This book takes a more nuanced approach to that question by exploring how women are portrayed in hadith on ancient sacred narrative – the stories of the prophets.
What is the nature and social role of women? In today’s Shi‘ism, these questions are often answered through the “separate-but- equal” ideology which emphasizes the role of women as wives and mothers, and places men in authority. But is this the only ideology which can be derived from Shi‘i scriptural sources?
This book takes a more nuanced approach to that question by exploring how women are portrayed in hadith on ancient sacred narrative – the stories of the prophets. It shows far more diverse views on what it means to be a woman (and, by extension, a man) – and that early Shi‘is held competing views about ideals for women. These beliefs became part and parcel of confessional identity, and uniquely Shi‘i views about the nature of women emerged. It also reflects a tension between an earthly approach to gender, rooted in patriarchy, compared to the spiritual authority attributed to respected female figures in the Shi‘i tradition. The diversity of thought found in these ancient stories sheds new light on beliefs about women in Shi‘ism.
About the Author
Amina Inloes a native of Southern California, Amina Inloes relocated to rainy London a decade ago, where she is a lecturer and program leader at The Islamic College, a faith-based institution offering academic degrees in Islamic Studies and related fields. She completed her PhD at the University of Exeter on the subject of Shiʿi hadith about women in pre-Islamic sacred history. An occasional peripatetic, she travels and lectures for Muslim communities worldwide as well as engages in interfaith work.
She contributed to the translation of Spiritual Mysteries and Ethical Secrets by Mulla Fayd Kashani (London: ICAS Press, 2012) and adapted into English M.S Bahmanpour’s historical fiction novel The Idols Will Fall (London: ICAS Press, 2009). Recently, she has taken a detour to the exploration of fantasy
and science fiction in the Muslim consciousness. In addition to being fluent in academics, she can be a riveting conversationalist in computer gaming and intra-Muslim gender politics, and she has an unrecognized talent in paleo baking. Her quest for sacred knowledge has taken her to Qum and Najaf, both as a guide as well as a perennial student.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1. Introduction: The Past in the Present
Why Shīʿī hadīth?
Patriarchy as a pawn?
Chapter 2. Separate but Equal? Womanhood, Ideology, and Modernity
What’s wrong with an ideology?
More elephants in the room: orthodoxy, ideology, and authority
When patriarchy and spirituality clash: men as demi-gods?
Chapter 3. Eve: Creation Not-from-a-Rib?
What do Shīʿī hadīth about Eve say?
How was Eve created, and does it matter?
Part 1: Eve’s creation and marriage
Imprison your women!
Eve, the bearer of the Prophetic light
Word plays and calendars
Part 2: The forbidden tree
The tree of anti-wilāyah
But was it a grain “tree”?
Wine and woman
Part 3: Eve as the foremother
Eve’s first daughter – the failed prototype
Part 4: The first hajj
Eve the invisible
Eve the pilgrim
Part 5: Legal matters
Returning to Shaykh al-Ṭūsī: The case of the missing rib
It’s a mess!
Chapter 4. Sarah and Hājar: Negotiating the Patriarchal Bargain
Canonizing ghayrah and women’s seclusion
Sarah and the box
Seclusion and Ismāʿīl’s wife
Circumcision and menstruation
Male circumcision and aposthia
“And she menstruated…”
Sarah’s presence versus Hājar’s absence
Critical moments in the story of Hājar
Hājar and the angels
The “black, fertile woman”
But is any of this in the Qur’an?
Chapter 5. Gender Role-Reversals in the Story of Zulaykhā
Love and the “best of stories” – Zulaykhā in the Qur’an and narrations
The happy ending
Is love good or bad?
Reversing the gender binary: male chastity, modesty, and beauty
Zulaykhā’s legacy – “Do not teach girls Sūrat Yūsuf” and marrying ugly, fertile women
Marry the beautiful, childless woman or the fertile, ugly virgin?
Chapter 6. The Queen of Sheba in the Narrative of Wilāyah
The Queen of Sheba in scripture
The Queen of Sheba in the Sunni and Shīʿī hadīth collections
The Queen of Sheba and Imam ʿAlī
The Queen of Sheba and the prophetic inheritance
The throne of the Queen of Sheba
Bilqīs the woman
The essence of Shiʿism?
Chapter 7. The Virgin Mary: The Female is Not Like the Male?
Mary in the Qur’an
The worldly: a patriarchal Mary
Zakariyā’s role as Mary’s caretaker
Mary, the domestic servant
“I and my father are one thing”
The otherworldly: Mary and wilāyah
Mary and Karbalāʾ: Bridging the creational and apocalyptical
Wilāyah, the hijab, and beauty
An example for the believers?
Chapter 8. The Portrayal of Women in the Earliest Hadīth Collection: Kitāb Sulaym ibn Qays
Misogyny is anti-Shīʿī?
Chapter 9. The Future?
Appendix A. Subtexts of Narrations and their Sources
Appendix B. Pre-Islamic and Post-Prophetic Imagery and Subtexts
Title: Women in Shiʿism: Ancient Stories, Modern Ideologies
ٍAuthor: Amina Inloes
Pub. Date: Jan 22,2019