Friday, December 04, 2009

Polygamy, women and Islam

The basic unit of Islamic society is the family, says Wikipedia, and Islam defines the obligations and legal rights of family members. The father is seen as financially responsible for his family, and is obliged to cater for their well-being. The division of inheritance is specified in the Qur'an, which states that most of it is to pass to the immediate family, while a portion is set aside for the payment of debts and the making of bequests.

The woman's share of inheritance is generally half of that of a man with the same rights of succession.[127]

Marriage in Islam is a civil contract which consists of an offer and acceptance between two qualified parties in the presence of two witnesses. The groom is required to pay a bridal gift (mahr) to the bride, as stipulated in the contract.[128]

A man may have up to four wives if he believes he can treat them equally, while a woman may have only one husband.

In most Muslim countries, the process of divorce in Islam is known as talaq, which the husband initiates by pronouncing the word "divorce".[129] Scholars disagree whether Islamic holy texts justify traditional Islamic practices such as veiling and seclusion (purdah).

Starting in the 20th century, Muslim social reformers argued against these and other practices such as polygamy in Islam, with varying success. At the same time, many Muslim women have attempted to reconcile tradition with modernity by combining an active life with outward modesty. Certain Islamist groups like the Taliban have sought to continue traditional law as applied to women.[130]

Islam prohibits women from showing their hair in public.