Read Inside the Gender Jihad: Women's Reform in Islam Online

Authors: Amina Wadud

Tags: #Religion, #Islam, #General, #Social Science, #Feminism & Feminist Theory, #Women's Studies, #Sexuality & Gender Studies, #Islamic Studies

Inside the Gender Jihad: Women's Reform in Islam

BOOK: Inside the Gender Jihad: Women's Reform in Islam
7.37Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Islam in the Twenty-First Century

Series Editor: Omid Safi

Also in this series:

Sexual Ethics and Islam
, Kecia Ali

Progressive Muslims
, Ed. Omid Safi


This book is dedicated to the brave Indian woman, small of structure, great of will, whom I saw carrying bricks on her head although quite advanced in years, and for all those who have never seen her or her many counterparts, so that they may reach the awareness that women are human beings dedicated in service to Allah as Her
on the earth.

Inside the Gender Jihad

Women’s Reform in Islam

Amina Wadud

A Oneworld Paperback Original

First published by Oneworld Publications, 2006 Reprinted, 2007

Reprinted with corrections, 2008

© Amina Wadud, 2006

All rights reserved Copyright under Berne Convention A CIP record for this title is available

from the British Library

ISBN: 978-1-85168-463-2

Typeset by Forewords, Oxford Cover design by E-digital Design

Printed and bound in the United States of America by Thomson-Shore

Learn more about Oneworld. Join our mailing list to find out about our latest titles and special offers at:


Foreword by Professor Khaled Abou El Fadl


Introduction: Inside the Gender
: Reform in Islam 1


What’s in a Name? 14


The Challenges of Teaching and Learning in the Creation

of Muslim Women’s Studies 55


Muslim Women’s Collectives, Organizations, and

Islamic Reform 87


A New Hajar Paradigm: Motherhood and Family 120


Public Ritual Leadership and Gender Inclusiveness 158


Qur’an, Gender, and Interpretive Possibilities 187


Stories from the Trenches 217

Conclusion: Why Fight the Gender
? 254





Khaled Abou El Fadl, UCLA School of Law*

The author of this book became internationally famous as the woman who led a mixed-gender congregation in prayers in March, 2005. Her act raised a firestorm of heated exchanges all over the Muslim and non-Muslim world, but the author remained silent throughout the controversy except for an appearance on the Al Jazeera television channel. It is not an exagger- ation to say that from Egypt, Malaysia, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and the Ivory Coast to England, Italy, and China, hundreds of journals and television shows not only debated the permissibility of women leading men in prayer but also inappropriately analyzed or attacked the author’s character and motivation. For many Wahhabi spokesmen, slandering the author became a favored pastime, and the very influential Islamic activist Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi dedicated an hour-long episode of his twice-weekly program on Al Jazeera to attacking the author and branding her actions as clearly un-Islamic and thus heretical. On the other hand, the Islamic scholar Gamal al-Banna, the younger brother of Hasan al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, wrote a short book arguing that the author’s actions are well supported by Islamic sources and thus entirely orthodox. Although I suspect the author is not all too happy

* Professor of Islamic Law and Jurisprudence. He also teaches International Law, Human Rights, and Comparative Law as well as National Security, Immigration, and Political Asylum Law. Professor Abou El Fadl is the author of many publications on Islamic law and jurispru- dence; his latest books are
The Great Theft: Wrestling Islam from the Extremists
(2005) and
The Search for Beauty in Islam


about this, her act gained a symbolic value that, depending on one’s perspective, could be characterized as positive or negative.

Towards the end of
Inside the Gender Jihad
, the author does address this incident but I think whether one supports or opposes the author’s position on women-led prayers, this ought not be the reason for reading this book. This book is about much more than that, and the author’s formidable intel- lectual output and her long history of thoughtful activism ultimately cannot be reduced to a single event or set of events regardless of how meaningful such events are or should be. The author has spent a lifetime waging a very courageous struggle against gender prejudice, and in part, this book should be read because it is an incisive condemnation of the various institutions of patriarchy within Islam. The title of this book indicates that it is about the gender
in Islam, and this is certainly true, but even this does not quite describe it – this book is about more.

BOOK: Inside the Gender Jihad: Women's Reform in Islam
7.37Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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