Do Shari’a councils meet the needs of Muslim women?

Parveen, Rehana (2018). Do Shari’a councils meet the needs of Muslim women? University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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In the last 30 years English law has seen a small but steady proliferation of shari’a councils though exact numbers are unknown. They have been set up to meet the religious needs of the British Muslim population focussing on providing a forum for the resolution of marital disputes. Shari’a councils offer mediation and reconciliation services as well as issuing religious divorce certificates. In the academic research to date it is apparent that the primary applicants to shari’a councils are Muslim women. In order to understand why one must investigate Islamic law which differentiates between the way in which men and women may divorce. Muslim men are free to pronounce a unilateral divorce without seeking the approval of any judicial body. Muslim women are arguably not granted any equivalent rights and must either secure their husband’s consent or apply to an authority to provide them with a religious determination. Shari’a councils have emerged to meet that need. My research demonstrates that whilst Muslim women are generally satisfied with the outcome of a shari’a council ruling they are critical of the processes. This becomes even more apparent to them when they compare their experiences of shari’a councils with the civil court system. Nonetheless, civil law alone is insufficient to meet the women’s needs and access to a religious authority remains a vital resource for many Muslim women. There is, however, a dynamic and evolving relationship emerging between Muslim family law practices and English law, which is still only at the embryonic stage.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: Birmingham Law School
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BP Islam. Bahaism. Theosophy, etc
K Law > KD England and Wales


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