No Altars: A Survey of Islamic Family Law in United States
University of Wisconsin Law School
December 16, 2009
WOMEN'S RIGHTS AND ISLAMIC FAMILY LAW: PERSPECTIVES ON REFORM, Zed Books, 2004
Univ. of Wisconsin Legal Studies Research Paper Series No. 1236
American judges have been judging Muslim divorces in state courts for years, creating a body of case law that not only involves Islamic family law doctrines, but also reveals interesting insights about American Muslim marriage practices generally. This article reviews the holdings in some published cases, exploring questions of overlapping jurisdictions (state and religious law), and how enforcement of Islamic contract-based claims such as the mahr (bridal gift) have fared in American courts. The article draws from interviews with lawyers, social workers, and imams who have advised American Muslims negotiating the process of marriage and divorce in the United States. A brief survey of relevant literature, as well as some suggestions for future practice, is interwoven in the presentation.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 29
Keywords: divorce, Muslim, Muslim divorce, Islamic family law, American Muslim, jurisdiction, Islamic contract, mahr
JEL Classification: K4
Date posted: December 20, 2009 ; Last revised: October 10, 2013
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