Prof. Ruth Roded
"Modern Gendered Islamic Fatwa Responsa on Women's Issues"
Aside from their legal value, fatwas have proven a valuable reflection of social issues, and in particular gender relations (Tucker, 1998). In modern times, some classical collections of fatwas have been reissued, state appointed juris consult muftis have been augmented by fatwa councils, and independent muftis have continued to answer questions on women's issues. A small number of women have challenged male domination of this field.
The proposed study will be a comparative analysis of modern gendered Islamic fatwas on women’s issues emanating from establishment and independent authorities in Egypt and Israel. Egypt is a major source of Islamic religious authorities for the Sunni world, whereas Israel is a unique case of Islamic religious authority in a Jewish state.
The aim of the study is to identify and analyze women’s issues that are of concern to Egyptian and Israeli Muslims, questions that they believe should be resolved in a religious context. The responsa of various religious authorities to these queries will be studied quantitatively, qualitatively and comparatively, in order to shed light on modern negotiation of women’s issues between Muslims, their chosen muftis and fatwa councils, and the state.