Marriage in Islamic Interpretive Tradition: Revisiting the Legal and the Ethical

Mulki Al-Sharmani
2018 Journal of Islamic Ethics  
This paper tackles the vexed relationship between the ethical and the legal in the patriarchal construction of marriage and spousal rights in Islamic interpretive tradition and its modern manifestations (i.e. contemporary Muslim family laws and conservative religious discourses). I approach the issue from two angles. First, I examine the work of selected Muslim women scholars from different countries, who since the late 1980s and early 1990s have been engaging critically with Islamic
more » ... e tradition, to unpack and critique patriarchal interpretations and rulings on marriage and divorce rights, and provide alternative egalitarian readings that are grounded in Qurʾānic ethics. Second, I shed light on how this patriarchal construction of marriage and gender rights impacts the lived realities of ordinary Muslim women and men. I focus on two national contexts: Egypt and Finland. I show-through analysis of courtroom practices in family disputes, marriage practices, and ordinary women's understandings of the sacred text-that the exegetical and juristic construction of spousal roles and rights is increasingly unsustainable in the lived realities of many Muslims as well as becoming a source of tension on an ethico-religious level.
doi:10.1163/24685542-12340017 fatcat:eir2sft4mba2xh4rpxsvcw6pva