The Qur’ānic Revelation in Seventh-Century Arabia
Gender Equality in Islam should not be assessed by twenty-first-century standards. While the Qur’ān remains relevant to the lives of over one-and-a-half billion people, the Qur’ānic text was revealed within a given historical context, seventh-century Arabia, with its socioeconomic and sociocultural practices and conditions. It is also important to differentiate between the Revelation and its various interpretations. The initial momentum and spirit of the Qur’ān, present in all of its prescriptions, reveals a clear empowerment of women and a disposition to establish egalitarian spirituality. This, however, is not reflected in all of the interpretations (tafāsīr). We should also note that some so-called ‘‘Islamic’’ provisions that appear unambiguously discriminatory are, in fact, the product of human interpretations of the Sacred Text.