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The “Islamic State” (IS) as Proponent of Neo-ahl ḥadīth Manhaj on Gender Related Issues

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It is the aim of this article to examine several gender related practices considered religiously normative by the IS and deconstruct the religious justifications behind them. In the analysis I include the practices pertaining to the all-pervasive nature of gender segregation, obligatory nature of the face-veil (niqāb) and the institution of concubinage through means of enslavement of ‘pagan’ female war captives. In this context I will argue that from interpretational methodology point of view, the IS’ stance on gender under discussion are identical with the neo-ahl ḥadīth approach to interpretation (manhāj) of the Qurʾān and Sunna as advocated by major contemporary Saudi Arabian scholars such as Al-Albānī (d. 1999), A. Bin Bāz (d. 1999), M. Al-ʿUthaymīn (d. 2001), Ṣ. al-Fawzān (b. 1933), M. Ṣ. Al-Munajjid (b. 1960), Ibn Jibrīn (d. 2014) and H.R. Al-Madhkhalī (b. 1931). I also briefly note that in many ways the broader Sunnī traditionalist approach as exemplified in “Open-letter to Baghdādī Document” which aims to refute IS interpretation of the normative texts, shares many hermeneutically critical presuppositions, and therefor legal determinations, with that of the neo-ahl ḥadīth in relation to the gender issues under discussion.

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