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Islamic Society ( 27 Jun 2022, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Muslim Family Law in the Modern World

By Grace Mubashir, New Age Islam

28 June 2022

Major Countries In The Arab World That Adhere To Such Classical Family Law Are Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Bahrain, Kuwait, And The Seven Trucial States

Main Points:

1.    Countries that still follow the old family law of Islam without any change. These laws are still not codified here.

2.    Countries where the law, which was passed by the legislature instead of abandoning all Islamic family law, is in force. These laws apply to all citizens, regardless of religion.

3.    Countries that have amended the existing Islamic Family Law in their respective areas with the new legislation. These reforms have been made by adopting certain provisions in other branches of Islamic law or by imposing some restrictions on some of its existing provisions.

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Here we are talking about countries where family laws are regulated according to Islamic Sharia.        .

Muslim countries that follow Islamic family law can be divided as follows.

1. Countries that still follow the old family law of Islam without any change. These laws are still not codified here.

2. Countries where the law, which was passed by the legislature instead of abandoning all Islamic family law, is in force. These laws apply to all citizens, regardless of religion.

3. Countries that have amended the existing Islamic Family Law in their respective areas with the new legislation. These reforms have been made by adopting certain provisions in other branches of Islamic law or by imposing some restrictions on some of its existing provisions.

The present state of Muslim family law in the above three countries can be summarized as follows:

Countries That Follow Traditional Family Law

In many countries where Islam is the national religion or the main religion, the non-codified traditional laws of the respective areas are still followed without any change. The major countries in the Arab world that adhere to such classical family law are Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Bahrain, Kuwait, and the seven Trucial States (the Arab states that were at peace with the British government).

According to the constitution of Saudi Arabia, all the laws must be in accordance with the Qur'an, the Sunnah, and the procedure adopted by the Prophet's followers. Therefore, the country has a traditional legal system according to the 'Hambali' branch of Islamic law.

In Yemen, the family law of the Sayyid branch of Islam (Shia influenced) is followed. An attempt a few years ago to reform its principles was not successful. Muslims in the People's Republic of South Yemen follow the classical family law of the Shafi'i or Hanafi sect. They are still not codified (this was prior to merging of two Yemen in 1991). Kuwait is still the center of classical family law. The people are generally of Maliki sect.

In addition to the aforementioned Arab states, there are two other Islamic countries in Asia that follow common Islamic law, namely Afghanistan and the Maldives. According to the Constitution of Afghanistan, the religion of the nation is Islam; Religious ceremonies in the state are performed according to the 'Hanafi' doctrine. No modifications have been made to it. The whole of Maldives Sultanate is Muslim. There 'Shafi' family law matters.

In Chad, Gambia, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and Somalia, where Islam is predominant in Africa, there has been no legislation to reform the existing Islamic family law. Elsewhere in Nigeria, the rules of family ownership are the same as in the case of family and succession.

If we move from countries where Islam is important to parts of Asia, Europe and Africa where Muslim minorities live, we can see many countries where the principles of the old Islamic family law still exist.

In Thailand, some amendments to the ancient family law have only affected the majority of Buddhists. Thai Muslims are exempt from this. They followed the old 'Shafi' family law. This is the situation of the Muslim minority in Burma.

Under the obligation embodied in the treaty between Greece and Yugoslavia in Europe, all necessary steps must be taken to uphold the principle that "for Muslims, family law and the status of the individual should be determined by the Muslim system." Thus, in Greece, wherever the Ottoman Empire left in 1913, the usual Islamic law was enforced by the Muftis (Muslim judges). In such cases, Yugoslav Muslims also practice Islamic law in accordance with certain national laws.

In Africa, in Ethiopia, Ghana, the Gold Coast, Uganda, and Sierra Leone, Muslim citizens respect the same classical Islamic family law as the local interpretation. One more thing is noteworthy here. Many of the aforementioned countries have secular constitutions where the old Islamic law is still preserved. Some governments in those countries are driven by communist ideology.

Countries That Follow Secular Family Laws

In a few countries, Muslims follow the same general rules of government as citizens of other religions in family law and succession. In these countries, Islamic family law is being systematically abandoned. Most of these revolutions have taken place in recent times which have a significant impact on the religious life of the citizens. In some countries, the outside world has little knowledge of the family law applicable to Muslim citizens.

Muslim citizens have a majority in only two countries where Islamic law has been completely abandoned. These countries are Turkey and Albania. After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, some of these civil laws were adopted, based on Western law. The model of the Turkish Civil Code of 1926 is the Swiss Civil Code of 1912. Some things have just changed in line with Islamic principles. However, with the exception of inheritance, the Turkish Civil Code does not conflict so seriously with Islamic law in family law. No information is available on the nature and origin of the Albanian Civil Code of 1928.

