gender and human rights in islam and international law pdf

Gender And Human Rights In Islam And International Law Pdf

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Gender and Human Rights in Islam and International Law

Although ideas of rights and dignity of human beings can be traced to antiquity, modern human rights originated in the wake of the European Enlightenment. The American Declaration of Independence and the French Revolution ushered in processes that some years later culminated in human rights being proclaimed as universal entitlements of all individuals.

Contemporary human rights theory is based on three axioms: one, that human rights are universal and belong to all individuals, irrespective of their religion, ethnicity, gender or sexuality; two, that human rights are absolute and innate, not grants from states or some metaphysical authority; three, that they are the properties of individual subjects who possess them because of their capacity for rationality, agency and autonomy.

The UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights UDHR obliges states to protect the human rights of their populations and provide redress of their violation through appropriate judicial procedures.

However, since the UN system recognises states as sovereign entities, the concomitant non-interference principle has, in practice, meant that the human rights situation varies from country to country, and even those countries that have formally ratified UN treaties on human rights can get away with violation of those commitments with formal protests from UN monitoring agencies. Moreover, some treaties permit partial derogation. Historical, cultural and developmental factors are usually invoked to justify the derogations.

Consequently, discrepancy between formal acceptance of UN human rights instruments and the actual practice of states is more of a rule than an exception. Claiming to be heirs to Islam, a divinely ordained universal, inclusive civilisation which welcomes conversions of all peoples of the world, contemporary Muslim states have invoked cultural relativistic arguments to justify modifications of, and derogations from, UN-based international human rights norms and standards.

The model of an ideal Islamic polity is traced back to the seventh century CE, when the Prophet Muhammad and his immediate successors ruled at Medina. Classic Islamic political theory dichotomised society into two distinct categories: Muslims and non-Muslims. In accordance with Quranic rulings, non-Muslim religious communities, called dhimmis , paid the jizya , or protection tax, and were entitled to internal autonomy. Originally only a special category of non-Muslims, the people of the Book—that is, Christians, Jews and an extinct group called Sabeans—were accorded the status of dhimmis.

The same principle was extended later to include the Hindus of India. Within the Muslim Umma community , sectarian divisions resulted in the state privileging the dominant sect or sub-sects. Considered in this light, the notion of an inclusive, undifferentiated citizenry and equal rights, as upheld in the UDHR and subsequent treaties and conventions, is not consonant with Islamic political values and norms. It recognised almost all the rights laid down in the UDHR, but added the rider that these were to be enjoyed within limits imposed by the Sharia.

The Islamic Sharia is the only source of reference for the explanation or clarification of any of the articles of this Declaration. Thus, for example, the Sharia does not permit a Muslim to convert to another religion, a Muslim female cannot marry a non-Muslim, a Muslim male can marry up to four wives simultaneously, and the laws of inheritance confer a greater share to male descendants. The last official census of Pakistan, from , gave the total population of Pakistan as million.

Muslims Sunnis and Shias made up The current estimated Pakistan population is close to million. It has ratified several UN treaties and conventions on human rights, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women , but with reservations on both so that Sharia laws pertaining to freedom of belief and freedom to enter marriage have precedence.

Pakistan emerged on 14 August as a separate state, when British rule in the Indian subcontinent ended and India was partitioned to establish two states based on religious majorities: Hindus in India and Muslims in Pakistan. The partition proved to be one of the bloodiest upheavals in history, however. An estimated one million Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs were killed in violent riots, while 14—18 million crossed the international border between the two states to escape violence, discrimination and persecution.

Yet, religious minorities remained on both sides. Both standpoints derive from the phantasmagoria that the All-India Muslim League and its supreme leader, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, successfully projected a vision in which Muslims of all sorts of ideological persuasion and sectarian affiliations were given diverse and conflicting promises were given in order to mobilise their support for a utopian polity. Thus, for example, the ulema were given a free hand to project future Pakistan as an Islamic state, while to the British, the rival Indian National Congress, and modern educated Muslims, it was painted as a democracy.

More importantly, the point that Jinnah hammered down with great flourish was that Hindus and Muslims were two separate nations who could under no circumstance live in peace in one state. A complete reversal on the definition of nation was proffered by Jinnah on 11 August , three days before Pakistan became independent.

He said famously:. You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed—that has nothing to do with the business of the State …. We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one State …. I think we should keep that in front of us as our ideal and you will find that in due course Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State.

Jinnah died on 11 September His close lieutenants in the Muslim League discarded the inclusionary vision on Pakistani nationalism, since the stand taken by Jinnah on 11 August completely contradicted the underlying ideology upon which the support of the Muslim voters and masses had been solicited to create a separate Muslim state.

Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan moved the Objectives Resolution in the Pakistan Constituent Assembly on 7 March , which proclaimed that sovereignty over the entire universe belonged to God Almighty, in which the elected representatives of the people would enjoy delegated powers within limits imposed by Him. In , he compiled a point political programme in favour of an Islamic state.

