REVISITING WOMEN’S RIGHTS IN ISLAM: ‘Egalitarian Justice’ in Lieu of ‘Deserts-based Justice’
In traditional Islamic thought women’s rights have been defined on the basis of a ‘deserts-based’ notion of justice (al-ʿadāla al-istiḥqāqiyya), by which individuals are entitled to justice according to their status, abilities and potential. This notion of justice leads to proportional equality, which recognises rights for individuals in proportion to their ‘deserts’. In modern times this notion of justice has encountered enormous problems. Can we reread the Qurʾan and the Traditions in the light of an egalitarian notion of justice that is premised on fundamental equality between men and women?