Female political leaders in Islam and in Muslim-majority countries

Female political leaders in Islam and in Muslim-majority countries

Women in Islamic societies have held many positions of political significance. The legitimacy of these positions, from a religious and cultural perspective, is debated.

Islamic texts

According to a Sunni "hadith", Muhammad said that people with a female ruler will never be successful. [Bukhari|5|59|709] In more modern times this "hadith" has been disputed. [Mernissi, Fatima. The Veil and the Male Elite: A Feminist's Interpretation of Women's Rights in Islam. 1991 Some argue that the Qur'an gives women the right to participate in public affairs as there are examples of women who took part in serious discussions and argued even with Muhammad himself. [Qur'an Quran-usc|58|1, Quran-usc-range|60|10|12] In addition, during the Caliphate of Umar, a woman argued with him in the mosque, proved her point, and caused him to declare in the presence of many people: "A woman is right and Umar is wrong".

Some Muslims argue that Muhammad's wife Aisha, who both took part in politics and served as a major authority on "hadith", is an example of possible roles for Muslim women. Other Muslims would strongly disagree. (Aisha is seen in a darker light by Shi'a Muslims because she opposed Muhammad's cousin and son-in-law Ali.) Other examples of possible roles include Ume Warqa and Samra Binte Wahaib, appointed heads of market committees of Medina and Mecca by Umar, the second Sunni caliph. There are few other historical role models for Muslim women as leaders. Razia Sultana was the short-lived third major independent Muslim ruler of the Sultanate of Delhi in India and the Mamluk queen Shajarat ad-Durr ruled for a few years in Egypt. One more example of a Muslim female head of state is Soyembika of Kazan, who ruled the Kazan Khanate in the 16th century.

Female leaders

There are many more contemporary examples of women leading Muslim-majority countries. Remarkably, a majority of all Muslims in the world live in countries that have, at some time, elected women as their leaders. [ [http://op.wiki.com/Muslims_Elect_Women_As_Leaders?A-majority-of-all-Muslims-live-in-countries-with-a-history-of-democratically-elected-female-leaders Wiki.com] ] Indeed, four of the five most populous Muslim-majority countries have had women as leaders:

* Indonesia, the most populous Muslim-majority country, elected Megawati Sukarnoputri as president [ [http://www.time.com/time/pow/printout/0,8816,169130,00.html Megawati: The Princess Who Settled for the Presidency - Printout - TIME ] ]
* Pakistan, the second most populous Muslim-majority country, twice (non-consecutively) elected Benazir Bhutto as prime minister [Ali A. Mazrui, [http://taylorandfrancis.metapress.com/link.asp?id=knr8eal315k6y5y3 Pretender to Universalism: Western Culture in a Globalizing Age,] "Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs", Volume 21, Number 1, April 2001]
* Bangladesh, the third most populous Muslim-majority country, elected Khaleda Zia [ [http://www.forbes.com/lists/2006/11/06women_Khaleda-Zia_JSK7.html #33 Khaleda Zia - Forbes.com ] ] and Sheikh Hasina as prime ministers
* Turkey, the fifth most populous Muslim-majority country, elected Tansu Çiller as prime minister [ [http://womenshistory.about.com/od/cillertansu/Tansu_iller.htm Tansu Çiller - Prime Minister - Turkey - 1993-1995 - Tansu Ciller ] ]

"See also: List of the first female holders of political offices"

Except for Ciller, these women were the daughters or widows of previous male heads of state or heads of government (though none was an immediate successor), so their success may reflect the feudal nature of those countries' politics.Fact|date=June 2007

Women still face many pressures as political leaders. [ [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article1414137.ece Female Pakistani minister shot dead for 'breaking Islamic dress code' - Times Online ] ]

Some Muslim women hold important positions in some governments, political parties and corporations. A paradoxical example is the banned Islamist party of Morocco, Al Adl Wa Al Ihssane (Justice and Charity). Since the leader cannot speak openly, his daughter Nadia Yassine is the one who publicly defends the opposition to the "Mudawana", government-sponsored reforms on the legal status of Moroccan women.

The circumstances, and the often explicitly non-Islamic ideology of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, and the Iran-Iraq war, because of the number of men fighting, led to an increase of the role of women in the public life of the Sahrawi and Iranians.

ee also

*Sultana (title), the female title parallel to a sultan; a Muslim woman leader


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Islam and domestic violence — This article is about Islam and domestic violence. For other related topics, see Outline of domestic violence. Part of a series on Vi …   Wikipedia

  • Female genital cutting — (FGC), also known as female genital mutilation (FGM), female circumcision or female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C), refers to all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female… …   Wikipedia

  • Islam in Bangladesh — Islam is the largest religion of Bangladesh, the Muslim population is over 130 million (the fourth largest muslim population in the world after India), and constitute nearly 90% of the total population, based on the 2001 Census.citeweb… …   Wikipedia

  • Muslim Brotherhood — For The Chinese Islamist organization known as the Muslim Brotherhood, see Yihewani. The Muslim Brotherhood الإخوان المسلمون/المسلمين al ʾIḫwān al Muslimūn/Muslimīn IPA: [elʔexˈwæːn elmosleˈmiːn] …   Wikipedia

  • Muslim Heretics Conference — A Celebration of Heresy: Critical Thinking for Islamic Reform was an Islamic conference organised in Atlanta, USA, on 28 till 30 March 2008. The conference was organized to promote and present Islamic reformist ideas. The organizers were several… …   Wikipedia

  • Bosnia and Herzegovina — a republic in S Europe: formerly (1945 92) a constituent republic of Yugoslavia. 2,607,734; 19,909 sq. mi. (51,565 sq. km). Cap.: Sarajevo. * * * Bosnia and Herzegovina Introduction Bosnia and Herzegovina Background: Bosnia and Herzegovina s… …   Universalium

  • Shia Islam — Shia redirects here. For other uses, see Shia (disambiguation) …   Wikipedia

  • Apostasy in Islam — (Arabic: ارتداد, irtidād or ridda‎) is commonly defined in Islam as the rejection in word or deed of one s former religion (apostasy) by a person who was previously a follower of Islam. The Qur an itself does not prescribe any earthly punishment… …   Wikipedia

  • Criticism of Islam — For criticism of Islamic extremism, see Criticism of Islamism. For fear of or prejudice against Islam, rather than simple criticism, see Islamophobia …   Wikipedia

  • History of fundamentalist Islam in Iran — The islam in Iran (or History of Principle ism ) covers the history of Islamic revivalism and the rise of political Islam in modern Iran. Today, there are basically three types of Islam in Iran: traditionalism, modernism, and a variety of forms… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.