Book

Islamic Divorce in North America

Julie Macfarlane

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199753918
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199949588 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199753918.001.0001
Islamic Divorce in North America

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There is increasing attention among policy makers and the public to the role of shari’a in everyday life for Western Muslims, raising many negative associations and public fear. In fact, the most common way in which North American Muslims relate to shari’a is via observance of Islamic marriage and divorce rituals. Recourse to traditional Islamic marriage—or nikah—and, to a lesser extent, religious divorce, is common among Muslims regardless of their levels of traditional observance. Based on hundreds of personal interviews, this book describes Muslim marriage and divorce processes in the West, and what they mean to North American Muslims. The picture that emerges is of an idiosyncratic and inconsistent private ordering system, dominated by imams and other community leaders, and reflecting a range of attitudes towards contemporary norms, especially changes in gender roles. While there are many criticisms—in particular from women—of pervasive assumptions regarding traditional gender roles, there are also many who attest to the significance of Islamic marriage and divorce for them as believing Muslims and as members of their cultural community. A Western shari’a challenges the intersection between state sanction and private religious and cultural practice, particularly the balance between the state’s commitment to human rights and equality and the protection of religious freedom.

Keywords: Shari’a; Islamic divorce; Islamic marriage contract; nikah; North America

Book.  336 pages. 

Subjects: Islam

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Table of Contents

Muslim Identity in the West in Islamic Divorce in North America

Chapter

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A Primer on Islamic Family Law in Islamic Divorce in North America

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Getting Married in Islamic Divorce in North America

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Staying Married in Islamic Divorce in North America

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Marital Conflicts and Abuse in Islamic Divorce in North America

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Getting Divorced in Islamic Divorce in North America

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The Consequences of Divorce in Islamic Divorce in North America

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Legal Issues for Islamic Marriage and Divorce in Islamic Divorce in North America

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Looking Forward in Islamic Divorce in North America

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