Vol. 3, Issue 4 (2016)
Place of women in light of the primary sources of Islam
Author(s): Dr. Afroz Ahmad Bisati
Abstract: Muslim women’s status has been a topic of discussion and debate over the past few decades, and with a good reason. Islamic Law (Shari‘ah) is considered by many as patriarchal and mostly oppressive to women, yet there are countless who rigorously defend their religion by claiming that Islam is the guarantor par excellence of women’s rights. The issue of status of women in Islam has also been most baffling for the non-Muslims particularly of the Western world. In their perception a Muslim woman is a secluded and passive subject, who neither has any say in intellectual streams nor any role in the political and social course of her community. Now the question is: what is the actual position of Islam on the issue of status of women? This paper aims to highlight the normative teachings of Islam on the subject with reference to its primary sources, the Qur’an and Sunnah, against the legal opinions of scholars on specific issues, which may vary and be influenced by their times, circumstances and cultures. While dealing with the Islamic perspective of the topic, a clear distinction has also been made between the normative teachings of Islam that represents the standard according to which degree of adherence of Muslims can be judged and the diverse cultural practices among Muslims, which may or may not be consistent with them.