The Intellectual Contributions of American Muslim Scholars

Author First name, Last name, Institution

Sara J. Chehab
Marvin R. Whitaker

Document Type


Source of Publication

Oxford Handbooks Online

Publication Date



This chapter discusses the work of five American Muslim scholars: Fazlur Rahman, Amina Wadud, Taha Jabir al-Alwani, Abdullahi Ahmed an-NaÊ¿im, and M. A. Muqtedar Khan. Their contributions influence and inform the debates on a variety of issues, such as ijtihad, shari'a, gender equality, human rights, democracy and reform, and interfaith dialogue. These scholars agree that a crisis of thought exists in the Muslim world and that it was created because of the absence of ijtihad. They recognize that many problems plague the Muslim world and Muslim communities"”problems partly engendered by taqlid and a reliance on old interpretations of the Qur'an. To solve them and achieve reform, justice, and gender equality, Muslim scholars should drive these debates forward through a commitment to continuous and progressive exegetical exercises. Thus this chapter outlines how each one of these five scholars explains and interprets these debates and assesses their attempts at reopening the doors of ijtihad.


Oxford University Press


Arts and Humanities

Indexed in Scopus


Open Access