Islamic ideas about women and their role in society spark considerable debate both in the Western world and in the Islamic world itself. Despite the popular attention surrounding Middle Eastern attitudes toward women, there has been little systematic study of the statements regarding women inthe Qur'an. Stowasser fills the void with this study on the women of Islamic sacred history. By telling their stories in Qur'an and interpretation, she introduces Islamic doctrine and its past and present socio-economic and political applications. Stowasser establishes the link between the femalefigure as cultural symbol, and Islamic self-perceptions from the beginning to the present time.