“Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” – Zainah Anwar, co-founder of Musawah

Musawah owes our beginning to Sisters in Islam, which itself started with a group of Muslim women who came together to read, to write, to organise, and to mobilise in order to address the injustices Malaysian women faced under the Shari’ah (Islamic law) system.

In 2009, some 250 activists, scholars, lawyers, journalists, policy makers and others from 47 countries gathered in Kuala Lumpur to bring together practitioners of cutting-edge activism and scholarship on Islam and women’s rights. The attendees agreed that what they had went beyond a meeting; it was a movement, and thus, Musawah (‘equality’ in Arabic), the global movement for equality and justice in the Muslim family, was launched.

Since then, Musawah has grown to include people working in their national, regional, and international contexts to bring about change. As co-founder Zainah Anwar said at the opening meeting:

““We were also clear from the start that we would not prescribe a model Muslim family law. That would be left to the groups at the national level to decide. What we wanted to provide were concepts, tools, and arguments that make equality and justice possible within the Muslim family.”


Musawah Vision for the Family proposes a model of Muslim family relations that upholds equality and justice for all family members and promotes the well-being of families and society.


This conceptual framework for Musawah  demonstrates that equality in the family is necessary and possible through a holistic approach of Islamic teachings, universal human rights principles, fundamental rights and constitutional guarantees, and the lived realities of women and men today.


Wanted is a set of theoretical papers that seeks to understand the genesis of Muslim family law, how it was constructed within the classical fiqh tradition, and how the wealth of resources within fiqh and Qur’anic verses on justice, compassion, and equality can support reform towards more egalitarian family relationships.

THEORY OF CHANGE (2019-2024)

Musawah envisions that by 2039, 20 years from now, we will live in a world in which gender equality, justice and non-discrimination are embraced as inherent in Islam and reflected in laws and practices.

A project by Musawah in collaboration with Sonaksha and Ezrena Marwan

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