Written from an ethnographic perspective, this book investigates the socio-legal aspects of Islamic jurisprudence in Gaza-Palestine. It examines the way judges, lawyers and litigants operate with respect to the law and with each other, particularly given their different positions in the power structure within the court and within society at large. The book aims at elucidating ambivalences in the codified statutes that allow the actors to find practical solutions to their (often) legally unresolved problems and to manipulate the law. The book demonstrates that present-day judges are not only confronted with novel questions they have to find an answer to, but, perhaps more importantly, they are confronted with contradictions between the letter of codified law and their own notions of justice. The author reminds us that these notions of justice should not be set a priori; they are socially constructed in particular time and space.
Making a substantial contribution to a number of theoretical debates on family law and gender, the book will appeal to both academic and non-academic readers alike.
Table of Contents
1: Introduction; 2: Islamic jurisprudence now and in the past; 3: The Gaza Shari‘a courts: an overview; 4: The daily practice of judges: perception vs reality; 5: The sociology of Nafaqa (maintenance); 6: Obedience, rebelliousness and agency; 7: The articulation of gendered parenthood: care vs guardianship; 8: Civil society, women’s movement and family law reform; 9: Change, a step at a time; 10: Epilogue
Nahda Shehada is Senior Lecturer in Gender, Culture and Development at the Institute of Social Studies (ISS), Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Her major area of interest is anthropology of Islamic law, particularly in the MENA region. She has published widely in books and leading international academic journals focussing on Islamic law.