Book: Female religious authority in Shi’i Islam

The book examines 13 cases of women exercising religious authority in Shia Islam from the classical period to the present.

Book: Female religious authority in Shi’i Islam

Islamic religious authority is conventionally understood to be an exclusively male purview. Yet when dissected into its various manifestations – leading prayer, preaching, issuing Fatwas, transmitting Hadith, judging in court, teaching law, theology, and other Islamic sciences and generally shaping the Islamic scholarly tradition – nuances emerge that hint at the presence of women in the performance of some of these functions.

This collection of case studies, covering the period from classical Islam to the present, and taken from across the Shia Islamic world, reflects on the roles that women have played in exercising religious authority across time and space. Comparative reflection on the case studies allows for the formulation of hypotheses regarding the conditions and developments – whether theological, jurisprudential, social, economic, or political – that enhanced or stifled the flourishing of female religious authority in Shia Islam.


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