JEAIL > Volume 2(1); 2009 > Issue Focus
Research Paper
Published online: May 30, 2009

Islamic View of Women's Rights: An International Lawyer's Perspective

Ekaterina Yahyaoui Krivenko
University of Montreal, Canada
500 Rue Francois, App. 312 Montreal, QC H3E 1G4 Canada
Corresponding Author:

ⓒ Copyright YIJUN Institute of International Law
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


What is an Islamic view of women's rights? Is there an authentic Islamic interpretation of this issue? The central argument of this article is that there is no unique Islamic view of women's rights and even more, that according to the very nature and spirit of Islamic law itself, there should be no such version. The article starts with an overview of states' international obligations with regard to protection of women's rights. It continues with some examples of implementation of these obligations in several states proclaiming Islam as official religion and source of legislation. This part of the article demonstrates diversity of views existing among such states and insists on the fact that it is not religion itself, but its misuse by patriarchal totalitarian regimes that impedes any development towards improvement of the situation of women in some Muslim states. Finally, the article suggests that international lawyers shall abandon sacralizing religiously framed defenses of certain states and be in contrast more attentive and sensitive to difficulties faced by other Muslim states in their effort to reform and reinterpret Islamic law.

Keywords : Islam, women's rights, CEDAW, reservations, Saudi Arabia, marriage, divorce, rights and obligations of spouses, custody of children.

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