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Does Islam call for the oppression of women? Non-Muslims point to the subjugation of women that occurs in many Muslim countries, especially those that claim to be "Islamic," while many Muslims read the Qur’an in ways that seem to justify sexual oppression, inequality, and patriarchy. Taking a wholly different view, Asma Barlas develops a believer’s reading of the Qur’an that demonstrates the radically egalitarian and antipatriarchal nature of its teachings.

Beginning with a historical analysis of religious authority and knowledge, Barlas shows how Muslims came to read inequality and patriarchy into the Qur’an to justify existing religious and social structures and demonstrates that the patriarchal meanings ascribed to the Qur’an are a function of who has read it, how, and in what contexts. She goes on to reread the Qur’an’s position on a variety of issues in order to argue that its teachings do not support patriarchy. To the contrary, Barlas convincingly asserts that the Qur’an affirms the complete equality of the sexes, thereby offering an opportunity to theorize radical sexual equality from within the framework of its teachings. This new view takes readers into the heart of Islamic teachings on women, gender, and patriarchy, allowing them to understand Islam through its most sacred scripture, rather than through Muslim cultural practices or Western media stereotypes.

For this revised edition of Believing Women in Islam, Asma Barlas has written two new chapters—“Abraham’s Sacrifice in the Qur’an” and “Secular/Feminism and the Qur’an”—as well as a new preface, an extended discussion of the Qur’an’s “wife-beating” verse and of men’s presumed role as women’s guardians, and other updates throughout the book.

Argues that Islamic law does not accord a lesser status to women and elaborates Muslim women's rights in a variety of areas.

Challenging the conservative framers of Islamic law who accorded a lesser status to women, Mohammad Ali Syed argues that the Quran and the Hadith—the two primary sources of Islamic law—actually place Muslim women on the same level as Muslim men. Syed provides an overview of both sources and explores their respective roles in Islamic law, emphasizing the Quran's role as the supreme authority and questioning the authenticity of some of the alleged sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). From these texts, he elaborates women's rights in a variety of areas, including treatment by God; marriage, divorce, financial provisions, and custody of children; coming out of seclusion (purdah), and taking part in social, economic, legal, and political activities. Rather than presenting what is practiced today, the book covers the theoretical position of Muslim women as sanctioned by the Quran and the authentic Hadith and offers a glimpse of the exalted position of honor and dignity enjoyed by Muslim women in the early days of Islam.

This well-researched book is made more distinctive by the author's personal experience. Raised in Bengal, India, Syed was inspired by his family, who valued men and women equally. As he grew up, Syed realized that most Muslim women lived very differently than the women of his family. According to the author, his family was egalitarian because his father and male relatives were not only devout Muslims but also very knowledgeable about Islam. This book is a culmination of his lifelong concern for women's rights under Islam.

"The topic is certainly important for Muslims, and for anyone interested in comprehending the issues that are debated among contemporary Muslims. Mohammad Ali Syed handles these complex issues with clarity." — Sheila McDonough, coeditor of The Muslim Veil in North America: Issues and Debates
"I have to be honest with you. Islam is on very thin ice with me....Through our screaming self-pity and our conspicuous silences, we Muslims are conspiring against ourselves. We're in crisis and we're dragging the rest of the world with us. If ever there was a moment for an Islamic reformation, it's now. For the love of God, what are we doing about it?"

In blunt, provocative, and deeply personal terms, Irshad Manji unearths the troubling cornerstones of mainstream Islam today: tribal insularity, deep-seated anti-Semitism, and an uncritical acceptance of the Koran as the final, and therefore superior, manifesto of God. In this open letter to Muslims and non-Muslims alike, Manji asks arresting questions. "Who is the real colonizer of Muslims - America or Arabia? Why are we all being held hostage by what's happening between the Palestinians and the Israelis? Why are we squandering the talents of women, fully half of God's creation? What's our excuse for reading the Koran literally when it's so contradictory and ambiguous? Is that a heart attack you're having? Make it fast. Because if more of us don't speak out against the imperialists within Islam, these guys will walk away with the show."

Manji offers a practical vision of how the United States and its allies can help Muslims undertake a reformation that empowers women, promotes respect for religious minorities, and fosters a competition of ideas. Her vision revives Islam's lost tradition of independent thinking. This book will inspire struggling Muslims worldwide to revisit the foundations of their faith. It will also compel non-Muslims to start posing the important questions without fear of being deemed "racists." In more ways than one, The Trouble with Islam is a clarion call for a fatwa-free future.

As President Bush is preparing to invade Iraq, Wall Street Journal correspondent Asra Nomani embarks on a dangerous journey from Middle America to the Middle East to join more than two million fellow Muslims on the hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca required of all Muslims once in their lifetime. Mecca is Islam's most sacred city and strictly off limits to non-Muslims. On a journey perilous enough for any American reporter, Nomani is determined to take along her infant son, Shibli -- living proof that she, an unmarried Muslim woman, is guilty of zina, or "illegal sex." If she is found out, the puritanical Islamic law of the Wahabbis in Saudi Arabia may mete out terrifying punishment. But Nomani discovers she is not alone. She is following in the four-thousand-year-old footsteps of another single mother, Hajar (known in the West as Hagar), the original pilgrim to Mecca and mother of the Islamic nation.

