The Perplexity of a Muslim Woman: Over Inheritance, Marriage, and Homosexuality

Olfa Youssef (Author) Lamia Benyoussef (Translator)

Product Details

Lexington Books
Publish Date
March 08, 2017
6.1 X 0.6 X 9.1 inches | 0.85 pounds

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About the Author

Olfa Youssef is distinguished professor of Arabic, gender studies, and applied Islamology at the University of Manouba. Lamia Benyoussef (translator) is assistant professor in Arabic studies in the Department of Modern Foreign Languages at Birmingham-Southern College.


Provocative, insightful, and rigorous best describe Lamia Benyoussef's translation of Perplexity of a Muslim Woman, the first Arabic work in Islamic Studies by a woman scholar to be translated into English. The work explores the nuances on marriage, inheritance, and homosexuality within Islam. This text goes against the grain as it offers a woman's interpretation of fundamental issues that have entirely been extrapolated by a male-dominated religious institution that has given itself the right to theorize such matters. At last a Muslim woman's voice comes to us in a beautiful translation that has brought together content and meaning to the Western world. Without this work, Olfa Youssef's voice on the perplexity of a Muslim woman would have not reached the Anglophone world. A must-read for anyone interested in discovering what a Muslim woman theorizes when she interprets the Qur'an in matters pertaining to marriage, inheritance, and homosexuality. Do Muslim women inherit half of what men do? Is homosexuality condemned in the Qur'anic text? Reading this work will answer these questions and more.--Douja Mamelouk, Le Moyne College
In a world context of terrorism where inhumane crimes are systematically blamed on the teachings of Islam and the classic interpretation of the Qur'an and Sunnah, Olfa Youssef opens the eyes of both Muslim and non-Muslim readers to new possibilities of textual interpretation that aim to keep up with the expectations of modernism and the principles of universal human rights. One of the indubitable merits of Youssef's book is the very serious and up-to-date debate that it provokes. Apart from Arab innovative thinkers, Islamic scholarship in English has seldom tried to question or to rewrite tradition. This study actually explores areas that have always been thought inaccessible or unchangeable; it questions unanimous beliefs that almost no one else has dared to question from inside the Islamic paradigm.--Wassim Jday, University of Monastir, Tunisia
The Perplexity of a Muslim Woman: Over Inheritance, Marriage, and Homosexuality is a tour de force of reason and erudition in the course of which Youssef holds a critical conversation with classical and contemporary Qur'anic exegetists and jurists to show how human interpretations throughout the centuries have closed the Qur'an to possibilities of readings for justice. It is a valuable contribution to a new genre of literature that is opening Islam's sacred texts to new readings in line with twenty-first-century values, concerns, and questions, enabling Muslims to remain within their faith yet be critical of dominant interpretations of the texts and the laws made, and discriminations justified, in their name.--Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy
This fine work is the first ever Arabic work in Islamic Studies written by a woman scholar to be translated into English. . . . Reading this courageous work, I felt the same sense of elation as when I first read the Christian Feminists Rosemary Ruether and Mary Daly. . . Many of her perplexities are shared with Christians too. Both of our faiths need the prophetic questioning and hope this book provides."--INTAMS review: Journal for the Study of Marriage & Spirituality