Women in the Mosque: A History of Legal Thought and Social Practice

Hardcover | September 23, 2014

byMarion Katz

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Juxtaposing Muslim scholars' debates over women's attendance in mosques with historical descriptions of women's activities within Middle Eastern and North African mosques, Marion Holmes Katz shows how over the centuries legal scholars' arguments have often reacted to rather than dictated Muslim women's behavior.

Tracing Sunni legal positions on women in mosques from the second century of the Islamic calendar to the modern period, Katz connects shifts in scholarly terminology and argumentation to changing constructions of gender. Over time, assumptions about women's changing behavior through the lifecycle gave way to a global preoccupation with sexual temptation, which then became the central rationale for limits on women's mosque access. At the same time, travel narratives, biographical dictionaries, and religious polemics suggest that women's usage of mosque space often diverged in both timing and content from the ritual models constructed by scholars. Katz demonstrates both the concrete social and political implications of Islamic legal discourse and the autonomy of women's mosque-based activities. She also examines women's mosque access as a trope in Western travelers' narratives and the evolving significance of women's mosque attendance among different Islamic currents in the twentieth century.

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From the Publisher

Juxtaposing Muslim scholars' debates over women's attendance in mosques with historical descriptions of women's activities within Middle Eastern and North African mosques, Marion Holmes Katz shows how over the centuries legal scholars' arguments have often reacted to rather than dictated Muslim women's behavior. Tracing Sunni legal po...

Marion Holmes Katz has taught at Franklin and Marshall and Mount Holyoke College and is currently a professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic studies at New York University. She has published extensively on topics relating to Islamic law, gender, and ritual.

other books by Marion Katz

Format:HardcoverDimensions:432 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.98 inPublished:September 23, 2014Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231162669

ISBN - 13:9780231162661

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsIntroduction1. Women's Mosque Attendance as a Legal Problem2. Reconstructing Practice3. Debating Women's Mosque Access in Sixteenth-Century Mecca4. Modern DevelopmentsNotesBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

This book is praiseworthy for its extensive use of textual sources, making it an excellent source for the study of intellectual discourse on women's mobility and visibility in Islam.