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Introduction: Current Perspectives on Islamic Family Law in Africa

Title data

Issaka-Toure, Fulera ; Alidou, Ousseina:
Introduction: Current Perspectives on Islamic Family Law in Africa.
In: Islamic Africa. Vol. 11 (2020) . - pp. 153-162.
ISSN 2154-0993

Abstract in another language

This special issue of Islamic Africa brings together new critical perspectives on the status of Islamic Family Law, commonly referred to as sharīʿa, within four African countries – Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique and Senegal – each reflecting distinctive gendered cultural, colonial and postcolonial realities. The introduction provides a general overview of the state of the art on Islamic family law in Africa and highlights the significant thematic focus of each contribution and the new areas for further inquiry that the volume opens. These topics and questions include among others: (a) the ways in which European colonialism and contemporary democratization processes have opened spaces for religious pluralism, thereby shaping the articulation of Muslim personal law within different African postcolonial state judicial systems; (b) how Islamic judicial practices, institutions, and authorities such as malamai and/or Kadhis engage themselves with the secular state and/or are constrained by both the state and by the legal pluralism encountered within both Muslim majority and minority African countries; (c) the gendered implications of the hierarchical relation between Kadhi Courts and a national High Court; (d) the benefits and/or shortcomings of harmonizing Islamic Family Law; (e) what is to be learnt from women choosing to settle marital disputes and divorce within and/or outside the “legal protective space” afforded by the state judicial system and its inclusion of Islamic Family Law; (f) the role of human agency in influencing the administration of Islamic family law and/or interpreting the law; how judicial systems that are shaped by European and Islamic patriarchal systems confronted by the resilience of indigenous matrilineal Customary Law within contemporary African societies; and (g) the compatibility between the various articulation of African Islamic family laws with universal human rights and individual freedom. Ultimately, this special issue of Islamic Africa offers an insightful reflection on how Islamic Family Law plays an important role in democratic constitution-making or testing processes.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Africa; Sharīʿa; Human agency; Patriarchy; Legal pluralism; Gendered citizenship
Subject classification: Muslim family law
Institutions of the University: Faculties > Faculty of Languages and Literature > Chair Islamic Studies
Faculties > Faculty of Languages and Literature > Chair Islamic Studies > Chair Islamic Studies - Univ.-Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Seesemann
Faculties > Faculty of Languages and Literature
Result of work at the UBT: Yes
DDC Subjects: 200 Religion > 290 Other religions
Date Deposited: 08 Aug 2022 06:19
Last Modified: 09 Aug 2022 07:09