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Qur'an and Woman: Rereading the Sacred Text from a Woman's Perspective

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  1,729 ratings  ·  62 reviews
A pro-faith attempt by a Muslim woman to present a comprehensive, female-inclusive reading of the Qur'an, the sacred Islamic text.
Paperback, 118 pages
Published June 10th 1999 by Oxford University Press (first published 1992)
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Nov 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Islam is misogynist--a common claim by those who criticize it. Most often such critics are non-Muslims who have never picked up a Qur'an and have no intention of ever doing so. Their concern for women's rights often disappears too, once the discussion has left Islam.

So what might someone who is not only Muslim, but also female, have to say about it? The answer is not the unqualified opposite, as I'm sure the typical Islamaphobe would assume. Female Muslims are well aware of the sexism that exis
Jul 02, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those interested in Islam & women
Wadud focuses exclusively on how women are discussed & mentioned in the Qur'an - she dissects & analyzes the arabic words & terminology surrounding women, discusses grammatical structure & syntax, and uses the word Weltanschauung a lot (my new favorite word) - through her analysis she demonstrates that some 'conventional' understandings of women in the Qur'an are incorrect & problematic. While I enjoyed reading her work, I do think that it would have been improved by citation ...more
Azzam To'meh
Dec 08, 2013 rated it did not like it
In an attempt to deconstruct interpretation and reconstruct other ones more in line with modernity (and the true Qur'anic spirit?!), Wadud delves into the Qur'anic text, attempting to view it holistically to prove that the Qur'an came to liberate women and out them in an equal position with men. In many points in delving in exegesis, she goes against much of the premises in tafseer, such as that the point of the text is extracted in the generality of the words, not the specificity of the reason ...more
Jul 30, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: qur-anic-studies
A liberal contemporary exegesis. Makes a good point about how tafsir (Quran Exegesis)has for the most part been the exclusive domain of men. Of course there are exceptions that she doesn't consider, such as Aisha and other female companions of the Prophet like Umm Ayman, Umm Habiba. Then throughout the history there were female scholars such as Sitt al-Mashaykh who were renown for their knowledge of the Quranic sciences.

Amina Wadud's hermeneutic methodology is to deal with the author
Jan 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I have never read a book on the Quran and it's interpretation and wanted to cry the way I do reading this book. So many of the questions, inconsistencies and double standards that I have pondered I have found echoed and remedied eloquently and fairly by Amina Wadud. I am so disappointed by the many muslims that have rejected and slandered Dr Wadud's books and works without even so much as having read any of her writings, instead going by distorted and sensationalist hearsay. Dr Wadud has done a ...more
Jan 09, 2018 added it
I’ve decided to read this book because I’m going through a time where religion is being used against me unfairly. The problem I’ve always faced is that I don’t know much, or enough, to understand why things are the way they are. This interpretation by Amina Wadud literally made me feel like my whole life has been a lie, as cliche as that sounds. I’m so happy that she corrected the dogmas I was forced to believe and opened my eyes to things I was never told about before.

“... no record
Aug 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is the first time that i've read a religious text and i didn't find myself poking holes in it, simply it made sense. Amina did a beautiful job of deconstructing the verses, clearing the linguistic ambiguity and putting the verses in perspective on top of displaying them in the collective worldview that the Qur'an is painting. A must read. she tackled all the gender issues from the misunderstood male superiority to inheritance,polygamy, beating. basically every controversial female issue in ...more
Feb 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
What I appreciate most about Wadud's approach is that it implies that interpreting meaning and arriving at justifications for religious practice/belief has a lot to do with whether or not:

1. a person has strong reading skills.
2. a person applies a set of particular biases to a text in a way that obscures its context, meaning, and intended application.
3. a person is able to navigate whatever relationship there might be between human knowledge and divine knowledge...because
Flopperstein (Shajeela)
Mar 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Amina Wadud is great at what she does. Unlike other known scholars though, she does not force her ideas on to you nor does she claim to be a feminist with vehement hatred towards all men. For her this book isnt anbout 'women' or just the Quran. Its about the misinterpretation of the Quran or our tendency to take the interpretations of someone else as the true word of God. She touches a few obvious points such as the role of women and men, marriage etc. Mostly, Wadud is asking us to understand th ...more
Dec 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
Actually rereading this book because of a recent encounter I had with a male who interprets the Qur'an and Islam in ways that frightened me.

This text explains the gendered nature of the Arabic language used in the Qur'an and how translations of the text do not provide the nuances necessary to interpret the text in any way other than an androcentric manner. Also, native Arabic interpreters of the text often provide notoriously inflexible readings rendered to keep women in a subservien
Feb 11, 2012 rated it liked it
Interesting and to-the-point, but it was sometimes a little short on textual evidence. It did tend to feel a little too apologist and biased, but I suppose that's unavoidable when discussing religion and interpretations of sacred texts. We all get out of it what we want to get out of it, and so on.

Anyways, I read it for school and it wasn't too dreadful, but I wouldn't recommend it for personal reading unless you're really, really into the subject.
Amina Wadud is one of the most inspiring Muslim women out there. I had read a chapter from this book a while ago and would always think about it. (It was the one about creation of man and women from the same nafs! Which, arguably, is one of the most important pieces of Islamic scholarship that we have)

I love that Wadud challenges patriarchy and misogyny in Islamic societies by quoting Quranic passages. This is a must-read for anyone looking for a modern woman's take on the Quran.
Jan 12, 2011 rated it it was ok
Written from a very 'progressive' viewpoint; doesn't reflect the majority of Muslim women's beliefs.
Nov 22, 2007 rated it really liked it
A topic that I have been wanting to learn about. I just wish there was more...of what, I'm not exactly sure.
Nov 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, religion
Read this in university Islam class taught by Dr. Wadud and enjoyed it.
Sara Salem
Apr 16, 2014 rated it liked it
This book was ground-breaking for me on a spiritual and personal level when I read it six years ago, but since then I've developed a lot of critiques towards Islamic feminism.
Khadijah Abdul
Apr 09, 2012 marked it as to-read
Shelves: not-started
Have just ordered on my kindle, once uni is finished with will begin to all my new books
Nausheen Husain
May 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Amina Wadud engages in work that is sorely, visibly, disastrously lacking women, and her work enhances Qur'anic scholarship as a whole.

