The Practice of Two Danish Female Islamic Authorities Facilitating Divorce

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Research on Muslim divorce practices in Europe often focuses exclusively on male Islamic authority, neglecting the role of women. This article compares the Islamic divorce practice of two female Islamic authorities with that of nineteen male Islamic authorities to demonstrate that women have important roles in relation to Islamic divorce. It also analyses how the two Danish female informants, Zaynab and Aisha, function as highly specialised volunteer social workers, referring Muslim women to shelters and guiding them through their Islamic divorce. Thus, the article points out a vacuum in the services provided by the Danish state – the lack of knowledge about conflicts relating to Islamic divorce – which makes professional social workers a less relevant option for Muslim women experiencing nikah-captivity (marital captivity within an Islamic symbolic frame of reference).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357–377
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Muslims in Europe
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Religious Studies
  • Law and Society

Free keywords

  • Female Islamic authority
  • Islamic divorce
  • divorce
  • Islamic juridical vacuum
  • family law
  • khul‘
  • Muslims in Denmark
  • Muslims in Europe


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