Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Through the eyes of justice : a comparative study of liberationist and women's readings of the Qur'an
Author: Rahemtulla, Shadaab Haiderali
ISNI:       0000 0004 2746 2627
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Please try the link below.
Access from Institution:
The shari‘a, or the inherited legal tradition, has tended to dominate discussions of contemporary Islam. Relatively little attention has been given to the Qur’an, however, despite its importance both in terms of Muslim theology, in which it is understood as the actual Word of God, and of Islamic reformist thought. Far from being marginal, the Qur’an has emerged as a rich resource for theological reflection and sociopolitical action. Specifically, it has become a source of empowerment, speaking to contexts of oppression. This thesis examines the commentaries of four Muslim intellectuals who have expounded the Qur’an as a liberating text – namely, the South African Farid Esack (b. 1956), the Indian Asghar Ali Engineer (b. 1939), the American Amina Wadud (b. 1952) and the Pakistani Asma Barlas (b. 1950) – supplemented by in-depth interviews. In so doing, this study seeks (i) to fill a major gap in the literature by offering the first comprehensive survey and analysis of their readings and (ii) to challenge common portrayals of justice-based exegesis as being an obscure, fundamentalist scripturalism; as being rooted in North America; and as being focussed primarily, even exclusively, on gendered oppression. Indeed, the centring of the Qur’an in Islamic thought, I argue, is an increasingly mainstream practice – a global hermeneutic – as Muslims throughout the world seek answers in scripture to the pressing problems of the present. Furthermore, justice-based exegesis has been holistic, addressing (in addition to patriarchy) poverty and racism, communal violence and imperialism. Liberationist and women’s readings are significant, I conclude, for two reasons. Firstly, they shed new insights into the rise of ‘thematic commentary’ (tafsir mawdu‘i) in Qur’anic exegesis. Secondly, their expressly political character exposes the hegemony of Islamism over our understanding of ‘the political’ and ‘the radical’ in an Islamic context, thereby forcing us to redefine political and radical Islam.
Supervisor: McDougall, James; Rowland, Christopher Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Global ; Africa ; Asia ; Middle East ; Near East ; Theology and Religion ; Islam ; Modern theology ; American studies ; Transnationalism ; Social justice ; Poverty ; Social disadvantage ; Social Inequality ; Qur'an ; theology ; religion ; liberation theology ; feminism ; political Islam ; radical Islam