ISTANBUL (TrustLaw)—When it comes to Islamic law, one short verse in the Koran poses one very big obstacle to advocates for Muslim women’s rights--but they may have found a way around it.
The key is fighting medieval interpretations of the Koran with modern scholarship, according to Dr Ziba Mir-Hosseini, a professor and legal anthropologist on Islamic law at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).
Why and how did verse 4:34, and not other verses in the Qur’an, become the foundation for the legal construction of marriage? Why are qiwamahand wilayah still the basis of gender relations in the imagination of modern-day jurists and Muslims who resist and denounce equality in marriage as alien to Islam? How can we Muslim women reconstruct the concepts?
Malaysia’s population is multi-religious; approximately 60 per cent of the population are Muslims. Malaysia has a dual court system, with Shari'ah- and fiqh-based laws that apply only to Muslims and include matters specified in the Federal Constitution such as matrimonial law, charitable endowments, bequests, inheritance, and offences that are not governed by federal law (matrimonial offences, khalwat, and offences against the precepts of Islam).
More than 80 per cent of Indonesia’s 234 million people are Muslim, making it the largest nation of Muslims in the world. Marriage issues are governed by the 1974 Marriage Law, which was, at the time, considered the best compromise between women’s rights advocates and religious groups. In the last decade, Indonesia has been undergoing a historic process of socio-political change after 32 years of dictatorship.