"Just as the essential male/female is contingent, so, too, are the physical beings; there is a tranquil link between the human pair, man and woman: ‘Among His signs is this: that He created azwaj [spouses/mates] for you from your own anfus [selves/souls] so that you may find rest in them’ (30:21). Man is intended as a comfort to woman; woman is intend
Amina M
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Need more exposure given to Muslim women scholars' work!! Wonderful and thought-provoking read
Yvie Yao
Apr 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
In Qur’an and Woman, Amina Wadud proposes a new reading of the Qur’an from within the female experience, different from the historically prevalent interpretations of the Qur’an based on male experience, aiming to restore a gender-balanced and egalitarian message from God and elevate women’s status in their respective Muslim societies.
Before she starts deconstructing the verses, Wadud first introduces her position in Qur’anic interpretations. She says that "no method of Qur’anic exegesis
May 24, 2017 rated it liked it
A very, very brief book on what the Qur'an says about women. I was pleased to find it very simple, straightforward, and easy to read. I was afraid it would be too dense.

I was pretty skeptical going into this reading because criticisms of Amina Wadud abound. I don't particularly agree with a lot of what she has done, and I won't pretend to agree with everything I read here, but I think some of the criticisms of this book are somewhat unjust.

Wadud made it very clear that this work was not a
Muneeb Hameed
Feb 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
"I believe the Qur'an adapts to the context of the modern woman as smoothly as it adapted to the original Muslim community fourteen centuries ago. This adaptation can be demonstrated if the text is interpreted with her in mind, thus indicating the universality of the text. Any interpretations which narrowly apply the Qur'anic guidelines only to literal mimics of the original community do an injustice to the text. No community will ever be exactly like another. Therefore, no community can be a du
Sep 17, 2014 rated it liked it
I read this piece in conjunction with Leila Ahmed's Women and Gender in Islam. Each provide a great first attempt in tackling a then-novel conversation in contemporary Islamic social justice - that of male exceptionalism from the dawn of Islamic scholarly discourse, which largely excluded women who too sought belonging in Islam. Until their books in 1992, questioning this status quo was unheard of.

Wadud begins the conversation with expressing the need for a recentering of Islamic discourse
Mar 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Overall, Amina Wadud’s Quran and Women is an admirable attempt at breaking the mould to begin female readings of the Quran. Her methodology is sound and this cannot be argued against. But the limited scope and lack of thoroughness in her work leaves much to be improved. Her criticism of traditional readings of the Quran is well founded and true. But her decision to not engage with it was disappointing. Her approach of reading from a female’s experience is almost revolutionary and deserves respec ...more
Oct 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This is by far my favourite book on Islamic feminism. Despite some of the controversies that she has raised, a lot of her arguments are persuasive and acceptable. Do not judge a book by its author. It would be foolish to do so. Like many other books I have read, there are some parts of course that I disagree with. There are even some parts that I do not understand. Yet this is a good book to start the conversation on how the Qur'an could be reinterpreted to project a more balanced, egalitarian v ...more
Miss Susan
Jun 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
wow, amina wadud does NOT get enough credit

this book is twenty years old and the salience of her approach is still strong

i particularly liked how clearly she delineated her interpretative methodology

learned a lot about how the particulars of classical arabic need to be accounted for in developing interpretations

also lol, the nostalgia when i got to her reading of bilqis, as a child i brought her up multiple times as a counter argument to a relative
Dec 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A praiseworthy, intensive initiative by the author. The details and reasoning put forth in this work should make the conscious and open-minded reader consider constant rethinking. This work, along with works of excellent writers such as Karen Armstrong, Reza Aslan, and many others, are not strictly unique or all-encompassing, nor do they claim to be. But they should help one to understand the historical settings from an academic perspective, and view truths in evolving light, breaking free of th ...more
Amanda Jaczkowski
Mar 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Academics, Muslims
As usual, Amina Wadud exudes feminist theory. Short, but definitely an interesting read. Especially when pointing out simple factors such as the linguistic qualities of the Arabic language, Wadud manages to make logical progress out of her line of thought. As with many languages, masculine plural is used as the gender neutral term. Wadud projects this into Quranic text and suggests a much more gender neutral scripture than is typically interpreted. Another interesting example was how she examine ...more
Aug 25, 2017 rated it liked it
"The very fact that it takes a woman to write a hundred-page analysis of the Quran to reiterate her equal worth in the society, a truth that is self-evident in its own regard, reinforces the sheer magnitude of the patriarchal hegemony that is prevalent in the Muslim communities, and it is already conspicuous in the reactions that the book received."
Read full review here:
Apr 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: islam, own
Definitely a scholar's book. Wadud would do better if all of her statements were cited better I think, but that is not to say that she plagiarized, because obviously a lot of the information is from her.
The book is pretty dry (but interesting), so though it is small, many people might take a few days reading it.
She gives a lot of information to digest and presents it in a way that is hard to disagree with. This is a great book for any feminist Muslim
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Dr Amina Wadud is a professor of Islamic Studies and a mother of five. She is the author of "Qur'an and Woman: Rereading the Sacred Text from a Woman's Perspective."