In Muslim minority contexts, particularly the West, some of the prevalent discourses on religious-only Muslim marriages share an underlying assumption of a homogenous, legally recognised and culturally streamlined form of Islamic marriages found in Muslim majority contexts. However, this depiction does not represent the truth of diverse and plural lived experiences of Muslim marriages in societies where the majority of the population are Muslim and state codified Muslim family laws exist.  Diversity arises from numerous fronts; from the Sunni/Shia doctrinal separation, to the particular ethnic and cultural norms which impact on the development of Islamic jurisprudence around family law; Muslim majority states have all devised and developed their own particular forms of marriage laws with lesser and greater degrees of normative religious influences.  Furthermore, outside the law and its institutions, in the lived realities of many women and men in these contexts, marriage is organized and experienced in diverse ways. The result is a plurality of marital relationship norms in Muslim majority contexts, which speak against the idea of a cohesive nature to Muslim marriages.

This call for papers seeks to uncover the plurality in marital relationship norms in Muslim majority countries, with a central focus on the individual or couple and the way in which they organise their relationship. Papers should include an empirical dimension, and this may incorporate engagement with one or more of a number of ‘stakeholders’ concerned with that relationship, involving the state and its infrastructure including family courts, religious institutions, the families, welfare organisations, friendship/social group norms and/or political movements including those advocating reforms.

These ‘marriages’ may be formal or informal, recognised by the state and simultaneously not recognised by the state (either fully or partially). Empirical evidences presented may include analysis of case law around marriage formalities and the approach of the courts to the question of marriage recognition. A necessary element in some country contexts may be the evolving understanding of the nature and parameters of the Islamic marriage and questions around legitimacy. The analysis may present a bottom up or top down approach, but all proposals should centre upon the individual/couple’s relationship choices.


Please send a 500 word abstract and a short bio note to:

Editors: Dr Rajnaara Akhtar (Leicester De Montfort), Prof. Annelies Moors (Amsterdam), Dr Yafa Shanneik (Birmingham), Dr Mulki Al-Sharmani (Helsinki)

(Final paper submissions expected in between January – April 2019, word count 6-8,000 words).