ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Muslim Women and Marriage Laws

Debating the Model Nikahnama

This paper discusses the model nikahnama or equitable marriage contract and the ensuing debate around it. Created to bring about uniformity in procedures for Muslim marriages, the aim of the model nikahnama is to address the issue of Muslim women's entitlement within marriage, minimise disputes and facilitate their settlement. The paper locates a detailed exploration of the nikahnama initiative within the broader and historically shifting context of the debate on Muslim marriage laws.

I would like to thank Uzma Naheed for directing me to and providing me a copy of Ishtirat Fin Nikah; Kaneez Fathima and M A Moid for translating the relevant sections for me; Rafat Seema for clarifi cations on the translations; Lila Abu-Lughod, Anupama Rao for their comments and suggestions on earlier version of this paper and the participants of the conference on “Religious Laws, Local Practice and Global Debates about Muslim Women’s Rights” conducted at Columbia University’s Global Center at Amman, Jordan, especially Flavia Agnes and Ziba Mir-Hosseini.

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