Syllabus rae 338 women and islam

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Instructor: Dr. Ihsan Bagby

Office: Patterson, Rm. 1075

Contact Info: 257-9638 (office)

Office Hours: MW 11:00-12:00, TR 1:45-2:45

Course Description:

This course is a survey of women’s issues related to Islam and contemporary Muslim culture including the perception of women in Islam, the role and rights of women in Islam, female circumcision, honor killing and women’s dress. The course will discuss the viewpoints of the Muslim traditionalists, modernists, western feminists and the emerging Islamic feminists.

Required Texts:

Qur’an and Woman (1999) Amina Wadud. Oxford University Press.

Windows of Faith: Muslim Women Scholar-Activists in North America (2000) Gisela

Webb, Editor. Syracuse University Press.

Course Requirements and Grading

10% Class participation and attendance (deduction after 3 unexcused absences)

50% One book review, one essay (5-7 pages) and two oral presentations based

on the book review and essay.

10% Quizzes

10% Mid-Term Exam

20% Final Exam
Course Outline:

  1. Perception of Women in the Islamic Texts and Islamic Law

  2. Rights and Role of Women in Islam

  3. Family Planning

  4. Honor Killing

  5. Women’s Dress

  6. Female Circumcision

Grading Scale

A 90-100%

B 80-99%

C 70-79%

D 60-69%

F 0-59%

August 28 Introduction to Islam and Subject

Reading Windows, Ch. 1 “Alternative Quranic Interpretation” pp. 3-21

Handout: Islam A Global Civilization

Sept. 2-4 Introduction to Islam and Subject

Reading Windows, Ch. 2 “Muslim Women’s Islamic Higher Learning as a

Human Right” pp. 22-47

Sept. 9-11 Perception of Women in Islamic Texts

Reading Windows, Ch. 4 “Woman’s Self-Identity in Quran and Islamic

Law” pp. 72-101.

Sept. 16-18 Perception of Women in Islamic Texts

Reading Quran and Woman, Preface (ix-xix), Introduction (1-14) and

Ch. 1 “In the Beginning” (15-28)

Quiz Tuesday, Sept. 16

Sept. 23-28 Perception of Women in Islamic Texts

Reading Quran and Woman, Ch. 2 “Quranic View of Woman” pp 29-47

Sept. 30-Oct. 2 Rights and Role of Muslim Women

Reading Quran and Woman, Ch. 4 “Rights and Roles Woman” pp. 62-93

Windows, Appendix A “Human Rights in the Quranic

Perspective” pp 241-248

Quiz Tuesday, Sept. 30

Oral Present Tuesday and Thursday

Oct. 7-9 Rights and Role of Muslim Women

Reading Windows, Ch. 3 “Introduction Muslim Women’s Rights” pp 51-71

Book Review Due Thursday, Oct. 9

Oral Present Tuesday and Thursday

Oct. 14-16 Mid-Term

Oral Present Tuesday

Mid-Term Thursday, Oct. 16
Oct 21-23 Islamic Family Planning

Reading Windows “Is Family Planning Permitted in Islam” Rifat Hassan,

pp. 226-240
Oct. 28-30 Honor Killing

Reading Windows, “Her Honor” Quraishi, pp. 102-135

Handout: “Honorable Murder” L. Reserve
Nov. 4-6 Women’s Dress

Quiz Nov. 4

Reading Handouts: “Rethinking Muslim Women and the Veil” Katherine

Nov. 11-13 Women’s Education

Reading Windows, Ch. 2 “Muslim Women’s Islamic Higher Learning as a

Human Right” pp. 22-47

Nov. 18-20 Female Circumcision

Quiz Nov. 18

Reading Handouts: “Sister in Affliction: Circumcision and Infibulation”

Raqiya H. Abdalla

Oral Pres Begin Nov. 20
Nov. 25 Marriage and Divorce

Essay Due Nov. 25

Reading Handouts:

“Divorce and Muslim Women” S.A.H. Moinuddin

“Marriage and Islam” Y. Qaradawi

Nov. 27 Thanksgiving

Dec. 2-4 Marriage and Divorce
Dec. 8-10 Women in the Work Place

Reading Handouts: “A Women’s Right to Work” Fatimah Yusuf

Dec. 14-18 Final


Abd al-Ati, Hammud. (1977) The Family Structure in Islam. Indianapolis: American Trust Publications.
Afkhami, M. (Editor) (1995). Faith and Freedom: Women’s Human Rights in the Muslim World. London: I.B. Tauris Publishers.
Ahmed, Leila. (1992) Women and Gender in Islam: Historical Roots of a Modern Debate. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Badawi, Jamal. (1995). Gender Equity in Islam: Basic Principles. Indianapolis: American Trust Publications.
Badran, Margot. (1995) Feminists, Islam, and Nation: Gender and the Making of Modern Egypt.

Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Brown, Daniel W. (1996). Rethinking Tradition in Modern Islamic Thought. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Cooke, Mirian. (2001). Women Claim Islam: Creating Islamic Feminism through Literature. New York: Routledge
El Saadawi, Nawal. (1980). The Hidden Face of Eve: Women in the Arab World. Boston: Beacon Press.
Esposito, John L and Yvonne Haddad, eds. (1998). Islam, Gender and Social Change. London: Oxford University Press.
Fernea, Elizabeth Warnock and Basima Qattan Bezirgan, eds. (1977) Middle Eastern Muslim Women Speak. Austin: University of Texas Press.
al-Ghazzali, Zainab. (1987). Return of the Pharoah. Leicester: The Islamic Foundation.
Goodwin, Jan. (1995). The Price of Honor: Muslim Women Lift the Veil of Silence of the Islamic World. New York: Penguin
al-Hibri, Aziza. (Editor) (1982). Women and Islam. Oxford: Pergamaon Press
Jeffery, Patricia and Amrita Basu, eds. (1997) Appropriating Gender: Women’s Activism and

