Women’s Rights in
Siti Ruhaini Dzuhayatin
Center for Women’s Studies
State Islamic University
Women’s Rights in Islam
• Islamic mission is universal: applicable to
different cultures in the changing time, space and
• Islamic sources (Qur‟an & Hadist (sunnah) consist
of two principles: universal („aam) and temporary &
Specific principle (khosh).
• The „aam principles consist of supreme values:
the goals of Syariah (Maqasid- Syariyah):
Obedience to the order of God through the
ibadah ( worship to God) and upholding the
• The khosh indicated practical and technical
Exclusivist & Textualist: ahl hadist
• the universal principles can be best explained
by the specific verses or the prophet
• The ijtihad should be carefully undertaken by
distinctive ulama that meet the requirements
set up by the great ulama. The use of ratio is
forbidden to understand Islam as it possibly
interfered by nafsu (individual interest).
Inclusive & Progresive:
• The khosh (temporary principles): can be applied
only if not substantially contradict the aam
• Muslim can ignore the temporary principles to
achieve the maqasid-Syariah) by ijtihad ( strong
effort to find the valid reasons to ignore the
temporary principle). Those who take this stance
are categorized as the ahli ra‟yi (the People of
Political Rivalry in Islamic
• Constant rivalry and political collusion
of the two main school of thoughts
• The exclusivist & textualist seems to
be more attractive for the political
power: both of them enjoy the status
quo in using Islam as the source of
• The critical moment of this rivalry was in the time
of the lateAbbasiyah regime where the
conservative was strongly affiliated to the Sultan.
In order to secure the crown from the ahli ra‟yi,
the supreme judge who was also the prominent
ulama of the ahli hadist declared the closure of
the ijtihad for the fear of the ample deviation of
Islam from the original teachings.
• Intimidation, corporal punishment and even death
penalty imposed to the ahli ra‟yi had curtailed
Islam as a rigid and stagnant religion.
• Ever since the Islamic discourse is limited
to the classical literature written prior to
the closure of the ijtihad and preserved as
the authentic Islamic science.
• The hegemony of the ahl hadist through
the Monarchy regime held accountable for
the exclusionary stance of the majority of
• Detach the Muslim from the maqa‟sid as
Syariah) and disengage them from the
rapid social changes toward modernity.
Women’s Right in Islam
• Issue of Creation
– Q, arct 4:1:….Who created you from a one nafs
and created his partner from it.
– Conservative: woman is created from “Adam”
based on the hadist: eve was created from the
lost left rib of Adam.
– Progressive: Adam & Eve were created from
one substance. Scientifically invalid. The
Prophet used as the metaphor that woman and
men are created from the ribs not from the
feet in order to bee respected.
Women in Ibadah
• Men and women are equally obliged to
perform the Ibadah: bearing witness
(syahada), praying, fasting, pilgrimage.
– Men are leaders in religious services:
• The conservative &textualist:
• No qur‟ anic verse; hadist ahad: it is inappropriate for
women to lead the communal prayer.
• Women are naturally inferior and culturally
• Women have lesser reward from God: menstruation
which prevent them to perform ibadah.
• The inclusive & Contextualist
– Hadist: um waraqah lead prayer for her
family members which included the male
servants/ slave: hadist more valid
• Munstruation prevent the formal ibadah but
not theological degraded women as they can
perform other ibadah.
• Qur’anic: Men are the leader of
• Role model of Queen of Sheeba in
• Hadist: prevent women to lead the
country: refered to the queen of
• Example from The wife of the
– It is religiously invalid: Women ruled the
country: president & head of parliament.
• The Qur‟an art 4: 34: men are leaders of
• The hadist: a nation will not meet welfare &
prosparity in the hand of the woman.
• Misogyny : women has less ratio and
dominated by emotion: False hadist:
– Women have only one artio and 99 emotion.
• Inclusive and Progressive:
– Q, art 4:34: specific to domestic affairs.
– Women political leadership is valid through the
example of queen of Sheba
– The Hadist is “khosh” and specific to Persia,
can not be generalized to other places
– Aisyah (wife of the prophet) Led the army in
the battle field.
Women’s Rights in Family
– The role and status of men and women are God
given and naturally valid.
– Men and women equal before God but have
different responsibilities and duties.
– Men is leaders, educator& main family
– Women „s duties:
• Obeying husband‟s orders
• Providing sexual services
• Performing household affairs.
• Educating and caring children.
Inclusive and progressive
• Q, art 2: consist of more universal values and
gender relation in Islam:
– Your wives are your garment & you are the garment of
– Treat your wives fairly and respectfully.
• Q. 4: 34: khosh and specific to the case of domestic
violence. Men are the guardians and provider of women.
• Wives of the prophet were economically
• Wive & husband are the sexual partner.
• The ideal family relation is the prophet family.
Divorce & Inheritance
– Divorce is in the hand of husband.
– Men can remarry without „waiting period”
(women have to wait three months).
– Men are providing the maintainance for the
children & the wife until she remarry
– Inheritance: boys entitled for twice as much as
girl get in any circumstance.
• Inclusive & Progressive:
– Women are granted to divorce their husbands.
– “waiting period” is not required in modern time
because prgnancy can be dictated immediately
by modern technology.
– Maintanance can be discussed by both parties
– Inheritance can be divided equally or vice versa
to the Qur‟anic dictum upon the agreement of
– Men are granted to have four wives in
one time so long as they are able to
treat the wives equally.
• Based on the Qur‟an
• Based on the prophet practise.
– Q.4:3 : is specific on the issue of abusing
orphan girls in the time of the prophet.
– Uncomplete reading of verse on polygamy
– Islam tends to regulate rather than stipulate
– Polygamy can be outlawed if contradict the
core value of Islam non justice and equality.