Connections in the Arab and Islamic World Ermine Enise Yakar (Arab and Islamic Studies) The role of Fatwa in the 21th Century

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Connections in the Arab and Islamic World

Ermine Enise Yakar (Arab and Islamic Studies)

The role of Fatwa in the 21th Century

In order to understand the influence of Islam and Islamic law on the life of Muslims, fatwas (legal interpretation) should be scrutinized because these fatwas issued by a governmental organisation or an Islamic organisation enlighten the public about Islam, Islamic faith and practice. In Muslim societies, fatwas play different roles in constructing body of law and demonstrating the compatibility of Islamic law with the changing world. This research focuses on fatwas with regard to the rights of women from three different fatwa institutions: Diyanet inTukey, Dar al-Ifta in Saudi Arabia and European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR) in Dublin. Fatwa as an instrument of social changes in Islamic legal studies is a part of the notion ijtihad that proves the fluidity, adaptability and flexibility of Islamic law in the modern time, so Islamic law is not timeless, death and frozen religious law. Conversely, Islamic law is open to criticism and evaluation. Therefore, the aim of this research is to investigate to what extend the Diyanet, Dar al-Ifta and ECFR apply to Islamic law in order to find solutions of Muslims' problems and needs by describing these institution and by introducing their fatwas and religious advice on the rights of women.

Sumeyra Yakar (Arab and Islamic Studies)

Cultural differences of marriage and divorce laws between Iran and Saudi Arabia

My main target in this study is to explain and compare “cultural influence and its impact on family law in Saudi Arabia and Iran. It intends to examine the development of sharī’a rules for women’s status and rights in regards to marriage and divorce in Iran and Saudi Arabia. For these nations, much of their identity is built around the establishment of sharī’a which they use to bolster and support their belief that they are more Islamic than other nations. Despite sharing same primary sources of Islamic law (Qur’an and Sunna), Iran and Saudi Arabia operate under two different sharī’a thinking systems and my research will expound on these differences in marriage institution. Thus, my main question is “to what extend does Saudi Arabia and Iran incorporate local customs to sharī’a processes regarding marital issues”. The central questions surrounding the laws pertaining to women are designed according to social life, educational opportunities, and economic areas and these factors demonstrate a contradiction between Iran and Saudi Arabia. I will analyse women’s rights in the marital laws of Iran and Saudi Arabia with specific reference to official documents and scholars’ personal explanations about them in order to find cultural differences in religious laws.

Emman El-Badawy (Arab and Islamic Studies)

Shaping identity through Education: Exploring identity construction in the context of western curricula in non-western host countries.

The paper explores the debate over education and socialization within the context of the Middle East and North Africa’s International Education systems. It adopts Egypt as a case study and my arguments are based on interviews and observations of students, teachers and families carried out during my PhD fieldwork in Egypt’s private, international schools.

The international education system in Egypt has existed since the 1980s with the advent of capitalism and foreign investment into the country. Designed to serve expatriate communities, international schools have increasingly become populated by local middle-to-upper class Egyptians- a pattern that is witnessed across the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

The paper sought to understand the impact a parallel, international and elite education has on social cohesion and the sense of shared values and loyalty.

However, following contradicting findings to that of current literature, I argue that education’s ability to truly shape values and loyalties is overemphasized, particularly when placed in the context of foreign curricula and international education. When education is placed within an international framework, its ability to socialize is significantly weakened. The construction of loyalties and values requires complimentary environments and factors outside of the structured school-life before education can have any impact

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