Marriage and Divorce in Modern Islamic Law 23 April 2019, University of Exeter

In the last 200 years, a series of legal innovations have appeared in both Islamic legal thought and practice in the areas of marriage and divorce, and some of these were explored in this workshop. USPPIP researchers past and present gathered with other researchers to examine these issues on 23rd April 2019 at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, Exeter. Dr Sejad Mekic, USPPIP fellow in Exeter spoke on the “delegation of divorce” (tafwīd al-ṭalāq) arguing for a more comprehensive employment of this legal mechanisms to give women increased agency in Muslim legal contexts.  Dr Nijmi Edres, USPPIP fellow at Gottingen, and visiting USPPIP fellow in Exeter, examined divorce delegation in the context of Israeli Shari’a courts.  Dr Mahmood Kooria, USPPIP fellow in Leiden, spoke fresh from the field about the prevalence of divorce amongst matrilineal Muslim communities of the Indian Ocean littoral. The first panel, was then a showcase of USPPIP research in the areas of marriage and divorce law.

In the second panel, Mr Mahmouf Afifi, doctoral student at Lancaster University, spoke on his doctoral research relating to interpretations of the Quranic verses which appear to relate to the husband’s right to discipline his wife. Dr Ayesha Choudry from Coventry University presented on how post-divorce maintenance payments to ex-wives has been, in general, rejected by judges in the Pakistani system – she argued that broader Islamic principles of justice and fairness required this to be looked at afresh.  Finally Mr Muhammad Al-Marakaby rounded off the afternoon with an examination of fatwas and opinions from scholars in Egypt, tracing how divorce, whilst now having social stigma, was, in the pre-modern period, viewed as much less problematic.

The workshop marked the end of Dr Sejad Mekic’s period as USPPIP fellow in Exeter, before taking up a permanent post at the Cambridge Muslim College.  We wish him every success in the future.

Third USPPIP Workshop: “Maṣlaḥa, Siyāsa and Good Governance: Sharīʿa and Society”, 18th-20th April 2018, University of Bergen

The USPPIP team gathered in sunny Bergen for the third USPPIP workshop and were joined by an international collection of researchers to examine notions of public benefit (maṣlaḥa) and good governance.  

The programme of the workshop is available here and included key note lectures from Professors Mohammad Fadel and Felicitas Opwis.  

On Saturday 21st April, the USPPIP team gathered to develop its research agenda further with presentations on the project’s impact work and the progress of the teams in the four participating centres.

USPPIP Panel: British Association for Islamic Studies (BRAIS) conference 9-11 April 2018

The Understanding Shari’a project convened a very well-attended panel at the 2018 BRAIS conference, which was held at the University of Exeter.  Rob Gleave chaired the panel, with papers from Omar Anchassi, Mahmood Kooria and Nijmi Edres– here is the programme extract:

Uses of the Past, A Panel on the HERA-Funded Project Understanding Sharī`a: Past Perfect Imperfect Present (USPPIP)

Chair: Robert Gleave (University of Exeter)

Omar Anchassi (University of Exeter) Al-Khaḍkhaḍa fī Jald `Umayra: Or, Towards a History of Onanism in Islamic Thought

Mahmood Kooria (Leiden University) Using the Past and Bridging the Gap: Premodern Islamic Legal Texts in New Media

Nijmi Edres (University of Göttingen) Uses of the Past: Gender and Shari`a in contemporary Muslim practice in Israel and Palestine