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Sexual Ethics and Islam

Feminist Reflections on Qur'an, Hadith, and Jurisprudence

Stoning. Slavery. Honour Killings. Homosexuality. In the context of Islam, these topics are frequently discussed but little understood. When debated, such emotive issues often spark heated argument rather than reasoned deliberation. In this lucid and carefully constructed collection of essays, feminist academic Dr Kecia Ali examines classical Muslim texts and tries to evaluate whether a just system of sexual ethics is possible within an Islamic framework.
Seeking to avoid polemical argument, Ali inspects key themes such as consent and control, which are crucial to any understanding of either traditional Islamic sexual ethics or the possibilities for progressive transformation in these ideals. Suitable for undergraduates and the interested reader alike, Sexual Ethics and Islam is an essential tool for understanding modern Islam in today’s increasingly sexualised world.

Kecia Ali is Associate Professor of Religion at Boston University. She is a world authority on Islamic jurisprudence, and author of Sexual Ethics and Islam: Feminist Reflections on Qur'an, Hadith and Jurisprudence.

‘Relevant to most readers’ daily experience of discussion about Islam. The book is well worth reading.'

– The Muslim World Book Review

‘It’s great to have a new edition of this foundational work in Muslim feminism that, ten years down the road, widens and deepens the important questions raised by the first edition.’

– Dr. Judith Plaskow, Professor Emerita of Religious Studies at Manhattan College

‘An important and daring book. It not only deals with deeply controversial issues, but also suggests principled and ethical answers within an Islamic framework.’

– Dr. Ziba Mir-Hosseini, legal anthropologist, activist and a founding member of Musawah, the global movement for equality and justice in the Muslim family

‘Compulsory reading for anyone interested in grappling with the enormously challenging questions of sexual ethics in contemporary Islam.’

– Ebrahim Moosa, Professor of Islamic Studies, University of Notre Dame

‘For too long debates over sexuality and religion have lapsed into a ‘don’t ask-don’t tell’ state of mind. Professor Ali is willing to ask the tough questions.’

– Contemporary Islam Journal

"Ali is willing to ask the tough questions. A refreshing analysis of sexual ethics in Islam."

– The Globe and Mail

‘In this important revised edition of Ali’s major treatise on a feminist approach to Islam, she offers a broad and comprehensive view of how sexual ethics have been defined in Islam throughout history, and how those understandings inform and define Islam today... This is a significant addition the feminist understanding of Islam and its complex views of sexuality.’

– Publishers Weekly

"This book is a vigorous and engaging contribution to a very important dialog."

– American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences

"With unwavering focus, clarity and scholarly confidence, Dr. Ali advances our understanding of profound ethical questions far beyond the apologetics and polemics of current Islamic discourse."

– Abdullahi An-Na`im - Charles Howard Candler Professor of Law at Emory University

More books from this author: Kecia Ali