In contemporary Egypt, at a first glance one is inclined to believe that Islamist and secularist constitute binary oppositions, and will therefore be unable to find common ground, in particular in the question of Sharia as source of law. Presumably, religious parties will defend hegemony by preserving Islamic law, while secular parties will on the contrary challenge hegemony by attempting to remove Sharia as a source of law, thus create family laws that are based on secular principles.
The aim of this study is to challenge this notion by comparing the attitudes of two political parties, the Muslim Brotherhood and Tagammu, towards Sharia. This will be investigated in light of family law, which is the only area of laws in Egypt based on Islamic law. As these laws are related to women’s right, it is also interesting to look at each party’s gender policies.
As my analysis will show, these parties, or more precisely the reformist faction of the Brotherhood, are not binary oppositions in the question of Sharia being the source of Egyptian family law. Tagammu challenges hegemony only to a certain degree, while it recognises that the principle of the family law should be derived by progressive interpretation of Sharia.