Qur’anic Ethics and Hermeneutics: The Case of Gender – Omaima Abou-Bakr & Asma Lamrabet 

Middle East And Islamic Studies Lecture Series

Date: 12 October, 2020

Qur’anic Ethics and Hermeneutics: The Case of Gender

Guest lecture: Dr. Omaima Abou-Bakr and Dr. Asma Lamrabet 

Abstract: A growing body of contemporary scholarship on the Qur’an and its exegesis has been engaging with the question of ethics and hermeneutics. Focusing on gender, this scholarship has been tackling the following questions: How do we conceptualize Qur’anic ethics? What interpretive approaches can be used to map out the text’s ethical principles and directives? What are the readings that are made possible by such ethically-oriented interpretive approaches specifically with regard to the question of gender? And what are the methodological, conceptual, political contributions as well as challenges of this scholarship? These questions will be the focus of a public lecture by Professor Omaima Abou-Bakr (Cairo University) and Dr. Asma Lamrabet (Gender Studies Department, the EuroArab Foundation in Granada).


Omaima Abou-Bakr is a Professor of English & Comparative Literature at Cairo University; a founding member of The Women and Memory Forum; a member of the advisory board and the knowledge building working group of Musawah, a global organization of scholars and activists combining production of scientific research and activism towards the goal of transformative knowledge on Islam and gender. Professor Abou-Bakr’s doctorate work at University of California in Berkeley specialized in medieval Sufi poetry and comparative topics in medieval English and Arabic literature. Her research and publications over the span of the last three decades covered: Qur’anic exegesis, women’s mysticism and female spirituality in Christianity and Islam, feminist theology, Muslim women’s history, and gender issues in Islamic discourses.

She is the author of numerous Arabic and English publications. Some notable examples are: “Islamic Feminist Tafsir and Qur’anic Ethics: Rereading the Divorce Verses (co-authored with Mulki Al-Sharmani)” In Nevin Reda and Yasmin Amin (eds.) Islamic Interpretive Tradition and Gender Justice: Processes of Canonization, Subversion, and Change (2020); “Bride of the Qurʾan: An Aesthetic Reading of Surat ar-Rahman” In Dorpmüller, S., Scholz, J., Stille, M., & Weinrich, I. (eds.). Religion and aesthetic experience: Drama – sermons – literature (2018). “The Interpretive Legacy of Qiwamah as an Exegetical Construct.” In: Ziba Mir-Hosseini, Mulki Al-Sharmani and Jana Rumminger (eds.). Men in Charge? Rethinking Authority in Muslim Legal Tradition (2015); “Turning the Tables: Constructions of Muslim Manhood;” In: Hawwa 11(2-3):89-107, 2014. “Teaching the Words of the Prophet: Women Instructors of the Hadith.” In: Hawwa, 1(3), 306-328, 2003. She is also the editor of Al-niswiyyah wa-al-dirasat al-diniyah (Feminism and Religious Studies, 2012); and two volumes of collected articles in English (Feminist and Islamic Perspectives: New Horizons of Knowledge and Reform) and in Arabic (al-Niswiyyah wa-al-manzur al-islami, 2013).

Asma Lamrabet is a Moroccan scholar of Islam. Originally trained as a physician, she has been engaging for many years in the study and reflection on reformist thought in Islam and in particular on the theme of women in Islam. Her work is mainly focused on rereading sacred texts from a reformist and feminist perspective. She has given numerous lectures on this subject around the world.

Since March 2018, she has been the director of the Gender Studies Department at the EuroArab Foundation in Granada. From 2011 to 2018, she was the Director of the Center for Women’s Studies in Islam in the Rabita Mohammadia des Oulémas du Maroc since 2011 to March 2018. From 2008 to 2010, she was the President of GIERFI (International group for study and reflection on women and Islam) in Barcelona. From 2004 to 2007, she was coordinator of a research and reflection group on Muslim women and intercultural dialogue in Rabat (Morocco).

Dr. Lamrabet is a member of the Observatory of the Muslim Arab world at the ULB University of Belgium since March 2018, and a member of the scientific committee of the National Institute of Human Rights of Morocco since June 2019. She is the author of numerous books in Arabic and French (also translated to English). Notable examples are: Women and Men in the Qur’ān; 2018; Women in the Qur’an: An Emancipatory Reading, 2016; 20 Questions and Answers on Islam and Women from a reformist vision, 2016


Students wishing to obtain a video recording of the lecture for educational purposes can contact Mulki Al-Sharmani at mulki.al-sharmani@helsinki.fi