An Analysis of the Human Rights and Gender consequences of the New South African Constitution and Bill of Rights with regards to the recognition and implementation of Muslim Personal Law
Prior to the new constitutional dispensation in South Africa all women had identities of race and gender imposed on them. With a new dispensation in place Muslim women, however, still have to deal with identities attributed to them by religion and culture. The author of this dissertation is herself a Muslim woman who has struggled to reconcile her public life and "new found" equality with these identities. She found it difficult to believe that Islam, the self same religion which had brought seventh-century Arabian society out of its degenerating stupor, could be used to justify behaviour by conservative religious authorities ( Ulama) in South Africa which deny women equality. Earlier research partly allayed her suspicions and fears but did not lay them to rest completely. The fact that South Africa was to face a human rights revolution which would ultimately affect the lives of all her citizens for the better, sparked off a desire within the author to establish whether it is not possible to reconcile the undeniable and unalterable spirit of equality within Islam with the implementation of a reformed Muslim Personal Law (MPL) so that women can enjoy the best of both worlds.