1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
United Nations sets out as one of its goals to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women (Ibidapo-Obe, 2005). Attaining equality between women and men and eliminating all forms of discrimination against women are fundamental human rights and United Nations values. Women around the world nevertheless regularly suffer violations of their human rights throughout their lives, and realizing women’s human rights has not always been a priority (Ibidapo-Obe, 2005).
Nigeria, as a nation, has the largest population in Africa with about 170 million people. Out of the figure, the female gender takes 49%, equivalent to 80.8 million (British Council, 2015). This, according to Ekhator (2015), means that the women folk half, if not, more than half of the population. However, this figure has not accorded most of the Nigerian women any dignity, growth and development virtually in all facets of their life, social, marital, economic, political, intellectual and spiritual. They are rather experiencing gender discrimination, exploitation, oppression, religion and maltreatment from their male counterparts (Abdulraheem, 2010; Olubor, 2009).
Despite the constitutional provision of the country on the prohibition of discrimination on the ground of gender, Nigerian women are still wallowing in gloomy injustice, general degradation and social deprivation in terms of natural and fundamental human rights. This issue of gender discrimination against women, which was one of the vices committed against women in the ancient societies like India Rome, Greek and Athens among others (Nazhat & Ahmed, 1969), is now featured in some areas in Nigeria where the women are regarded as nothing but goods and chattels (Akande, 1993). It has, thus become an endemic malady not only on the Nigeria media but also international media outfit.
Based on the above, series of arguments have being brought forward to justify the reasons or causes of this ludicrous attitude on the part of the Nigerian Government as well as the individual citizen. In their own view, Ngwankwe (2002) and Alenika (2010) postulate that the tradition and culture of the female gender determine how they are treated and addressed. Another important reason to this discussion is the socio-religious and politico-economic factors which are mentioned by Ibidapo-Obe (2005) as things that will be affecting the implementation of gender rights conditionally both in space and time.
It is apposite to mention here that the religious factor is more focused by all and sundry in Nigeria than other factors cited above. And among the religions in the country, Islam has been tagged as a religion that enslaves the women folk by depriving them the rights and opportunities given to men. This, perhaps, is deduced from the lackadaisical attitudes of some Muslims, which, of course, cannot be supported by either the Qur’an or Sunnah but from the whims and caprices of such Muslims as well as their individual differences.
Islam differs from other major world religions in the explicit emphasis it places on the status of women and the protections it provides for them. Matters affecting women's right are set forth either in the Qur'an itself or in Islamic law (Sharia) derived from interpretations of the Qur'an and sayings of the Prophet. Under Islamic law, women are given explicit rights and protections, particularly in regard to inheritance, marriage, and support, but the general thrust of references to women in the Qur'an is that women are dependent on men and are fulfilled only through subordination to them. Although roles of wives and husbands are viewed as complementary rather than "unequal," it s quite clear that relationships within the family are hierarchal and patriarchal. The role of women may be complementary to that of men, but it is not equal. While "women have the same (rights in relation to their husbands) as is expected in all decency from them, men stand a step above them. Men's rights and responsibilities are greater than women's because the Qur'an instructs men to support women. However, it is important to point out for the purpose of this study that majority of Nigerian muslim women have been deprived educationally, politically, socially etc.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Gender right is not just a human rights issue, it is essential for the achievement of sustainable development and a peaceful, prosperous world. Therefore, circumscribing the access to opportunities that ultimately empowers women and girls is counterproductive. Researchers across the world have tried to identify the essence of woman and how she differs from man if indeed, such difference exists. As a result, a variety of opinions regarding the woman and what determined her role in the society emerged. Furthermore the question of what is intrinsically Islamic with respect to ideas about woman and gender remains complicated by several clichés which have been confused with Islam, this has led to the belief that Islamic law is anti-woman’s right in some or all of its forms. On the other hand, this study will address basic issues of inequality in Islamic law and practice with the aim of attaining more equally balanced marital relationships, basic human rights and personal, civil and political rights. It is against the background that this research investigates the situation of the Nigerian women and the rights they are been denied as a result of socio-cultural and religious factors from the Islamic point of view.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF STUDY
The following are the objectives of this study:
- To examine the Islamic beliefs on gender right in Nigeria.
