Special Issue "Women in Islam"

A special issue of Societies (ISSN 2075-4698).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2018)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Natana J. DeLong-Bas

Theology Department & Islamic Civilization and Societies, Boston College, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: religious; theology; women; islam; islamic thought and practice

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This call for papers for a peer-reviewed special issue on “Women in Islam” invites submissions focusing on women’s understanding, interpretation and lived experience of Islam with attention to women’s agency. Possible fields of inquiry include, but are not limited to:

  1. How Muslim women talk about and find meaning in Islam as a source of identity and belonging
  2. How Muslim women engage their faith as a belief system and how they choose to express that faith in both personal and public life
  3. How Muslim women identify and address issues they believe are in need of reform or reinterpretation, particularly where legal issues, restrictions, or family dynamics are concerned
  4. Muslim women’s vision of Islam as a system of ethics
  5. Muslim women’s reference to Islam in decision-making, whether domestically, in their communities, in businesses and the corporate world, politically, with respect to the environment, etc.
  6. Muslim women’s social activism
  7. Muslim women’s engagement in interfaith dialogue, organization and efforts

We encourage submissions from all disciplines, regions and time periods.

Dr. Natana J. DeLong-Bas
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Societies is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Women Quazi in a Minority Context: An Overview of Sri Lankan Experience
Societies 2019, 9(1), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc9010013
Received: 15 November 2018 / Revised: 19 January 2019 / Accepted: 28 January 2019 / Published: 31 January 2019
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Abstract
A woman’s eligibility to be appointed as a judge in Shariah courts in Muslim societies has been a debated issue for decades. Although some Muslim majority countries, including Arab countries, have allowed women judges (Qudath) in Shariah courts, the Muslim Religious [...] Read more.
A woman’s eligibility to be appointed as a judge in Shariah courts in Muslim societies has been a debated issue for decades. Although some Muslim majority countries, including Arab countries, have allowed women judges (Qudath) in Shariah courts, the Muslim Religious Leadership in Sri Lanka, namely All Ceylon Jamiyathul Ulama (ACJU) is opposed to such appointment to administrate Muslim matrimonial law on the basis of classical Muslim scholars’ discussion on the qualification of a judge (Qadi in Arabic), particularly referring to their debate on gender; however, women activists in Sri Lanka argue for women Quazi on the basis of women’s privacy and fair hearing. This article, therefore, explores the Islamic standpoint regarding women Quazi in Sri Lanka. Hence, this research studies the classical scholars’ discussions on the qualification of a judge (Qadi) critically and uses textual and document analysis to bring out the dynamic interpretations of the verses of the Quran and Hadiths that they used for their arguments. The contextual analysis was carried out to understand the various applications of these verses of the Quran and Hadiths in history, particularly in connection with the present situation for women in Sri Lanka. This research found no explicit verses of the Quran and Hadiths to allow or deny women Quazi. The positive and negative approach to women judges (Qudath) has been founded throughout history on the basis of Islamic scholars’ understanding of a few verses of the Quran and Hadith that are related to women leadership. This study recommends women Quazi for Sri Lankan Quazi courts by highlighting differences of context and insignificance of classical Muslim scholars’ debate on gender as a qualification of a judge (Qadi). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women in Islam)
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Open AccessArticle
Is Sadeem Legally Married to Waleed? Islamic Feminism and the Intersection of Culture, Religion, and Gender in Banāt al-Riyāḍ
Societies 2019, 9(1), 4; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc9010004
Received: 2 October 2018 / Revised: 16 December 2018 / Accepted: 8 January 2019 / Published: 12 January 2019
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Abstract
Rajāʾ al-Ṣāniʿ’s Banāt al-Riyāḍ (2005, Girls of Riyadh) is unique not just for depicting globalization and local culture vis-à-vis the woman issue in Saudi Arabia, but for heralding a new trend of ‘e-epistolary narratives’ in the Saudi Arabian novel. The novel explores [...] Read more.
Rajāʾ al-Ṣāniʿ’s Banāt al-Riyāḍ (2005, Girls of Riyadh) is unique not just for depicting globalization and local culture vis-à-vis the woman issue in Saudi Arabia, but for heralding a new trend of ‘e-epistolary narratives’ in the Saudi Arabian novel. The novel explores issues related to Islamic religious precepts versus Saudi socio-cultural practices and ideologies, especially those related to love and marital relationships as well as the concepts of femininity and masculinity. Most of the reviews and scholarly studies in English have focused more on the novel’s innovative narrative style or medium and its portrayal of the taboos of Saudi Arabia rather than on—and oftentimes, ignoring—its Islamic content and persuasion. This article reads Banāt al-Riyāḍ as an ‘Islamic feminist’ text that represents the extent to which al-Ṣāniʿ has internalized the other—modern western culture and civilization—while at the same time seeking to externalize and highlight the authentic Islamic teachings on women’s rights and gender relations, which have always been both misinterpreted locally and misrepresented globally. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women in Islam)
