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Gender Inequality within Islam

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The scholars in the field support the contention that these practices belong to cultural tradition rather than to religious principles that define the identity of Muslim and, as Ramadan states (139), it is methodologically incorrect to confuse the religious principles with the way they were adopted in a given cultural context. He argues that the Sharia, the way of faithfulness allows Muslims to adapt all cultures, values, ideas, and customs as long as they do not oppose Islamic principles (Ramadan 54). Thus, Muslims can maintain their religious identity when living in and adapt themselves to varied cultural environments (Ramadan 54, 214). When evaluating Muslim practices, it is essential to distinguish between Islamic principles and culturally based customs. The thorough lecture of ancient sources enables scholars to discover a possible scope for different interpretation of the principles in a new context and, thus, distance themselves from the most restrictive interpretations (Ramadan 141).Moreover, Wadud stresses that the Qu’ran promotes equity and equality between women and men, indicating that both men and women are provided by Allah with unique qualities and dignity (Qu’ran 4:32, 3:35. Wadud 21). Thus, the study and continual reinterpretation of Qu’ran may encourage both women and men to implement a new Islam society, characterized by equality and justice. Barazangi states that once Muslim men distance themselves from restrictive, cultural based practices, Muslim women realize the importance of teaching themselves and others about Islam and discovering their spiritual identity, and, finally, human-rights activists base their efforts to help oppressed women on the principles of Qu’ran.