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How Women’s Presence in Tehran’s Public Spaces Compares to Shariʿa Prescriptions, Old Tehran and Contemporary Tehran

In: Hawwa
Authors:
Fatemeh Salarvandian Department of Geography and Urban Planning, Faculty of Geography, University of Tehran Tehran Iran

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Seyed Ali Hosseini Department of Tourism Management, Faculty of Management & Accounting, Allameh Tabatabaʾi University Tehran Iran

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Muhammad Jafar Ashkevari Department of History and civilization of the Islamic Nations, Faculty of Humanities, University of Zanjan Zanjan Iran

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Seyed Mohammad Hosseini Department of political Geography, Faculty of Geography, University of Tehran Tehran Iran

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Ahmand Pourahmad Department of Geography and Urban Planning, Faculty of Geography, University of Tehran Tehran Iran

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Abstract

In Islamic cities, the shariʿa determines to what extent women are allowed to attend public spaces. This article addresses women’s public attendance in Tehran, in both the classical and modern periods, and compares this with the prescriptions of the shariʿa. Our exploration of the Qurʾan, hadiths, the practices of religious scholars, and the descriptions of women’s status in travelogues suggests two distinct views, the first of which prohibits any kind of public appearance and considers home to be the best place for women. The second view holds that women can enter public spaces, but with some preconditions. Amidst the complexity of religion, society, culture, and politics, two shariʿa tenets have not changed significantly over time: veiling and sex segregation. Some female spheres outside the home have vanished as others have emerged. As a result of these shifts, the one notable change has been that women appear more frequently in public.

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