Gender and Sharia Law in Northern Nigeria
26 Pages Posted: 12 Jan 2016
Date Written: July 10, 2015
This paper explores the often contending issue in respect of whether Muslim women in northern are discriminated by Sharia law. In order to address this question, this paper focuses on the variants of the practice of purdah (the veil), issues on gender equality, female genital mutilation, women & employment, male preference, forced marriages, the abuse of wives and the offence of adultery (zina). It has been argued extensively by scholars that Sharia law in northern Nigeria discriminates against Muslim Women. While underscoring that Muslim Women are discriminated against in Nigeria, this article showcases that Muslim women are discriminated not under the Sharia code as popularly conceived but by a cultural imperative that uses religion as a fog for discrimination. From this particular standpoint, this paper explains through focus group discussions (FGDs) how women perceive their rights. It explores the position of Islam and the voices of women in the dynamics of gender discrimination in northern Nigeria.
Keywords: Muslim women, Sharia, northern Nigeria, and the Qur’an
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