Each day of her hajj evokes for Nomani the history of a different Muslim matriarch: Eve, from whom she learns about sin and redemption; Hajar, the single mother abandoned in the desert who teaches her about courage; Khadijah, the first benefactor of Islam and trailblazer for a Muslim woman's right to self-determination; and Aisha, the favorite wife of the Prophet Muhammad and Islam's first female theologian. Inspired by these heroic Muslim women, Nomani returns to America to confront the sexism and intolerance in her local mosque and to fight for the rights of modern Muslim women who are tired of standing alone against the repressive rules and regulations imposed by reactionary fundamentalists.

Nomani shows how many of the freedoms enjoyed centuries ago have been erased by the conservative brand of Islam practiced today, giving the West a false image of Muslim women as veiled and isolated from the world. Standing Alone in Mecca is a personal narrative, relating the modern-day lives of the author and other Muslim women to the lives of those who came before, bringing the changing face of women in Islam into focus through the unique lens of the hajj. Interweaving reportage, political analysis, cultural history, and spiritual travelogue, this is a modern woman's jihad, offering for Westerners a never-before-seen look inside the heart of Islam and the emerging role of Muslim women.

Endorsements: Wipf and Stock is to be congratulated for making Beverly Wildung Harrison's Our Right to Choose newly available. Recognized as a classic in its field from its publication in 1983, Our Right to Choose is as compelling--and needed--today as it was then. - Nyla Rasmussen, RN, Maternal Child Health Larry Rasmussen, Reinhold Niebuhr Professor Emeritus of Social Ethics, Union Theological Seminary, New York City ""This historic book is as incisive, pertinent, timely and morally compelling as it was twenty-eight years ago. Harrison has both ethical purchase and feminist vision on 'The Issue of Our Age.' Read it, learn, be convicted and act!"" - Rev. Dr. Serene Jones, President of Union Theological Seminary ""Decades after its initial publication, Beverly Wildung Harrison's sex-positive, justice and social welfare affirming study of abortion remains a unique and trailblazing contribution to the field of Christian ethics. From the treatment of women's procreation in the history of Western Christianity to the rhetoric of 1970s abortion politics, she offers meticulous critiques and constructive feminist Christian ideas sorely needed in today's debates about abortion rights."" Traci C. West, author of Disruptive Christian Ethics: When Racism and Women's Lives Matter About the Contributor(s): Two years after Our Right to Choose appeared in 1983, the world of Christian ethics was again impacted by Beverly Wildung Harrison's second groundbreaking book, Making the Connections: Essays in Feminist Social Ethics, edited by Carol S. Robb (Beacon: 1985). Over the next fifteen years, until retiring in 1999 as the Carolyn Williams Beaird Professor of Christian Ethics at New York's Union Theological Seminary, Harrison continued to teach and shape a methodology in feminist social ethics which attracted scores of graduate students, both men and women, who currently occupy professorships in ethics throughout the United States and elsewhere in the world. Her former students also include pastors in the United States and Europe and around the globe in countries as diverse as Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Kenya, and Korea. Since her retirement, Beverly Harrison has continued to consult with former and current graduate students. In 2004, six of her former students worked with Harrison in publishing a commentary on her methodology, Justice in the Making: Feminist Social Ethics (Westminster/John Knox Press). Since 1999, Beverly Harrison has lived in an intentional community in the mountains of western North Carolina where, along with her longtime companion Carter Heyward and several other friends, she continues to work for justice in every venue possible, including active involvement in the Democratic Party and in movements for racial, economic, sexual, and gender justice. She has been particularly devoted to pro-choice work and LGBT justice efforts in the Presbyterian and Episcopal churches and in society at large. Harrison delights in the companionship of several dogs, cats, and horses!
The unheralded contribution of women to Egypt's Islamist movement—and how they talk about women's rights in Islamic terms

In the decades leading up to the Arab Spring in 2011, when Hosni Mubarak's authoritarian regime was swept from power in Egypt, Muslim women took a leading role in developing a robust Islamist presence in the country’s public sphere. Soft Force examines the writings and activism of these women—including scholars, preachers, journalists, critics, actors, and public intellectuals—who envisioned an Islamic awakening in which women’s rights and the family, equality, and emancipation were at the center.

Challenging Western conceptions of Muslim women as being oppressed by Islam, Ellen McLarney shows how women used "soft force"—a women’s jihad characterized by nonviolent protest—to oppose secular dictatorship and articulate a public sphere that was both Islamic and democratic. McLarney draws on memoirs, political essays, sermons, newspaper articles, and other writings to explore how these women imagined the home and the family as sites of the free practice of religion in a climate where Islamists were under siege by the secular state. While they seem to reinforce women’s traditional roles in a male-dominated society, these Islamist writers also reoriented Islamist politics in domains coded as feminine, putting women at the very forefront in imagining an Islamic polity.

