Women's Rights, Shari'a Law, and the Secularization of Islam in Iran

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6 Scopus citations


Rather than a simple imposition of the shari'a law, the Islamization of postrevolutionary Iran transpired at the intersection of political necessities, social realities, religious considerations, and legislative initiatives. As much as the Islamization project transformed society, this social transformation also reconfigured the meaning of the shari'a and expanded the boundaries of communities with interpretive authority over its legal injunctions. The Iranian postrevolutionary experience highlights the fallacies of bifurcated conceptions of religion and politics and more specifically that of church and state. Through the examination of two important legislations on abortion rights and women's inheritance, I show the contingencies in which the shari'a is understood and contested in public. The success or failure of the Islamic Republic depends not on the separation of church and state but on how pluralistic and open the communities that lay claim on religious interpretive authority will become.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-253
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Politics, Culture and Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2013
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


  • Iranian Revolution
  • Islam
  • Public religion
  • Secularism
  • Women's rights


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