chapter  7
28 Pages

Muslim Woman as Self/Other

The Politics of Identity

The 'traditionalist' school of Islamic interpretation is strongly patriarchal and contains an inherent preference for patriarchal authority. Contrary to traditionalist logic, there are many reasons other than 'intoxification with the West' that might drive a Muslim woman to challenge her status as the 'other' over whom authority is exercised. The Muslim family is the miniature of the whole of Muslim society and its firm basis. In it the man or father functions as the imam in accordance with the patriarchal nature of Islam. In traditional Islamic culture, as in the West before feminism, women were not viewed as agents within the public sphere, and were seldom the referents in discussions of political matters. The New Marriage Contract adopted a strategy of engagement in the religious discourse, based on the women's reading of their rights under the principles of Sharia.