An in-depth understanding of Islamic feminist exegetical approaches is not possible without examining the ideas of contextualists such as Fazlur Rahman and Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd and how they influenced modern Islamic feminist scholars of the Qurʾan. This paper, in its endeavours to first examine feminist hermeneutical approaches to Qurʾanic exegesis and to then compare them with traditional Shiʿi approaches, begins with an overview of the main concepts of contextualist theory. Then, Islamic feminist interpretations are discussed with particular reference to two fundamental Islamic feminist exegetical methods: the historical contextualisation method and the intratextual method. This is followed by a critique of contextualist theory in general. The paper next turns its focus to textualist theory; here, traditional Shiʿa Uṣūlī thought is reviewed. Finally, a comparative analysis of the Islamic feminist and traditional Shiʿi approaches is presented within the framework of the ‘mega-method’. Throughout the paper, Qurʾan 4:34 is used as the common reference point for illustrating how the methods and approaches under consideration are applied by their advocates.


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pp. 166-195
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