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Meg Iafrate

R. Masters
November 23, 2014

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Nano-History Paper

The status of women under Sharia Law

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Shaira law is an Islamic legal system which is an Islamic alternative for secular
models of governance. Women governed in this society have little rights. There are a few
categories that fall under these rights. Rights under International Law," "Male
Guardianship," "Modesty Laws," "Public Rights," and "Marital Rights."
Martial rights are basically Islamic marriage laws. They consist of the following:
- A man can have up to FOUR wives. The women can only have one husband.
- Once married you are supposed to have sexual submission unconditionally.
- The male "pays" for the bride. This can be money and or property.
- The man can divorce the female regardless if the female is there or not to
contest. IF the female wants to divorce the husband the male has to be there and CAN
contest and it will be required.
- According to some scholars the male can be beaten.
- There is no such things as shared assets. The male owns everything.

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- There is no minimum age for marriage. But they usually all agree the girl should
hit puberty, and its not uncommon to be married around the age 12 or 13.
After reading this set of laws or rules of the Islamic Shairia law's, I couldn't help, but
think how lucky we are as women when it comes to getting married or once you are
married your rights.There are a few differences in the Western legal system , but nothing
drastic just a few exceptions here and there. When it comes to "Marital Right." in general
I think its kind of interesting they even have "rights" in the law.
The next sets of laws are "Public Rights." Women have very little rights when it
comes to the rights of men vs. women. In the West the women are supposed to have the
same rights as men but they are prevented from using them under their male relatives.
Under Sharia women have lesser inheritance compared to men, lesser status as witnesses,
and they are not allowed to drive. So, even though it says legally they have "rights" that
does not mean they are allowed to practice them or use them unless they are allowed.
The law listed under the Sharia is "Modesty Laws." Modesty is basically a fancy
word for a dress code. Most women chose to follow these rules, but if you do not do so
there are extreme violence from police in places like Iran, Afghanistan, and Sudan. You
are supposed to wear clothing that covers your hair, neck, cloak like clothing that is loose
fitting, and some people take it to the extreme and where cloak like clothing that covers

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their whole body but a rectangular box around their eyes. Like I said above if these rules
aren't met there is usually violence involved.
Law number four is the "Male Guardianship Law." This law is applied to all women
whether you are married or not. If you are not married you follow under a relatives
orders. Under this law women are supposed to be subservient to her husband. This
usually mean if you want to go anywhere, have a job, engage in fasting, or anything
religious you have to ask your husband or relative. According to my reading there is a 50
page report condemning the situation of women under these laws alone!
The fifth law is "Rights under International Law." are a little unclear from my
reading, because once you step out of the Islamic culture and lets say you go to France.
Women have equal rights and outside countries are trying to pass laws that are trying to
help end women's violence. But, men that lead the Sharia Laws are not accepting these
laws that they are trying to pass.
Depending on where you live and you are a Muslim women married under Islam
you are bound to these rules. If you live in Western countries you are bound by these laws
and the countries laws. IF there is a conflict with the countries laws and Sharia, you are to
follow the Sharia's laws. As you can see these laws or "rights" for women under the Sharia
are extremely strict. Even though the UN is trying to enforce laws for women, the men

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that are in The Muslim Brotherhood will not allow it. Hopefully one day we can see these
rules fade away, but till then they are a active part in the Islamic culture.

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Resources:
1. Common laws and information about their society/rules. https://
www.islamswomen.com/articles/status_of_women_in_islam.php
2. Trying to change new laws for women in Islamic culture http://
www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/61371/isobel-coleman/women-islam-and-the-new-iraq
3. Punishment and rules. http://www.cfr.org/religion/islam-governing-undersharia/p8034
4. Women's rights under Sharia. http://www.clarionproject.org/understandingislamism/womens-rights-under-sharia

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