Muslim Women: Past and Present

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Throughout the ages, from the earliest days of Islam to contemporary times today, Muslim women have been and continue to be active leaders in their communities and countries across the world. This directory is a growing archive of leading Muslim women scholars, activists, writers, politicians, artists, religious and spiritual leaders, civil society leaders and more. Please contribute to this archive by suggesting Muslim women to be featured through our recommendation form.

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Laila al-Zwaini

photo of Laila al-Zwaini

Known For: Specialist in Shari`a, rule of law, and tribes in the Muslim world
Dates: Common Era 1965 – Present (CE)
Country: Netherlands

About

Laila al-Zwaini is a Dutch-Iraqi arabist and jurist, specializing in classical and modern shari`a, tribalism, legal pluralism, intellectual and social movements, and human/women’s rights in the Muslim world. She works as an independent scholar, trainer, and advisor to international organizations, governments, and institutions, and participates in public debates, the media, and policy development on Islam and secularism, religious authority, shari`a and rule of law, non-state justice, and Muslim women’s empowerment.

In 2007, Laila joined the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) in Kabul, where she acted as Head of the Rule of Law Unit until 2009. From 2001-2005 she co-directed the action-research project “Rights at Home” at the International Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World (Leiden). This project engaged Muslim intellectuals, women’s rights trainers, and young community leaders from Africa, the Middle East and Asia towards positive social change. Previously, Laila spent extensive periods for rule of law-related field research in Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Egypt, and worked for several international cooperation programs in Muslim countries. She is the co-author of two books and a variety of academic articles and policy reports on Islamic and Arab matters.

More Information

Laila Al-Zwaini and Rudolph Peters, A Bibliography of Islamic Law, 1980-1993. [Leiden: BRILL, 1994] 

Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow, “Meet the MLTs,” at: http://www.muslimleadersoftomorrow.org/about/search_mlts/9e3624f3e6fa8149645f59eab58f8cee

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This search feature will enable you to find Muslim women chronologically by the Common Era century. We are actively building the archive of Muslim women leaders from the past, as well as from today, and we would welcome your recommendations of women to feature. Please complete our “Recommend Muslim Women” form and check the site again in the near future as we actively expand this section of the portal with your suggestions.
This search feature will enable you to find Muslim women by their Country. We are actively building the archive of Muslim women leaders from the past, as well as from today, and we would welcome your recommendations of women to feature. Please complete our “Recommend Muslim Women” form and check the site again in the near future as we actively expand this section of the portal with your suggestions.
This search feature will enable you to find Muslim women leaders by entering the keyword(s) of your choice. If you cannot find a particular woman that you are looking for, please let us know by completing our “Recommend Muslim Women” form and check the site again in the near future as we actively expand this section of the portal with your suggestions.