19 Geo. J. Gender & L. 43 (2017)
Islamic Feminism and Invisible Work: The Case of the Disappearing Daughter-in-Law

handle is hein.journals/grggenl19 and id is 47 raw text is: 



   Elder care is increasingly important in every society. In most of the world, a
female relative performs elder care at home. Nevertheless, as wives, daughters,
and daughters-in-law gain access to birth control, late marriage, education,
migration, and paid labor, they become less available for unpaid and underappre-
ciated elder caregiving.
   Patriarchal cultures based on multi-generationalfamilies often use daughters-
in-law as elder caregivers. When these families are Muslims, they sometimes seek
out Islamic law in support of this elder care strategy.
   Muslims often maintain that one of Islam's contributions to world religions is
its emphasis on women's rights; and that one of Islamic law's great attributes is
how it encourages Muslims to reject tribal practices in favor of a universal
Islamic community existing under a single law. If both these claims are true,
Islamic law should oppose culturally appealing local elder care practices that
undercut female autonomy.
   This article uses modern Islamic legal pronouncements [fatwas] on the
question of a daughter-in-law's obligations to perform elder care to demonstrate
that contemporary Islamic jurists support a daughter-in-law's independence over
her in-laws' elder care needs by clearly stating that elder care is not a wife's
obligation. Nevertheless, the article also shows that the fatwas create a situation
where a wife's elder caregiving becomes her husband's benefit. Thus, in addition
to declaring a wife's autonomy, the fatwas also bind daughters-in-law in a way
that transforms their work into their husband's contribution.
   This article uses feminist theory-including Islamic feminism-to explain how
the fatwas follow predictable patterns for the protection of patriarchy. Feminist
theory introduces the concept of invisible labor that many societies employ to
avoid acknowledging women's work. Islamic feminism then adds the particular
insight that religious elites distort religious law in favor of those cultural norms
that support patriarchy. In short, Islamic law as written proclaims female
autonomy and yet, as interpreted, makes women's work invisible.

                            TABLE OF CONTENTS
  I.  INTRODUCTION  ......................................         44

  * Donohon Abdugafurova, Emory University, PhD Candidate, Laney Graduate School, Islamic
Civilization Studies; Beverly Moran, Professor of Law and Professor of Sociology, Vanderbilt University
Law School; Rahimjon Abdugafurov, PhD Candidate , Laney Graduate School, Islamic Civilization
Studies. © 2017, Donohon Abdugafurova, Rahimjon Abdugafurov, Beverly Moran.

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