Hassan, Riffat. "Equal before Allah? Woman-Man Equality in the Islamic Tradition," in Harvard Divinity Bulletin 17/2 (1987).
Riffat Hassan is a Pakistani-American theologian and scholar on the Quran. She received her PhD from Durham University in Islamic Philosophy in 1968 and has taught in many institutions, including Oklahoma State University and Harvard University. She is currently a professor at the University of Louisville.
In her feminist theological study of women’s position in Islam, Riffat Hassan states that in spite of the fact that early Islam witnessed the involvement of significant women like Aisha and Khadija (the Prophet’s wives) and Rabia al-Basri (an outstanding Sufi woman), Islam has remained a patriarchal domain even until today. Patriarchal figures have traditionally defined for women their roles and status. While Muslim women have historically accepted this until recently, Hassan observes, many of them are now standing up because they realize that Islam is being used to oppress them rather than to liberate them. Comparing Christian and Jewish scriptures to hadith narrations that pertain to women, Hassan finds strong resemblances among the three, the most important of which concerns the subjugation of women. Hassan makes a strong appeal to Muslims to more humane and feminist interpretations of Islam for the sake of a healthier global Muslim community.