Revisiting Women's Rights in Islam: 'Egalitarian Justice' in lie of 'Meritocratic Justice'

Book Section (Chapter)

There are two types of verses and hadiths regarding women’s rights in the Qurʾan and Sunna. The first type designates full human rights for women, and recognises equal rights for men and women as humans, despite bodily differences between them. The second type considers that women, because of their lesser capacities, are entitled to fewer rights than men in managing the home and in society. Muslim scholars, following Aristotle, construed justice as deserts-based on the basis of proportional equality, and considered women as entitled to fewer rights because of what they considered to be women’s inherent lesser capacity. According to egalitarian justice and fundamental equality, although women differ from men physically and psychologically, they are entitled to equal rights because they are human, and it is humanity – not gender, colour, race, class, religion, political ideology – that carries rights, duties, dignity, and trust and divine vice-regency. This position is more consistent with the Qurʾanic spirit and Islamic standards; evidence for legal inequality, because of its temporariness, cannot be counted an obstacle to the realization of legal equality.

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Kadivar, M

Cited Editors

  • Mir-Hosseini, Z; Larsen, L; Moe, C; Vogt, K

Published Date

  • May 2013

Book Title

  • Justice Through Equality: New Approaches to Muslim Family Law


  • 10

Start / End Page

  • 213 - 234

Published By

Place of Publication

  • London