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Extra resources for Derrida, Africa, and the Middle East

Sample text

Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoreth his head. / But every woman that prayeth or prophesyeth with her head uncovered dishonoreth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. / For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. / For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman of the man. / Neither was the man created for woman; but the woman for man.

The views of such philosophers often made the ulema upset, but such questions were widely debated among Muslims from the earliest days of Islam. In the Hadith (the “Tradition” or “Sayings” of the Prophet Muhammad), each passage in the Quran is said to have an “inside” and an “outside,” or an esoteric and exoteric meaning. Many Sufis, for instance, make an esoteric/exoteric distinction between the “greater” and the “lesser” hajj. The actual hajj involves 38 DERRIDA, AFRICA, AND THE MIDDLE EAST boarding a plane and traveling to Mecca.

T]he Indo-European language already concurred in the very notion of ‘god’ (deiwos),” Derrida states, “of which the ‘proper meaning’ is ‘luminous’ and ‘celestial’ ” (46). While Muslims indeed practice circumcision as a sign of the Abrahamic covenant, this rite is certainly not intended to affirm the elected status of the Jews as God’s chosen people. Muslims generally do not read the Abrahamic narratives in the Torah (or “Old” Testament) because of changes that they believe occurred over many centuries of the text’s transmission.

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