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Understanding Sharia Processes

Women's Experiences of Family Disputes

By: Farrah Ahmed, Ghena Krayem
Media of Understanding Sharia Processes
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Published: 06-01-2022
Format: Paperback
Edition: 1st
Extent: 200
ISBN: 9781509949489
Imprint: Hart Publishing
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
RRP: £34.99
Online price : £31.49
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About Understanding Sharia Processes

This book is available as open access through the Bloomsbury Open Access programme and is available on

Sharia family law processes have attracted increasing debate and controversy in the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia in recent years. While the reasons for opposition to sharia processes are complex, they often feature the concern that sharia processes disadvantage Muslim women.

However, to date there has been inadequate attention to the experiences of participants in sharia processes. This book studies women's experiences with these processes in Australia, with attention to the question of how religious communities and liberal legal systems can best respond to the needs of Muslim women who use these processes. In doing so, the book offers unique evidence to inform future policy developments in Australia that will also have implications for other liberal jurisdictions.

In this way, the book makes a significant contribution to the international discussion and response to sharia processes.

Table Of Contents

1. Introduction
I. Concerns about Sharia Processes
II. Why Sharia Processes Exist
III. The Importance of Women's Experiences
IV. Methodology
V. Significance and Outline

2. People, Procedures and Practices
I. Introduction
II. British Institutions and Processes
A. Key Organisations, Procedures and Practices
III. Canadian Institutions and Processes
A. Key Organisations
B. Procedures and Practices
IV. Australian Institutions and Processes
A. Key Organisations, Procedures and Practices
V. Conclusion

3. Women's Perspectives and Experiences
I. Introduction
II. Before Sharia Processes
A. Family
B. Professionals and Community Workers
III. Reasons for Seeking a Religious Divorce
A. Spiritual Motivations
B. Ending Emotional Exploitation
C. Closure and 'Moving On'
D. Avoiding Stigma
IV. Women's Experiences of Sharia Processes
A. Emphasis on Reconciliation
B. A Lack of Skills and Training
C. A Lack of Transparency
D. Responding to Domestic Violence
E. Acknowledgement of Injustice
F. Gender Imbalance on Panels
G. Re-traumatisation, Privacy and Forum-shopping
H. Impact on Faith
V. Conclusion

4. Imams' Roles and Perspectives
I. Introduction
II. Imams' Understanding of their Role in Reconciliation
III. Imams' Understanding of their Role in Divorce
A. Role as Service-Providers and Advocates for Women
B. Backlash for Carrying Out Roles in Divorce Proceedings
IV. Responding to the Concerns of Women and Professionals
A. The Need for Training and Resources
B. Responding to Domestic Violence
C. Gender Imbalance in Sharia Processes
V. Conclusion

5. Outcomes of Sharia Processes
I. Introduction
II. Divorce Outcomes
A. Summary of the Types of Islamic Divorce
B. Divorce Outcomes from Sharia Processes
III. Financial Outcomes
A. Imams' Limited Advisory Role in Financial Matters
IV. Child Custody
V. Conclusion

6. Evolution and Change
I. Improving Sharia Processes
A. Pre-marriage Briefing and Counselling
B. Rethinking Marriage Contracts and Delegated Divorce Rights – Talaq Tafweedh
C. Financial Agreements
D. The Initial Stages of Sharia Processes
E. Women on Panels
F. Professionals on Panels
G. Education and Transparency about Divorce Options and Financial Entitlements
H. Clearer Processes and Procedures
I. Acknowledgement and Response to Injustice, Abuse and Harm
J. Domestic Violence
K. Referral and Integration of Support Services
L. Sensitivity to Cultural and Linguistic Diversity
M. Support and Resources for Religious Divorce
N. Enhanced Role for Muslim Women's Organisations
O. Tracking the Australian Legal System
II. Improving the Family Law System
A. Better Enforcement of Orders against Former Partners
B. Better Tailored Legal Aid
C. Enhancing the Cultural Sensitivity of Mainstream Services
D. Legal Recognition of the Mahr
E. A Muslim Family Relationship Centre/Service: A One Stop Shop for Muslim Families
III. Conclusion

7. Conclusion
Appendix A: Methodology and Project Phases
Appendix B: Board of Imams Victoria Marriage Contract
Appendix C: Board of Imams Victoria Islamic Mediation/Reconciliation Application
Appendix D: Board of Imams Islamic Divorce Application
Appendix E: Lebanese Muslim Association Application
Appendix F: Summary of Key Sunni Positions on Islamic Divorce
Appendix G: Qatari Family Law Code

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