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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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Gender Justice as a Way of Life

Gender Justice as a Way of Life

The Reading of Amina Wadud

(p.96) 4 Gender Justice as a Way of Life
Qur’an of the Oppressed

Shadaab Rahemtulla

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the Qur’anic commentary of the African American intellectual Amina Wadud. After providing some historical and biographical background, it unpacks her interpretive method. Like Esack and Engineer, the Qur’an is the primary textual source of Wadud’s Islamic discourse. However, this chapter argues that while Esack’s method is squarely dialectical, based on praxis, Wadud’s is more linear in character, in which liberating interpretations are applied to contexts of oppression. After providing a critique of her discourse on religious authority, the chapter provides an in-depth analysis of her gender egalitarian reading of the Qur’an, engaging issues such as the origins of humankind, polygamy, and women’s leadership. Here, the dual paradigms of tawhid (monotheism) and khilafa (human trusteeship) play a central role. The chapter ends by unearthing the multi-faceted nature of Wadud’s understanding of oppression—an acutely layered experience embodied in the figure of Hagar.

Keywords:   Amina Wadud, African American, America, Qur’an, gender egalitarian, polygamy, women’s leadership, tawhid, khilafa, Hagar

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