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American Muslim Women, Religious Authority, and Activism

More Than a Prayer

By Juliane Hammer

Publication Year: 2012

Examining the intellectual output of female American Muslim writers and scholars since 1990, Hammer demonstrates that the themes at the heart of women’s writings are central to the debates of modern Islam worldwide.

Published by: University of Texas Press

Series: Louann Atkins Temple Women & Culture Series


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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii-viii

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Note on Transliteration

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pp. ix-x

It is customary for Islamic studies scholars to explain their transliteration system, in part as proof that we are aware of the complex rules guiding our field and the languages associated with it. I have used a simplified transliteration system for Arabic words which indicates the difference between ʿ (ayn) and ʾ (hamza), ...

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pp. xi-xiv

There probably is no single phrase or sentence that has not been used before in the acknowledgments of an academic book. The gratitude and indebtedness I express here are nevertheless heartfelt and sincere. This book would not have been possible without the support and encouragement of many people. ...

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pp. 1-12

It was the prayer of a Muslim woman, standing, bowing, and prostrating “head to the ground,” that would leave its mark on Muslim debates about gender, women, and tradition. Like the sister in Suheir Hammad’s poem, she and those praying with her performed their prayer in the prescribed form, and yet some aspects were different. ...

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1. A Woman-Led Friday Prayer: March 18, 2005

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pp. 13-35

I was not there. I did not attend the mixed-gender congregational Friday prayer, led by Amina Wadud, on March 18, 2005. I am not sure whether I heard about the event when it was announced or whether I followed the debate at the time. It was early in 2006, in a conversation with one of my students, Rachel Hinson, ...

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2. Women Leading Prayers: Tracing the Debate

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pp. 36-55

Sympathy and hope, on one end of the spectrum, and rejection and condemnation, on the other, characterized the heated debate about the woman-led Friday prayer and khutbah on March 18, 2005. Sumbul Ali-Karamali introduces several dimensions of the discussion of women’s prayer leadership, including authority, plurality of opinion, ...

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3. Gender Justice and Qurʾanic Exegesis

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pp. 56-76

The quotation above serves as a useful transition from the woman- led prayer event and the surrounding controversy to the broader topic of American Muslim women’s exegetical projects.1 In this chapter I argue that the prayer event built on several decades of exegetical engagement with the Qurʾan by American Muslim women scholars and activists. ...

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4. History, Women’s Rights, and Islamic Law

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pp. 77-99

Qurʾanic exegesis (tafsir) and the systematic development of Islamic legal rulings and regulations (fiqh) are distinct areas of the traditional Islamic sciences. They are also intricately linked with each other and with a third important component, hadith science. More specifically, both tafsir and hadith science became important tools ...

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5. Authority, Tradition, and Community

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pp. 100-123

Here shariʿah is understood as Islamic Law applied by and to Muslim individuals and societies, which is more correctly the science of fiqh. It is a path to God, with emphasis on its individual dimension. However, as an Islamic legal scholar Abou El Fadl has focused on the collective interpretations and negotiations ...

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6. Space, Leadership, and Voice

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pp. 124-146

The opening narration of the 2005 documentary Me and Mosque, directed by Zarqa Nawaz, serves as an introduction to several issues associated with the presence, participation, and significance of Muslim women for and in North American mosques and communities. Her statement assumes that women once had a significant presence, at least in her mosque, ...

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7. Media, Representation(s), Politics

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pp. 147-170

This assertive statement by the American Muslim scholar, novelist, and poet Mohja Kahf serves as a thought-provoking introduction to this chapter, not least because it allows insight into the debates surrounding the representation of Muslim women and the connection of such representations to American Muslim women’s writings ...

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8. Memoirs, Narratives, and Marketing

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pp. 171-192

This collective self-description is as much descriptive as it is programmatic. Living Islam Out Loud, published in 2005 and edited by Abdul-Ghafur, one of the organizers of the woman-led prayer, joined a growing number of similar texts—memoirs and personal or autobiographical narratives written by American Muslim women. ...

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9. Covers and Other Matters: Concluding Thoughts

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pp. 193-208

These lines from Mohja Kahf’s poem serve as the introduction to the concluding chapter of this book. Rather than summarize the many dimensions of the discussion offered in these pages, it develops thoughts on those who are not addressed in the book and are in need of further consideration. ...


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pp. 209-238

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 239-260


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pp. 261-271

E-ISBN-13: 9780292735576
E-ISBN-10: 029273557X
Print-ISBN-13: 9780292735552
Print-ISBN-10: 0292735553

Page Count: 295
Illustrations: 32 b&w illus.
Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: Louann Atkins Temple Women & Culture Series
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OCLC Number: 784960278
MUSE Marc Record: Download for American Muslim Women, Religious Authority, and Activism

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Women in Islam -- United States.
  • Muslim women -- Political activity -- United States.
  • Feminism -- Religious aspects -- Islam.
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