- To analyze the rights of Nigeria Muslim women.
- To analyze the situation of the Nigerian muslim women.
- To examine the rights Nigerian muslim women are been denied as a result of socio-cultural and religious factors.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- What are the Islamic beliefs on gender right in Nigeria?
- What are the rights of Nigeria Muslim women?
- What is the situation of the Nigerian muslim women?
- What are the rights Nigerian muslim women are been denied as a result of socio-cultural and religious factors?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
The outcome of this study will educate the general public on the tenets of the Islamic religion particular with regards to gender rights. It will majorly enlighten on the rights of the Nigerian muslim women and their current situation. The study will further educate on the specific rights that the Nigerian muslim women are being denied. This work will also serve as a contribution to an already existing body of knowledge.
1.6 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
Methodology is part of the research that shows the ways and approaches of collecting the data (Oliver, 2004). This research is primarily qualitative as it is based on Nigerian muslim women and gender right. The reason for choosing the qualitative analysis strategy is the exploratory and the qualitative nature of study. According to Robson (1993), flexibility is always the main strength of the case study strategy in terms of interpretation and getting access to the specified places. The research is a based on secondary data. We used document analysis/content analysis as main method of data collection. Document analysis/content analysis also called “textual analysis” (Travers, 2001) in the study will include all kinds of academic articles, textual and multi-media products, ranging from television programmes to web sites on the internet
1.7 SOURCES OF DATA
In the course of research for this work relevant data and information were obtained from the main sources. These were primary and secondary source.
1. Primary Sources:
Primary sources which were utilized in the course of the research for this work from archival research. Material was consulted at the National Library, Bauchi, Bauchi State. They include report on gender rights and other documents relating to this works.
2. Secondary Source:
Secondary source which consulted in some university and public libraries across the country include textbooks, journals and periodicals information obtained from primary sources. These sourced helped to provide data and information relating to Nigerian muslim women and gender right.
1.8 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF STUDY
The scope of the study will cover the northern states of Nigeria with particular focus on Bauchi state. This is because it will give an explicit and thorough analysis of the condition and situation of Nigerian muslim women especially regarding their rights. The major constraint encountered during the course of this study is the management of data, this is to say that the plethora of writing exist on top (Nigerian muslim women and gender right) that a lot of time was spent trying to get the most appropriate for the work at hand.
Finance also poses a formidable limitations, as the researcher attracted no grants from any quarters. The researcher had to adopt possible means to elicit the necessary information from books, print media computer and respondents as most of them wouldn't comply, he also traveled repeatedly out of school to get those pieces of information.
Time Factor: the duration of this research is just very short and the research has struggled amidst other academic commitment thus cause an all night and day put to tie the project together.
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Right: a moral or legal entitlement to have or do something
Quran: the Islamic sacred book, believed to be the word of God as dictated to Muhammad by the archangel Gabriel and written down in Arabic. The Koran consists of 114 units of varying lengths, known as suras ; the first sura is said as part of the ritual prayer. These touch upon all aspects of human existence, including matters of doctrine, social organization, and legislation.
Islam: the religion of the Muslims, a monotheistic faith regarded as revealed through Muhammad as the Prophet of Allah
Sharia: Islamic canonical law based on the teachings of the Koran and the traditions of the Prophet (Hadith and Sunna), prescribing both religious and secular duties and sometimes retributive penalties for lawbreaking. It has generally been supplemented by legislation adapted to the conditions of the day, though the manner in which it should be applied in modern states is a subject of dispute between Muslim traditionalists and reformists
Gender: the state of being male or female (typically used with reference to social and cultural differences rather than biological ones).