Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
×
Home

Religion, State Power, and Domestic Violence in Muslim Societies: A Framework for Comparative Analysis

  • Lisa Hajjar

Abstract

This article focuses on the issue of domestic violence in Muslim societies in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. The analytical framework is comparative, emphasizing four factors and the interplay among them: shari'a (Islamic law), state power, intrafamily violence, and struggles over women's rights. The comparative approach historicizes the problem of domestic violence and impunity to consider the impact of transnational legal discourses (Islamism and human rights) on “local” struggles over rights and law. The use of shari'a creates some commonalities in gender and family relations in Muslim societies, notably the sanctioning and maintenance of male authority over female relatives. However, the most important issue for understanding domestic violence and impunity is the relationship between religion and state power. This relationship takes three forms: communalization, in which religious law is separate from the national legal regime; nationalization, in which the state incorporates religious law into the national legal regime; and theocratization, in which the national legal regime is based on religious law.

Copyright

References

Hide All
Abdel Hadi, Amal, and Darwiche, Nawla. N.d. Strategies to Fight Domestic Violence against Women in the Arab Countries. New York: United Nations Division on the Advancement of Women. Draft.
Abdel, Halim, Asma, Mohamed 1994. Tools of Suppression. In Gender Violence and Women's Human Rights in Africa. New Brunswick, N.J.: Center for Women's Global Leadership.
Adeiman, Madelaine. 2000. No Way Out: Divorce-related Domestic Violence Research in Israel. Violence against Women 6 (11): 1223–54.
Afary, Janet. 1998. The War against Feminism in the Name of the Almighty: Making Sense of Gender and Muslim Fundamentalism. Women Living under Muslim Laws Dossier 21:731.
Afkhami, Mahnaz, ed. 1995. Faith and Freedom: Women's Human Rights in the Muslim World. Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press.
Afkhami, Mahnaz, Nemiroff, Greta Hofmann, and Vazeri, Haleh. 1998. Safe and Secure: Eliminating Violence against Women and Girls in Muslim Societies. Bethesda, Md.: Sisterhood Is Global Institute.
Afkhami, Mahnaz and Vazeri, Haleh. 1996. Claiming Our Rights: A Manual for Women's Human Rights Education in Muslim Societies. Bethesda, Md.: Sisterhood Is Global Institute.
Ahmed, Leila. 1992. Women and Gender in Islam: Historical Roots of a Modern Debate. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press.
Al-Ali, Nadje. 2000. Secularism, Gender and die State in the Middle East: The Egyptian Women's Movement. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Al-Hibri, Azizah. 1997. Islam, Law and Custom: Redefining Muslim Women's Rights. American Journal of International Law and Policy 12:144.
Al-Hibri, Azizah. 2001. Muslim Women's Rights in the Global Village: Opportunities and Challenges. Journal of Law and Religion 15:2981.
Ali, Shaheen Sardar. 2000. Gender and Human Rights in Islam and International Law: Equal before Allah, Unequal before Man? The Hague: Kluwer Law International.
Amnesty International. 1997. Women's Human Rights Remain a Dead Letter [Pakistan]. London: Amnesty International.
Amnesty International. 1998. Pakistan: No Progress on Women's Rights. London: Amnesty International.
An-Na'im, Abdullahi. 1994. State Responsibility under International Human Rights Law to Change Religious and Customary Laws. In Cook 1994.
An-Na'im, Abdullahi. 1996. Islam and Women's Rights: A Case Study. Women Living under Islamic Law Dossier 14–15:96109.
An-Na'im, Abdullahi, and Deng, Francis, eds. 1990. Human Rights in Africa: Cross-Cultural Perspectives. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution.
Atinmo, Morayo. 1997. Sociocultural Implications of Wife Beating in Nigeria. In Men, Women and Violence. Senegal: CODESRIA Gender Institute.
Badawi, Jamal. 1995. Gender Equity in Islam: Basic Principles. Plainfield, Ind.: American Trust Publications.
Bodman, Herbert, and Tohidi, Nayereh, eds. 1998. Women in Muslim Societies: Diversity within Unity. Boulder, Colo.: Lynne Rienner Publishers.
Bukurta, Milkah Elam. 1998. Pattern of Wife Abuse within Families in Yola Adamawa Education, University of Nigeria.
Bumiller, Kristin. 1988. The Civil Rights Society: The Social Construction of Victims. Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Bunch, Charlotte, and Reilly, Niamh. 1999. Demanding Accountability: The Global Campaign and Vienna Tribunal for Women's Human Rights. New Brunswick, N.J.: Center for Women's Global Leadership.
