Islam in National and International Context
Edited by Kathryn O'Sullivan
Representations of Early Modern Positional Warfare
Edited by Anke Fischer-Kattner and Jamel Ostwald
Supplements to The History of Afghanistan
Edited by Robert McChesney and Mohammad Mehdi Khorrami
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.
This essay examines khulʿ divorce as it is interpreted, understood, and practiced in India by Sunni Hanafi Muslims. My research was part of a broadly focused investigation of the impact of India’s Muslim Personal Law upon women’s well-being, begun in 1998 and on-going. I draw upon ethnographic and archival data collected between 1998 and 2001, as well as a recent review of the relevant case law. Widespread stereotypes represent Indian Muslim women as powerless to free themselves from unhappy marriages. However, they do have several legal options. One is to offer the husband a consideration for granting an extra-judicial divorce by khulʿ. This has distinct advantages over filing for divorce in a court of law. But its downside is that the husband must agree to release his wife from the marriage. Many refuse, others drive hard bargains or create other difficulties for the wife that are discussed in the essay.
Erin E. Stiles
Judicial khuluu (<Ar. khulʿ) in Zanzibar differs from judicial khulʿ in Arab countries that have recently introduced it through legislative reform. In Zanzibar’s Islamic courts, khuluu is used primarily as a judicial mechanism for ending a marriage when a judge determines a wife to be responsible for the breakdown of the marriage. Zanzibari women rarely file for khuluu because it is expensive and is associated with a woman’s failure in her marriage. Herein, I explain why judges in Zanzibar regard khuluu as a punitive measure that can be used to end a marriage when a woman is determined to be responsible for the marital discord, or when there are no grounds for judicial dissolution through fasikhi (<Ar. faskh, annulment).I also show that judges view khuluu as a right that a woman can exercise to extricate herself from marriage, a right that judges sometimes encourage in court.
Esther Van Eijk
In this article, the author examines the ways in which a number of Dutch Muslim women try to obtain an Islamic divorce. The road to a divorce, often long and winding, does not always lead to a satisfactory conclusion. I explore the question of why it can be difficult for Muslim women to obtain a religious divorce. Drawing on recent empirical research into the phenomenon of ‘marital captivity’ – a situation in which someone is unable to terminate a (religious) marriage, I examine the case of a Dutch Muslim woman who, at the instigation of a civil court, managed to negotiate a khulʿ agreement with her ‘ex’-husband, who released her from the marital bond. This exceptional example of a khulʿ practice in the Netherlands attests to the versatility of this under-researched form of Islamic divorce and how it is used in a Muslim minority context in Europe.
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.
Stijn Cornelis van Huis
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.