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Open Access Rethinking the Qiwāmah: A Qur’āno-centric Evaluation of Modern Women Exegetes’ Perspectives

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Rethinking the Qiwāmah: A Qur’āno-centric Evaluation of Modern Women Exegetes’ Perspectives

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image of Al-Bayan: Journal of Qur'an and Hadith Studies

This article examines the Qur’anic concept of the Qiwāmah in light of the interpretive articulations of modern Muslim women exegetes. It starts with a theoretical foundation that seeks to highlight the need for the Qur’āno-reasoned approach proposed by Muslim scholars such as Fazlur Rahman, Muhammad ‘Abid al-Jabiri, and Mohamed Arkoun. It argues that the interpretations of “canonical female exegetes” like Fawkiyah Sherbini and Fatma Kariman Hamzah of the issue of qiwāmah have to be reconsidered not only in view of the socio-historical and hermeneutical methods proposed by former scholars, but also with regards to the Qur’anic inimitable and unceasing functionality within various socio-cultural, economic and political contexts. More significantly, the work sheds light on the intra-Islamic feminist debate between these canonical women scholars and those of “unorthodox” female interpreters such as Amina Wadud and Asma Barlas. Hereby, I enquire about serious matters that stand at the core of these controversies, among which religious “authority” and “legitimacy”. Moreover, the article links these thorny terminologies to the American feminist theologian Mary Daly’s concept of “methodolatry,” as well as endeavors to see whether the latter could fit into an intra-Islamic framework.


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