Journal of Religion and Human Relations

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Women's Rights in Matrimonial Jurisprudence under Islamic Family Law in Nigeria: A Need for Reform

IKE Oraegbunam, BOS Udezo


Marriage is a very pervasive social institution. Yet, as with other aspects of social life, there is great variation in family and marriage patterns across diverse cultures and religions. What counts as marriage, its connection with kindred issues, whom and how many one is permitted to marry, how spouses are elected, the connections between marriage and sexuality, whether and how marriage can be dissolved, all these differ widely. In spite of these differences, the fundamental necessity of the family and marriage structure cannot be gainsaid. As the basic unit of the social edifice, the family and its proximate cause, the marriage system, must be endowed with certain characteristic features such as care, love, respect, unity, endurance, permanence, freedom, dialogue, and the like. All the contemporary attempts to redefine the concept of marriage would succeed or fail in accordance with how they preserve the primary marks of the nuptial and family bond. This paper is particularly concerned with the examination of some aspects of matrimonial jurisprudence under Islamic law. The study intends to specifically consider the issues of marriage consent, polygyny, and dissolution of marriage in Islam. The choice of these aspects is informed by their effects on women's rights and dignity, and the volatile and varied nature of the practices
across many an Islamic enclave. The study is however narrowed down to their implications on women's rights in Nigerian Islamic law regime. Suggestions and recommendations as panacea to the observed anomaly would capitulate the discourse.

AJOL African Journals Online