Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Islamic Law Egypt (Adjudicating Islamic Family Law in Egypt: Continuity and Rupture)
Reporting period: 2018-09-15 to 2020-09-14
determinant of gendered citizenship rights. Being the only field of law where the principles of Islamic shari’a still apply, it is often portrayed as the last bastion of a dismantled Islamic legal system.
The project examined an issue that has been the subject of considerable public and scholarly debate in recent decades. Egypt is an interesting case in point worth dwelling on since it illustrates the complexity of normative pluralism in contemporary Muslim family law. Being the first country to codify family law after the Ottoman Empire, Egypt served as a model for subsequent family law reform in the region. During the 20th and 21st centuries, the Egyptian state adopted a series of personal status law codes designed to promote the nuclear family and turn marriage into a more permanent bond than that envisioned by classical Islamic jurisprudence, where the man has the right to unilaterally repudiate his wife without providing a reason and to marry up to four wives. With this in mind, 20th century law codes subjected the male right of polygamy and repudiation to several restrictions, while women’s access to judicial dissolution and child custody were expanded. These laws eclectically adopted doctrines from the classical schools of Islamic jurisprudence. In the post-2011 period Muslim family law became an area of public controversy and numerous actors challenged the authority of the state to interpret shari‘a. The issue of Muslim family law being such a live and controversial one, showed that the issue was in need of further academic exploration. Understanding these developments is important because Egypt is an important centre in the Muslim world which is under tremendous transformative pressures.
The project aimed to accomplish the following objectives: Objective 1: The overall aim of the project was to contribute to the growing scholarly literature on the implementation of shari‘a-based family codes by describing and analyzing focusing gender implications of religiously inspired judicial activism. Objective 2: A further aim was to shed light on the intersection between law and religion in this field, and how legal reasoning is shaped by a modern, positivistic conception of law through the use of a comparative perspective. Objective 3: To improve the fellow's career prospects through research training, public engagement, and stronger networks through international mobility.