The circumscribed role of women in orthodox religious societies has long intrigued scholars and general readers alike. How these roles evolved and how women today reconcile feminism with traditional religious practice is a subject of controversy both within the academy and in religious communities. "Getting God's Ear" considers this subject by examining the role of religious worship and spiritual affairs in women's lives in the twentieth-century Arab world.
The meaning of women's exclusion from the "sacred precincts" of the mosque and their limited access to religious learning -- as well as the effects of this exclusion on women's lives -- is the focus of the book. Exploring both their role as midwives, healers, and ritual participants in spite of such exclusion, Eleanor Doumato examines the ways women strive for agency and sacralize their own space in an effort to experience community, to heal and be healed, and to find ways of getting God to hear them.
Focusing on the Gulf and Arabian Peninsula region during the first half of the twentieth century, the book weighs the influence of Wahhabi Islam on women's religious experience against the experience of women in the Sunni and Shia towns of Kuwait and Bahrain. At the same time, the author incorporates the voices of American missionaries and others who wrote about women of this region and whose writings form the informational core of the book. Connecting doctrine and practice in pre-oil Arabia to current sociopolitical developments, she raises an intriguing question: Is there something in the historical experience of women under Wahhabi Islam that can help us understand the persistence of women's separation in Saudi Arabia today?
Doumato...has commendably brought together historical sources of true significance for the history of Arabia, and specifically for women's medical practices and spiritual rituals...[T]his book provides rich substantive information that significantly advances understanding of social life in the Arabian peninsula for the time period under review. Middle East Journal By exploring the gendered dimensions of Wahhabi discourses and practices during the revival, Doumato brings the question of gender into an historical space and time rarely explored. Arab Studies Journal A valuable contribution to understanding the religious experiences of Muslim women in the Arabian peninsula and the Gulf. Religious Studies Review
|A Note on the Spelling of Arabic Words and Proper Nouns||p. xi|
|Introduction: Making Connections: Knowledge, Rituals, and Healing||p. 31|
|Women and Religious Learning: Piety and a Matter of Propriety||p. 71|
|Prayer, the Mosque, and the Ways Women Worship||p. 94|
|The Healing Power of Words: Ink, Spit, and Holy Speech||p. 130|
|Engaging Spirits: Prophylaxis, Witchcraft, Exorcisms, Trial by Ordeal, and Zar||p. 147|
|When Words Fail: Surgeries, Smells, and Salt Packing||p. 185|
|Conclusion: Community, Gender, and the Spiritual Experience||p. 212|
|Epilogue: Saudi Arabia, 1998||p. 220|
|The Scene of the Action for Getting God's Ear||p. 235|
|Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.|
For Ages: 22+ years old
Number Of Pages: 498
Published: 11th January 2000
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.84 x 15.29 x 1.88
Weight (kg): 0.48
Edition Number: 2
Edition Type: Revised