Celene IbrahimFeb 19, 2021
Women and Gender in the Qur'an
Oxford University Press 2020
In Women and Gender in the Qur’an (Oxford University Press in 2020), Celene Ibrahim explores key themes related to gender in the Qur’an, focusing on women, such as female sexuality, female kin and relations, and female figures in the sacred text. Among her findings is that there are no archetypal women in the Qur’an and instead, the Qur’an provides a wide-ranging depiction of women, who figure as negative and positive exemplars and ultimately serve the specific didactic aims of Qur’anic narratives. The Qur’an invokes their good and bad examples, Ibrahim notes, especially to construct a moral framework for its immediate audience, the early Muslim community, the emerging polity.
In our discussion, she talks about the primary contributions of the book and its origins; she explains her choice to use a Qur’an-only approach to investigating the question of gender; and we discuss specific content from the book, such as the Qur’an’s portrayals of daughters and mothers, Prophet Yusuf’s harassment incident, women’s speech, Muhammad’s wives in the Qur’an, the concept – and the gender – of heavenly beings, such as the hoor, and a lot more.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.