I’m working my way through Ziba Mir-Hosseini‘s seminal work Islam and Gender and it is proving as much as a remarkable piece of scholarship, as it does frustration.
Consider the contradictory laws of divorce: talaq, for men, can be granted any time, any where; khola, for women, requires consent and the repayment of divorce costs and her dowry.
To wit, from an excerpt of Mir-Hosseini’s interview with the Grand Ayatollah Madani:
[Mir-Hosseini]: I pointed out that, unlike talaq, which the husband can do unilaterally, in khol’ a woman can obtain a divorce only if her husband gives consent, for which she must compensate him. In effect, she must buy her divorce; she must pay for it. I added that this very fact, that the right to divorce must be stipulated as a condition in her contract, is the best proof that a woman is not automatically entitled to the same as a man.
[Madani]: (Problem 142) Is repudiation (talaq) by telephone or loudspeaker permissible, if two just witnesses hear it, or must the two witnesses be present in the room?
(Answer) In such a case, the repudiation is valid because it is not obligatory for the two just witnesses to be present at the place where the repudiation is taking place; if they hear the repudiation formula, this is sufficient, but if they are absent this would be contrary to the Principle of precaution.
It is enough to send a woman to the hills, screams resounding at the injustice.