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Chapter Summary

Over the past ten years, a number of independent incidents have inspired extensive public debates on the human rights and status of women living in societies that apply Sharia-derived laws. The major challenge to universality is that States and people have failed to agree on what exactly constitutes discrimination against women, particularly in the area of family relations, which is most likely to be regulated by religious law. This demand to make khul divorce contingent only on re-payment of the dowry, without the need to relinquish alimony payments is based on the alternative transmission (riwaya) of the prophetic tradition involving the wife of Thabit bin Qays, in which he told her to give back the garden and no more. Feminist literature is replete with accounts of how the Quran describes the marital relationship as one based on mercy, compassion, and mutual respect between the spouses.

Keywords: khul divorce; prophetic tradition; riwaya



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