Roshan Iqbal

Alwaleed Bin Talal Scholar

I grew up in Pakistan under the Hudood Ordinance; my background made me acutely aware of the asymmetry between the marital rights of men and women in Islamic law. Under the rules of this law women do not have the same scope of agency as men, and, as has been argued, this proves detrimental not just to full gender justice in Islam, but also to the lived realities of Muslim men, women, and children. Examples of asymmetries pervading Islamic marital law that I have witnessed in my own life have inspired various larger questions that drive my desire to better understand the Islamic ideal of an ethical and egalitarian marriage, the nature of equality, the basis upon which it is to be evaluated, and the appropriate use of contemporary criteria to answer such questions while contextualizing our own modernity in a critical manner. Before starting my PhD at Georgetown University, I completed my M.Phil. in Islamic Studies from the University of Cambridge as a recipient of the Government of Pakistan HEC Scholarship. Therefore, in studying marital issues in Islamic law, I hope to participate in restoring some of the agency that, historically, has been denied to women. The Alwaleed Scholarship has been instrumental in allowing me to pursue my goals. As a privilege of the award, I was able to dedicate my time and effort to reading, research, and writing in an uninterrupted manner, which is a distinctive challenge for graduate students. Thus, I was able to have the time to consciously cultivate learning. Most of us, at one time or another, have experienced Rumi’s work move the center of gravity, being the recipient of the Alwaleed Scholarship anchored mine.