An Islamic perspective on gender issues and women's rights in Nigeria
The modern world is a competitive and demanding place, regardless of gender. Yet for women, especially Nigerian women, long-running agitation for gender equality has thus far failed to lift women from a role likened in this paper to societal enslavement. To help understand why, the paper examines the situation of Nigerian women in their bids to survive, delving into the rights of women and gender issues within the Islamic context, and exploring the implications this lived experience might have on the Nigerian women. Scripture and religious interpretation amicable to the attainment of equal rights for women are presented, concerning topics including education, and economic, social, and political rights.
The paper revealed that Nigerian women are not only maltreated but also misused and mismanaged. It is however important to note that it is not Islam in and of itself that has enslaved women; rather, it can help to liberate them by appreciating their nature and treating them accordingly. Islam is distinct from the attitudes of some Muslims who are violating the Shari‘ah assigned rights of women. If used correctly and justly, Islamic guidelines can act to restore women's divine rights and protect their dignity in a way that both pre-dates, and is compatible with, contemporary feminism. The paper concludes by suggesting the application of the aforementioned Islamic guidelines on gender issues and women’s rights as a way to boost and enhance the status of the Nigerian women.