An Anthology of Qur’anic Commentaries. Vol. 2. On Women

Publication Year



Karen Bauer, Ph.D. 2008

  • A unique resource for scholars and students of the Qur'an and its interpretations, Islamic studies, and gender
  • Adopts a groundbreaking approach for the study of women in the Qur'an
  • Brings historical commentaries spanning twelve centuries into dialogue with contemporary perspectives
  • Showcases the intellectual variety of Muslim interpretations on women as social subjects
  • Provides analytical introductions as a necessary aid to navigating this complex scholastic terrain

"Building on the success of Anthology, Volume I: On the Nature of the Divine, this second volume in the series focuses on a critical and contentious theme: Women in the Qur'an and traditional Qur'anic commentaries. It comprises analysis of the female subject in the Qur'an, annotated translations of Qur'anic commentaries spanning twelve centuries, interviews of contemporary Muslim scholars and extensive introductory materials, which frame the work throughout and render these technically complex materials accessible to the reader. On Women begins with a critical introduction to the study of women and gender in the genre of Qur'anic commentaries. A unique prolegomenon then follows key Qur'anic terms in a chronological sequence, showing how the Qur'an's world view on women developed from the earliest Meccan revelations, when women were addressed only implicitly as a part of households or in the course of anti-pagan polemic, to the period of the final revelations in Medina, when women were addressed directly as pious and social subjects. The remainder of the volume translates, critically annotates, and analyses interpretations of six select Qur'anic verses on women. These verses, chosen because of their relevance to women's lived experience, speak of the creation of humankind beginning with a single soul (Q. 4:1); the exemplary figure of Mary, the mother of Jesus (Q. 3:35-6); women's status in marriage (Q. 4:34); women's legal testimony and hence legal capacity (Q. 2:282); and 'veiling' as it relates to Qur'anic norms of modesty (Q. 24:31). While highlighting variation, continuity, and plurality in the genre of Qur'anic commentaries, Volume II goes beyond medieval interpretive paradigms to include perspectives marginalised by that tradition, such as the voices of women themselves."

Table of Contents

Human creation (Q. 4:1)

Mary (Q. 3:35-6)

Marital roles (Q. 4:34)

The veil (Q. 24:31)

Women's testimony (Q. 2:282)


Series Title
Qur'anic studies series
Series Volume
Oxford University Press in association with the Institute of Ismaili Studies
Oxford, New York, and London