Female religious authority in Shi’i Islam past and present


IMAGE/Oxford University Press

Reflects on women participating in Islamic scholarly traditions from the classical period to the present

When we dissect Islamic religious authority into its various manifestations – leading prayer, preaching, issuing fatwas, transmitting hadith, judging in court, shaping the Islamic scholarly tradition – nuances emerge that question the conventional accounts of this authority that proceed from the assumption that it is male. This collection of case studies, covering the period from classical Islam to the present, and taken from across the Islamic world, compares the role of women across time and space. This allows for the formation of hypotheses regarding which conditions and developments (theological, jurisprudential, social, economic, political) enhanced or stifled female religious authority in Shi’i Islam.

Key Features

  • Covers both the medieval and modern period
  • Features 10 case studies including hadith culture, women judges, Fatima, Iran, and the concept of the role of the vakil
  • Questions assumptions about the inherently progressive agenda of female religious authorities
  • Includes an overview of the contemporary debates about female religious authority in Islam
  • Contributors

    Yasmin Amin, AUC Egypt
    Alyssa Gabbay, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
    Robert Gleave, University of Exeter
    Mirjam Künkler, Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study
    Raffaele Mauriello, Allameh Tabataba’i University and Sapienza University of Rome
    Maryam Rutner, New York University
    Devin Stewart, Emory University
    Edith Szanto, American University of Iraq, Sulaimani
    Liyakat Takim, McMaster University
    Yusuf Ünal, Emory University

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