Islamic Feminism in the Middle East
and other parts of the World
Islam, Ijtihad, and Process Theology
The Prophet, as an agent of change, was willing to take a risk by challenging the common sense knowledge of the time. Yet the majority of today's Muslims are not willing to abandon the centuries old representations of Islam that are misleading and unjust, and replace them with the egalitarian intention of Islam as outlined in the only divine source, the Qur'an.
-- Nimat Hafez Barazangi
When you are criticizing the philosophy of an epoch, do not chiefly direct your attention to those intellectual positions which its exponents feel it necessary explicitly to defend. There will be some fundamental assumptions which adherents to all the variant systems within the epoch unconsciously presuppose. Such assumptions appear so obvious that people do not know what they are assuming because no other way of putting things has ever occurred to them. With these assumptions a certain limited number of types of philosophic systems are possible, and this group of systems constitutes the philosophy of the epoch.
-- Alfred North Whitehead, Science and the Modern World, 48
Islam, Ijtihad, and Radical Empiricism
The Qur'an is an event, too. It is a dynamic and evocative, multivocal and animating text, the meaning of which lies in the sweetness of its sound as well as the ideas it communicates. (For more on this, see Appreciating the Qur'an.)
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington.
CONAN: And let me anticipate some questions from our audience. Some might argue that there are aspects of Islam and some cultural traditions, too, that seem incompatible with equality for women.
An original study of the Qur'anic foundations of women’s identity and agency, this book is a bold call to Muslim women and men to reread and reinterpret the Qur'an and to discover within its revelations an inherent affirmation of gender equality. Barazangi asserts that Muslim women have been generally excluded from full participation in Islamic society, and thus from full and equal Islamic identity, primarily because of patriarchal readings of the Qur'an and the entire range of early Qur'anic literature. Based on her study of the sacred text, she argues that Islamic higher learning is a basic human right, that women have equal authority to participate in the interpretation of Islamic primary sources, and that women will realize their just role in society and their potential as human beings only when they are involved in the interpretation of the Qur'an. Barazangi offers a curricular framework for self-teaching that could prepare Muslim women for an active role in citizenship and policymaking in a pluralistic society by affirming the self-identity of the Muslim woman as an autonomous spiritual and intellectual human being.
Muslim women all over the world have been mostly viewed as secondary and/or complementary in the structure of Muslim societies. In order to challenge and transform these un-Islamic views, women needed to retake their principal role and reinterpret the primary source of Islam, the Qur'an. In doing so during the past two decades, some American Muslim women, including myself, are transforming the conventional understanding of Islam in the hope to implement a fundamental aspect of the social justice contract between Muslims and Islam. Indeed, Muslim women are challenging the unwarranted authority, the hijacked Islamic authority by Muslim men, and moving toward accomplishing the comprehensive human rights for themselves.
Other Articles on Islam
Beautiful Islam GO
A Process Appreciation of Islam GO
Progressive Islam: Here's What It Looks Like GO
Sacred Architecture in Islam: A Whiteheadian appreciation of the Mosque GO
Rising Gently from the Earth: Islam and Architecture GO
The Coming Arab Renaissance GO
Beyond Islamophobia GO
We are a Family Here: Civic Engagement in the Arab World GO
Why Process Theology Needs Islam GO
Malala Yousafzai: Winner of Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, 2013 GO
MUSLIMS FOR LGBT RIGHTS and all kinds of other good things GO
Reza Aslan's Interview with Fox News GO
Appreciating the Qur'an GO
Faith and Innovation: The Female Entrepreneur in Saudi Arabia GO
The Spirit of Process Theology Among Women in Saudi Arabia GO