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Embracing the <i>Barzakh</i>: Knowledge, Being and Ethics

Sa’diyya Shaikh


Scholarly research on Muslim ethics is attentive to the ways that contemporary Muslim subjectivities and ethical concerns are informed by multiple sources and complex relationalities. These include relationships to what is thought of as tradition or the Muslim archive in all its diversity, as well as other prevailing intellectual and political traditions of virtue and justice. Muslim ways of being and becoming in the contemporary world are often derived in relation to cosmopolitan imaginaries, and this is in fact no different from other significant eras in Muslim history. Islamic feminism in its scholarly and activist iterations represents one such development among Muslims in the contemporary period, focused as it is on fostering ever more comprehensive forms of gender and social justice within their communities, and on expanding the ethical archive. In this paper, I trace key animating sources and developments in my scholarly trajectory focussing on Islamic feminism over the last 20 years by exploring metaphors of journeying and of in-betweenness (the barzakh) as a theoretically and epistemologically helpful posture. I conclude with some reflections on my current theorising on Islamic feminism.

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eISSN: 0257-7062