Date of Award

6-12-2006

Degree Type

Closed Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Philosophy

First Advisor

John Iskander - Chair

Abstract

The Female Voices of Islam is arguing for feminism to be regarded as a theory instead of an ideology so that the voices of contemporary female Muslims can be heard. This paper reviews the arguments of four such women: Amina Wadud, Fatima Mernissi, Asra Q. Nomani, and finally Zainab al-Ghazali. Collectively their discourses support equality for men and women within the Islamic tradition, while their individual ways of approaching the subject differ dramatically. Wadud and Nomani support the theory that an egalitarian ethic can be found in the roots of the Islamic tradition, in both text and ritual. Mernissi investigates how economic evolution of Islamic society stimulates a shift in spatial boundaries for Muslim women. Al-Ghazali does not address female inequality within the tradition, but advocates an egalitarian ethic through the example she sets in Egyptian society. She is concerned with a world wide observance of “true” Islam.

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