Qur'an and Woman Rereading the Sacred Text from a Woman's Perspective

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  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 1999-06-10
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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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 itout 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 historicallyand 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 mutualcollaboration between men and women than as yet attained by Muslims or non-Muslims.

Author Biography

Amina Wadud is an Islamic Studies Professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Table of Contents

Preface ix(11)
Preface to the First Edition xx(3)
Acknowledgments xxiii(2)
Glossary xxv
Introduction: How Perceptions of Woman Influence Interpretation of the Qur'an 1(14)
Methodology: A Hermeneutical Model
Language and Prior Text
The Prior Text of Gender-specific Language
Perspectives on Woman
Distinctions between Men and Women
Key Terms and Concepts in the Qur'an
A Word about Quotations and Translations of Qur'an
Chapter Outlines
1 In the Beginning, Man and Woman Were Equal: Human Creation in the Qur'an
Creation and the Language of the Unseen
Creation of the First Parents
The Creation of Humankind
The Origins of Humankind: Ayah; Min; Nafs; Zawj
The Dualism of the Creation
The Events in the Garden
2 The Qur'anic View of Woman in This World
How the Qur'an Teaches the Reader through the Events in the Lives of the Individuals It has Mentioned
The Signifance of the Women Mentioned or Referred to in the Qur'an
Woman as an Individual
Distinctions between Individuals: Taqwa
Distinctive Female Characters in the Qur'an
3 The Equity of Recompense: The Hereafter in the Qur'an
The Hereafter and Creation
Values of the Hereafter
Stages of the Hereafter
The Equity of Recompense
Recompense of the Individual
The Final Abode
Companions in the Hereafter
Hur-al-`ayn in Qur'anic Discussions of Paradise
Zawj in the Hereafter
The Hereafter from Allah's Perspective (`inda Allah)
4 Rights and Roles of Women: Some Controversies
Functional Distinctions on Earth
Woman is not just Biology
Nushuz: Disruption of Marital Harmony
The Significance of Context and Chronology in Qur'anic Social
Reforms for Women
Male Authority
Child Care
Conclusion 94(12)
Appendix: List of Female Characters Mentioned in the Qur'an 106(3)
Bibliography 109(8)
Index 117

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