The Position of Women in Islam

A Progressive View

By Mohammad Ali Syed

Subjects: Women In Religion, Women's Studies, Religion, Islam
Paperback : 9780791460962, 150 pages, August 2004
Hardcover : 9780791460955, 150 pages, August 2004

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Table of contents


Author's note



1. Roles of the Quran and the Hadith in Islamic Law

2. Reward and Punishment of the Sexes by God as Prescribed by the Quran

3. Origin of Men and Women According to the Quran

4. Assessment of Some Alleged Sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)

5. Rules of Marriage in Islamic Law

6. The Position of Husband and Wife in Islamic Law

7. Rules of Dissolution of Marriage in Islamic Law

8. Rights of Custody and Access to Children in Islamic Law

9. Financial and Economic Provisions for Women in Islamic Law

10. Rules Regarding Women as Witnesses in Islamic Law

11. Rules Regarding the Seclusion of Women (Purdah)

12. Women in Politics and as the Head of a State



Argues that Islamic law does not accord a lesser status to women and elaborates Muslim women's rights in a variety of areas.


Challenging the conservative framers of Islamic law who accorded a lesser status to women, Mohammad Ali Syed argues that the Quran and the Hadith—the two primary sources of Islamic law—actually place Muslim women on the same level as Muslim men. Syed provides an overview of both sources and explores their respective roles in Islamic law, emphasizing the Quran's role as the supreme authority and questioning the authenticity of some of the alleged sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). From these texts, he elaborates women's rights in a variety of areas, including treatment by God; marriage, divorce, financial provisions, and custody of children; coming out of seclusion (purdah), and taking part in social, economic, legal, and political activities. Rather than presenting what is practiced today, the book covers the theoretical position of Muslim women as sanctioned by the Quran and the authentic Hadith and offers a glimpse of the exalted position of honor and dignity enjoyed by Muslim women in the early days of Islam.

This well-researched book is made more distinctive by the author's personal experience. Raised in Bengal, India, Syed was inspired by his family, who valued men and women equally. As he grew up, Syed realized that most Muslim women lived very differently than the women of his family. According to the author, his family was egalitarian because his father and male relatives were not only devout Muslims but also very knowledgeable about Islam. This book is a culmination of his lifelong concern for women's rights under Islam.

A recognized expert on Islamic law, Mohammad Ali Syed has been a practicing Barrister in the English Bar since 1975. He is a member of the Bangladesh Bar and the former Head of the Department of Islamic History and Culture at Dhaka Government College. In 2003 he was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (M.B.E.) by the Queen of England.