The Visibility of Muslim Women in the Islamic History of South India: A Review

Ayshath Shamah Rahmath, Raihanah M.M, Ruzy Suliza Hashim


Reading different historical accounts can provide the changing views of the past, proving that the historical truths can be un-reliable at times. Reviewing the prevailing history of South Indian Muslim community, we attempt to explicate the visibility of Muslim women in the socio-cultural and political discourses. Their contribution to the growth and propagation of Islam during its commencement in South India is not evidently recorded by historians. There are studies that delineate the matrilineal heritage of ancestral Islam in South India. But they fail to discuss the role of women in the cultural assimilation of Islam into a traditionally variant culture. The legal implications of Shariah and constitutional laws are still in dispute. The inconsistency in the existing jurisdiction often fails to provide her lawful rights. The participation of Muslim women in the social reform movements are largely unexplored. The literary history also does not attribute reasonable space for Muslim women writers. Our attempt is to bring in these disparities in the existing history, where Muslim women is posited invisible in the social, religious and literary discourses. We invite future studies in this area, which can explicate the visibility of Muslim women in the social and religious discourses of South India, marking her struggles at different junctures of socio-religious and literary history.


South India, Matrilineal heritage, Legal implications

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