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Professor Amina Wadud has argued persuasively that the influence of patriarchy on interpretation of the Qur’an and the practices of Muslims has restricted realisation of the Qur’anic message of equality and justice.
One of the arguments she has advanced is that patriarchy is a form of shirk (making partners to God) because by placing men above women it contradicts the Qur’anic vision of equal and reciprocal relationships and violates the requirement that God is supreme.
For a short summary of this and some of her other arguments, have a look at: http://www.musawah.org/sites/default/files/Wanted-AW-Summary.pdf
Born into a Methodist African-American family, Wadud became a Muslim at the age of 20. She was a Professor of Religion and Philosophy at among others, the Virginia Commonwealth University and one of the founders of the group Sisters in Islam.
In what was for many a controversial move, she delivered a Friday Khutbah (sermon) – a role traditionally taken by men - in a mosque in Cape Town in 1994. She has continued to lead prayers of mixed congregations across the world and is supported by Muslims from all walks of life.
She contributed a chapter, 'The Ethics of Tawhid over the Ethics of Qiwamah' to the recently published 'Men In Charge? Rethinking Authority in Muslim Legal Tradition.' (Oneworld Publications: 2015)