Muslim women & public space: the debate between conservative and feminist thinkers

Saleem, Nighat Parveen (2015). Muslim women & public space: the debate between conservative and feminist thinkers. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This thesis seeks to resolve the debate between conservative and feminist thinkers over Muslim women’s participation in public space. It is divided into two parts. The first part examines the discourses of both partisans of the debate, taking Abu A ‘lā Mawdudi as representative of conservative thinking and largely Barbara Stowasser as representative of feminist thinking. This examination identifies that the debate rests decisively on conceptualizations of hijab and the pivotal role of the hadiths in informing these but that both conservatives and feminists are selective and literal in their use of hadiths. The second part examines the hadiths in the collections of Bukhari and Muslim in a full and comprehensive manner in their original Arabic text on the topics of women’s mosque attendance, visitation of graves, joining funeral processions, travelling, jihad and veiling. The findings largely uphold feminist positions but seriously challenge conservative conceptualizations of hijab, demonstrating that these are informed as much by cultural factors as by their reading of the hadiths. Above all, they confirm the hypothesis that apparently “restrictive” hadith when read within the context of other hadiths are found to be predicated in considerations other than to maintain gender segregation.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: Department of Theology and Religion
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BP Islam. Bahaism. Theosophy, etc
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman


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