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Sexual Ethics And Islam: Feminist Reflections on Qur'an, Hadith, and Jurisprudence
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Sexual Ethics And Islam: Feminist Reflections on Qur'an, Hadith, and Jurisprudence

4.14  ·  Rating Details ·  240 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
Whether exploring the thorny issues of wives’ sexual duties, divorce, homosexuality, or sex outside marriage, discussions of sexual ethics and Islam often spark heated conflict rather than reasoned argument. In this ground-breaking, lucid, and carefully constructed work, feminist Muslim scholar Dr Kecia Ali asks how one can determine what makes sex lawful and ethical in th ...more
Paperback, 248 pages
Published July 6th 2006 by Oneworld Publications (first published July 1st 2006)
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Ayman Fadel
Oct 08, 2010 Ayman Fadel rated it it was amazing
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I finally read Dr. Kecia Ali's anticipated book Sexual Ethics & Islam: Feminist Reflections on Qur'an, Hadith and Jurisprudence four years after its publication. I'm only reading on vacation these days. Ahough this book has long been on my to-read list, the suicide of Tyler Clementi moved it up to the top. I finished this in a day of travel.
The author presents 8 chapters which each contains an issue that typically generates discussion in the co
Sara Salem
Apr 16, 2014 Sara Salem rated it liked it
Interesting book that analyzes the verses in the Qur'an that address sexuality. Although Ali comes to the conclusion that the Qur'an can only be re-interpreted to a certain point, she also reinterprets it based on Western epistemological tools.
Valerie Baber
Nov 07, 2009 Valerie Baber rated it liked it
Shelves: sexuality
This was my first in-depth exposure to Islamic law and ethics of any sort. Like the codes of any religion, some of it made sense while other components seemed completely ludicrous. The book, written by Islamic feminist Kecia Ali, was told in a mostly neutral and diplomatic voice, offering the reader the opportunity to explore their own feelings for what is good and what should be examined further within her religion. Due to the texts she focuses on, however, it is easy to assume that she is urgi ...more
Mar 08, 2008 Hafsa rated it it was amazing
An excellent overview of sexual ethics in Islam. Kecia Ali situates her work on two basic questions. The first is the relevance of historical precedence to contemporary circumstances and the second is the appropriateness of using contemporary criteria to evaluate authoritative religious texts in general and prophetic sunnah in particular. She explores "hot" topics such as marraige, divorce homosexuality, slavery, and female circumcision in ways that are neither apologetic nor offensive. She does ...more
Aug 30, 2009 Katrina rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Muslims, feminists
This may be the best book I have read on Islam, covering many issues I have struggled with as a feminist Muslim. She does a great job at clarifying distinctions between what the Qur'an, hadith, and Muslim scholars say about women, gender, and sex, calling into question claims about a monolithic and timeless "Islam" that one can turn to on these important issues and refusing to brush over issues that are problematic for those committed to gender justice, even in the Qur'an itself. My only disappo ...more
Dec 23, 2014 Angie rated it liked it
Once you get over the unnecessarily wordy and slightly self-important tone of the introduction, the book gets very interesting and seems a good introduction to sex and gender-related topics in Islam. It is not, however, a comprehensive overview of these topics but an introduction, and for some readers it may be necessary to have a handy Islam reference guide at the ready in order to explain some of the terms and issues referenced.
Aug 31, 2015 Lubna rated it really liked it
A great overview of the very many issues within Islam that I find incredibly problematic as a Muslim woman concerned with social justice and feminism. Unlike other books on this issue, Ali deals with incredibly difficult questions without obfuscating or engaging in apologetics. While the book doesn't provide answers to the hard questions, it does provide a useful framework for dealing with Islamic tradition and the Quran and makes clear that our tradition needs to be rethought and reanalyzed.
Dec 07, 2016 Izza added it
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Aug 20, 2008 Hadia rated it really liked it
Overview of Muslim literature/discourse on verses, ahadith and laws considered to be 'gender-problematic.'
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Kecia Ali is an Associate Professor of Religion at Boston University. She writes on early Islamic law, women, ethics, and biography. Her books include Sexual Ethics and Islam (2006), Marriage and Slavery in Early Islam (2010), Imam Shafi'i: Scholar and Saint (2011), and The Lives of Muhammad (2014). She co-edited the revised edition of A Guide for Women in Religion (2014), which provides practical ...more
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“The legal structure of Islamic marriage is predicated on a gender-differentiated allocation of interdependent claims, which would be thrown into chaos by a same-sex union. In the standard contractual understanding of marriage, the husband holds milk al-nikah, control of the marriage tie, and the wife has a claim to dower and the obligation of sexual exclusivity and availability. Several early jurists considered the possibility of whether these rights and duties could be reallocated – whether a woman could pay a man a dower, for example, and retain control over sex and divorce – and agreed unanimously that such a reallocation is not permitted. Not only are husbands’ and wives’ rights distinct, but each role is fundamentally linked to the sex/gender of the person exercising it. A woman cannot wield control of the marriage tie; a man cannot be contractually bound to sexual availability to his wife. Thus, following that logic, it would not be possible for one woman to adopt the “husband” role and the other to adopt the “wife” role in the marriage of two women. The self-contained logic of the jurisprudential framework does not permit such an outcome.” 1 likes
“Muslim acknowledgement of the positive aspects of female sexuality has historically coexisted with two views that challenge it in different ways. First, certain elements of the classical Muslim tradition treat female sexuality as dangerous, with potentially disruptive and chaotic effects on society. Historians have demonstrated how anxieties about temptation and female sexuality translated into insistence (never fully achieved in reality) on restricting the appearance of women in public spaces. Muslim worry over fitna – chaos and disorder – has often focused on the sexual temptation caused both by women’s unregulated desires and the troublesome desire that women provoke in men. Second, and in a paradoxical relationship to this view of women as sexually insatiable and thus prone to create social chaos, Muslim authorities have stressed the importance of the fulfillment of male sexual needs, especially in the context of marriage. Drawing particularly on several hadith delineating dire consequences for women who refuse their husbands’ sexual overtures, the insistence on men’s sexual needs and wives’ responsibility to fulfill them has competed for prominence in modern intra-Muslim discourses on sex with the recognition of female sexual needs.” 0 likes
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