FEMINIST EDGES OF THE QURAN – Book Sample
Preface – FEMINIST EDGES OF THE QURAN
MORE THAN TWENTY years have passed since the initial publication of Qur’an and Woman, Amina Wadud’s now classic work that brought worldwide attention to an emerging revolution in women’s readings of the Qur’an.’
I marvel now as I look back at how that far-reaching revolution unfolded in my own small world. As a college student in the U nited States in the lale 1990s struggling with my identifications as both a feminist and a Muslim, I was electrified by my first encounters with the works of Wadud, as well as those of Leila Ahmed, Riffat Hassan, and Azizah al-Hibri.
Their works opened a new world of possibilities for me in relating to the Qur’an, as they did for countless other Muslim women, lending me hope for something beyond the painful experiences of feeling alienated as a woman by a religious tradition to which I was deeply devoted.
I discovered that Wadud, Hassan, and al-Hibri challenged patriarchal and sexist interpretations of the Qur’an and men’s exclusive autlıority to interpret it, and they clarified the flaws and biases of traditional male interpretations, which, they argued, had obscured the liberating content of God’s word. Uplifted and inspired by their works, I came to believe that the Qur’an itself was just to women, but that alternative interpretations were necessary to uncovering the text’s egalitarian ethos.
Directly after college, I began my graduate studies of Islam in a rush of excitement and optimism, confident that the critical study of the islamic tradition would help me absolve the Qur’an of any blame for abuses of Muslim women and prove that it was Muslims, rather than God or the Prophet Muhammad, who were responsible for injustices perpetrated against them.
I pursued my studies in search of a coherent picture of the real” lslam perfectly aligned with my feminist values. I set out on the journey already sure of what was waiting for me at the end, equipped with a brand of certainty possible only in one’s youth…
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