Participants’ Methodologies of Engaging with Islamic Sources
In Chapter 1 I explored existing categorizations of Muslim women’s epistemological positions on Islamic knowledge, defined by their beliefs, values, methodological approaches and justifications rooted in Islamic sources (Hacinebioglu 2007). These studies indicate that there are a variety of stands taken by women, with supporters active in their own environments but rarely communicating with advocates of different understandings, considering them either too lenient or too extreme (Karam 1998; Abdelatif and Ottaway 2007; Ramadan in Karim 2008). In this chapter I identify women’s hermeneutic positions on the basis of different approaches to Islamic education and interpretation of sources. Thus, it is a chapter about different methodologies of reading the holy texts employed by the participants. Islamic education is at the heart of believers’ engagements with the Qur’an and Ahadith; it also affects the ability of individuals to locate Islamic principles within individual behavioural codes (Shaheed 1986). From the women’s point of view, an awareness of their Islamic status is a prerequisite to claiming their God-given rights and defining their identity within the ummah and the globalised world.