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Qur’an of the OppressedLiberation Theology and Gender Justice in Islam$
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Shadaab Rahemtulla

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198796480

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198796480.001.0001

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Against Patriarchy

Against Patriarchy

The Reading of Asma Barlas

Chapter:
(p.161) 5 Against Patriarchy
Source:
Qur’an of the Oppressed
Author(s):

Shadaab Rahemtulla

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198796480.003.0005

This chapter explores the Qur’anic commentary of the Pakistani American intellectual Asma Barlas. After providing some historical and biographical background, it unpacks her interpretive method. Like all the commentators studied, Barlas privileges the Qur’an in her Islamic discourse, and this chapter systematically outlines the hermeneutical strategies that she uses to expound scripture. The chapter argues that although Wadud and Barlas both undertake gender egalitarian readings, Barlas is engaged in a substantively different (though complementary) project. For whereas Wadud explores the subject of woman in the Qur’an, Barlas interrogates the relationship between the text and patriarchy. After examining Barlas’ usage of tawhid (monotheism) as a core theological paradigm, the chapter critiques an essentialist tendency in her exegesis. The chapter ends by exploring her holistic approach to social justice, arguing that this approach stems from her engagement in ‘double critique’, or speaking truth to power in both Muslim and non-Muslim Western contexts.

Keywords:   Asma Barlas, Pakistansss, America, Qur’an, gender egalitarian, women, patriarchy, tawhid, Umm Salama

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