I am a free-lance academic, passionately involved in debates on gender equality in law. As a feminist, I expose and criticize the injustices that these laws continue to inflict on women in some Muslim contexts. As a Muslim, I approach these injustices by stressing one crucial element in the tradition of Muslim legal thought: the distinction between Shari‘a (the ‘path’, found in the Qur’an and the Prophet’s practice) and fiqh (‘understanding’, the jurists’s efforts to deduce laws from these textual sources); this distinction enables us to see patriarchal laws not as ‘divine Shari‘a’, but as outdated human fiqh. My aim is to bring Islamic and human rights frameworks together in order to lay the basis for an egalitarian Muslim family law.


Islam and Democracy in Iran: Eshkevari and the Quest for Reform
Islam and Democracy in Iran: Eshkevari and the Quest for Reform

Hasan Yousefi Eshkevari is a former revolutionary and clerical reformer who became one of the Islamic Republic’s most outspoken critics. His ideas of “Islamic democratic government” have attracted considerable attention in Iran [read more…]

Islam and Democracy in Iran: Eshkevari and the Quest for Reform
Justice Through Equality: Building Religious Knowledge for Reform of Muslim Family Laws

A Report on the Oslo Coalition’s Muslim Family Law Project About this report The Oslo Coalition is an international network of experts and representatives from religious and other life-stance [read more…]

Islam and Democracy in Iran: Eshkevari and the Quest for Reform
Men in Charge? Rethinking Authority in Muslim Legal Tradition

Both Muslims and non-Muslims see women in most Muslim communities as suffering from social, economic and political discrimination, treated by law and in society as second-class citizens subject to male authority.[read more…]

Islam and Democracy in Iran: Eshkevari and the Quest for Reform
Control and Sexuality: The Revival of Zina Laws in Muslim Contexts

Control and Sexuality examines zina laws in some Muslim contexts and communities in order to explore connections between the criminalisation of sexuality, gender-based violence and women’s rights activism. [read more…]

Islam and Democracy in Iran: Eshkevari and the Quest for Reform
Marriage On Trial: A Study of Islamic Family Law

Debates over family law are a sensitive subject in the Muslim world, revealing something of the struggle between forces of traditionalism and modernism. The highly disparate tendencies within Islamic “fundamentalism” share a desire to re-institute Shar’ia law, [read more…]

Islam and Democracy in Iran: Eshkevari and the Quest for Reform
Islam and Gender

Following the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and the re-introduction of Sharica law relating to gender and the family, women’s rights in Iran suffered a major setback. However, as the implementers of the law have faced the social realities of women’s lives and aspirations,[read more…]

Islam and Democracy in Iran: Eshkevari and the Quest for Reform
Gender and Equality in Muslim Family Law

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,[read more…]

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