Journal for Islamic Studies

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Negotiating Justice: American Muslim Women Navigating Islamic Divorce and Civil Law

ZMS Ayubi


Drawing on interviews with divorced American Muslim women, I will discuss the range of ways Muslim women in the U.S. incorporate Islamic law into their lives and how they negotiate the religious and legal aspects of their divorces. A common challenge my interlocutors faced in divorce was establishing an access to Islamic divorce and a divorce on equitable terms. Using their understanding of Islamic law as a standard for justice, my interlocutors employed both civil law and religio-legal strategies to re-defi ne the terms of Islamic divorce for themselves. Their experiences demonstrate a need for reform in American Muslim divorce ethics and Islamic legal thought.
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