4. The Khuntha in the Congregation

The Religious Body Imagined - Pamela D. Winfield

Saqer Almarri [+-]
Binghamton University
Saqer A. Almarri is a doctoral candidate of Translation Studies and an adjunct lecturer of Arabic in the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Studies at Binghamton University. His research examines how Islamic jurists incorporate bodies that do not conform to the sexual binary into frameworks of Islamic law. Saqer has previously published two academic publications published in TSQ (2016) and Women & Language (2018). He is currently preparing a critical edition along with a translation and commentary of a legal treatise on the khunthā by a Mamlūk Shāfiʿī jurist ʿAbd al-Raḥīm al-Isnawī.


The Mamluk jurist Abd al-Rahim al-Isnawi wrote a legal manual to articulate what Islamic law, in the Shafi‘i form, expects of the religiously observant life of a khuntha who has yet to be assigned a sex. Al-Isnawi described a congregational prayer format that allows a khuntha, or a group of khunatha, to participate in the congregation. Building on theories of space, religion, and gender as articulated by Michel de Certeau, Kim Knott, and Doreen Massey. This essay surveys the series of cases (10 in total) through a reading of strategies the jurist uses to regulate a khuntha’s access to men’s, women’s, and separate spaces, as well as to regulate interpersonal relations between men, women, and the khunatha.

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Almarri , Saqer . 4. The Khuntha in the Congregation. The Religious Body Imagined. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Nov 2021. ISBN 9781781799727. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=39648. Date accessed: 08 Jul 2020 doi: 10.1558/equinox.39648. Nov 2021

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