Beyond the Problematic of “The Muslim Woman”
About a billion Muslim women, worldwide, are endlessly reduced to an abstract profile, the Muslim woman, which dwarfs their diversity of origin, culture, socioeconomic status, and lifestyle. Moreover, such oversimplification overlooks the fact that the Qur’ān itself speaks of “Women” in the plural, thus forcefully emphasizing their diversity, as seen in the sūrah entitled “Women” (annisā’). Unlike traditional legal textbooks (Fiqh) where women’s rights are mentioned only in the context of the matrimonial sphere, current Muslim discourse addresses women in terms of “status or rights,” as if women have rights that are different from the inalienable rights granted to men. This forces women into particular frames of reference—rights, duties, and status.