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.
Author: Amina Wadud
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: 1999-06-10
Genre: Social Science
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.
Homosexuality is anathema to Islam – or so the majority of both believers and non-believers suppose. Throughout the Muslim world, it is met with hostility, where state punishments range from hefty fines to the death penalty. Likewise, numerous scholars and commentators maintain that the Qur’an and Hadith rule unambiguously against same-sex relations. This pioneering study argues that there is far more nuance to the matter than most believe. In its narrative of Lot, the Qur’an could be interpreted as condemning lust rather homosexuality. While some Hadith are fiercely critical of homosexuality, some are far more equivocal. One even appears to actively endorse love between men. This is the first book length treatment to offer a detailed analysis of how Islamic scripture, jurisprudence, and Hadith, can not only accommodate a sexually sensitive Islam, but actively endorse it. Scott Kugle is the first Muslim to publish widely on the issue of homosexuality and Islam. An independent research scholar in Islamic studies, he has previously held positions at Duke University, the University of Cape Town, and Swarthmore College.
Author: Kecia Ali
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Release Date: 2014-10-07
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
Kecia Ali delves into the many ways the Prophet’s life story has been told from the earliest days of Islam to the present, by both Muslims and non-Muslims. Emphasizing the major transformations since the nineteenth century, she shows that far from being mutually opposed, these various perspectives have become increasingly interdependent.
Author: Aysha A. Hidayatullah
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: 2014-04-01
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.
Author: John Piderit
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: 2012-11-03
Informal customs have become the norm for most young adults in matters of sexual intimacy. Unfortunately, the sexual revolution has not proven to be as beneficial to women as was hoped, and society offers young men little preparation for future roles as husbands and fathers. In this book, Father Piderit argues that a natural law approach to morality provides a grounded pathway toward marriage, and shows why these fairly traditional practices help young people find a partner whom they can realistically promise to love until death do them part. Offering theory but focusing on practice, this book helps young adults understand why sexual intimacy should be reserved for marriage. The first two sections develop the natural law basis for behavior. Father Piderit points out that natural law relies primarily on reason, not religion, and his explanation provides a way to understand a Christian approach to morality as grounded in nature. The final third of the book explores what religious practice and membership in a Christian denomination adds to the natural law approach. Father Piderit uses clear, practical examples to show that positive goals are what motivate human beings. By breaking down the potentially abstract concept of morality into a set of intuitive practices guided by natural law, Father Piderit provides young people and students with the tools to create a positive courtship and, ultimately, a solid marriage based on strong, shared values and mutual respect.
Author: Daniel W. Brown
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Release Date: 1999-03-04
Questions about the authenticity and authority of sunna have long been of central importance to the study of Islam, especially to those concerned with Islamic law. In this fascinating study, Daniel Brown traces the emergence of modern debates over sunna, focusing in particular on Egypt and Pakistan where these controversies have raged most fiercely, and assesses the implications of new approaches to the law on contemporary movements of Islamic revival. Using the case of modern Islam as a starting-point, the author considers how adherents of any great tradition deal with change.
Author: Barbara Freyer Stowasser
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: 1996-08-22
Islamic ideas about women and their role in society spark considerable debate both in the Western world and in the Islamic world itself. Despite the popular attention surrounding Middle Eastern attitudes toward women, there has been little systematic study of the statements regarding women in the Qur'an. Stowasser fills the void with this study on the women of Islamic sacred history. By telling their stories in Qur'an and interpretation, she introduces Islamic doctrine and its past and present socio-economic and political applications. Stowasser establishes the link between the female figure as cultural symbol, and Islamic self-perceptions from the beginning to the present time.
Islamicate Sexualities: Translations across Temporal Geographies of Desire explores different genealogies of sexuality and questions some of the theoretical emphases and epistemic assumptions affecting current histories of sexuality. Concerned with the dynamic interplay between cultural constructions of gender and sexuality, the anthology moves across disciplinary fields, integrating literary criticism with social and cultural history, and establishes a dialogue between historians (Kathryn Babayan, Frédéric Lagrange, Afsaneh Najmabadi, and Everett Rowson), comparative literary scholars (Sahar Amer and Leyla Rouhi), and critical theorists of sexualities (Valerie Traub, Brad Epps, and Dina al-Kassim). As a whole, the anthology challenges Middle Eastern Studies with questions that have arisen in recent studies of sexualities, bringing into conversation Euro-American scholarship of sexuality with that of scholars engaged in studies of sexualities across a vast cultural (Iberian, Arabic, and Iranian) and temporal field (from the tenth century to the medieval and the modern).
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.
This provocative collection addresses the ways in which Arab women writers are using Islam to empower themselves, and theorizes the conditions that have made the appearance of these new voices possible.
Author: Sa'diyya Shaikh
Publisher: Univ of North Carolina Press
Release Date: 2012-03-05
Thirteenth-century Sufi poet, mystic, and legal scholar Muhyi al-Din ibn al-'Arabi gave deep and sustained attention to gender as integral to questions of human existence and moral personhood. Reading his works through a critical feminist lens, Sa'diyya Shaikh opens fertile spaces in which new and creative encounters with gender justice in Islam can take place. Grounding her work in Islamic epistemology, Shaikh attends to the ways in which Sufi metaphysics and theology might allow for fundamental shifts in Islamic gender ethics and legal formulations, addressing wide-ranging contemporary challenges including questions of women's rights in marriage and divorce, the politics of veiling, and women's leadership of ritual prayer. Shaikh deftly deconstructs traditional binaries between the spiritual and the political, private conceptions of spiritual development and public notions of social justice, and the realms of inner refinement and those of communal virtue. Drawing on the treasured works of Sufism, Shaikh raises a number of critical questions about the nature of selfhood, subjectivity, spirituality, and society to contribute richly to the prospects of Islamic feminism as well as feminist ethics more broadly.
Author: Asma Barlas
Publisher: University of Texas Press
Release Date: 2009-09-15
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.
Author: Azza Basarudin
Publisher: University of Washington Press
Release Date: 2016-01-27
Genre: Social Science
In recent years, global attention has focused on how women in communities of Muslims are revitalizing Islam by linking interpretation of religious ideas to the protection of rights and freedoms. Humanizing the Sacred demonstrates how Sunni women activists in Malaysia are fracturing institutionalized Islamic authority by generating new understandings of rights and redefining the moral obligations of their community. Based on ethnographic research of Sisters in Islam (SIS), a nongovernmental organization of professional women promoting justice and equality, Basarudin examines SIS members' involvement in the production and transmission of Islamic knowledge to reformulate legal codes and reconceptualize gender discourses. By weaving together women's lived realities, feminist interpretations of Islamic texts, and Malaysian cultural politics, this book illuminates how a localized struggle of claiming rights takes shape within a transnational landscape. It provides a vital understanding of how women "live" Islam through the integration of piety and reason and the implications of women's political activism for the transformation of Islamic tradition itself.