A Jihad for Justice:
Honoring the Life and Work of Amina Wadud
In preparation for the Muslim Women and the Challenge of Authority Conference, Juliane Hammer, Kecia Ali and I collected and edited a volume of essays, articles, art, and poems in honor of Amina Wadud to present to her at the conference. A Jihad for Justice: Honoring the Life and Work of Amina Wadud. We are distributing the book online for free in keeping with women’s alternative modes of knowledge production and dissemination. In other words, we wanted everyone to have the opportunity to read it. A free download of the book can be found on the Boston University Website.
A Soaring Minaret:
Abu Bakr al-Wasiti and the Rise of Baghdadi Sufism
Sufi scholar Abu Bakr al-Wasiti (d. ca. 320 AH/932 CE) was called a “soaring minaret” for his cutting comments and keen theological insights. Wasiti’s life is little known today, but elements of his lost Quran commentary have come down to us through the glosses of his students, and his career offers a window into the development of Islamic mysticism and metaphysics. Wasiti’s legacy includes a number of firsts: he was one of the first students of the great Baghdadi Sufis, the first to migrate east and establish the Baghdadi Sufi tradition in Khurasan, among the first to compose a Quran commentary, and among the first to articulate a complete metaphysics in keeping with early Sunni theology. Presenting Wasiti’s life and work within the context of the development and spread of Sufism, author Laury Silvers goes on to provide an analysis of his theological perspective on the divine reality.
I hope the book will be of use in the classroom. The first half is a history of the rise of Baghdadi Sufism that hits majors historical figures, movements, and issues such as Sufi modes of discourse. The second half is a discussion of Wasiti’s theology with reference to its theological-historical context that hits all the big questions such as the nature of the divine, free will, judgment, and suffering.
I recently gave an interview about the book on New Books in Islamic Studies.
Click on the Link Laury Silvers on New Books in Islamic Studies
Early Pious, Mystic, and Sufi Women:
The Lives, Thought,and Practices of Early Pious and Sufi Women
With Yasmin Amin and Ahmed Elewa, I am presently working on a translation and introduction of the biographies of pre-5th/11th century pious, mystic, and Sufi women’s lives, practices, and thought as recorded in Ibn al-Jawzi’s Sifat al-safwa. The introduction will provide a scholarly examination of the surviving reports of these women in their surrounding theological, social, and cultural contexts. Recognizing that books providing resources on and analysis of Muslim women lives are also read by those outside the academy, Amin and I will also discuss the way accounts of these women’s lives have been formed by narrators to enforce male-centered social norms in present day and how they might be read in more empowering terms.
Selections and expansions of my work from the introduction are published in articles “Early Pious, Mystic, and Sufi Women,” “God Loves Me,” and “Disappearing Women” (in progress)