Social and Gender Inequality in Oman: The Power of Religious and Political Tradition, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Social and Gender Inequality in Oman

The Power of Religious and Political Tradition, 1st Edition

By Khalid M. Al-Azri


224 pages | 5 B/W Illus.

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Looking at the social, political and legal changes in Oman since 1970, this book challenges the Islamic and tribal traditional cultural norms relating to marriage, divorce and women’s rights which guide social and legal practice in the modern Omani state. The book argues that despite the establishment of legal instruments guaranteeing equality for all citizens, the fact that the state depends upon Islamic and tribal elites for its legitimacy invalidates these guarantees in practice. Two particular features of the legal and cultural regulation of marriage and marital rights are focused on - the perceived requirement for kafa’a or equality in marriage between so called high and low socio-economic status peoples is examined, and the institution of talaq, which grants greater rights to men than to women in appeals for divorce. This book addresses highly complex subjects with great rigor, in terms of empirical research and engagement with theory, sociological and political as well as theological and legal. It is an interesting investigation of the divisions of authority between the state, Islam and tribal norms, highlighting barriers to reform in both Oman and wider Islamic society, and advocating the removal of such obstacles.


"he manages to present the existing state of research on social inequalities in Oman by current examples and opinions for the first time a western critical researchers circle."

Tonia Schüller

sehepunkte journal, sehepunkte 15 (2015), No. 10

Table of Contents

Preface 1. 'Doing Gender' in Uncharted Territory 2. Omani Contexts: Shaping of the Al Sa'id Policy 3. Islamic Law: Conceptual Framework of the Study 4. The Scholarly Dabate on Kafa'a and Socio-Economic Change 5. Change and Conflict: Kafa'a in Marriage in Contemporary Omani Society 6. One or Three? Talaq and Triple Talaq at One Time: Pre-Modern Islamic Argument and Modern Practice 7. Dilemma of Talaq in Oman 8. Arrested Development: The Omani State and the Question of Cultural Identity 9. Gender, Tribe and Religion in Post-1970 Oman 10. Time of Uncertainty

About the Author

Khalid M. Al-Azri is a Senior Research Fellow in Gulf Studies at the University of Oxford, Middle East Centre and is a former Research Fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

About the Series

Durham Modern Middle East and Islamic World Series

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General