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In Arabic Oration: Art and Function, a narrative richly infused with illustrative texts and original translations, Tahera Qutbuddin presents a comprehensive theory of this preeminent genre in its foundational oral period, 7th-8th centuries AD. With speeches and sermons attributed to the Prophet Muḥammad, ʿAlī, other political and military leaders, and a number of prominent women, she assesses types of orations and themes, preservation and provenance, structure and style, orator-audience authority dynamics, and, with the shift from an oral to a highly literate culture, oration’s influence on the medieval chancery epistle. Probing the genre’s echoes in the contemporary Muslim world, she offers sensitive tools with which to decode speeches by mosque-imams and political leaders today.
A number of classical Sunnī Quran commentaries quote several different types of exegetical materials attributed to a few female figures from the first century A.H/seventh century C.E.—āthār, ḥadīths, legal opinions and variant readings, as well as lines of poetry. In Gender and Muslim Constructions of Exegetical Authority, Aisha Geissinger provides a comprehensive introduction to such quotations, and offers an analysis of their place and significance within the pre-modern genre of Quran commentary, demonstrating that key hermeneutical concepts in classical quranic exegesis ( tafsīr) are gendered. Bringing together materials which have not previously been examined in detail and utilising gender as a lens through which to study them, this work provides a new approach to the study of pre-modern tafsīr.