‘Family law in Islam; between the demands of fiqh and society’ workshop at AMI

Held on the 26th to 27th March 2015, The Al-Mahdi Institute hosted the 3rd Annual Contemporary Fiqhi Issues workshop on the topic of; ‘Family Law in Islam: between the demands of fiqh and society.’ Bringing together a host of scholars and specialists worldwide, the workshop was the perfect platform for the participants to present relevant comparative, sociological, anthropological and/or historical approaches that address the fiqhī reading of family law and its application in contemporary society.

Family law is defined as an area of law that deals with matters and regulations that have a significant impact on family relationships, particularly relating to marriage, divorce, adoption, custody, inheritance and abuse. In the contemporary age, obligations and disputes within the area of family law have grown, and now family law is entwined with debates over the structure of family, gender bias, and morality. In addition, changing social and cultural norms, coupled with the diverse regulatory frameworks of different nation states have led to numerous specific challenges relating to issues around family hierarchy, forced marriage, the age of consent, polygamy, equal access to divorce, inheritance, the concept of mahramiyya (consanguinity) and its implications for adoption. At the heart of these concerns are questions relating to if, how and to with what effect, does the fiqhī conception of family law impact societal and family relations when implemented, both at a personal level within a secular society, and at a statutory level within the Muslim world.

Some of the scholars and specialists who presented their findings at the workshop were; Professor Ayatullah Mohaghegh Damad, Syed Jaafar Fadlallah, Dr Ziba Mir Hosseini, Professor Liyakat Takim, Dr Lena Larsen, Ms Aina Khan, Shaykh Arif Abdulhussain and many more. The workshop also benefited by the attendance of Research Specialists from various Educational Institutes from around the UK, students of the Al-Mahdi Institute and other Institutions alike, AMI Faculty and interested members of the public.

The participants who presented their findings at the workshop were;

Syed Jaafar Fadlallah (Islamic Shar’i Institute, Lebanon) –  ‘The Quranic Basis for Family Relations’

Dr Rawand Osman (Al-Mahdi Institute) – ‘Coherence in Surat al-Nisa: The Supposition of Women’s Economic dependence’

Ms Aina Khan (Duncan Lewis Solicitors) – ‘Unregistered Muslim Marriages- a ticking time bomb?’

Prof. Ayat. Mohaghegh Damad (Shahid Beheshti University) – ‘Re-reading the ayat al-ahkam in the Quran regarding family relations’

Dr Lena Larsen (University of Oslo) – ‘Muslims between fiqh & Society: Maqasid al-sharia and modern common Morality’

Shaykh Arif Abdul Hussain (Al-Mahdi Institute) – ‘Adoption in Islam’

Prof. Liyakat Takim (McMaster University) – ‘The Role of ‘Urf’ in Islamic Law: The Case of the Guardianship of Women’

Shaykh Vinay Khetia (McMaster University) – ‘Inter-faith Marriage in Imāmī Exegesis and Jurisprudence: The search for Legal Intent and Communal Boundaries’

Shaykh Hasan Beloushi (Exeter University) – ‘The Jurist in the New State: the Failure of the codification of Shīʿī Family Law in Iraq’

Dr Ali Fanaei (Al-Mahdi Institute) – ‘Domestic Violence between Religion and Culture’

Dr Ziba Mir Hosseini (University of London, SOAS) – ‘Muslim Family Laws and the challenge of Equality’

Prof. Seyed M. Ghari Fatemi (Al-Mahdi Institute) – ‘Prof. Seyed M. Ghari Fatemi (Al-Mahdi Institute)’


To view the abstracts and bios from the workshop, please click here.

To view more images from the workshop, please click here.