Top positive review
A huge step in a good direction
on July 1, 2016
This classic from the early 1990s made great strides to open up constructive debate over women's roles in Islamic communities. Ahmed draws on the wealth of feminist research into ancient cultures to give a balanced account on the sources of patriarchal and egalitarian values. She shows how Islamic ethics became rigidified into a vast code of law under the despotic Abbasid caliphs, and how arbitrary interpretations served to protect the interests of autocratic rulers. She explores the rise of Islamic feminism and self-actualization for Muslim women from the 1800s forward, mainly focusing on Egypt and Turkey. Throughout the book Ahmed, highlights a contrast between popular religion as a practice of equality, and legalistic religion as a justification for enforced inequality.