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Islamic Family Law in a Changing World: A Global Resource Book

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  • Format: Book
  • Published: 2002, Zed Books
  • ISBN: 184277-093-4
  • 336 pages
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This is a uniquely comprehensive and up-to-date volume spanning nine regions and thirty-eight Islamic countries around the world. More than a billion Muslims have their lives in such matters as marriage, divorce, maintenance, paternity, and the custody of children governed by certain aspects of the Shari'a, commonly known as Islamic Family Law. But as the team who have put together this resource book point out, this does not mean that identical principles apply everywhere. In fact, as the socio-cultural and historical contextualizations that precede each country's legal profile make clear, the practical application of Shari'a principles is often modified by theological differences of interpretation, particular customary practices in the country concerned, and state policy and law.

This volume documents the scope and actual manner of application of Islamic Family Law worldwide. Part of its purpose is the assumption that while changing social conditions—including a commitment to certain universal human rights—make legal reform necessary, any strategy must be based first of all on the best possible factual foundations. And, secondly, since Islamic Family Law has become contested ground in most Islamic countries between conservative and fundamentalist forces on the one hand and modernist and liberal trends on the other, reform must be conceived only in realistic terms and advocated in ways that motivate and empower potential supporters working in their own communities. (Sex, Marriage, and Family Project; Religion and Human Rights Project)