In this Book

Sufi Narratives of Intimacy
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Current gender debates in Muslim societies, including questions of women’s rights in marriage and divorce, the politics of hijab, and women’s leadership of ritual prayer, are underpinned by specific, paradigmatic assumptions regarding human nature, gender, and the mandates of Islam. In this feminist analysis, Sa’diyya Shaikh undercuts these paradigms by arguing that Sufi discourses offer contemporary Muslims rich, multi-textured, and largely untapped resources with which to engage ongoing challenges of gender equality. As Shaikh demonstrates, in particular through the illustrative example of the writings of thirteenth-century Muslim poet, mystic, and legal scholar, Muhy? al-D?n Ibn al-‘Arab?, Sufi thought ultimately asserts that men and women are equally capable of attaining divinely ordained spiritual completeness. Indeed, in Ibn al-‘Arab?’s writings, though in many ways reflective of the normative gender assumptions of his era, this basic assumption appears as a foundational tenet of the Islamic understanding of human nature. By focusing on gender in Ibn’ al-‘Arab?’s works, Shaikh interrogates the ways in which love, sexuality, marriage, and related gender dynamics are conceived, imagined, and created in the Islamic tradition. In doing so, she constructs from within the Islamic religious tradition an alternate frame through which to view and understand Islam’s core ethical values.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. p. 1
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  1. Title Page, Copyright Page
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  1. Contents
  2. p. vii
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. ix-xi
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  1. Introduction: Tales of Contention: Muslim Gender Imaginaries
  2. pp. 1-33
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  1. Chapter 1. Craving Completion: Sufism, Subjectivity, and Gender before Ibn ʿArabī
  2. pp. 35-60
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  1. Chapter 2. Charting Ibn ʿArabī’s Religious Anthropology
  2. pp. 61-94
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  1. Chapter 3. Mysticism and Gender: A Hermeneutic of Experience
  2. pp. 95-112
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  1. Chapter 4. Reading Gender and Metaphor in Ibn ʿArabī’s Cosmos
  2. pp. 113-139
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  1. Chapter 5. The Poetics and Politics of Adam and Eve
  2. pp. 141-172
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  1. Chapter 6. Witnessing God in Women: A Different Story of Creation
  2. pp. 173-202
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  1. Chapter 7. Ibn ʿArabī and Islamic Feminism
  2. pp. 203-228
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  1. Appendix: Selected Poems from the Dīwān Ibn ʿArabī
  2. pp. 229-231
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 233-254
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 255-265
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  1. Index of Qurʾānic Verses
  2. p. 267
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  1. Index of Traditions (Aḥadīth)
  2. pp. 269-270
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  1. General Index
  2. pp. 271-285
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