THERE SHOULD BE GENDER EQUALITY AT THE BEGINNING OF HUMAN EXISTENCE: A CRITICAL LINGUISTIC ANALYSIS OF CHAPTER ONE OF WADUD’S QUR’AN AND WOMAN (1992)Abstract:
Scripture plays a central role in the Islamic version of feminism. Feminists believe that the preferential position of the male within Muslim societies is due to traditional convictions informed by a specific, mostly literal reading of Qur’anic texts. They therefore insist on an alternative exegetical approach, which (according to them) would reveal clear tendencies towards gender equality. In this study Amina Wadud’s perspectives featuring in Qur’an and Woman (1992) are analysed per chapter, subdivisions, and subsections, firstly in general and secondly from a fourfold viewpoint, focusing respectively on  the overall structure of the book and chapters,  the utilization of scripture (e.g., hermeneutic approach),  interaction with others (overtly and covertly), and finally on  perspectives pertaining to Wadud as person. Results obtained from the focus on the above selected features are revealing.  Chapters are, for example, independently structured, selectively choosing themes and material with clear gender objectives.  Selection and use of scripture is subservient to gender orientated presuppositions, with textual strategy favouring the interpretation of expressions in the light of general Qur’anic principles.  During the course of her argumentation, overtly mentioned sources are nearly exclusively used in support of her gender-equality convictions, while covertly mentioned sources reflect views counter to her own. Attention will be given to chapter one (“Creation of Humankind” of Qur’an and Woman (1992) separately, followed by a Final Reflection providing an overall and comparative view of the said two chapters.