Open AccessArticle
Lalla Fatma N’Soumer (1830–1863): Spirituality, Resistance and Womanly Leadership in Colonial Algeria
Societies 2018, 8(4), 126; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc8040126
Received: 18 October 2018 / Revised: 6 December 2018 / Accepted: 6 December 2018 / Published: 11 December 2018
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Abstract
Lalla Fatma N’Soumer (1830–1863) is one of the major heroines of Algerian resistance to the French colonial enterprise in the region of Kabylia. Her life and personality have been surrounded by myths and mysteries. Although her name is mentioned in colonial chronicles recording [...] Read more.
Lalla Fatma N’Soumer (1830–1863) is one of the major heroines of Algerian resistance to the French colonial enterprise in the region of Kabylia. Her life and personality have been surrounded by myths and mysteries. Although her name is mentioned in colonial chronicles recording the conquest of Algeria, her exact role in leading a movement of local resistance to the French army doesn’t seem to be very clear. This paper aims at shedding light on this exceptional Berber woman through the analysis of French colonial sources describing these military campaigns—despite their obvious bias—and later secondary sources. This paper focuses on the spiritual dimension which has been somehow overlooked in the existing literature. It precisely describes her family background whereby her ancestry goes back to a marabout lineage affiliated with the Raḥmāniyya sufi order. It argues that her level of education in spiritual and religious matters was probably higher than what had been so far assumed. This article discusses how this spiritual aspect helps explain the tremendous popularity she enjoyed among her people in Kabylia, where she has been considered almost a saint. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women in Islam)
Open AccessArticle
Navigating Islam: The Hijab and the American Workplace
Societies 2018, 8(4), 125; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc8040125
Received: 9 October 2018 / Revised: 22 November 2018 / Accepted: 5 December 2018 / Published: 10 December 2018
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Abstract
The United States Constitution allows individuals to practice any religion they choose. However, the austerity of this right is tested when an individual’s belief is publicly displayed. For Muslim women wearing the hijab, or headscarf, the intersection between private religious practice and its [...] Read more.
The United States Constitution allows individuals to practice any religion they choose. However, the austerity of this right is tested when an individual’s belief is publicly displayed. For Muslim women wearing the hijab, or headscarf, the intersection between private religious practice and its social expression is explored on a daily basis. To fully understand the manifestation of public religious expression, this paper examines a series of interviews with 35 hijab-wearing Muslim women living in the United States. By exploring the lived experiences of Muslim-American women, this paper highlights the broader issues of the media’s influence on perceptions of Muslim culture, the complex and often unclear legality of religious symbols in the workplace, and the barriers that exist for hijab-wearing women in the workplace. With the rise of Islamophobia, the participants found a stronger sense to exert their right to express their religious identities. Moreover, the women interviewed demonstrate their agency by continuing to embrace their religious practice despite intersecting forms of discrimination. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women in Islam)
Open AccessArticle
Islamophobia, Representation and the Muslim Political Subject. A Swedish Case Study
Societies 2018, 8(4), 124; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc8040124
Received: 29 September 2018 / Revised: 6 December 2018 / Accepted: 6 December 2018 / Published: 10 December 2018
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Abstract
Applying media analysis, this article addresses how the exclusion of Muslim women from fields of common public interest in Sweden, such as partaking as an active citizen, is materialized. Focusing on a specific event—the cancellation of a screening of Burka Songs 2.0—and [...] Read more.
Applying media analysis, this article addresses how the exclusion of Muslim women from fields of common public interest in Sweden, such as partaking as an active citizen, is materialized. Focusing on a specific event—the cancellation of a screening of Burka Songs 2.0—and the media coverage and representation of the cancellation, it discusses the role of discourses of gender equality, secularity and democracy in circumscribing space for Muslim political subjects. It casts light on Islamophobic stereotyping, questionable democracy and secularity, as well as the over-simplified approaches to gender equality connected to dealings with Muslim women in Sweden. Besides obstacles connected to Muslim political subjects, the study provides insights into media representation of Muslim women in general, specially connected to veils and the role of lawmaking connected to certain kind of veiling, in Sweden and Europe. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women in Islam)
Open AccessArticle
The Dutch inside the ‘Moslima’ and the ‘Moslima’ inside the Dutch: Processing the Religious Experience of Muslim Women in The Netherlands
Societies 2018, 8(4), 123; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc8040123