Politicized Religion in South Asia. New York: Routledge.
Karim, W.J. (Editor) (1995). Male and Female in Developing Southeast Asia. London: Berg Publishers
Kassamali, Noor. (1998) Women in Muslim Societies: Diversity within Unity. London: Lynne Rienner Publishers.
Mernissi, Fatima. (1991). The Veil and the Male Elite: A Feminist Interpretation of Women’s Rights in Islam. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.
Roald, Anne Sofie. (2001). Women in Islam: The Western Experience. London: Routledge
Wadud-Muhsin, Amina. (1992). Qur’an and Women. Kuala Lumpur: Penerbit Fajar Bakri.
Yamani, Mai, ed. (1996) Feminism and Islam: Legal and Literary Perspectives. New York: New York

University Press.

Autobiographical/Biographies in the UK Library
Border Passage: from Cairo to America-a woman’s journey. Leila Ahmed.

HQ 1793 .Z75 A55 1999

Harem years: the memoirs of an Egyptian Feminist (1879-1924). Huda Shaarawi

HQ 1793 .S5 AS 1987

Khul-Khaal, Five Egyptian Women Tell Their Stories. Nayra Atiya HQ 1793 .A87 1982
Muslim Women Speak. Elizabeth Fernea HQ 1170 .M53
Do they hear you when you cr. Fauziya Kassindra and Layli Miller Bashir JV 6601 .K37 1998
Life Histories of African Women. Patricia W. Romero HQ 1787 .A3 L54 1988
Voices from Iran: The Changing Lives of Iranian Women. Mahnaz Kousha

HQ 1735.2 .K68 2002

Behind the Burqa: Our Life in Afghanistan and How We Escaped to Freedom. Bulima

And Hala as told to Batya Swift Yasyn DS 371.3 Y37 2002

Three Swahili Women: life histories from Mombasa, Kenya. Sarah Mirza and

Margaret Strobel HQ 1796.5 .W3613 1989

Doing Daily Battle: interviews with Moroccan women. Fatima Mernissi

HQ 1791 .M3713 1988

In Search of Shadows: conversations with Egyptian women. Wedad Zenie-Ziegler

HQ 1793 .Z4613 1988

Patience and Power: Women in a Moroccan Village. Susan S. Davis

HQ 1791 .D32 1983

Women without Men: Gender and Marginality in an Algerian Town. Willy Jansen

HQ 800.4 .A4 J350

Nubians of West Aswan: Village Women in the Midst of Change. Anne M. Jennings

DT 159.6 .N83 J45 1995

Behind the Veil in Arabia: Women in Oman. Unni Wikan HQ 1731 .Z8 S838
The Women of Nar [Yemen]. Joyce Raper HQ 1780 .N37 R66 1974
Daughters of Allah: Among Moslem Women of Kurdistan. Henny H. Hansen

HQ 1779 .K8 H33

Accommodating Protest: working women, the new veiling and change in Cairo.

Arlene Eloive Macleod HQ 1793 .Z9 C356

Qatari Women, past and present. Abeer Abu Saud HQ 1732 .A63 1985
Women’s Voices in A Man’s World: Women and the Patorial Tradition in Northern

Somali Orature c. 1899-1980. Lidwien Kapteijns GR 356.3 .K36 1999
Women in a borderland: managing Muslim identity when Morocco meets Spain.

Eva Evers Rosander HQ 1694 .C48 R670 1991

Daughters of Another Path: expressions of American women choosing Islam. Carol

Anderson Anway. BP 170.5 >A1 A69 1996

Women of Amran [Yemen]: a Middle Eastern Ethnography Study. Susan Dorsky

HQ 1730.7 .Z8 A473 1986

Both Right and Left Handed: Arab women talk about their lives. Bouthaina Shaaban

HQ 1784 .S47 1991

Defiance and Compliance: negotiating gender in low-income Cairo. Heba Aziz El-Kholy

HQ 1793 .Z9 C353 2002

Three Women of Herat. Veronica Doubleday HQ 1735.6 .D68/1990



  1. To increase student sensitivity to other cultures by immersing them in the critical issue of women’s rights in Islam and Muslim culture. Part of that sensitivity includes understanding the issues that Muslim women faces and their various points of view and tacks in addressing these issues.

  1. To expose students to the complexity and difficulty of the myriad issues of women in Muslim culture, such as the right of women to participation in society, female genital mutilation, honor killing, dress, etc. Hopefully this will give students a greater appreciation of the efforts of women and men to affect change in society.

  1. To expose students to the process of change that Islam and Islamic Law are experiencing as it moves from a more traditional view of women to a more modern view. Students should learn how change occurs within a particular cultural context and is, therefore, unique to that culture. In this regard students will learn how feminism can also wear Islamic garb.

  1. To give a sense to students of how societies change—that societies are not static. Students should

appreciate how ideology, social factors, culture, economic forces and brilliant individuals produce


Student should be able to:
1. Describe the four trends in Muslim thinking concerning women’s issues: traditionalism, neo-traditionalism, Islamic feminism and secular feminism.
2. Compare the four trends of Muslim thinking concerning women and articulate the student’s own position concerning the issue of women in Islam.
3. Describe one Muslim woman’s point of view based on a reading of that woman’s life.
4. Identify and describe the critical issues concerning women in the Muslim world: education, jobs, dress, honor killing, family planning, marriage, divorce, female circumcision, etc.
5. Analyze in depth one particular critical issue concerning women in the Muslim world.

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