The role of Sharia in women’s rights in Iran: promotion and restriction

The idea that a dual system exists in Muslim countries, one de jure legal system and one based on sharia, has generated a plethora of debates on the mutual relations between these two systems. This relationship is made more complex due to the fact that in some Muslim countries –as in Iran – sharia is a source of law. As far as women rights are concerned, an important role is played by the Faquihs – an institutional mechanism whose aim is to conciliate exceptional factual needs with sharia.
The present paper focuses on Faquihs interpretations on women’s rights and on its effects on society in general and on individuals. The paper will support the view that in Iranian legal system sharia has long been manipulated by political institutions to justify gender inequalities, although a non-political and intellectual sharia exists and is able to provide for an evolutionary interpretation on which grounding an intra legem gender equality.