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Women in Islam and Muslim Realms: Home

Research resources for the study of women in Islam; Islam and its ideology dealing with women, Muslim feminism, dress code, family and marriage, women and gender in Islam, etc.

About this guide

Welcome to your Cornell University Library research guide: Women in Islam!

Here you will find general background and also in-depth information sources on a broad range of topics covering women’s issues in Islam and the Muslim World. Click on the tabs above for links to resources and specific information on the religion and its ideology dealing with issues such as feminism, dress code, family and marriage, women’s legal status, etc. This Guide aims to provide links to selected sources, which offer diverse, objective, balanced and rational perspectives of the topics. Your first point of contact with these resources should be the Library Discovery Tool (online catalog). This is where you will find information on all types of materials and how to get them. You will also find information on your loans, opening hours, and subject specialists who can answer your questions.

Disclaimer of Endorsement:  The University does not necessarily agree with assertions and opinions expressed in the resources listed in this guide. These are provided for the researcher to discover, contrast and compare.

Terms & Concepts

What is Islam?  Check the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary for a definition and the Encyclopedia Britannica for information on the history, principles and practices of Islam.

Sunnis and Shia: Islam's ancient schism - BBC, UK.

Crescent (symbol of Islam) WHAT is the origin of the crescent moon symbol seen throughout Islamic cultures? Source: theguardian.com

Islam - Muslim - Moslem - Islamist

Islam vs Muslim: When and why do we use the different terms?   

Muslim vs Moslem: Why do people say Muslim now instead of Moslem?

'Muslim' vs 'Islamic' -  DAWN.COM

Muslims vs. Islamists Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Critical Concepts in Islamic Studies - Taylor & Francis Concepts in Islamic Studies series spans a number of subject areas that are closely linked to the religion.

...   More 'Concepts" @ Cornell University Library

Intro to Islam Research Paper Lynette White, Jessica  Alsobrooks, et al.

Women's rights

Women, Gender, Islam and Feminism | Source: Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures

The Rise of the Islamic Feminists | Source: The Nation

The reality and future of Islamic feminism | Source: Al Jazeera English

Muslim Women's Quest for Equality: Between Islamic Law and Feminism | Source: Critical Inquiry 32 (Summer 2006) 2006 by The University of Chicago [pdf]

Women and Islam - Oxford Islamic Studies Online

Women in Islam: Introduction to Topic

This guide highlights resources that are part of the discourse on Islam and women, including some that are useful for background information and others that provide research, analyses and opinions considering various social, political, historical and cultural frameworks. The scope encompasses women and Islamic cultures in every region where there have been significant Muslim populations. “Islam” comprises close to half of all Africans, one-third of Asians and growing numbers of Europeans and Americans, representing a wide diversity of cultures, races, ethnicities and languages.

In Muslim majority countries, where Islamic beliefs and cultures are prevalent, complex relationships between women and Islam are generally defined and influenced by Islamic texts, as well as by the historical, cultural and social contexts.

DN_Muslim_Distribute

It is often difficulty to draw a clear delineation in attempting to identify what is a culture-bound custom and what is truly an Islamic provision as found in the canons of the Qur’an (Oxford ISO), Islam’s holy book.

An examination of roles established both for and by Muslim women relies on Islam’s foundational sources.

Historically, the interpretation of Islam has been largely a male endeavor. Although the first convert to Islam was a woman (Muhammad's first wife, Khadijah), and women played an important role in the transmission of Hadith (transmission of prophetic sayings and deeds) and the development of Sufism.

For Muslim women there are four legal sources of influence (in matters of personal law): The first two, the Qur’an and Hadith, are considered primary sources, while the other two are secondary and derived sources that differ between various Muslim schools of legal thought. The secondary sources of influence include Qiyas (deduction of legal prescriptions), Ijma' (consensus or agreement) and, in forms such as Ijtihad “independent reasoning,” as opposed to Taqlid (imitation) and Fatwa (authoritative legal opinion given by a mufti or legal scholar). [More: On the Sources of Islamic Law and Practices Journal of Law and Religion].

File:Use of Sharia by country.svgUse, by country, of Sharia for legal matters relating to women:

  Sharia plays no role in the judicial system
  Sharia applies to Muslims in personal status issues only
  Sharia applies in full, including criminal law
  Regional variations in the application of sharia

 

'Women in Islam’ is an issue that engenders widely varying opinions, interpretations and beliefs. Literature on this subject should be used with caution, as sources, especially on the Internet, range in authority and quality from rigorous research to deliberate misinformation.

Middle East & Islamic StudiesLibrarian

Ali Houissa
Contact:
174 Kroch Library
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY, 14853
USA
Voice: (607) 254-1614 (607) 255-5752
Fax: 255-6110
ah16@cornell.edu
Website / Blog Page

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