Today, the issue of Muslim women is held hostage between two perceptions: a conservative Islamic approach and a liberal Western approach. At the heart of this debate Muslim women are seeking to reclaim their right to speak in order to re-appropriate their own destinies, calling for the equality and liberation that is at the heart of the Qur'an. However, with few female commentators on the meaning of the Qur'an and an overreliance on the readings of the Qur'an compiled centuries ago this message is often lost. In this book Asma Lamrabet demands a rereading of the Qur'an by women that focuses on its spiritual and humanistic messages in order to alter the lived reality on the ground. By acknowledging the oppression of women, to different degrees, in social systems organized in the name of religion and also rejecting a perspective that seeks to promote Western values as the only means of liberating them, the author is able to define a new way. One in which their refusal to remain silent is an act of devotion and their demand for reform will lead to liberation. Asma Lamarbet is a pathologist in Avicenna Hospital, Rabat, Morocco. She is also an award-winning author of many articles and books tackling Islam and women's issues. Myriam Francois-Cerrah is a writer and broadcaster whose articles have been published in the Guardian, Salon, and elsewhere.
A Muslim feminist seeks to reshape readings of the Qur an on women, from within, in this bold and liberating book."
A challenge to the liberal and traditional teachings about women in Islam.
This book distinguishes Islam as a spiritual message from the sociopolitical context of its revelation. While the sacred text of the Quran reveals a clear empowerment of women and equality of believers, such spirit is barely reflected in the interpretations. Trapped between Western rhetoric that portrays them as submissive figures in desperate need of liberation, and centuries-old, parochial interpretations that have almost become part of the “sacred,” Muslim women are pressured and profoundly misunderstood. Asma Lamrabet laments this state of affairs and the inclination of both Muslims and non-Muslims to readily embrace flawed human interpretations that devalue women rather than remaining faithful to the meaning of the Sacred Text. Full of insight, this study carefully reads the Qur’an to arrive at its deeper spiritual teachings.
Collection of major references to women in the Quran and Hadiths, the two central Pillars of Islam on which Islamic legislation and social practice are based. Topics covered include Hygiene, Divorce, Marriage, Sex and Chastity, Inheritance, and Status and Rights.
Fourteen centuries of Islamic thought have produced a legacy of interpretive readings of the Qu'ran written almost entirely by men. Now, with Qu'ran and Woman, Amina Wadud provides a first interpretive reading by a woman, a reading which validates the female voice in the Qu'ran and brings it out of the shadows. Muslim progressives have long argued that it is not the religion but patriarchal interpretation and implementation of the Qu'ran that have kept women oppressed. For many, the way to reform is the reexamination and reinterpretation of religious texts. Qu'ran and Woman contributes a gender inclusive reading to one of the most fundamental disciplines in Islamic thought, Qu'ranic exegesis. Wadud breaks down specific texts and key words which have been used to limit women's public and private role, even to justify violence toward Muslim women, revealing that their original meaning and context defy such interpretations. What her analysis clarifies is the lack of gender bias, precedence, or prejudice in the essential language of the Qur'an. Despite much Qu'ranic evidence about the significance of women, gender reform in Muslim society has been stubbornly resisted. Wadud's reading of the Qu'ran confirms women's equality and constitutes legitimate grounds for contesting the unequal treatment that women have experienced historically and continue to experience legally in Muslim communities. The Qu'ran does not prescribe one timeless and unchanging social structure for men and women, Wadud argues lucidly, affirming that the Qu'ran holds greater possibilities for guiding human society to a more fulfilling and productive mutual collaboration between men and women than as yet attained by Muslims or non-Muslims.
Does Islam call for the oppression of women? Non-Muslims point to the subjugation of women that occurs in many Muslim countries, especially those that claim to be "Islamic," while many Muslims read the Qur'an in ways that seem to justify sexual oppression, inequality, and patriarchy. Taking a wholly different view, Asma Barlas develops a believer's reading of the Qur'an that demonstrates the radically egalitarian and antipatriarchal nature of its teachings. Beginning with a historical analysis of religious authority and knowledge, Barlas shows how Muslims came to read inequality and patriarchy into the Qur'an to justify existing religious and social structures and demonstrates that the patriarchal meanings ascribed to the Qur'an are a function of who has read it, how, and in what contexts. She goes on to reread the Qur'an's position on a variety of issues in order to argue that its teachings do not support patriarchy. To the contrary, Barlas convincingly asserts that the Qur'an affirms the complete equality of the sexes, thereby offering an opportunity to theorize radical sexual equality from within the framework of its teachings. This new view takes readers into the heart of Islamic teachings on women, gender, and patriarchy, allowing them to understand Islam through its most sacred scripture, rather than through Muslim cultural practices or Western media stereotypes.
