Islam, Feminism, and Islamic Feminism: Between Inadequacy and Inevitability
This essay argues for maintaining a critical space between two intellectual paradigms that inform Muslim women's anticolonial equality struggles in the neocolonial present, Islam and feminism. Seedat distinguishes between scholarly trends that preclude the convergence of Islam and feminism, that argue for a necessary convergence, and finally, those that make no argument for or against the convergence but “take Islam for granted” using feminist methods suited to various reform aspirations. The last group may consider their work the natural continuation of historical Muslim consciousness of the treatment of women or as redress for the historical absence of sex equality in Islam. This article argues that Islamic feminism may appear to be the inevitable result of the convergence of Islam and feminism yet it is also inadequate to concerns for sex equality in Islam. Not only do some scholars resist the naming but, as an analytic construct, Islamic feminism also precludes new understandings of sex difference originating in non-Western and anticolonial cultural paradigms.
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