Date of Award

Spring 2022

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Religion, PhD

Program

School of Arts and Humanities

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Ruqayya Y. Khan

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Zayn Kassam

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Sophia Pandya

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Ann Hidalgo

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2022 Muhammad U Nayawiyyah

Abstract

The focal point of this dissertation is theoretical and applicatory in scope; it incorporates three distinct areas of scholarship, the ecofeminist theology of Rosemary Radford Ruether, Islamic feminism, and Islamic environmentalism towards the primary goal of making a case for the construction of an ecofeminist theology in Islam. Specifically, I seek to consolidate Islamic feminists and environmental theories and approaches while utilizing and bringing to bear the insights and critiques of Ruether. This is accomplished through a process of synthesis and application. The intersection of environmental destruction and gender disparity is the hallmark claim of ecofeminism and thus, I begin with an ecofeminist appraisal of contemporary Islamic discourses on women and ecology by answering the question—what are the Islamic dimensions connecting gender inequalities with ecological imbalances? I hypothesize that within Islamic contexts and worldview, the intersection of environmental destruction and gender disparities are critical to understanding the dynamics of both issues. I argue that Islamic feminist scholarship heavily addresses patriarchal components of Islam, while attention given to hierarchal structures is largely limited to gender analyses. This, I assert, situates the resulting need for critical ecological integration utilizing an ecofeminist framework of which Ruether offers tremendous theoretical and methodological usability. From this, I construct what an ecofeminist theology in Islam could entail, its contours, constraints, and applicability. Finally, I apply the synthesized ecofeminist framework to specific Qur’anic examples. I examine the Arabic word “khalīfa” when translated as vicegerency. I also explore narratives of Adam, Ḥawwāh/Eve, the Garden of Eden, and the afterworld (Heaven and Hell) through the pursuit of answering some fundamental research questions—What are the theological implications of “khalīfa” translated as vicegerency and the Qur’anic narrative of Adam, Eve, the Garden of Eden, and the afterworld? Are there categorical and or dualistic hierarchies in classical and contemporary Islamic theology, which activate a gendered hierarchy of human over non-human creation and male over female? I argue that classical and contemporary Islamic interpretations prompted by those narratives directly influence body conceptions, gender roles, and environmental ethics in Islam. Thus, there are enduring consequences for women, the marginalized, and ecology.

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