Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Qur'an and Corrective Surgical Procedures

Mrs. Quinet mentioned in class that some Islamic countries cut off the hands of thieves as a matter of Shari'ah law; I found the specific quote, on the middle of page 1017 in the Norton: "As for the man or woman who is guilty of theft, cut off their hands to punish them for their crimes. That is the punishment enjoined by God." (1017) Not to rip on Islam, but that is a pretty unambiguous commandment--if you're going to take the Qur'an as the word of God and basis of the state it seems like it would be hard to get around it.

From an areligious perspective, it shows the problem with laying out a complete, practical guide for life. Unlike, say, the Bhagavad-Gītā, which is much more ambiguous and open to interpretation, or even the New Testament, the Qur'an is filled with very explicit passages, which can much more easily become anachronistic than a more philosophical text. I think that frankly there are parts of the Qur'an, such as this and the passage that encourages men to beat their wives, which are irreconcilable with modern ideas of human rights. This creates a tricky situation, since political correctness and a healthy respect for diversity require that we tolerate other religious beliefs, and yet one of the largest religions in the world holds as the final revelation of the word of God a 1,400-year-old text that inevitably contains some 1,400-year-old injustices. Of course, the Bible and other religious texts contain comparably anachronistic passages (e.g. 1 Peter 3:7: "Husbands, in the same way, show consideration for your wives in your life together, paying honor to the woman as the weaker sex, since they too are also heirs of the gracious gift of life" (NRSV)), but since most such passages are much less prescriptive than the Qur'an, they don't stand out as much and they are more easily circumvented.


Amy Clement said...

As you mentioned in the title of your blog, corrective surgies have seen a rise in many Islamic counties. However, they are not the typical corrective surgeries that come to mind such as breast or nose augmentations. In these counties, virginity before marriage is at the utmost priority for young women and those who are not chaste until their wedding night are punished. You may be asking yourself, "How can they tell?" Well, they believe that an intact hyman dictates virginity. This is a horrible indicator, because some women are born without them or break them doing things such as horseback or bike riding. The fear of punishment is so severe that some women opt to have surgery to repair the hyman or put one in place.

Miranda Martinez said...

I think it also depends on the upbringing of those practicing the religion. We, as non-Muslims, see Islam as an extreme more than they do - to them it probably seems natural. An old friend of mine is a devote Muslim, and she knew she would have an arranged marriage, but she was okay with it. She explained to me that in her culture it was something to be expected, and never questioned. Even though it bothered me, I was impressed with her devotion to both her culture and religion. I mean, it must be pretty hard to practice such a demanding religion in a completely different environment. However, she did state that she never considered the majority of devote Muslims to be extremists. After what Amy said, though, I must admit that many of their beliefs create "extremist" attempts to maintain their faith.

Brooke M. Hathaway said...

I completely agree with you Ian that the issue with religious texts, such as the Qur'an, is its inability to change with the times. What applied centuries ago certainly doesn't apply to modern times. Back in the day people believed Earth to be the center of the universe. We now know that isn't the case. These specific texts don't leave room for progression in society, science, or many other aspects of life.