How Islam treats women is one of the most hotly contested questions of our times. Islamic law is often misrepresented as a single monolithic concept, rather than a collection of different interpretations and practices. To move the debate on Islamic law and gender forward, it is necessary to establish how Islamic law actually operates. This groundbreaking work explores what conditions sustain the most liberal interpretation of Islamic law on gender issues. It examines the different interpretations, histories and practices of Islamic law in different countries. It finds that the political independence of judicial institutions is a far more important factor than the relative conservativism of the society. This wide-ranging book will provide new insights not only for those studying law and gender, but for anyone with an interest in Islamic societies.
Christina Jones-Pauly is an independent consultant on women and governance for various international agencies. She holds a Dr Phil in Comparative and Islamic Laws (London) and a Dr Jur in international law (Harvard). She was Human Rights Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University, taught Islamic Law at Harvard Law School, and was Associated Researcher at the Socio-Legal Studies Centre, Oxford University. Before this she headed the Human Rights and Development Unit at the University of Bonn. She has worked on numerous human rights projects for the UN. Abir Dajani Tuqan studied Islamic Law at SOAS, and is the first Arab woman to pass the Bar in Britain (Middle Temple), with First Class Honours in Islamic Law. She has spoken at various international conferences and in the media on Islamic family law.