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date: 30 November 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article examines the category of gender as it is employed in the study of Islamic law. It first considers how gender scholars turned to legal practice and challenged orientalist narratives using a social historical approach. It then analyses feminist critique of legal discourse, focusing on scholarship that addresses the development of pre-modern substantive law (fiqh) and legal theory, as well as the gendered construction of legal subjecthood. It also discusses three different modes of feminist engagements with Islamic law that developed from the 1990s onwards. The first approach develops a narrative about the patriarchal nature of Islamic law and the increasing decline of women’s rights throughout Islamic history. The second approach takes a constructive approach to Islamic law and the third approach interrogates the foundational assumptions and internal logic of substantive law.

Keywords: gender, Islamic law, feminism, substantive law, fiqh, legal theory, legal subjecthood, women’s rights

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