Bold and insightful, Soft Force transforms our understanding of women’s rights, women’s liberation, and women’s equality in Egypt’s Islamic revival.

At one time or another, every woman has felt overlooked, unimportant, and bruised by the world. But there’s good news. While the opinion of others may drag us down, the God who created us has an entirely different opinion of who we are. That’s because we are His creations, and everything He created is good!

Women today are searching for ways to make a difference in their daily lives. Whether they are working women, stay-at-home moms, or women moving into their retirement years, they all want to be a somebody who makes a positive impact in the world around them. The Bible is filled with “anonymous” women who made a significant impact in God’s story.

Anonymous helps women discover their uniqueness and significance to Christ by exploring some of the "anonymous" women of the Bible. Though we do not know their names, they all were known and loved by God. Each week of this six-session study begins with an overview of the anonymous woman’s story, including background material with relevance to the cultural lifestyles and surroundings of the day. The daily lessons explore her story and the ways that all women can relate to her. Contemporary “anonymous” stories and quotes from everyday women are sprinkled throughout, reinforcing the very personal relevance of this powerful study. Together women will explore and grow in their relationship with Christ as they find their significance in the heart of God.

The participant workbook includes 5 lessons for each week with space for recording reflections and answers.

Other components for the Bible study, available separately, include a Leader's Guide, DVD with six 24-29 minute sessions, and boxed Leader Kit (an all-inclusive box containing one copy of each of the Bible study’s components).

Kevin Giles has been writing on women in the Bible for over forty years. In this book, What the Bible Actually Teaches on Women, he gives the most comprehensive account to date of the competing conclusions to this question and the issues surrounding it. To understand the bitter and divisive debate among evangelicals over the status and ministry of women, it needs to be understood that those who since 1990 have called themselves "complementarians" argue that in creation before the fall God set the man over the woman. Thus, the leadership of the man and the subordination of the woman in the home, the church, and wherever possible in the world (the whole creation) is the God-given ideal that is pleasing to God. It is this "theology" that Kevin Giles deconstructs and shows to be without a biblical foundation. Giles shows that he is fully conversant with the complementarian position and yet is unpersuaded by it. He sees it as an appeal to the Bible to preserve male privilege, similar to the appeals to the Bible to validate slavery and Apartheid; appeals to the Bible made by some of the best Reformed and evangelical biblical scholars, and now seen to be special pleading. Carefully studying the limited number of texts on which complementarians predicate their theology of the sexes, Giles finds not one of them actually teaches what complementarians claim. Furthermore, complementarians too often ignore the texts that are very difficult for them. In this book the ordination of women gets only passing mention. The constant focus is on whether or not the Bible subordinates women to men as an abiding theological principle.
Muslims who explore sources of morality other than Islam are threatened with death, and Muslim women who escape the virgins' cage are branded whores. So asserts Ayaan Hirsi Ali's profound meditation on Islam and the role of women, the rights of the individual, the roots of fanaticism, and Western policies toward Islamic countries and immigrant communities. Hard-hitting, outspoken, and controversial, The Caged Virgin is a call to arms for the emancipation of women from a brutal religious and cultural oppression and from an outdated cult of virginity. It is a defiant call for clear thinking and for an Islamic Enlightenment. But it is also the courageous story of how Hirsi Ali herself fought back against everyone who tried to force her to submit to a traditional Muslim woman's life and how she became a voice of reform.

Born in Somalia and raised Muslim, but outraged by her religion's hostility toward women, Hirsi Ali escaped an arranged marriage to a distant relative and fled to the Netherlands. There, she learned Dutch, worked as an interpreter in abortion clinics and shelters for battered women, earned a college degree, and started a career in politics as a Dutch parliamentarian. In November 2004, the violent murder on an Amsterdam street of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, with whom Hirsi Ali had written a film about women and Islam called Submission, changed her life. Threatened by the same group that slew van Gogh, Hirsi Ali now has round-the-clock protection, but has not allowed these circumstances to compromise her fierce criticism of the treatment of Muslim women, of Islamic governments' attempts to silence any questioning of their traditions, and of Western governments' blind tolerance of practices such as genital mutilation and forced marriages of female minors occurring in their countries.

Hirsi Ali relates her experiences as a Muslim woman so that oppressed Muslim women can take heart and seek their own liberation. Drawing on her love of reason and the Enlightenment philosophers on whose principles democracy was founded, she presents her firsthand knowledge of the Islamic worldview and advises Westerners how best to address the great divide that currently exists between the West and Islamic nations and between Muslim immigrants and their adopted countries.

An international bestseller -- with updated information for American readers and two new essays added for this edition -- The Caged Virgin is a compelling, courageous, eye-opening work.
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