‘Policy Brief 1: Why Muslim Family Law Reform? Why Now?’ outlines 10 fundamental facts to make the case for the reform of Muslim Family Laws, especially since resistance to reform is based on religious justifications. Many contemporary Muslim family laws continue to be based on classical fiqh rulings and outdated gender norms, and they reflect […]
Women’s Capacity to Enter Into Marriage
Lived realities have shown that women have an unequal ability to enter into marriage. This includes child and forced marriage. Women are denied the choice in who they marry, when they marry and have zero autonomy over their own life decisions, this contributes to failed marriage relationships, unequal power in and lack of respect within marriage relationships, and increased violence in marriages.
The Qur’an and Sunnah describe marriage as a solemn covenant built on ethics such as love (mawadda), compassion (rahmah), and beauty and goodness (ihsan). Legally, however, Muslim tradition considers marriage to be a contract (‘aqd) between two parties who, as with any contract, enter it freely. Various hadiths put forward the idea that conditions are acceptable in Islamic contracts and must be fulfilled by those who agree to them. As in any contract, the parties to a marriage must freely consent to terms on which they mutually agree.