The Importance of Female Scholarship

“The Indonesian situation is different, nearly unique among Muslim countries. Indonesia has thousands of institutions where women can become specialists of Islam. For example, in Islamic boarding schools called pesantren, male and female students spend years studying the Islamic sources.  These schools produce female preachers, intellectuals and activists who are equipped with deep Islamic knowledge.  Many of these women have  focused for years on the heart of this knowledge, the law and its jurisprudence (Shari’ah and Fiqh) and go on to become professors in Islamic universities.  Not only can these women debate with extremist Muslim groups who propose a different interpretation of the holy texts concerning gender issues, they participate equally in the interpretation and reinterpretation of these texts.”

~ Women Shaping Islam: Reading the Qur’an in Indonesia, by Pieternella van Doorn Harder.

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