This study analyses the commentaries of four Muslim intellectuals who have turned to scripture as a liberating text to confront an array of problems, from patriarchy, racism, and empire to poverty and interreligious communal violence. Shadaab Rahemtulla considers the exegeses of the South African Farid Esack (b. 1956), the Indian Asghar Ali Engineer (1939-2013), the African American Amina Wadud (b. 1952), and the Pakistani-American Asma Barlas (b. 1950). The authors considered all proritise the Qur'an over the hadith. Rahemtulla considers this an essential move for a Muslim liberation theology and concludes with proposals with a new construal of what a politically radical Islam might mean, sharply differentitated from Islamism. This work provides a rich analysis of the thought-ways of specific Muslim intellectuals, it substantiates a broadly framed school of thought. Rahemtulla draws out their specific and general importance without displaying an uncritical sympathy. He sheds light on the impact of modern exegetical commentary which is more self-conciously concerned with historical context and present realities. In a mutally reinforcing way, this work thus illuminates both the role of agency and heremnetucal approaches in Modern Islamic thought.
Using the methodology of modern scholars in the fields of Arabic lexicography, linguistics, and psychoanalysis, Tunisian feminist scholar Olfa Youssef investigates the rulings about inheritance, marriage, and homosexuality in the Qur’anic text itself and compares them with the androcentric interpretations provided by male Muslim theologians and legal scholars from medieval times to the present, which today inform the body of the sharia law in many parts of the Muslim world.
Nonie Darwish lived for thirty years in a majority Muslim nation. Everything about her life?family, sexuality, hygiene, business, banking, contracts, economics, politics, social issues, everything?was dictated by the Islamic law code known as Sharia. But Sharia isn't staying in majority Muslim nations. Darwish now lives in the West and brings a warning; the goal of radical Islam is to bring Sharia law to your country. If that happens, the fabric of Western law and liberty will be ripped in two. Under Sharia law: A woman can be beaten for talking to men who are not her relatives and flogged for not wearing a headdress Daughters, sisters, and wives can be legally killed by the men in their family Non-Muslims can be beheaded, and their Muslim killers will not receive the death penalty Certain kinds of child molestation are allowed The husband of a "rebellious" wife can deny her medical care or place her under house arrest Think it can't happen? In 2008, England?once the seat of Western liberty and now the home of many Muslim immigrants?declared that Sharia courts in Britain have the force of law. When Muslim populations reach as little as 1 or 2 percent, says Darwish, they begin making demands of the larger community, such as foot-level faucets for washing before praying in public schools, businesses, and airports. "Airports in Kansas City, Phoenix, and Indianapolis are among those who have already installed foot baths for Muslim cab drivers," writes Darwish. These demands test how far Westerners will go in accommodating the Muslim minority. How far will they push? The Organization of the Islamic Conference works to Islamize international human rights laws and apply Sharia "standards" for blasphemy to all nations. The penalty for blasphemy? Death. Weaving personal experience together with extensive documentation and research, Darwish exposes the facts and reveals the global threat posed by Sharia law. Anyone concerned about Western rights and liberties ignores her warning and analysis at their peril.
Explores the historical roots of the debate about women in Islamic societies by tracing the developments in Islamic discourses on women and gender up to the present. The book describes the gender systems in place in the Middle East both before and after the rise of Islam.
It has been argued that Islam liberated Muslim women by granting them full rights as citizens. Yet in reality we see that women have long been subjected to both cultural and political oppression. Instances such as forced marriages are sadly common in the Muslim World, as are restrictions on education and on their role in the labour force.
Islam is a vital, growing religion in America. Little is known, however, about the religion except through the biased lens of media reports which brand African American Muslims as "Black Muslims" and portray their communities as places of social protest. African American Islam challenges these myths by contextualizing the experience and history of African American Islamic life. This is the first book to investigate the diverse African American Islamic community on its own terms, in its own language and through its own synthesis of Islamic history and philosophy.