Zanzibar, a component of Tanzania, is predominantly Muslim; there has recently been a marriage law passed that applies to all religions. Similarly, in Kenya, where Muslims are a minority, a new marriage law has been enacted that applies equally to all citizens. As a result, the old Muslim marriage law has been replaced by a new one in these countries. Elsewhere, Islamic tradition continues to apply to Muslim citizens. However, the new marriage laws in the two countries are not contrary to the basic tenets of Islamic family law.

The Muslim minorities in the Philippines and the Soviet Union enforce secular family laws that apply equally to all others. Under the Republic Act No. 394 of 1949, Filipino Muslims were granted a leave of absence. Accordingly, arrangements were made to maintain the local 'Shafi' family law for a period of twenty years. In the six Central Asian republics of the Soviet Union, Islamic law was gradually abandoned in the decade following the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution.

Countries That Have Amended Islamic Family Law

The countries in the third category mentioned above have recently made amendments to the old Islamic family laws. These include fundamental, statutory, or both laws.

The fundamental law reforms made in these countries should be described as reforms in the local Muslim branch of law. This is because what has been done there is not a complete overhaul of Muslim law. The usual way of doing this is to adopt and enforce other Muslim laws that are not prevalent in a particular country. Elections are held on the basis of principles and legal opinions of other branches of Muslim law. The newly adopted family laws in these countries will be based on any one or more legal concepts within the framework of Islam. Sometimes two or more comments are added.

Turkey was the first country to make such amendments to Islamic family law. One such amendment was the Ottoman Law on Family Rights of 1917; this law is now applicable to Muslims in Lebanon. Between 1920 and 1940, Egypt undertook several legislative reforms. The way to do this was as mentioned earlier. The 'Hanafi' - 'Shafi' family rules were amended to suit the local Muslims. Other countries that have implemented such reforms are: Sudan, Jordan, Syria, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Iraq, Iran and Pakistan. It is noteworthy that all these countries are Islamic states.

In a country where Muslims are a minority, it is only in India that a part of the Muslim Family Law - that is, the right of a woman to obtain a divorce through the courts - has been amended by legislation.

However, the Muslim minorities in Israel and Cyprus observe some important changes in the Islamic Family Code; these are adapted from other countries. The Ottoman Family Law of 1917 (passed in Turkey) was adopted by the Muslims of Lebanon as mentioned above. This is the same code that has been adopted by the Muslim minority in Israel. In Cyprus, the Muslim Law on Marriage and Divorce was codified in 1951. It was modeled on the Turkish Civil Code of 1926 on the same subject.

In most of the above countries, the reform has been achieved by partially amending the fundamental law. On the contrary, many parts of the family law (e.g. divorce by husband) have been amended to include some restrictions. The fundamentals are retained. This has been done by empowering the courts, quasi-court bodies and administrative departments to have access to family matters. For example, all the new reforms in Pakistan are thus regulatory in nature.

In five countries in South and East Asia, the Muslim Family Law has not been fundamentally amended, but it has not been left unaddressed. In three of these countries, the majority are Muslims -- Brunei, Malaysia and Indonesia; They are a minority in the other two countries, namely Singapore and Ceylon. Extensive laws have been enacted to enforce Muslim family law throughout this country. These generally do not affect the fundamental principles of family law in force locally. However, the law contains a number of restrictions to prevent misuse of provisions such as polygamy and divorce.

The scope of the two types of legal reforms, fundamental and regulatory, varies from country to country. In Lebanon, Jordan, Algeria, Iran, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia and Ceylon, only marriages, divorces and related matters have been reformed. None of the Islamic traditions of inheritance, whether by will or by will, have been changed in these countries. In contrast, Egypt has two separate laws regarding charity and will. Some provisions of these laws have been slightly amended in Sudan and Syria. Parts of the will law in Iraq have also been revised. In Tunisia and Morocco, the 'Maliki' principles of trust and will are almost completely codified; at the same time, some principles that are not in that branch have been adopted.

Only one reform has been made in India; it is about the right of a Muslim woman to get a divorce through the courts. Of the reforms made in Pakistan, only one section, implemented in 1961, deals with unconditional succession. The rest is about marriage and divorce. An ordinance passed in Singapore in 1961 touches on matters of succession in addition to Muslim marriage and divorce. Of the reforms made in Pakistan, only one section, implemented in 1961, deals with unconditional succession. The rest is about marriage and divorce. An ordinance passed in Singapore in 1961 touches on issues of succession, in addition to Muslim marriage and divorce.

The impact of the Muslim family law reforms in the above 20 countries mentioned above was felt in other parts of the world as well. There has been a long-running debate over whether it is possible to reform areas that touch indigenous Muslims under the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937, which was passed in India in 1937.

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A regular columnist for NewAgeIslam.com, Grace Mubashir is a journalism student at IIMC, Delhi


URL:    https://newageislam.com/islamic-society/muslim-family-law-modern-world/d/127344


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