Received: 28 August 2018 / Revised: 2 December 2018 / Accepted: 5 December 2018 / Published: 7 December 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (906 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This research focuses on Dutch Muslim women who chose to practice Islam, whether they were born Muslim (‘Newly Practicing Muslims’) or they chose to convert (‘New Muslims’). This study takes place in a context, the Netherlands, where Islam is popularly considered by the [...] Read more.
This research focuses on Dutch Muslim women who chose to practice Islam, whether they were born Muslim (‘Newly Practicing Muslims’) or they chose to convert (‘New Muslims’). This study takes place in a context, the Netherlands, where Islam is popularly considered by the native Dutch population, as a religion oppressive to women. How do these Dutch Muslim women build their identity in a way that it is both Dutch and Muslim? Do they mix Dutch parameters in their Muslim identity, while at the same time, inter-splicing Islamic principles in their Dutch sense of self? This study is based on an ethnography conducted in the city of Amsterdam from September to October 2009, which combines insights taken from in-depth interviews with Dutch Muslim women, observations from Quranic and Religious classes, observations in a mosque, and one-time events occurring during the month of Ramadan. This paper argues that, in the context of being Dutch and Muslim, women express their agency, which is their ability to choose and act in social action: they push the limits of archetypal Dutch identity while simultaneously stretching the meaning of Islam to craft their own identity, one that is influenced by themes of immigration, belongingness, religious knowledge, higher education and gender. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women in Islam)
Open AccessArticle
Migration as a Challenge to Couple Relationships: The Point of View of Muslim Women
Societies 2018, 8(4), 120; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc8040120
Received: 30 September 2018 / Revised: 5 November 2018 / Accepted: 24 November 2018 / Published: 29 November 2018
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Abstract
Migration posits new challenges to couple relationships. The distance from one’s family and kin, the need to restructure long-standing and culturally established role expectations, the social isolation, and economic strains often put couple stability at stake. Muslim women’s perception of the changes that [...] Read more.
Migration posits new challenges to couple relationships. The distance from one’s family and kin, the need to restructure long-standing and culturally established role expectations, the social isolation, and economic strains often put couple stability at stake. Muslim women’s perception of the changes that have occurred to their couple relationship after migration has rarely been investigated. To fill this gap in the research literature, a sample of 15 Moroccan and as many Pakistani women living in Italy were administered an in depth semi-structured interview. A thematic analysis of the interview transcripts led to the identification of the following main themes: (a) The value and meanings of marriage; (b) couple life in Italy: Partners’ roles; (c) adjustments required by the post-migration context; and (d) resources of the post-migration context. Results show that while migration is often a challenge to couples who are called to renegotiate their values, expectations, and reciprocal duties, it might also be an opportunity to experience a new intimacy far from the control of their family. Moreover, while migration often entails greater autonomy and a more balanced couple relationship for Moroccan women, Pakistanis remain anchored to more traditional gender values and are more exposed to feeling isolated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women in Islam)
Open AccessArticle
Islam and Mass Media Consumption in Post-Migration Contexts among Women from Northern Africa in Catalonia (Spain)
Societies 2018, 8(3), 91; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc8030091
Received: 29 July 2018 / Revised: 8 September 2018 / Accepted: 13 September 2018 / Published: 18 September 2018
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Abstract
This paper explores the influence of religion in cultural hybridization processes linked to migratory experience, taking into account the study of mass media consumption. Our research focused on the analysis of Muslim women from northern Africa living in Catalonia (Spain) over a 5-year [...] Read more.
This paper explores the influence of religion in cultural hybridization processes linked to migratory experience, taking into account the study of mass media consumption. Our research focused on the analysis of Muslim women from northern Africa living in Catalonia (Spain) over a 5-year period. The final sample was composed of 25 women, from Morocco (22), Tunisia (2) and Algeria (1).The main conclusions of our qualitative research are that the influence of Islam is much more evident as culture than as dogma and, in line with this, the presence of segregationist media consumption is minimal (in 4 of the 25 interviewed). Internet and television consumption is dominant, but there is a significant generation gap. Whereas internet consumption is mostly among the young, television is more present among women over the age of 36. With regards to internet content, there is serious concern about the presence of religious leaders who, under the guise of a modern appearance, spread a vision of Islam in fundamentalist terms. Much of the sample interviewed fears its power of influence. In digital social networks, Muslim women tend to share religious information, but, for safety reasons, they do so within closed groups. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women in Islam)
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