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Gender and Equality in Muslim Family Law: Justice and Ethics in the Islamic Legal Tradition

Gender and Equality in Muslim Family Law: Justice and Ethics in the Islamic Legal Tradition

Edited by: Lena Larsen, Ziba Mir-Hosseini, Christian Moe, Kari Vogt

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Gender equality is a modern ideal, which has only recently, with the expansion of human rights and feminist discourses, become inherent to generally accepted conceptions of justice. In Islam, as in other religious traditions, the idea of equality between men and women was neither central to notions of justice nor part of the juristic landscape, and Muslim jurists did not begin to address it until the twentieth century. The personal status of Muslim men, women and children continues to be defined by understandings of Islamic law - codified and adapted by modern nation-states - that assume authority to be the natural prerogative of men, that disadvantage women and that are prone to abuse. This volume argues that effective and sustainable reform of these laws and practices requires engagement with their religious rationales from within the tradition. Gender and Equality in Muslim Family Law offers a ground-breaking analysis of family law, based on fieldwork in family courts, and illuminated by insights from distinguished clerics and scholars of Islam from Morocco, Egypt, Iran, Pakistan and Indonesia, as well as by the experience of human rights and women's rights activists.

It explores how male authority is sustained through law and court practice in different contexts, the consequences for women and the family, and the demands made by Muslim women's groups. The book argues for women's full equality before the law by re-examining the jurisprudential and theological arguments for male guardianship (qiwama, wilaya) in Islamic legal tradition. Using contemporary examples from various contexts, from Morocco to Malaysia, this volume presents an informative and vital analysis of these societies and gender relations within them. It unpicks the complex and often contradictory attitudes towards Muslim family law, and the ways in which justice and ethics are conceived in the Islamic tradition. The book offers a new framework for rethinking old formulations so as to reflect contemporary realities and understandings of justice, ethics and gender rights.

Author Info

Ziba Mir-Hosseini is a legal anthropologist, specializing in Islamic law, gender and development, and a founding member of the Musawah Global Movement for Equality and Justice in the Muslim Family. She has published books on Islamic family law in Iran and Morocco, Iranian clerical discourses on gender, Islamic reformist thinkers, and the revival of zina laws. She has also co-directed two award-winning feature-length documentary films on Iran: Divorce Iranian Style (1998) and Runaway (2001). Kari Vogt is Associate Professor (Emerita) at the Department of Cultural Studies and Oriental Languages at the University of Oslo, Norway. She has published widely on Islamic and Middle East issues. Lena Larsen has been the co-ordinator of the Oslo Coalition at the Norwegian Center for Human Rights, University of Oslo, since 1999. Larsen obtained her PhD with a thesis on Islamic Judicial Thinking Encountering Challenges of Everyday Life: Fatwas as Proposed Solutions for Muslim Women in Western Europe (in Norwegian, 2011). Christian Moe is an independent writer and researcher based in Slovenia. He has written on Islam, human rights, and religious affairs in the Balkans.

Bibliographic Info

Imprint: I.B.Tauris
Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co. Ltd.
Series: Library of Islamic Law

ISBN: 9781848859227
Publication Date: 29 Apr 2013
Number of Pages: 320
Height: 234
Width: 156

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