This chapter discusses conceptions of equality in feminist Qur’anic interpretation and the challenges of reconciling male–female difference and equality in the Qur’an. The author critically examines feminist Qur’anic interpretation’s tendencies toward apologia and inconsistency, and the problems of manipulating the text and forcing feminist meanings upon it. The chapter notes that the exegetes have attributed problematic meanings of the text to the interpretive errors or linguistic difficulties of human beings rather than to the text itself, but observes a new turn toward acknowledging problems in the text itself. The author notes the need for feminist interpreters to take responsibility for their own interpretive interventions rather than claiming that male–female equality is purely self-evident in the text or that their interpretations reflect true Islam, since such claims run the risk of participating in interpretive authoritarianism and absolutism.
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