Muslim Women in The Midst of Change by ZAKARIA BASHIER
MUSLIM WOMEN IN THE MIDST OF CHANGE
Fierce battle rages over the status of Muslim women. Discussion and controversy verge upon conflict and social strife.
In this essay, we shall attempt to isolate some of the main issues around which this conflict centers.
We shall also attempt to identify the major trends that are parties to this conflict.
The question of the role of women in society is one of the issues that will play an important part in setting the trend and direction of social change and development in the contemporary Islamic world.
This controversy concerning the role of Muslim women in the New Awareness which is gradually gathering momentum in the Muslim world today was given a strong impetus by an important treatise by the Sudanese Muslim intellectual, Dr. Hasan Turab, leader of the Islamic Charter Front.
Dr. TurabT’s article, entitled “Kayfa Tanhad al-Mar’ah” is translated into English and published in The Muslim under the title: “The Reawakening of Muslim Women’J This article has provoked a major controversy in the Sudan and in Muslim intellectual circles in the Arabic world (the original essay was, of course, written in Arabic).
Many objectors described the essay as excessively liberal in its contentions, while others contested the validity of its juris¬ tic presuppositions.
In what follows, I shall attempt to examine the traditional views on women in the light of the recent controversy.
1 shall try to restate those traditional views in the strongest possible formulation they can assume