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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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Theology of the Margins

Theology of the Margins

The Reading of Farid Esack

(p.10) 2 Theology of the Margins
Qur’an of the Oppressed

Shadaab Rahemtulla

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the Qur’anic commentary of the South African intellectual Farid Esack. After providing some historical and biographical background, it unpacks his interpretive method. While the Qur’an is the most important textual source that Esack draws upon in his Islamic discourse, the chapter argues that, for Esack, the experience of oppression and the struggle against it (praxis) are as important a ‘text’ of theological reflection. The chapter then offers a critique of the core paradigm in Esack’s liberation theology—the Exodus—and explores the acutely comprehensive character of his approach to social justice, entailing socioeconomic, gendered, and anti-colonial liberation. The chapter ends by reflecting on the significance of Islamic liberation theology in terms of (a) interfaith relations and (b) the interlocutor of Islamic thought and practice.

Keywords:   Farid Esack, South Africa, Qur’an, praxis, liberation theology, Exodus, interfaith, pluralism

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