Muslim Divorce in the MENA: Shari‘a, Codification, State Feminism, and the Courts

  • Jessica Carlisle
Part of the Gender and Politics book series (GAP)


The codification of shari‘a-derived Muslim family law was an important aspect of state-building in post-colonial Middle Eastern and North African states. This has included legislation specifying permissible divorce forms. Governments have subsequently pursued state feminist reform towards equalising men and women’s access to divorce and increasing the courts’ powers to rule on gendered behaviour in marriage. These reforms have been contested by conservative and Islamist critics who are opposed to political elites, arguing that they undermine the family and misinterpret the shari‘a. The legislation resulting from these debates is interpreted by Muslim family court judges in response to litigants’ claims during the legal process. This book discusses the production of gender regimes during Syrian, Moroccan, and Libyan divorce cases and assesses the impact of post–Arab Spring proto-states on divorce law.


Islamic state feminism Muslim family law fiqh codification shari‘a divorce MENA judiciary Gender regimes 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jessica Carlisle
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Science, Knowledge and Belief in SocietyNewman UniversityBirminghamUK

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