An Anthology of Qur’anic Commentaries, Vol. 2 On Women
Author(s): Karen Bauer & Feras Hamza
Reviewed by: Abdur Raheem Kidwai
Of late, the primary Islamic sources, particularly the Quran and Sunnah have been under critical scrutiny, with a view to examining the place of woman in the Islamic scheme of things by both Western and Muslim scholars. Illustrative of this trend are the two books under review, despite their marked difference in depth and slant. The impressive Anthology of Qur’anic Commentaries, Volume. II stands out as a piece of solid scholarship, diligent editing and breadth of coverage. Volume I of this collaborative venture between Oxford University Press and the Institute of Ismaili Studies was On the Nature of the Divine. Volume II focusses on the depiction of women in the tafsir corpus both classical and recent, including interviews from some contemporary women scholars. The editors point out that the Qur’an refers to women 74 times, 81 times to mates (zawj), 5 times to female hypocrites, 18 times to daughters and 22 times to believing women (p. 58). Among the Qur’anic exegetes cited and analysed are: Muqatil b. Sulayman (d. 767); the Ibadi thinker Hud (fl. 14th century); the earliest Shi[i [Ali b. Ibrahim Al-Qummi (fl. 10th century); Abu Ja[far b. Jarir al- Tabari (d. 923); the Isma[ili Qadi al-Nu[man (d. 974); Abu’l-Qasim al-Qushayri (d. 1073); the Isma[ili da[i Mu’ayyad fi’l-Din al-Shirazi (d. 1078); the Mu[tazali Jar Allah al-Zamakhshari (d. 1144); the Shi[i Abu’l-Fadl b. al-Hasan al-Tabrisi (d. 1154); Fakhr al-Din al-Razi (d. 1209); Abu [Abdullah Muhammad b. Ahmad al-Qurtubi (d. 1273); [Abd al-Razzaq al-Kashani (d. 1336); Ibn Kathir (d. 1371); Muhsin al-Fayd Al-Kashani (d. 1680); Isma[il Haqqi al-Bursawi (d. 1725); Muhammad [Abduh (d. 1905), Rashid Rida (d. 1935) and Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Fadl Allah (d. 2010). Besides, it includes interviews conducted between 2011 and 2020 with the following scholars who have written on gender issues in Islam: Fariba Allasvand, Nasser Ghorabannia, Mehdi Mehrizi, Yusuf Sannei, Saadiya Shaikh and Amina Wadud.