Aysha Hidayatullah presents the first comprehensive analysis of contemporary feminist interpretations of the Qur'an. Synthesizing prominent feminist readings of the Qur'an in the United States since the late twentieth century, she provides an essential introduction to this nascent field of Qur'anic scholarship and engages in a deep investigation-as well as a radical critique-of its methods and approaches. With a particular focus on feminist "impasses" in the Qur'anic text, she argues that many feminist interpretations rely on claims about feminist justice that are not fully supported by the text, and she proposes a major revision to their exegetical foundations. A provocative work of Muslim feminist theology, Feminist Edges of the Qur'an is a vital intervention in urgent conversations about women and the Qur'an.
The essays in this volume examine ten Muslim intellectuals from the Arab world, Iran, Turkey, Indonesia, Pakistan, the USA, and Europe. These thinkers employ contemporary critical methods to interpret the Qur'an, arriving at conclusions that challenge those of earlier Muslim interpretation, and are critical of political Islam and progressive in orientation. The volume offers a framework for understanding their work, and responses to this among Muslim and Western audiences.
Exploring the history and religious community of a group of Muslim Sufi mystics in colonial French West Africa, this study shows the relationship between religious, social and economic change in the region. It highlights the role that intellectuals played in shaping social and cultural change and illuminates the specific religious ideas and political contexts that gave their efforts meaning. In contrast to depictions that emphasize the importance of international networks and anti-modern reaction in twentieth-century Islamic reform, this book claims that, in West Africa, such movements were driven by local forces and constituted only the most recent round in a set of centuries-old debates about the best way for pious people to confront social injustice. It argues that traditional historical methods prevent an appreciation of Muslim intellectual history in Africa by misunderstanding the nature of information gathering during colonial rule and misconstruing the relationship between documents and oral history.
Both Muslims and non-Muslims see women in most Muslim countries as suffering from social, economic and political discrimination, treated by law and society as second-class citizens subject to male authority. This discrimination is attributed to Islam and Islamic law, though it varies considerably in its impact, according to both class and region. Since the late 19th century there has been a mass of literature tackling this issue, some from a feminist or human rights perspective, some taking the form of an apology for Islamic law. Recently, exciting new feminist research has been challenging gender discrimination and male authority from within Islamic legal tradition, and this book presents some important results from that research. The contributors all engage critically with two central juristic concepts, rooted in the Qur’an, that lie at the basis of this discrimination, concepts which place women under male authority. One refers to a husband’s authority over his wife, his financial responsibility towards her, and his superior status and rights. The other is male family members’ right and duty of guardianship over female members (e.g., fathers over daughters when entering into marriage contracts) and the privileging of fathers over mothers in guardianship rights over their children. The contributors, scholars from different disciplines and backgrounds, were brought together by Musawah (Arabic for equality), a global movement for equality and justice in the Muslim family, launched in 2009. Musawah aims at producing new knowledge to help build grass-roots movements and to mobilize for change.
Women in Islam investigates the ongoing debate across the Muslim world and the West on the position of women in Islam. Anne-Sofie Roald focuses on how Islamic perceptions of women and gender change in Western Muslim communities. She shows how Islamic attitudes towards social concerns such as gender relations, female circumcision, and female dress emerge as responsive to culture and context, rather than rigid and inflexible.
Whether exploring the thorny issues of wives’ sexual duties, divorce, homosexuality, or sex outside marriage, discussions of sexual ethics and Islam often spark heated conflict rather than reasoned argument. In this groundbreaking, lucid, and carefully constructed work, feminist Muslim scholar Dr Kecia Ali asks how one can determine what makes sex lawful and ethical in the sight of God. Drawing on both revealed and interpretative Muslim texts, Ali critiques medieval and contemporary commentators alike to produce a balanced and comprehensive study of a subject both sensitive and urgent, making this an invaluable resource for students, scholars, and interested readers.
What does it mean to be young and Muslim today? There is a segment of the world’s 1.8 billion Muslims that is more influential than any other, and will shape not just the future generations of Muslims, but also the world around them: meet ‘Generation M’. Tech-savvy and self-empowered, Generation M believe their identity encompasses both faith and modernity. Shelina Janmohamed, award-winning author and leading voice on Muslim youth, investigates this growing cultural phenomenon, at a time where understanding the mindset of young Muslims, and what drives them, is critical. Exploring fashion magazines, social networking and everyday consumer choices, Generation M shows how this dynamic section of our society is not only adapting to Western consumerism, but reclaiming it as its own. From the ‘Mipsters’ to the ‘Haloodies’, Halal internet dating to Muslim boy bands, Generation M are making their mark. It’s time to get hijabilicious