Introduction: Shariʿa in Revolution? A Comparative Overview of Pre- and Post-Revolutionary Developments in Shariʿa-Based Family Law Legislation in Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, and Tunisia

Nadia Sonneveld

Editor’s Note: Over the next two weeks, NMES will publish a series of articles about the relationship between family law and revolution in Egypt, Tunisia, Indonesia, and Iran. Nadia Sonneveld edited this series and she also introduces it in the following article.

Abstract:   In 2011, the world witnessed how massive civil resistance by men and women alike led to the forced departure of long-serving authoritarian leaders in the Arab world. In the present transitional period in which constitutions have been suspended and new definitions of citizenship are being debated, women’s rights and family law have nevertheless emerged as contentious areas in the Arab World. These have been portrayed as symbols of the old regime and as deviating from the principles of shariʿa. Calls to amend women’s rights abound. By comparing both pre- and post-revolutionary family law developments in four Muslim-majority countries, this special series of articles explores the implications of these controversies on the rights of men and women in the political transition processes of Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, and Tunisia.

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