We, as civilians of this beloved land, are very grateful to his existence, proud to cite his achievements and fulfilled to illustrate his stubborn effort to fight this useless tradition. We, as Tunisian women, are full of pride when we pronounce his name: Tahar Haddad. This Tunisian man of the twentieth century was way ahead of his generation, highly advanced in his thoughts and believes. Thanks to him, a new wave of women rights has arisen and has taken place in the Tunisian society in the early twentieth century. A premiere in the Arab world was happening: While in the other Arabic countries women rights were violated and desecrated under misinterpretation of the Islamic religion.
Back to the early twentieth century, Tahar Haddad was born on 4 December 1899 in Tunis. He had a traditional Islamic education from Ezzitouna mosque and Hanafite School. However, in 1919, he was prevented from taking his final law degree exam because his ideas and opinions had been regarded as an opposition to the Islamic religion at that time. These obstacles didn't prevent him from fulfilling his ambitions and goals. Indeed, in 1920 he joined the Destourian Liberal Party and become politically active. He even created along with Mohamed Ali El Hammi the General Confederation of Workers, in 1924, which is considered the first Tunisian unionist movement. Moreover, in 1927, Haddad wrote and published a book untitled ‘The Tunisian workers and the emergence of the unionist movement’ that manifested his advanced unionist views. Three years later, in 1930, he was prevented again from having his law degree exam by a decree signed by the Bey Rachad Al Mahdi B. Hussayn. In the same year, he published his controversial book ‘Our Tunisian woman between Islamic legislation and society’. The latter is considered the most unconventional book in the Arabic world of all times. Indeed, Tahar Haddad converted his ambitions and opinions into words through his book’s pages. ‘Our Tunisian woman between Islamic legislation and society’ translated Haddad’s vision of modern Tunisian women without restricted boundaries that prevent them from being an effective entity in the society. Through his book, Tahar Haddad emphasizes the equality of men and women in the case of divorce. He went even further in defending the right for women to determine their own destiny and make their own life decisions. He endorsed that Tunisian women’s condition should be modified and improved. Furthermore, he banned polygamy because of his strong belief that this obstacle is preventing the Tunisian families from becoming balanced. Although this book contained a variety of enriched values and principles that would release two decades later Tunisian women from the misinterpretations of religion in favor for the man, the latter has been violently criticized and rejected by the conservatives among Ezzitouna Cheikhs. Because of his revolutionary ideas, Tahar Haddad was accused of agnosticism. Likewise, some of the conservatives used their negative reactions towards his opinions into books such as Mohamed Salah Ben Mrad through his book “Mourning on Haddad’s woman”, and Omar Berri Madani, through his works “The truth in the face of veiled people”.
His opinions and visualization had paved the way to the development of the Tunisian women’s conditions two decades later. His vision had been adapted by the first Tunisian president Mr. Habib Bourguiba who had transformed Haddad’s reformist ideas into a family law untitled The Code Personal Statue (CPS). The latter is considered the most developed and advanced family law in the Arab world.