How have Muslim marriages legally ended around the turn of the 21st century? Who has the power to initiate and resist shari'a derived divorce? When are husbands and wives made to bear the costs of their marital breakdown? What does divorce law indicate about the development of gender regimes in the Middle East and North Africa? This book opens with a description of the historical development of Islamic divorce in the MENA. Subsequent chapters follow a Syrian male judge, a Moroccan female legal advice worker and a Libyan female judge as they deal with divorce cases in which husbands, wives, their relatives and lawyers debate gender roles in contemporary Muslim marriages. MENA 'state feminism' has increasingly equalized men's and women's access to divorce and encouraged discussions about how spouses should treat each other in marriage. The real life outcomes of these reforms have often been surprising. Moreover, as the last chapter explores, jihadi proto-states (such as Islamic State) have violently rejected state feminist divorce law reform. This accessible book will appeal to students, researchers and a general readership interested in Islamic law; Middle Eastern studies; gender and sexuality; and, legal and social anthropology.
Jessica Carlisle is currently Research Fellow (Legal Geography) on the project Topological Atlas based at Goldsmiths, University of London, UK. She has worked in Syria, Morocco, Libya and Egypt, where she has researched the text and practice of shari'a derived personal status (family and inheritance) law; constitutional and administrative law; the roles and organization of legal professionals; experiences of migration; and the conduct of politicized domestic and transnational disputes.
Chapter 1: Muslim Divorce in the MENA: Shari'a, Codification, State Feminism and Modern Court Systems in Syria, Morocco and Libya.- Chapter 2: The Damascus Shari'a Court: The Judge, Arbitration and Lawyers in 2005.- Chapter 3: A Legal Aid Centre in Marrakesh: Civil Society Activists and the Court in 2007.- Chapter 4: Tripoli's Family Court in 2013 and Challenges to State Feminism in post-'Arab Spring' Libya and Syria.- Conclusion.