Despite the Taliban have pledged that women in Afghanistan will have rights “within the bounds of Islamic law,” or Shariah, it has left the world women activists bothered. While the Taliban said they have permitted women to continue attending school and university and added that women will not be required to don a full burqa, they said that the wearing of hijabs will remain compulsory.
In view of the history of the previous regime, how the law would affect the lives of young and working women turned controversial. The word ‘Sharia’ comes from the Arabic term ‘sharīʽa’ and is defined as “Islamic law based on the Quran”.
The traditional definitions, however, are not in line with the present-day application of these concepts, with the terms often being used interchangeably, including by Islamic political leaders in places like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and now Afghanistan. While One interpretation of Shariah could afford women extensive rights, another could leave women with few.
However, the Taliban’s interpretation of Islamic law is on the other end of the spectrum, with an abhorrence for equality of women and violence against them. It can be recollected that some women have been told not to leave home without a male relative escorting them, and the Taliban have prevented women from entering at least one university during the previous regime. They have also shut down some women’s clinics and schools for girls.