Browse results

Nadia Sonneveld


This essay focuses on recent divorce reforms in Egypt (2000) and Morocco (2004), with equal attention to the positions of men and women who end their marriages. Whereas in Egypt, non-consensual, no-fault divorce reform (khul‘) is open only to women, in Morocco, another form of non-consensual, no-fault divorce, shiqāq, is open to both women and men, with men using it almost as frequently as women. Based on legal analysis and anthropological fieldwork, I consider first how men and women navigate rights and duties in divorce and then examine the differences between the two countries in the way men and women try to obtain divorce. I conclude that when both men and women are given opportunities for non-consensual, no fault divorce, highly gender-specific divorce regimes, such as the ṭalāq and taṭlīq, quickly lose their popularity.

Nadia Sonneveld and Erin Stiles


This special issue of Islamic Law and Society takes a close look at contemporary manifestations of an Islamic divorce procedure known as khulʿ. Studying khulʿ is not an easy matter, in large part because it is not exactly clear what khulʿ is. Is khulʿ consensual or non-consensual, judicial or extrajudicial, fault or no-fault based? Does khulʿ result in ṭalāq (unilateral repudiation by a husband), or is it an entirely different form of divorce? Is khulʿ initiated by wives or by husbands? As we will explain below, the answer to all of these questions is “yes,” as khulʿ is all of these things.

Mahmoud Jaraba


In this article, I examine how Muslim women who ae religiously-married in Germany might initiate no-fault divorce in the absence of a German registered civil marriage. Because there is no Muslim state authority to consult, local imams and Islamic leaders can resort to a community-led practice known as khulʿ (divorce initiated by the woman) to dissolve an Islamic marriage (nikāḥ) that is not recognized by civil authorities. In this article, which is the culmination of three years of fieldwork in Germany, I analyze and interpret the views and practices of two groups of religious actors - conservatives and pragmatists - towards khulʿ in cases of nikāḥ. I find that conservatives only permit a woman to divorce through khulʿ with her husband’s consent, whereas pragmatists use Muslim minority jurisprudence (fiqh al-aqalliyyāt al-Muslima) to argue that the husband’s consent is not essential to legitimize a khulʿ pronouncement.

Feras Krimsti


In eighteenth-century Aleppo, books acquired an unprecedented significance among Aleppo’s Christians, against the background of an expanding “culture of the book”. This paper attempts to reconstruct the library of the Maronite physician Ḥannā al-Ṭabīb (c. 1702–1775), based on ownership statements in manuscripts purchased by the German scholar and Oriental traveller Ulrich Jasper Seetzen (1767–1811) in Aleppo, presently preserved in Gotha’s Research Library. Proceeding from an assessment of the ownership statements and a thematic analysis of the library, the paper will address the implications for our understanding of book ownership in the social and intellectual milieu of the owner. It will be argued that owning books was a facet of an intensifying and active—not passive—preoccupation with literature among Christians.


Edited by Ward Berenschot, H.G.C. (Henk) Schulte Nordholt and Laurens Bakker

Citizenship and Democratization in Southeast Asia redirects the largely western-oriented study of citizenship to postcolonial states. Providing various fascinating first-hand accounts of how citizens interpret and realize the recognition of their property, identity, security and welfare in the context of a weak rule of law and clientelistic politics, this study highlights the importance of studying citizenship for understanding democratization processes in Southeast Asia. With case studies from Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and Cambodia, this book provides a unique bottom-up perspective on the character of public life in Southeast Asia.

Contributors are: Mary Austin, Laurens Bakker, Ward Berenschot, Sheri Lynn Gibbings, Takeshi Ito, David Kloos, Merlyna Lim, Astrid Norén-Nilsson, Oona Pardedes, Emma Porio, Apichat Satitniramai, Wolfram Schaffer and Henk Schulte Nordholt.

This title is available in its entirety in Open Access.