Recent Scholarship: Jaraba on Divorce

A recent article in Islamic Law and Society on “The Practice of Khulʿ in Germany: Pragmatism versus Conservativism,” by Mahmoud Jaraba, examines how Muslim women who are religiously-married in Germany might initiate no-fault divorce in the absence of a German registered civil marriage. Because there is no Muslim state authority to consult, local imams and Islamic leaders can resort to a community-led practice known as khulʿ (divorce initiated by the woman) to dissolve an Islamic marriage (nikāḥ) that is not recognized by civil authorities.

In the article, the culmination of three years of fieldwork in Germany, Jaraba analyzes and interprets the views and practices of two groups of religious actors – conservatives and pragmatists – towards khulʿ in cases of nikāḥ. He finds that conservatives only permit a woman to divorce through khulʿ with her husband’s consent, whereas pragmatists use Muslim minority jurisprudence (fiqh al-aqalliyyāt al-Muslima) to argue that the husband’s consent is not essential to legitimize a khulʿ pronouncement.

The article is available open-access from the publisher (Brill) here.