Debates over the Islamic Marriage Contract among Contemporary Muslim-Arab Intellectuals


Fri, 04/18/2014 - 3:00pm to Sat, 06/25/2022 - 4:51am

The minority opinions of early Muslim jurists, as well as those of a few intellectuals, have played a significant role in influencing reforms which have enhanced women’s rights in Islamic family law in Arab-Muslim states. In contrast to what is likely presumed by those outside of Islamic culture, conservative intellectual Muslim men like the Moroccan intellectual Aḥmad al-Khamlīshī (b. 1928) at times, produce liberal work which has succeeded in reopening the gate of ijtihād to women, allowing them to participate in the practice of lawmaking alongside men as a part of a new ijtihād advocating for women’s rights.

Over the twentieth century there has been a dynamic and ongoing debate within Arab- Muslim society among the conservative circles as well as the more liberal circles regarding the topic of marriage. Islamic conversation regarding the marriage contract demonstrates that the debate over family law in general and the marriage contract in particular is a complex and challenging discourse. This can be observed by the fact that not all conservative Muslim intellectuals and muftīs share the same opinion regarding the legal age of marriage for women, the role of the marriage guardian (walī) in marriage, or the rights women have in conducting their own marriages. Even opinions between individuals from within the same conservative party may vary considerably. While some argue for the preservation of the Islamic tradition and the restriction of the wife’s role in her marriage, others want to grant women broader agency in some aspects of the marriage contract.

Nayel Badareen a PhD doctorate student, in Islamic studies at the University of Arizona. He obtained my Bachelor of Science in Engineering from California State University Los Angeles in 1986. He holds a Master degree of Arts in Religion from Claremont Graduate University,2008 and a Teaching Credential Degree to teach math and science from California.





MENAS Colloquium Series
Friday, April 18, 2014
3:00pm in Marshall 490

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