Callaway, Barbara, and Creevey, Lucy. 1989. Women and the State in Islamic West Africa. In Women, the State and Development, ed. Charlton, Sue Ellen, Everett, Jana, and Staudt, Kathleen. Albany, N.Y.: SUNY Press.
Mounira, Charrad. 1990. State and Gender in the Maghrib. Middle East Report 1924.
Chatterjee, Partha. 1995. Religious Minorities and the Secular State: Reflections on an Indian Impasse. Public Culture 8 (1): 1140.
Jane, Connors. 1994. Government Measures to Confront Violence against Women. In Davies 1994b.
Jane, Connors. 1996. The Women's Convention in the Muslim World. In Yamani 1996.
Cook, Rebecca, ed. 1994. Human Rights of Women: National and International Perspectives. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Coomarswamy, Radhika. 1996. Further Promotion and Encouragement of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms for Women. Report to the UN Commission on Human Rights. E/CN.4/1996.
Coomarswamy, Radhika. 1999. Violence against Women in the Family. Report to the UN Commission on Human Rights. E/CN.4/1999.
Coomarswamy, Radhika. 2000. Combating Domestic Violence: Obligations of the State. In Domestic Violence against Women and Girls. Florence, Italy: Innocenti Research Center, UNICEF.
Cooper, Barbara. 1998. Gender and Religion in Hausaland: Variations in Islamic Practice in Niger and Nigeria. In Bodman and Tohidi 1998.
Copelon, Rhonda. 1994. Intimate Terror: Understanding Domestic Violence as Torture. In Cook 1994.
Crenshaw, Kimberle. 1995. Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence against Women of Color. In Critical Race Theory: The Key Writings that Formed the Movement, ed. Crenshaw, Kimberle, Gotanda, Neil, Peller, Gary, and Thomas, Kendall. New York: New Press.
Davies, Miranda. 1994a. Understanding the Problem (from the UN Resource Manual Strategies for Confronting Domestic Violence). In Davies 1994b.
Davies, Miranda, ed. 1994b. Women and Violence: Realities and Responses Worldwide. London: Zed Books.
Dawood, N. J., trans. 1974 The Koran. New York: Penguin Books.
Dobash, R. E., and Dobash, R. P. 1980. Violence against Wives: A Case Study against Patriarchy. London: Open Books.
Dobash, R. E., and Dobash, R. P. 1992. Women, Violence and Social Change. London: Routledge.
Effah, Josephine. 1995. Unequal Rights: Discriminatory Laws and Practices against Women in Nigeria. Lagos, Nigeria: Constitutional Rights Project.
Eissa, Dahlia. 1999. Constructing the Notion of Male Superiority over Women in Islam: The Influence of Sex and Gender Stereotyping in the Interpretation of the Qur'an and the Implications for a Modernist Exegesis of Rights. Occasional paper no. 11. Montpellier, France: Women Living under Muslim Laws.
El Alami, Dawoud. 1992. The Marriage Contract in Islamic Law in the Shari'ah and Personal Status Laws of Egypt and Morocco. London: Graham and Trotman.
El Alami, Dawoud, and Hinchcliffe, Doreen. 1996. Islamic Marriage and Divorce Laws, of the Arab World. The Hague: CIMEL and Kluwer Law International.
El-Solh, Camilla Fawzi, and Mabro, Judy, eds. 1994. Muslim Women's Choices: Religious Belief and Social Reality. Oxford, England: Berg Publishers.
El-Zanaty, Fatma, Hussein, Enas M., Shawky, Gihan A., Way, Ann A., and Kishor, Sunita. 1996. Egypt Demographic and Health Survey 1995. Cairo: National Population Council.
Engineer, Asghar Ali. 1992. The Rights of Women in Islam. New York: St. Martin's Press.
Engineer, Asghar Ali. 1996. Communalism in India. New Delhi: Vikas Publishers.
Engineer, Asghar Ali. 1999. The Need for Codification and Reform in Muslim Personal Law in India. Women Living under Muslim Laws Dossier 22:5659.
Esfandiari, Haleh. 1994. The Majles and Women's Issues in the Islamic Republic of Iran. In In the Eye of the Storm: Women in Post-Revolutionary Iran, ed. Afkhami, Mahnaz and Friedl, Erika. Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press.
Ezeah, Peter Chukwama. 1993. Socialization, Social Class and Marital Violence: A Study of Wife Abuse in Nsukka Local Government Area, Enugu State Nsukka [Nigeria]. Master's thesis, Department of Sociology/Anthropology, University of Nigeria.
