Family law in Islam; between the demands of fiqh and society

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;

Presenter Title of Paper View Abstract
Syed Jaafar Fadlallah
Islamic Shar’i Institute, Lebanon
The Quranic Basis for Family Relations Click here
Dr Rawand Osman
Al-Mahdi Institute
Coherence in Surat al-Nisa: The Supposition of Women’s Economic dependence Click here
Ms Aina Khan
Duncan Lewis Solicitors
Unregistered Muslim Marriages- a ticking time bomb? Click here
Professor Ayatollah Mohaghegh Damad
Shahid Beheshti University
Re-reading the Ayat al-Ahkam in the Quran Regarding Family Relations Click here
Dr Lena Larsen
University of Oslo
Muslims between Fiqh and Society: Maqasid al-Sharia and Modern Common Morality Click here
Shaykh Arif Abdul Hussain
Al-Mahdi Institute
Adoption in Islam Click here
Professor Liyakat Takim
McMaster University
The Role of ‘Urf’ in Islamic Law: The Case of the Guardianship of Women Click here
Shaykh Vinay Khetia
McMaster University
Inter-faith Marriage in Imāmī Exegesis and Jurisprudence: The search for Legal Intent and Communal Boundaries Click here
Shaykh Hasan Beloushi
Exeter University
The Jurist in the New State: the Failure of the codification of ShīʿīFamily Law in Iraq Click here
Dr Ali Fanaei
Al-Mahdi Institute
Domestic Violence between Religion and Culture Click here
Dr Ziba Mir Hosseini
University of London, SOAS
Muslim Family Laws and the challenge of Equality Click here
Professor Seyed M. Ghari Fatemi
Al-Mahdi Institute
Autonomy and Marital Rape: Towards a Virtue Reading of the Islamic Teachings Click here