Dr Shuruq Naquib

BA (Ain Shams), MSc (Manchester), PhD (Manchester)

The revival of Islamic discourses in the Muslim world in the 1970’s and the 1980’s encouraged a widespread return to the Islamic religious tradition to justify certain normative models, particularly in relation to gender and sexuality. That is when I became interested, as many young Muslims, in the study of Islam’s history and thought. My initial studies of pre-modern Islamic texts made me realize that the contemporary revivalist efforts to produce monovalent readings of Islam on many issues including gender are problematic. This culminated in my PhD thesis on multiple meanings of ‘purity’ in the Qur’an in light of pre-modern Muslim interpretations. Once deep into the thicket of the Islamic tradition, it became clear to me that women played an important role in shaping that tradition, past and present, and that more research needs to be done in that area to understand women’s involvement as well as their marginalization. The academic study of Islam and the reconstruction of a Muslim theology that recognizes female religious authority became lifelong commitments.

Anyone who wants to make sense of the role of religion in global and national politics needs to study Islam. As a world religion, it has given rise to many contemporary movements which challenge processes of secularization. Many of these movements and their political theologies have had an impact on politics and culture worldwide.

Courses on the Islamic textual tradition can, for example, help a student understand important aspects of the ongoing Arab revolutions, particularly the rise of the Islamists to power in Tunisia and Egypt. Islam has also become a religion of Europe and Britain, and there is no doubt that a good understanding of society, culture and politics in modern Britain today requires some understanding of Islam. Multicultural relations and integration are recurrent issues in national politics mainly in reference to Islam. Muslim practices such as veiling have become key issues for thinking about and negotiating cultural identity in Britain ... I am originally from Egypt and, in addition to my academic life, I greatly enjoy motherhood.