Flavia, Agnes. 1999. Law and Gender Inequality: The Politics of Women's Rights in India. Columbia, Mo.: South Asia Books.
Fried, Susana, ed. 1994. The Indivisibility of Women's Human Rights: A Continuing Dialogue. New Brunswick, N.J.: Center for Women's Global Leadership.
Gottesman, Evan. 1992. The Reemergence of Qisas and Diyat in Pakistan. Columbia Human Rights Law Review 23:433–61.
Green, December. 1999. Gender Violence in Africa: African Women's Responses. New York: St. Martin's Press.
HRW. See Human Rights Watch.
Haeri, Shahla. 1995. The Politics of Dishonor: Rape and Power in Pakistan. In Afkhami 1995.
Haj-Yahia, Muhammad. 1995. Towards Culturally Sensitive Intervention within Arab Families in Israel. Contemporary Family Therapy 17 (4): 429–47.
Haj-Yahia, Muhammad. 1996. Wife Abuse in the Arab Society in Israel: Some Challenges for Future Change. In Future Interventions with Battered Women and Their Families, ed. Edleson, Jeffrey L. and Eisikovitz, Zvi. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications.
Hajjar, Lisa. 1998. Between a Rock and a Hatd Place: Arab Women, Liberal Feminism and the Israeli State. Middle East Report, no. 207, 2728.
Hajjar, Lisa. 2000. Sovereign Bodies, Sovereign States and the Problem of Tortute. Studies in Law, Politics, and Society 21:101–34.
Halliday, Fred. 1995. Relativism and Universalism in Human Rights: The Case of the Islamic Middle East. Political Studies 43:152–67.
Halliday, Fred, and Alavi, Hamza, eds. 1988. State and Ideology in the Middle East and Pakistan. London: Macmillan.
Hamadeh, Najla. 1996. Islamic Family Legislation: The Authoritarian Discourse of Silence. In Yamani 1996.
Hassan, Riffat. 1987. Women in the Context of Change and Confrontation with Muslim Communities. In Women of Faith in Dialogue, ed. Mollenkott, Vitginia Ramney. New York: Crossroad.
Hassan, Riffat. 1995. Women's Rights and Islam: From the I.C.P.D. to Beijing. Louisville, Ky.: NISA Publications.
Hassan, Yasmine. 1995. The Haven Becomes Hell. Lahore, Pakistan: Shirkat Gah.
Hoodfar, Homa. 1999. The Women's Movement in Iran: Women at the Crossroads of Secularization and Islamization. Women's Movement Series no. 1. Montpellier, France: Women Living under Muslim Laws.
Howard, Rhoda. 1990. Group versus Individual Identity in the African Debate. In An-Na'im and Deng 1990.
Human Rights Commission of Pakistan [HRCP]. 1997. State of Human Rights in 1996. Lahore: Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.
Human Rights Commission of Pakistan [HRCP]. 1998. State of Human Rights in 1997. Lahore: Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.
Human Rights Watch [HRW]. 1998. Human Rights Watch World Report 1998. New York: Human Rights Watch.
Human Rights Watch [HRW]. 1999. Crime or Custom? Violence against Women in Pakistan. New York: Human Rights Watch.
Human Rights Watch [HRW]. 2001. Morocco: Action Urged on Legal Code Reform. Press release. Available at: http://www.hrw.org/press/2001/03/morocco0320.htm.
Human Rights Watch [HRW]. 2002. Human Rights Watch World Report 2002. New York: Human Rights Watch.
Ibrahim, Ibtisam. 1998. The Status of Arab Women in Israel. Critique 12:107–20.
International Center for Research on Women. 1999. Domestic Violence in India: A Summary Report of Three Studies. Washington, D.C.: International Center for Research on Women and the Centre for Development and Population Activities.
Jayawardena, Kumari, and de Alwis, Malathi, eds. 1996. Embodied Violence: Communalising Women's Sexuality in South Asia. London: Zed Books.
Jefferson, LaShawn. 2002. The War on Women. Wall Street Journal, 22 August.
Jeffrey, Patricia, and Basu, Amrita, eds. 1998. Appropriating Gender: Women's Activism and Politicized Religion in South Asia. New York: Routledge.
Joseph, Ammu. 2002. Intimate Enemy. Hindu [online newspaper], 4 August.
Kandiyoti, Deniz. 1988. Bargaining with Patriarchy. Gender and Society 2-3:274–90.
