Amina Wadud, "Once in a Lifetime" (Kantara Press, 2022)


In this interview, we speak with Dr. amina wadud about her latest book Once in a Lifetime (Kantara Press, 2022), a book that started out as a blog for her hajj journey back in 2012.

Dr. amina wadud is Professor Emeritus of Islamic Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University. She earned her PhD in Arabic and Islamic Studies from the University of Michigan in 1988. Her other books are Qur’an and Woman: Re-reading the Sacred Text from a Woman’s Perspective published in 1992 with Oxford UP and Inside the Gender Jihad: Women's Reform in Islam, published with Oneworld in 2006.

The book is rooted in her experience of the famous five pillars of Islam, through a feminist, inclusive, and faith-centered lens. Each chapter includes relevant experiences related to the theme of the chapter, such as her specific experiences at hajj or the gendered nature of certain Islamic rituals and the ways that common understandings of these rituals might affect women.

In our conversation, we talk about the theme of the masculine and the feminine that figures throughout the book, the gender of God, the Islamic concept of tawhid (monotheism, unity of God) and its relation to fractals and nature and the cosmos, and her experiences at hajj, which serve as the basis of the book. But mostly, I attempt to utilize my time with her to hear her speak about her journey through the last several decades as a Muslim academic committed to social justice and faith.

The book’s accessible and approachable style makes it especially useful for undergraduate religion courses, including Islam and Islam and gender specific courses. Anyone interested in personal journeys in religion, Islam and gender, Islam and religion would also benefit from this book.

Your Host

Shehnaz Haqqani

Shehnaz Haqqani is an Assistant Professor of Religion at Mercer University. She earned her PhD in Islamic Studies with a focus on gender from the University of Texas at Austin in 2018. Her dissertation research explored questions of change and tradition, specifically in the context of gender and sexuality, in Islam. She can be reached at

View Profile