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Excerpt, Chapter 1

David R Finn

A Brief Introduction: Believing Women in Islam

Nominated for 2022 Grawemeyer Award in Religion

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You may be a Muslim, curious that Islam has been so widely vilified in the West. You may be a college student wishing to broaden your understanding of Islam. A Brief Introduction, Believing Women in Islam is written for you. It argues that Islam originated largely as a response to traditional gender inequality and injustice inappropriately layed at the door of its holy book, the Qur'an.    

A Brief Introduction came about because David Raeburn Finn read and relished Professor Asma Barlas powerful and scholarly Believing Women In Islam (Revised, U of Texas Press, 2019). He noted that her book wasn't easy for undergraduates and forbiddingly difficult for many with less education. She'd already had the same thought. She agreed that a simpler, brief summary of her book might appeal to a wider audience.

Essentially, a central conflict in Islam is that a patriarchal male elite claims exclusive right to interpret the Qur'an's meaning. That elite interprets passages of the Qur'an to enshrine male superiority in intelligence, in family hierarchy, in law, in maritial intimacy, in divorce.   Barlas' arguments are summarised to reveal the perversities of historical processes grounding the claim to this allegedly exclusively patriarchal interpretation. Her compelling arguments are put simply to show that rereading the Qur'an for equality is both possible and supported by the Word itself.  

A Brief Introduction: Believing Women in IslamA Brief Introduction: Believing Women in Islam