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The provisions of Islamic law affecting women have been jealously guarded over the centuries, in part because so many of them are set forth in the text of the Qur'an, regarded by Muslims as the eternally valid Speech of God to mankind.
Thus, the influence of European powers, which dominated the Middle East in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries both politically and culturally, did not lead to an abandonment of Islamic law in the areas of family law and inheritance even though other areas of law were being Westernized through the borrowing of European law codes.
Thus, the improvement in the status of women has not resulted from pressures from women's groups as much as from the desire of male members of the political elite to modernize and industrialize their societies, using law reform as a tool of social engineering.
However, the Islamic resurgence of the 1970s has threatened the gains that women have made.Observation of actual cases suggests that many husbands tended to abuse this extremely easy method of divorce, which led to a great deal of insecurity and anxiety for many wives.Divorced women often found themselves in poverty, because Islamic law required the husband to support children from the marriage permanently, but his divorced wife only until the expiration of three menstrual cycles after the pronouncement of the divorce (or delivery of a baby if she were pregnant).The legal status of women in the modern Middle East has been in transition since the early part of the twentieth century.Customary laws, Islamic laws, imported European laws, and reformed versions of Islamic laws affect women in" Varying degrees in the different Middle Eastern legal systems, and the status of women does not seem to have been settled in any of them.
Generally, Middle Eastern women enjoy something close to legal equality with men in political life, access to education, professional opportunities, and salaries - goals for which Western women have long had to struggle.