Although elections were accepted as the basis of legitimate government, Western democracy, female equality and equal rights for non-Muslims were rejected. Maududi was able to secure the signatures of the leading Sunni and Shia clerics to that document. The roots of the conflict went back to the early twentieth century, when Mirza Ghulam Ahmad — , born at Qadian in the Punjab, began to claim that he was a prophet who received revelation from God.

Mirza also claimed to be carrying the attributes of Jesus and of the Hindu god Krishna. Moreover, he rejected jihad holy war against the British. Such claims were unacceptable to the Sunni and Shia ulema, who denounced him as an imposter and his teachings as heretical.

In , his son, Mirza Bashiruddin Maumud Ahmad, made a statement to the effect that those Muslims who had not converted to Ahmadiyyat were outside the pale of Islam. In , mainstream ulema demanded that, since Pakistan was an Islamic state, only Muslims could hold key positions in the state.

Therefore, since Ahmadis held beliefs that were irreconcilable with Islam, they should be removed from key positions. On that occasion, the central government acted forcefully and the agitation was crushed. The first constitution of Pakistan was adopted in It described Pakistan as an Islamic Republic. It was laid down that all laws should be brought into conformity with the Quran and Sunnah. The president, envisaged as a titular head of state, was required to be a Muslim. A bill of rights was included which upheld human rights, and all Pakistanis were given the right to vote without any reference to religion.

The Islamists hailed the constitution as an authoritative commitment to Islamise Pakistan. Khan drew up a second constitution in The constitution reiterated the commitment to bringing all laws in consonance with the Quran and Sunnah, and the condition that the president should be a Muslim was retained. Pakistani citizens, in principle, continued to enjoy the same fundamental rights and freedoms, without discrimination based on religion or sect.

Military rule ended in December , after Pakistan broke up and East Pakistan became a separate state in the wake of a bloody civil war. A third constitution was adopted in by the Pakistan National Assembly, which not only required the president but also the prime minister to be Muslim. Further, they had to take an oath testifying to the finality of the prophet-hood of Muhammad.

Zia declared the establishment of an Islamic order a prerequisite for the country. In , his government announced the imposition of the Hudood Ordinances, i. In —, the Ahmadis were forbidden to use Islamic nomenclature for their worship, places of worship, and so on. In , the Blasphemy Law was reformulated and capital punishment was prescribed as the maximum punishment. Thus, Section C of the Penal Code established explicitly:.

Use of derogatory remarks etc. The amendment passed during the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif — However, it was adopted as law proper during the government of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto — With regard to the judicial procedure, while the lower courts have typically found the accused guilty, at the higher levels the sentences have either been turned into long imprisonments or the accused have been set free and allowed to seek humanitarian asylum in the West.

It is doubtful if assassins of alleged blasphemers have not been tried in court, punished, and the sentence carried out. The military government of Field Marshal Mohammad Ayub Khan made a special effort to reform Sharia law pertaining to personal affairs of marriage, divorce, and inheritance.

The husband had to give a convincing reason to contract a new marriage. Only when permission was granted by the arbitration council, in consultation with the wife or wives, could a man marry another wife. The MFLO also fixed 16 as the legal age of marriage for girls. The ordinance was assailed by the ulema as a great transgression of the Islamic system.

Such protests were rejected and the MFLO became law, which, despite recurring calls for its repeal, remains in force. General Muhammad Zia-ul-Hoq, however, introduced cultural and legal changes that weakened the status and human rights of women. The law pertaining to rape was recast in traditional Sharia terms. It required evidence given by four pious Muslim male witnesses to prove the offence.

Failure to provide such evidence could result in 80 lashes. Several women who claimed they were raped were unable to establish the crime due to the lack of four pious male witnesses. The military government of General Pervez Musharraf tried to revive the modernistic approach, and in , the four-witness condition was discontinued.

These include increasing trends towards honour killings among Muslims and forcible conversions and marriages of kidnapped non-Muslim women to Muslim men. The two main strands of Muslim nationalism—the liberal-modernist and Islamist—seek legitimacy from the Sharia. In practice, it means that a logical and necessary link exists between membership in the Islamic community and citizenship.

Such disposition is premised on the assumption that the true believer has to be differentiated from the non-believer, the heretic, and the hypocrite. It is further compounded by gender criteria favouring men.

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Submissions Advertise Donate About. Image via wikimedia commonss. Islam and Human Rights Claiming to be heirs to Islam, a divinely ordained universal, inclusive civilisation which welcomes conversions of all peoples of the world, contemporary Muslim states have invoked cultural relativistic arguments to justify modifications of, and derogations from, UN-based international human rights norms and standards.

Islam and human rights: Clash or compatibility?

