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The rights of women have assumed an enhanced significance in modern times in general, and in the Islamic world, in particular. Most of the Muslim nations are located in the third world where the process of modernisation was begun a few decades ago. Since religious orthodoxy is still very strong in these countries, female consciousness is very low. However, despite difficulties, the women s movement is struggling to forge ahead. Many women from higher social strata look upon the religion-based laws as outdated and reactionary which must be got rid of. The differing laws from one Islamic country to the other clearly show that much depends on the socio-political circumstances than on divine injunctions and that divine scriptures can be differently interpreted by human agents. Thus one of the major premises of pro-changers and seekers of the gender-just family laws is that the divine scriptures must be re-interpreted in the light of our own experiences and historical circumstances. The theme of the essays of this volume is that much depends on the way Qur anic verses are interpreted and certain controversial traditions of the Prophet are used to formulate a shar i position. The most fundamental values of Islam are justice and equality – equality in all spheres, including the sexual sphere. Today when women have acquired much greater role in public life, in employment, in the educational field, in the productive sphere, the shar i formulations as applying to them have to be re-thought. It is the shadow of the medieval social ethos which has enveloped the Islamic spirit. This shadow has darkened further with the rise of revivalist movements. The aim of this book is to liberate Islamic laws from this medieval shadow and recast them in the light of Islamic values.
deal for those with little knowledge of the religion, this guide to the Sikh faith offers a clear understanding of what Sikhs believe and how they practice their faith. It examines all aspects of the faith, including initiation, worship, and festivals; the Gurus and the beginnings of Sikhism; the Sikh scriptures and teachings about God; the family, marriage, and death; Sikh names and the naming ceremony; and Sikhism in the modern period.