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Dubai Books

Women and Gender in Islam: Historical Roots of a Modern Debate

  • ISBN13: 9780300055832
  • Condition: NEW
  • Notes: Brand New from Publisher. No Remainder Mark.

Product Description
This book presents an historical overview of women and gender in Islam. It is written from a feminist perspective, using the analytic tools of contemporary gender studies. The results of its investigations cast new light on the issues covered.

Women and Gender in Islam: Historical Roots of a Modern Debate


  1. The book first covers the traditions of women before Islam and continues through the period of time up to present. Author refers to some hadits or ayats that puts restrictions on women as the result of the societies of the times of the past. There seem to be an inherent claim that you can interpret the Quran with current social conditions. It is disputed issue if the Qur’an can and should be interpreted based on current social conditions. Qur’an clearly requires covering of the women, veil is another issue. Author has concentrated mostly in conditions in Egypt, that is a Muslim country but not necessariliy the only country so the coverage is not balanced. Furthermore there are references as to the behavior of the women in Egypt such as removing the head cover with comment them being coptic and muslim women slowly adapting the same. So is this study about the feminism in Egypt or in Islam or whatever changes were happening in feminist relations were they mostly among the minorities or amongst the majority muslims. I read the book assuming that author was always referring to muslim women but now I am not sure. I wish author could back up her feminist claims with ayats or hadits and prove that the interpretations were wrong. Ms. Lale Baktihar has a nice book with reasonable claims or Ms.Stosswater or Ms.Amina Wadud. I appreciate the effort but I would like to see more reasons for claims unless you read the book as a History of developments well than it is okey
    Rating: 3 / 5

  2. This is a good book for anyone to read who doesn’t know much about Islam. The author gives several chapters of in-depth history of the rise of Islam. It is interesting to read–not dry and boring like a lot of other detailed history books.
    Rating: 4 / 5

  3. Leila Ahmed’s “Woman and Gender in Islam: Historical Roots of a Modern Debate” is an outstanding contribution to the field of Middle Eastern Women’s Studies. Ahmed explores and effectively dissects the many intersections between women, gender, and Islam. Her book is readable and makes an excellent sourcebook for those who are interested in the historical foundations of women and Islam.

    Particular focus is placed on Egyptian women.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  4. By far the best scholarly and historical work amidst the increasing number of books on this topic. Particularly interesting is the discussion of how Muslim caliphs adopted the Persian custom of having huge imperial harems. Of course, this is one of the aspects of “Muslim” culture that really tantalized the early Orientalists, as discussed by Edward Said in his book on the subject.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  5. I was disappointed by this book because it is mistitled. The writer deals exclusively with gender experiences in the Middle East and seems to forget that most Muslim women are not Arabs. I expected more (Indonesia, China, Malaysia, Africa, the Balkans,……). The book is methodologically unsound for that reason, in my opinion. It reflects a certain personal bias (possibly a sort of pan-Arabism, she thinks non-Arabs are not really Muslims, even if they have been so for centuries?). In the light of her selective observation and distortion of reality in that respect, I can’t be bothered commenting on the “big, male conspiracy” theory that she outlines…
    Rating: 1 / 5


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