Gender and the study of Islamic law

From polemics to feminist ethics

Authored by: Fatima Seedat

The Routledge Handbook of Islam and Gender

Print publication date:  November  2020
Online publication date:  November  2020

Print ISBN: 9780815367772
eBook ISBN: 9781351256568
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter offers a survey of approaches and narratives that have emerged in the study of woman, gender, sexuality and Islamic law from the 1980s into the present. Theorised in the context of opening-up a previously imploded notion of shariĘża, it argues that later, gender-based reform approaches question the normative concepts of both law and gender. The result is a complex and deep interrogation of gendered legal subjectivity evident in at least three discernible approaches to reform and four narratives of subjectivity: a reinterpretive approach, a conceptual deconstructive approach and an ethics-based approach function alongside narratives of complementarity, equality, disability and marriage or sexuality. Before concluding with suggestions for future studies, the chapter offers insights on the politics of knowledge production in the study of gender and Islamic law.

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