Forthcoming December 2023

It is commonly understood that the Qur’an sought to transform social and religious practices in its seventh-century Arabian milieu. Yet the nature of that transformation is debated, especially as it relates to women, warfare, kinship and community. This book offers a fresh perspective by undertaking the first historical-critical study of all the Qur’an’s verses on women, who were integral to this transformation, and by offering an initial overview of households and patronage – late antique social structures that took the place of formal state structures in the Qur’an’s tribal milieu. The findings of this study call into question common approaches to Qur’anic theology, law, and narratives, to the nature of the early community, and to women’s place in that community. Bauer and Hamza adopt a holistic method, which integrates aspects of the Qur’an that are commonly considered separately, showing, for instance, how stories act as precursors to law, with female characters acting as models for all believers. Concurrently, they highlight the Qur’an’s egalitarian approach to moral agency in existing hierarchical social structures, which the Qur’an seeks to transform both by imposing a salvific frame on them, and by fashioning a community of households characterised by morality, decorum, and care of the vulnerable. This compelling and original work proposes new paradigms for understanding the Qur’an’s social milieu and its salvific vision for that world.