Laws on divorce vary in different countries, intimately bound with women's rights and access to justice. In many countries where Muslim communities are the minority, there is gaping inequality between men and women in their access to divorce and release from marriage.
Growing up in the suburbs of Malaysia, Zharin Zhafrael was taught to aim for the stars and reach for the sky. "I went to an all- girls school from the age of seven until 17, which ingrained in me the fact that anything boys can do, girls can do better,” she said. “At work, I was recognised for merit and held accountable when I failed to deliver. In my own household, my husband and I share equal responsibilities in bringing home the “halal” bacon (oh, don’t misquote me now) and caring for our two boys.”
Writing about a complex and multifaceted issue like polygamy is not an easy task, especially as the discourses around it remain divisive. Some approve the practice because they see it to be permitted by God, while others oppose it from a human rights point of view.
في العام الماضي، قامت مساواة بتدشين حملة نحو قوانين أكثر عدالة للأسرة المسلمة، والذي كان مقررًا تدشينه في مارس خلال فعاليات CSW، وذلك للتأكيد على ضرورة تعديل القوانين التمييزية. فلقد كشف وباء الكورونا الحالي عن عدة جوانب في قوانين الأسرة المسلمة، تشكل تهديدًا لحقوق النساء، وأمنهن، وظروفهن المعيشية؛ مما يؤكد أن المساواة داخل الأسرة، جزء لا يتجزأ من المساواة في المجتمع ككل
On 15 May 2021, we’re celebrating our first anniversary of launching the Campaign for Justice (CFJ) in Muslim Family Laws! Through the raging pandemic, the CFJ team at Musawah, with the support of our advocates, hit a great many milestones in amplifying advocacy online: holding webinars and a digital Global Conference week, to churning out key knowledge resources. Check out this look back on the CFJ!
Excerpt: This notion of two things being true at once certainly applies to Islamic feminism. Young Muslims should reclaim their identities against harmful stereotypes and aim to renegotiate this simplistic binary of Western “liberation” and Eastern “oppression”. At the same time, young Muslim activists should look introspectively at which aspects of their interpretations or legal institutions do more harm than good to citizens of the present context. This is the essence of more diversified forms of feminism and approaches to activism.
What are the different approaches to Islamic ethics and how can we build upon them to develop an ethical framework that foregrounds gender justice? In this webinar, Dr. Mariam Al-Attar and Dr. Fatima Seedat will explore different understandings of ‘ethics’ and shed light on the challenges of ethics as a field of study within Islamic intellectual tradition. They will discuss the possible contours of an Islamic ethical framework for reform and its relevance for Muslim gender justice contemporary discourses.
To celebrate Musawah’s 12th birthday this year, we are republishing this interview in which Musawah’s Programme Manager Suri Kempe discusses the beginnings of a global movement with the founding members and founding staff: Zainah Anwar, Ziba Mir-Hosseini, Rozana Isa and Jana Rumminger. The piece was originally written by Halima El Joundi for inclusion in Musawah Vision newsletter no. 22 in September 2017. “God cannot be God if God is unjust” Nothing captures Musawah’s ethos like this statement by Zainah Anwar, its co-founder and Executive Director.
How do we understand the Qur’an’s ethical framework for gender relations through empirical lenses? In what ways have women’s experiences been silenced in the conventional readings of the sacred text, and how can we reclaim these voices in contemporary engagements with the Qur’an? In this webinar, Dr. Nur Rofiah will address these questions and introduce her methodology of reading the Qur’an through women’s experiences with a goal of achieving substantive justice for women. She will shed light on Indonesian Muslim women scholars’ innovative interpretive approaches to the Qur’an and share with us the lessons learnt from the successful marrying of the production of Islamic feminist knowledge and gender-sensitive activism in Indonesia.
What can we learn from the Prophet's marriage with Khadija? How is it different from the marriage model we find today in most Muslim family laws and practices? And how can we reclaim it in the present time as a model for feminist Muslim masculinities? In this webinar, Dr. Ababneh and Dr. Rahemtulla will address these questions and examine the marriage of Prophet Muhammad and Khadija bint Khuwaylid (d. circa 620) to question hegemonic narratives on “ideal” Muslim marriages. They will shed light on how Khadija and Muhammad, as marital partners, had built a harmonious, non-patriarchal relationship based on mutual support, care and respect. Dr. Ababneh and Dr. Rahemtulla will reflect on the implications of their study on today’s Muslim masculinities.