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Qurʾan 2:229 “A Charter Granted to the Wife”?

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image of Islamic Law and Society

The study of Muslim law in South Asia highlights two important points: (i) what is termed Muslim law (or shariʿa) is not immutable; and (ii) to discuss Muslim law as a legal system in the modern world it is necessary to locate that legal system within the context of a nation-state.

One of the most dramatic developments when the uncodified law applicable to Muslims in the new republic of Pakistan fell to be interpreted by Muslim judges of the superior Courts of the new nation was the judicial creation of a new form of divorce available at the demand of the wife—the “judicial Khulʿ.”

In retrospect, however, it is unfortunate that counsel representing the women whose litigation resulted in the new dispensation relied upon Q. 2:229, rather than Q. 4:35. Thus the new dispensation of 1967 is merely a chapter in an unfinished story.

Affiliations: 1: Cambridge, England


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