Jalajel, “Women and Leadership in Islamic Law”

In November, Routledge will release “Women and Leadership in Islamic Law: A Critical Analysis of Classical Legal Texts,” by David Jalajel (King Saud University).  The publisher’s description follows:

Islamic law has traditionally prohibited women from being prayer leaders and heads of state. A small number of Muslims today are beginning to challenge this stance, but they face considerable opposition from the broader Muslim community.

9781138123137.jpgWomen and Leadership in Islamic Law examines the assumption within much existing feminist scholarship that the patriarchal nature of pre-Islamic and early Muslim Near Eastern Society is the primary reason for the development of Islamic legal rulings prohibiting women from leadership positions. It claims that the evolution of Islamic law was a complex process, shaped by numerous cultural, historical, political and social factors, as well as scriptural sources whose importance cannot be dismissed. Therefore, the book critically examines a broad survey of legal works from the four canonical Sunni schools of law to determine the factors that influenced the development of the legal rulings prohibiting women from assuming various leadership roles. The passages that elaborate rulings about women’s leadership are presented in translation as an appendix to the research, and are then subjected to a variety of critical analyses to identify the reasons, influences, and assumptions underlying those rulings.

This is the first time works of all four schools of law have been subjected to this kind of analysis for the express purpose of determining the extent to which gender attitudes have influenced and determined the rulings. This book will therefore be a vital resource for students and scholars of Islamic Studies, Religious Studies and Gender Studies.

Chaudhry, “Domestic Violence and the Islamic Tradition”

Last month, Oxford published Domestic Violence and the Islamic Tradition, by 9780199640164_140Ayesha S. Chaudhry (University of British Columbia). The publisher’s description follows.

This book examines the challenges and resources that the Islamic tradition offers to Muslim scholars who seek to address this dilemma. This is achieved through extensive study of the intellectual history of a Qur’anic verse that has become especially contentious in the modern period: Chapter 4, Verse 34 (Q. 4:34) which can be read to permit the physical disciplining of disobedient wives at the hands of their husbands.

Though this verse has been used by historical and contemporary Muslim scholars in multiple ways to justify the right of husbands to physically discipline their wives, progressive and reformist Muslim scholars and activists offer alternative and non-violent readings of the verse. The diverse and divergent interpretations of Q. 4:34 showcases the pivotal role of the reader in shaping the meaning and implications of scriptural texts.

This book investigates the sophisticated and creative interpretive approaches to Q. 4:34, tracing the intellectual history of Muslim scholarship on this verse from the ninth century to the present day. Ayesha S. Chaudhry examines the spirited and diverse, and at times contradictory, readings of this verse to reveal how Muslims relate to their inherited tradition and the Qur’anic text.