Sufi Narratives of Intimacy

Ibn 'Arabi, gender and sexuality

Product Attributes

  • Soft Cover
  • 9781775820123
  • 296
  • 2012


Shaikh, S


UCT Press


R 374.00

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About this Publication:


Thirteenth-century Sufi poet, mystic and legal scholar Muhyi al-Din ibn al-'Arabi wrote much on gender as integral to questions of human existence and moral personhood. Reading his works through a critical feminist lens, Sa'diyya Shaikh opens fertile spaces in which new and creative encounters with gender justice in Islam can take place. Grounding her work in Islamic epistemology, Shaikh attends to the ways in which Sufi metaphysics and theology might allow for fundamental shifts in Islamic gender ethics and legal formulations, addressing wide-ranging contemporary challenges, including questions of women's rights in marriage and divorce, the politics of veiling, and women's leadership of ritual prayer.

Drawing on the treasured works of Sufism, Shaikh raises a number of critical questions about the nature of selfhood, subjectivity, spirituality and society to contribute richly to the prospects of Islamic feminism as well as feminist ethics more broadly.


Contents Include:

Introduction: Tales of Contention
Muslim Gender Imaginaries
Chapter 1 Craving Completion
Sufism, Subjectivity, and Gender before Ibn ʿArabī
Chapter 2 Charting Ibn ʿArabī’s Religious Anthropology
Chapter 3 Mysticism and Gender
A Hermeneutic of Experience
Chapter 4 Reading Gender and Metaphor in Ibn ʿArabī’s Cosmos
Chapter 5 The Poetics and Politics of Adam and Eve
Chapter 6 Witnessing God in Women
A Different Story of Creation
Chapter 7 Ibn ʿArabī and Islamic Feminism
Appendix: Selected Poems from the Dīwān Ibn ʿArabī 229
Index of Qurʾānic Verses
Index of Traditions (Aḥadīth)
General Index

Key Benefits:

• Engages ideas of gender, human nature and equality through the writings of 13th Century Sufi theoretician, Muhyī al-Dīn Ibn al-`Arabī Shaikh
• Constructs from within the Islamic religious tradition an alternate frame through which to view and understand Islam’s core ethical values
• Explores rich and largely untapped resources to address ongoing challenges of gender inequality in contemporary Muslim societies