/11/2022 18:00
Last modification date
13/11/2022 6:39
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