Engaged Surrender: African American Women and Islam (George by Carolyn Moxley Rouse PDF

By Carolyn Moxley Rouse

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Sample text

They met regularly to develop a kind of authoritative community consensus (ijma) about their faith. The women used wellestablished methods for Islamic exegesis, including the use of Qur’an, hadith , and secondary sources written by reputable religious scholars. Each Saturday session was led by a different lay scholar on Islam, and the forum of women educating women gave sisters a chance to share their feminist exegesis with newer converts. In addition, these meetings provided an opportunity to develop some consensus regarding religious interpretations of specific Qur’anic suras (divisions of the faith, or chapters) and ayat (verses), and if not consensus then healthy debate using valid sunnah (examples of the Prophet) preserved in hadith.

But as with a lot of revelation in the Qur’an, and with a lot of things that the Prophet Muhammad, sws, did, they started within his family, but they moved out into the ummah because it wasn’t just for him or his family members. But it’s just like within your home, if you expect your children to mimic you, you have to set a good example. Sisters I’m so nervous. Usually I’m not this nervous; it’s the subject matter [laughs]. Because I wasn’t sure how to deal with this, and I started so many times and I tore up the paper.

While converts fully accept and embody taqwa and tawhid, or God-consciousness and the oneness of God, they remain ambivalent toward some doctrine for both personal and political reasons. Some deal with their ambivalence by learning more about Islam in order to reinterpret the primary sources; others choose silence. The ambivalence might be about an issue as innocuous as fingernail polish, or as lifethreatening as the dismissal by an imam of a woman’s claims of wife abuse. Membership in this Sunni community requires one to have faith in accepted methods of truth verification, or Islamic exegesis, but it does not require one to accept the interpretations of others.

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