Kandiyoti, Deniz. 1995. Reflections on the Politics of Gender in Muslim Societies: From Nairobi to Beijing. In Afkhami 1995.
Kandiyoti, Deniz. ed. 1991. Introduction to Women, Islam and the State. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
Kian, Azadeh. 1998. Women and Politics in Post-Islamist Iran: The Gender-Conscious Drive to Change. Women Lining under Muslim Laws Dossier 12:7596.
Kian-Thiebaut, Azadeh. 1999. Political and Social Transformations in Post-Islamist Iran. Middle East Report 29 (3): 1216.
Kumar, Radha. 1994. Identity Politics and the Contemporary Indian Feminist Movement. In Identity Politics and Women: Cultural Reassertions and Feminisms in International Perspective, ed. Moghadam, Valentine. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1994.
Lateef, Shahida. 1998. Muslim Women in India: A Minority within a Minority. In Bodman and Tohidi 1998.
Levinson, David. 1989. Domestic Violence in Cross-Cultural Perspective. Newbury Park, N.J.: Sage.
Maghroui, Abdeslam. 2001. Political Authority in Crisis: Mohammed VI's Morocco. Middle East Report 31 (1): 1217.
Mani, Lata. 1989. Contentious Traditions: The Debate on Sati in Colonial India. In Recasting Women: Essays in Colonial History, ed. Sangari, Kumkum and Vaid, Sudesh. New Delhi: Kali for Women.
Mayer, Ann. 1991. Islam and Human Rights: Tradition and Politics. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press.
Mayer, Ann. 1995a. Cultural Particularism as a Bar to Women's Rights: Reflections on the Middle Eastern Experience. In Women's Rights, Human Rights: International Feminist Perspectives, ed. Peters, Julie and Wolper, Andrea. New York: Routledge.
Mayer, Ann. 1995b. Rhetorical Strategies and Official Policies on Women's Rights: The Merits and Drawbacks of the New World Hypocrisy. In Afkhami 1995.
Mehdi, Rubya. 1990. The Offense of Rape in the Islamic Law of Pakistan. International Journal of the Sociology of Law 18:1929.
Mernissi, Fatima. 1991. The Veil and the Male Elite: A Feminist Interpretation of Women's Rights in Islam. Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley.
Mernissi, Fatima. 1995. Arab Women's Rights and the Muslim State in the Twenty-first Century: Reflections on Islam as Religion and State. In Afkhami 1995.
Mills, Linda G. 1999. Killing Her Softly: Intimate Abuse and the Violence of State Intervention. Harvard Law Review 113:550613.
Mir-Hosseini, Ziba. 1996. Stretching the Limits: A Feminist Reading of the Shari'a in Post-Khomeini Iran. In Yamani 1996.
Mir-Hosseini, Ziba. 2000. Islam and Gender: The Religious Debate in Contemporary Islam. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.
Mir-Hosseini, Ziba. 2001. The Rise and Fall of Fa'ezeh Hashemi: Women in Iranian Elections. Middle East Report 31 (1): 811.
Moghissi, Hajdeh. 1996. Factionalism and Muslim Feminine Elite in Iran. In Iran after the Revolution, ed. Rahnema, Saeed and Behdad, Sohrab. London: I. B. Tauris.
Moghissi, Hajdeh. 1999. Feminism and Islamic Fundamentalism: The Limits of Postmodern Analysis. London: Zed Books.
Mohanty, Chandra Talpade. 1991. Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourses. In Third World Women and the Politics of Feminism, ed. Mohanty, Ann Russo and Torres, Lourdes. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Negus, Steve. 2000. Egypt: Family Law Reform. Middle East International, 11 February, 1819.
Olawale, Albert. 1996. Women and Violence in Kano, Nigeria. Ibadan, Nigeria: Spectrum Books.
Pakizegi, Ilehnaz. 1978. Legal and Social Positions of Iranian Women. In Women in the Muslim World, ed. Beck, Lois and Keddi, Nikki. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Panikkar, R. 1982. Is the Notion of Human Rights a Western Concept Diogenes 120:75102.
Pearl, David, and Menski, Werner. 1998. Muslim Family Law. 3d ed. London: Sweet and Maxwell.
Quraishi, Asifa. 2000. Her Honor: An Islamic Critique of the Rape Laws of Pakistan from a Woman-sensitive Perspective. In Windows of Faith: Muslim Women Scholar-Activists in North America, ed. Webb, Gisela. Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press.
Rouse, Shahnaz. 1998. The Outsider(s) within: Sovereignty and Citizenship in Pakistan. In Jeffrey and Basu 1998.