The relationship between Islamic law and international human rights law has been the subject of considerable, and heated, debate in recent years. This approach quickly ends in acrimony and accusations of misunderstanding. By overlaying one set of norms on another we overlook the deeply contextual nature of how legal rules operate in a society, and meaningful comparison and discussion is impossible. Chapters in this book Chapters in this book attempt to deepen the understanding of human rights and Islam, paving the way for a more meaningful debate.

Some proponents of human rights are deeply sceptical of Islam and religion in general for that matter. They argue that the two are inherently incompatible. But this is not all there is to say about Islam and human rights. If we listen to some of the many Muslim voices in contemporary human rights debates, a much more nuanced picture emerges. There are at least four different positions among Muslim state actors, civil society organisations and intellectuals today.

Skip to search form Skip to main content You are currently offline. Some features of the site may not work correctly. Ali Published Political Science. It explores the disparity between the theoretical perspective on women's rights and its application to Muslim jurisdictions, determined by elements of cultural practices, socio-economic Read more Save to Library.


Chapter I Human Rights in Islam and International Law: A Conceptual Analysis Ahmed, Women and Gender in Islam: Historical Roots of a Modern Debate.


Islamic Law and International Human Rights Law

International human rights law and gender equality: elements of a rights-based approach. Some critical issues relating to the scope and application of human rights. The role of multilateral and bilateral entities in realizing human rights at the national level. During this decade there has been a significant shift in approach to women's advancement and empowerment. While previously the advancement of women was regarded as important for outcomes such as economic development or population policies, more than ever the international community has come to consider the empowerment and autonomy of women and the improvement of their political, social, economic and health status as important ends in themselves.

Islam and human rights: Clash or compatibility?

Gender and Human Rights in Islam and International Law

Some proponents of human rights are deeply sceptical of Islam and religion in general for that matter. They argue that the two are inherently incompatible. But this is not all there is to say about Islam and human rights. If we listen to some of the many Muslim voices in contemporary human rights debates, a much more nuanced picture emerges. There are at least four different positions among Muslim state actors, civil society organisations and intellectuals today. Some flat out reject the whole concept of human rights. They consider human rights to be a Western invention, grown out of Western history and based on Western values of secularism and individualism — and as such irrelevant to the Muslim world.

Some proponents of human rights are deeply sceptical of Islam and religion in general for that matter. They argue that the two are inherently incompatible. But this is not all there is to say about Islam and human rights. If we listen to some of the many Muslim voices in contemporary human rights debates, a much more nuanced picture emerges.


3 Further,. Muslim women would also be aware of gender-based limitations that the Islamic state imposes on them. 4. Shari'a's strict classifications of territories in​.


Gender and Human Rights in Islam and International Law:Equal Before Allah, Unequal Before Man?

Women are entitled to enjoy the same human rights and fundamental freedoms as other individuals. Under international human rights law, women may also be entitled to specific additional rights such as those concerning reproductive healthcare. As a particularly vulnerable group, women have special status and protection within the United Nations and regional human rights systems. Additional treaties, which may address specific human rights or protect the rights of other vulnerable groups, apply equally to women.

The United Nations U. In addition to these global initiatives, complementary declarations were developed by regional organizations including the Organization of American States, Organization of African Unity, and Council of Europe. Under the umbrella of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation OIC; formerly the Organization of Islamic Conference , Muslim states revisited these concepts in the s to draft their own instrument.

Islam and Human Rights in Pakistan

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This article explores the question of whether Islamic law and universal human rights are compatible. It begins with an overview of human rights discourse after the Second World War before discussing Islamic human rights declarations and the claims of Muslim apologists regarding human rights, along with challenges to Muslim apologetics in human rights discourse. It then considers the issues of gender and gender equality, feminism, and freedom of religion in relation to human rights. Keywords: Islamic law , universal human rights , Muslim apologetics , gender , gender equality , feminism , freedom of religion , Muslims.

Although ideas of rights and dignity of human beings can be traced to antiquity, modern human rights originated in the wake of the European Enlightenment. The American Declaration of Independence and the French Revolution ushered in processes that some years later culminated in human rights being proclaimed as universal entitlements of all individuals. Contemporary human rights theory is based on three axioms: one, that human rights are universal and belong to all individuals, irrespective of their religion, ethnicity, gender or sexuality; two, that human rights are absolute and innate, not grants from states or some metaphysical authority; three, that they are the properties of individual subjects who possess them because of their capacity for rationality, agency and autonomy. The UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights UDHR obliges states to protect the human rights of their populations and provide redress of their violation through appropriate judicial procedures.

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1 Comments

  1. GГ©rard D.

    Book Review of: Gender and Human Rights in Islam and International Law: Equal Before Allah, Unequal Before Man? by Shaheen Sardar Ali · 19+ million.

    15.04.2021 at 16:22 Reply

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