Here is an excellent lecture by Dr. Jonathan Brown on the subject of the abolition of slavery. It is a forerunner to his upcoming book Slavery and Islam which will be released on August 23, 2019. I have already preordered the book and intended on doing a full-length book review, inshaAllah.Continue Reading
Recently, Dr. Jonathan Brown, an associate professor at Georgetown University and popular Muslim intellectual, announced that he would no longer participate in any Muslim program or conference where the organizers have not made “exhaustive, good faith efforts to include women” on panels and among speakers.
We must acknowledge Dr. Brown’s contributions and willingness to tackle difficult questions. He has addressed issues that are especially challenging in today’s liberal milieu – from the age of ʿĀʾisha, to the infamous wife-beating verse, to the “spread by the sword” thesis. Given some of his traditionalist stances, a simplistic analysis of Dr. Brown would not be in good faith. Additionally, he was nuanced in his demand – he did not condemn “manels” outright, and he clarified that female speakers should be in line with the ideological leanings of organizers. He made aware that some seemingly “valid calls” for events to include women are really just subversive efforts by ideologues to “include participants whose views are marginal, heretical or outside the bounds of Islam altogether.”
Dr. Brown justifies his position by saying that “practicing, committed and qualified Muslim woman scholars (sic)” feel “excluded and alienated”, and thus something must be done. Others may argue that including women on panels would be a good feature of Islamic daʾwa, and thus a bidʾa ḥasana.
This issue raises a few concerns that need discussion.