Khul‘ over the longue durée: the decline of traditional fiqh-based divorce mechanisms in Indonesian legal practice

in Islamic Law and Society
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In this essay, I describe the historical development of three traditional fiqh-baseddivorce mechanisms in Indonesia that commonly result in a khul‘ divorce: regular khul‘ (khuluk), conditional divorce(taklik talak), and marital discord (syiqaq). In the practice of present-day Islamic courts these traditional fiqh-based divorce mechanisms have lost almost all of their former prominence. Through a historical analysis of legal practices offemale-initiated divorce, I will explain how this happened. Legal reforms under the 1974 Marriage Law, their adoption into the 1991 Compilation of Islamic Law, and case law of the Supreme Court broadened women’s divorce rights significantly. The same reforms made out-of-court divorce illegal. In contrast to fiqh-baseddivorce mechanisms, judicial divorce on the grounds of ‘continuous and irreconcilable marital discord’ does not require the consent of the husband or the payment of compensation and has therefore become an easier and cheaper option for Indonesian women.

Khul‘ over the longue durée: the decline of traditional fiqh-based divorce mechanisms in Indonesian legal practice

in Islamic Law and Society






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