As the term ‘Islamic feminism’ gained currency in the 1990s through scholars and activists, it would clarify the perspective of a large number of women somewhere between Islamists and secular feminists. While they would not give up their allegiance to Islam as an essential part of self-determination and identity they did critique patriarchal control over the basic Islamic world-view. Islamic feminism did not define these women, and many still reject the term. However, the term helped others to understand the distinction between them and the two dominant approaches for Muslim women’s rights.
Today more women are active in the discussion and reformation of identity than at any other time in human history. By going back to primary sources and interpreting them afresh, women scholars are endeavoring to remove the fetters imposed by centuries of patriarchal interpretation and practice. By questioning underlying presumptions and conclusions they are creating a space in which to think about gender. Drawing upon enduring principles of human rights, enshrined in the text, they extract meanings that can interact with the changing moral and intellectual circumstances of the reader. And women scholars and activists are also busy constructing a system of legal reforms that can be implemented today for the full status of women as moral agents at all levels of human society.