Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Ibn Rushd

From "The Trouble With Islam" by Irshad Manji - Page 55-56

Maimonides had a Muslim equal only nine years older than he ---- the philosopher, physician, mathematician, and fellow Cordoba native Ibn Rushd (often known by his Latin name, Averoes). Inside Spain, Ibn Rushd championed the very freedom to reason that Maimonides epitomized further east, daring to differ with the theocrats. Prompted by the rise of a ferocious Islam in his midst, Ibn Rushd argued that "philosophers are best able to understand properly the allegorical passages in the Koran on the basis of their logical training. There is no religious stipulation that all such passages have to be interpreted literally." Amen to that. And why stop there? More than any other European of the time, Muslim or otherwise, Ibn Rushd spoke up for equality between the sexes. In his judgment, "the ability of women is not known" because they're "relegated to the business of procreation, child-rearing, and breast-feeding." He presciently warned the custodians of civilization that treating women like "a burden to the men" is "one of the reasons for poverty." With audacity like that, Ibn Rushd became a "burden" to the hyper-Muslim powers-that-be. They exiled him to Marrakech, Morocco, and on the eve of the thirteenth century, Ibn Rushd died under suspicious circumstances.