The acceptance of female leadership in mosques and madrassas is a significant change from much historical practice, signalling the mainstream acceptance of some form of female Islamic authority in many places. This volume investigates the diverse range of female religious leadership present in contemporary Muslim communities in South, East and Central Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and North America, with chapters discussing its emergence, the limitations placed upon it, and its wider impact, as well as the physical and virtual spaces used by women to establish and consolidate their authority. It will be invaluable as a reference text, as it is the first to bring together analysis of female Islamic leadership in geographically and ideologically-diverse Muslim communities worldwide.
Masooda Bano holds an ESRC Fellowship at the Oxford Department of International Development. She studies Islamic movements in comparative context. Her monograph, The Rational Believer: Choices and Decisions in the Madrasas of Pakistan, is forthcoming with Cornell University Press.
Hilary Kalmbach is the Sir Christopher Cox Junior Fellow at New College, University of Oxford. Her research focuses on changing structures of Islamic authority, knowledge and education in the modern Middle East. Her current project situates Cairo’s Dar al-‘Ulum in the context of twentieth-century social, religious and linguistic changes.
Contributors to the volume include PETRA BLEISCH BOUZAR, NATHAL M. DESSING, ROJA FAZAELI, JULIANE HAMMER, MONA HASSAN, SARAH ISLAM, MARIA JASCHOK, PATRICIA JEFFERY, ROGER JEFFERY, CRAIG JEFFREY, MIRJAM KÜNKLER, PETRA KUPPINGER, UTA LEHMANN, NICK MICINSKI, HIROKO MINESAKI, PIA KARLSSON MINGANTI, MATTHEW PIERCE, CATHARINA RAUDVERE, MARGARET J. RAUSCH, AMÉLIE LE RENARD, RIEM SPIELHAUS, NELLY VAN DOORN-HARDER, and ELS VANDERWAEREN
“The book represents a somehow oblique – and original – look at an absolutely magmatic universe where women are observed while they achieve “authority” and “leadership” in Muslim contexts […].”
Manuela Galaverni in Islamochristiana 38 (2012), 330-331.
“…an erudite, nuanced and detailed exploration of religious authority. […] …an invaluable book.”
From: The Muslim World Book Review34.4 (2014).
Introduction: Islamic Authority and the Study of Female Religious Leaders, Hilary Kalmbach
SPACE FOR FEMALE AUTHORITY: MALE INVITATION, STATE INTERVENTION, AND FEMALE INITIATIVE
Introduction to Section I
1.1 Sources of Authority: Female Ahong and Qingzhen Nüsi (Women’s Mosques) in China, Maria Jaschok 1.2 Women Mosque Preachers and Spiritual Guides: Publicizing and Negotiating Women’s Religious Authority in Morocco, Margaret J. Rausch 1.3 Reshaping Religious Authority in Contemporary Turkey: State-Sponsored Female Preachers, Mona Hassan 1.4 From Qurʾānic Circles to the Internet: Gender Segregation and the Rise of Female Preachers in Saudi Arabia, Amélie Le Renard 1.5 The Life of Two Mujtahidahs: Female Religious Authority in Twentieth-Century Iran, Mirjam Künkler and Roja Fazaeli 1.6 The Qubaysīyyāt: The Growth of an International Muslim Women’s Revivalist Movement from Syria (1960–2008), Sarah Islam
ESTABLISHING FEMALE AUTHORITY: LIMITATIONS, SPACES, AND STRATEGIES FOR TEACHING AND PREACHING
2.1 Leading by Example? Women Madrasah Teachers in Rural North India, Patricia Jeffery, Roger Jeffery, and Craig Jeffrey 2.2 Thinking for Oneself? Forms and Elements of Religious Authority in Dutch Muslim Women’s Groups, Nathal M. Dessing 2.3 Celebrating Miss Muslim Pageants and Opposing Rock Concerts: Contrasting the Religious Authority and Leadership of Two Muslim Women in Kazan, N. R. Micinski 2.4 Textual and Ritual Command: Muslim Women as Keepers and Transmitters of Interpretive Domains in Contemporary Bosnia and Herzegovina, Catharina Raudvere 2.5 “She is always present”: Female Leadership and Informal Authority in a Swiss Muslim Women’s Association, Petra Bleisch Bouzar 2.6 Muslimahs’ Impact on and Acquisition of Islamic Religious Authority in Flanders, Els Vanderwaeren 2.7 Women, Leadership, and Participation in Mosques and Beyond: Notes from Stuttgart, Germany, Petra Kuppinger 2.8 Remembering Fāṭimah: New Means of Legitimizing Female Authority in Contemporary Shīʿī Discourse, Matthew Pierce
THE IMPACT OF AUTHORITY ON MUSLIM WOMEN, MUSLIM SOCIETIES, AND CONCEPTIONS OF ISLAMIC AUTHORITY
Introduction to Section III
3.1 Challenging from Within: Youth Associations and Female Leadership in Swedish Mosques, Pia Karlsson Minganti 3.2 Gender Strategy and Authority in Islamic Discourses: Female Preachers in Contemporary Egypt, Hiroko Minesaki 3.3 Translating Text to Context: Muslim Women Activists in Indonesia, Pieternella Van Doorn-Harder 3.4 Making Islam Relevant: Female Authority and Representation of Islam in Germany, Riem Spielhaus 3.5 Activism as Embodied Tafsīr: Negotiating Women’s Authority, Leadership, and Space in North America, Juliane Hammer 3.6 Women’s Rights to Mosque Space: Access and Participation in Cape Town Mosques, Uta Christina Lehmann
Conclusion: Female Leadership in Mosques: An Evolving Narrative, Masooda Bano
All those researching or teaching higher-level courses on Islamic authority, contemporary Muslim women, or the social and political dimensions of contemporary Islamic practice, regardless of disciplinary background or geographic focus.