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Karim, Faizul Redhwan (2021) Gender Relations in the Qur’ān: Theoretical Foundations and Underlying Ethos. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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There has been a sustained interest in gender related issues in the Qur’ān, yet there has not yet been a systematic analysis examining how the Qur’ān envisions the relationship between non-maḥram men and women. Indeed, what can be posed before this is, does the Qur’ān even accept such relationships? This question is pivotal since that stance one takes has broader implications. For instance, holding an austere position often leads to restrictions, especially for women, in access to education or the workforce. This thesis aims to provide the theoretical foundation of the way the Qur’ān views gender relations. The focus of this thesis is on the Qur’ān, and we adopt a methodology of thematic analysis, where the Qur’ān in its totality – inclusive of verses of legal, apocalyptic, moral and narrative purport – are used to inform its stance on this issue. This thesis argues that the Qur’ān does not adopt any conception of gendered roles or gendered space, and from this, we argue that it permits various forms of relationships between non-maḥram men and women. This can be seen in various places, such as the way the Qur’ān depicts the Queen of Sheba, the issue of mubāhla, khilāfa, and ʿamr bi’l maʿrūf wa nahi ʿan al-munkar. Verses that are purported to show the contrary are also examined, such as inheritance, testimony, qawama, and ontological creation. In each case, we show how with a close intratextual reading the contrary can be convincingly argued. The way the Qur’ān speaks of clothing is also dissected and the effect this has on gender relations. In demonstrating the permissiveness of gender relations, we argue against what is commonly upheld in the lived realities of Muslim communities.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses
Supervisors Name: Muhammad Abdel-Haleem
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 17 Dec 2021 17:45

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