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Child Custody in Islamic Law: Theory and Practice in Egypt since the Sixteenth Century

Ahmed Fekry Ibrahim analyzes how these two concepts -the nurturing and upkeep of children, or ‘custody’, and caring for the child’s education, discipline, and property- relate to the welfare of the child, and traces the development of an Islamic child welfare jurisprudence akin to the Euro-American concept of the best interests of the child, enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

Pre-modern Muslim jurists drew a clear distinction between the nurturing and upkeep of children, or ‘custody’, and caring for the child’s education, discipline, and property, known as ‘guardianship’. Here, Ahmed Fekry Ibrahim analyzes how these two concepts relate to the welfare of the child, and traces the development of an Islamic child welfare jurisprudence akin to the Euro-American concept of the best interests of the child, enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Challenging Euro-American exceptionalism, he argues that child welfare played an essential role in agreements designed by early modern Egyptian judges and families, and that Egyptian child custody laws underwent radical transformations in the modern period. Focusing on a variety of themes, including matters of age and gender, the mother’s marital status, and the custodian’s lifestyle and religious affiliation, Ibrahim shows that there is an exaggerated gap between the modern concept of the best interests of the child and pre-modern Egyptian approaches to child welfare.

About the Author

Ahmed Fekry Ibrahim is Assistant Professor of Islamic Law at McGill University, Montréal. He has been writing about the theory and practice of Islamic law in the pre-modern and modern periods by examining both juristic discourse and court records. His research has been supported by numerous bodies, including the Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law, the American Research Center in Egypt, and the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Qatar.

Table of Contents

Part I Child Custody and Guardianship in Comparative Perspective

1- Child Custody in Civil and Common Law Jurisdictions

2- The Best Interests of the Child in Islamic Juristic Discourse

Part II Ottoman-Egyptian Practice, 1517–180

3-Private Separation Deeds in Action

4- Ottoman Juristic Discourse in Action, 1517–1801

Part III The Transition into Modernity

5- Child Custody in Egypt, 1801–1929

6- Twentieth- and Twenty-First-Century Child Custody, 1929–2014

Bibliographic Information

Title: Child Custody in Islamic Law: Theory and Practice in Egypt since the Sixteenth Century

Author: Ahmed Fekry Ibrahim

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

 Language: English

Length: 238 pages

ISBN: 9781108648042

Pub. Date:  July 2018

Child Custody in Islamic Law

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