Sunday, 20 November 2011

The Qur'an and Islamic scholars on women

In this post, I want to consider some Islamic commentaries on Qur'an 4.34, a verse which is often seen as problematic from the perspective of western ideas about women's rights.  I have collected material from three classic Sunni commentaries, one modern Sunni Islamist commentary and one Shi'a commentary.

Friday, 11 November 2011

The day that hell was abolished

The subject of this post is the remarkable case of Williams v Bishop of Salisbury (1863) 15 ER 943, in which the British state officially determined that eternal damnation is not part of the doctrine of the Church of England.

An 18th century Muslim visitor to England

From Bernard Lewis, The Middle East (1995), p223:

"Towards the end of the eighteenth century a Muslim visitor to England, Mirza Abu Talib - one of the first to have left a written account of his impressions - described a visit to the House of Commons, and his astonishment when it was explained to him that its functions and duties included the promulgation of laws and the fixing of penalties for wrongdoers.  Unlike the Muslims, he explained to his readers, the English have not accepted a divine law revealed from heaven, and were therefore reduced to the expedient of making their own laws "in accordance with the necessities of time and circumstance, the state of affairs, and the experience of judges"."