Seager, Joni. 1999 The State of Women in the World Atlas. London: Penguin Books.
Shaheed, Farida. 1994- The Experience in Pakistan. In Davies 1994b.
Shaheed, Farida, et al., eds. 1998. Shaping Women's Lives: Laws, Practices and Strategies in Pakistan. Lahore, Pakistan: Women's Resource Centre.
Shalhoub-Kevorkian, Nadera. 1999. Law, Politics, and Violence against Women: A Case Study of Palestinians in Israel. Law and Policy 21 (2): 189211.
Sharabi, Hisham. 1988. Neopatriarchy: A Theory of Distorted Change in Arab Society. New York: Oxford University Press.
Sharma, Kalpana. 2002. Women's Groups Oppose Domestic Violence Bill. Hindu [online newspaper], 8 March.
Singh, Kirti. 1994. Obstacles to Women's Rights in India. In Cook 1994.
Sonbol, Amira El-Azhary. 1998. To'a and Modern Legal Reform: A Rereading. Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations 9 (3): 285–94.
Sonbol, Amira El-Azhary. ed. 1996. Women, the Family and Divorce Laws in Islamic History. Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press.
Stork, Joe, and Beinin, Joel, eds. 1997. Political Islam. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.
Stowasser, Barbara. 1998. Gender Issues and Contemporary Quran Interpretation. In Islam, Gender and Social Change, ed. Haddad, Yvonne and Esposito, John. New York: Oxford University Press.
Svensson, Jonas. 2000. Women's Human Rights and Islam: A Study of Three Attempts at Accommodation. Vol. 12. Lund, Norway: Lund Studies in History of Religions.
Swirski, Barbara. 2000. The Citizenship of Jewish and Palestinian Women in Israel. In Gender and Citizenship in the Middle East, ed. Joseph, Suad. Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press.
Tadross, Marlyn. 1995. Women between Reality and Law. In Partial Citizenship: The Marginalization of Women in Egypt (in Arabic), ed. Tadross, Abdulaziz Al-Shabiti, and Abdulhakim, Amira. Cairo: Legal Research and Resource Center for Human Rights.
Tadross, Marlyn. 1998. Rightless Women, Heartless Men: Egyptian Women and Domestic Violence. Cairo: Legal Research and Resource Center for Human Rights.
Tibi, Bassam. 1990. The European Tradition of Human Rights and the Culture of Islam. In An-Na'im and Deng 1990.
Tibi, Bassam. 1994. Islamic Law/Shari'a, Human Rights, Universal Morality and International Relations. Human Rights Quarterly 16:277–99.
Toubia, Nahid. 1994. Women's Reproductive and Sexual Rights. In Gender Violence and Women's Human Rights in Africa. New Brunswick, N.J.: Center for Women's Global Leadership.
United Nations. 2000. The World's Women 2000. New York: United Nations.
Walley, Christine. 1997. Searching for “Voices”: Feminism, Anthropology and the Global Debate over Female Genital Operations. Cultural Anthropology 12:405–38.
Welchman, Lynn, et al. 1999-2000. Roundtable on Strategies to Address “Crimes of Honour”: A Summary Report. Yearbook on Islamic and Middle Eastern Law 6:439–61.
Women, Law and Development International. 1996. State Responses to Domestic Violence: Current Status and Needed Improvements. Washington, D.C.: Women, Law and Development International.
Women's Ministry [Pakistan]. 1985. Battered Housewives in Pakistan. Islamabad: Women's Ministry [Pakistan].
World Bank. N.d. Genderstats. Available at http://www.genderstats.worldbank.org.
Yahia, M. M. 1998. The Incidence of Wife Abuse and Battering and Some Sociodemographic Correlates as Revealed in Two National Surveys in Palestinian Society. Ramallah, Palestinian Authority: Bisan Center for Research and Development.
Yamani, Mai, ed. 1996. Feminism and Islam: Legal and Literary Perspectives. New York: New York University Press.
Zorn, Jean. 1999. Women's Rights Are Human Rights: International Law and the Culture of Domestic Violence. In To Have and to Hit: Cultural Perspectives on Wife Beating, ed. Counts, Dorothy Ayers, Brown, Judith, and Campbell, Jacquelyn. 2d ed. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
Zubaida, Sami. 2001. Islam and the Politics of Community and Citizenship. Middle East Report 31 (4): 2027.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Law & Social Inquiry
  • ISSN: 0897-6546
  • EISSN: 1747-4469
  • URL: /core/journals/law-and-social-inquiry
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed