Sexuality Diversity and Human Dignity in Islam
Qur’an and Woman: Re-reading the Sacred Text from a Woman’s Perspective is Dr. amina wadud’s seminal publication. Now three decades old and translated into a dozen languages it is hailed as one of the classics of Islamic feminism. It uses classical Islamic sciences of Qur’anic analysis or tafsir to demonstrate the necessity and benefit of using gender as a lens of analysis. By shedding light on the need for inclusive analysis it validates the female voice in the Qur’an bringing it out of the shadows. This book challenges dominant patriarchal interpretation across Islamic disciplines while never having to call it out. It simply turns us to read from the perspective of a woman.
Inside the Gender Jihad: As a Black American Muslim convert and hijabi, the lived reality of Muslim women is a rubric of understanding diversity in Islam and supporting the advocacy needed to bring equality and justice This second publication by Dr. amina wadud weaves between personal narrative of the author and communal analysis of the various communities she has experienced to peer into the various ways that gender justice underscores all modern movements for reform and progress in Islam. Furthermore, it takes her earlier work on Qur’an and Woman to another more provocative and yet indispensable level by discussing how to say no to the application of certain texts while believing in the whole of it. To understand this methodology fully, one must embrace the way lived realities of women shape their access to the principles of the Qur’an.
Amina Wadud, scholar and activist, is a vital figure in Islamic studies, Qur’anic hermeneutics, and gender studies, fields to which she has made a lasting contribution. Her book, Qur’an and Woman: Rereading the Sacred Text from a Woman’s Perspective (1992, 1999) not only introduced a hermeneutical approach to the Qur’an that attempted to overcome male-centered readings of the sacred text, it also opened the door for other Muslim women scholars to embark on similar journeys. In 2006, she published Inside the Gender Jihad: Women’s Reform in Islam, in which she grapples with three interwoven issues: her personal and activist struggles, her engagement with Muslim scripture and tradition, and the place of Muslim women’s studies in the Western academy. Since her retirement, in more recent lectures, blogs, and writings, she has foregrounded even further the category of experience as central to exegetical projects in the struggle for justice. It is traditional to honor scholars who retire from academia with a Festschrift. The volume thus expands and transcends the boundaries that separate scholarship from activism, ideas from politics, and women’s experiences and perspectives from male normativity. In this volume, 33 contributors—colleagues, students, fellow activists, and others inspired by her work—share their reflections and thoughts on her work, both activist and scholarly, and the many ways in which she has left an imprint on their own endeavors. The volume includes academic essays, personal reflections, letters, poems, and one piece of visual art, all written for and dedicated to Amina Wadud with respect, admiration, and love.