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


Part of Cambridge Studies in Islamic Civilization

  • Date Published: June 2020
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108456197

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About the Authors
  • 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.

    • A longitudinal study of child custody in Egypt, showing the parallels between pre-colonial and post-colonial family ideologies and legal change
    • Offers a new perspective on pre-modern legal practice
    • Provides a non-Euro-American history of child custody
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This is a fascinating account of the practice of custody and guardianship in Egypt,and one hopes many future studies on these subjects will follow.' Janan Delgado, Journal of Near Eastern Studies

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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2020
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108456197
    • length: 279 pages
    • dimensions: 150 x 230 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.41kg
    • availability: Available
  • 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 juristic discourse
    Part II. Ottoman Egyptian Practice 1517–1801:
    3. Private separation deeds in action
    4. Ottoman juristic discourse in action (1517–1801)
    5. Child custody in Egypt 1801–1929
    6. Twentieth- and twenty-first-century child custody (1929–2014).

  • Author

    Ahmed Fekry Ibrahim, McGill University, Montréal
    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.

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