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Musawah Launches New Policy Brief On Just Marriage Contracts In Muslim Communities

The permissibility of adding conditions to marriage contracts can ensure equal rights to divorce, promote fair division of household chores and domestic and financial responsibilities, and give partners a chance to agree on their decision-making process.

Amira Abou-Taleb, interim executive director of Musawah

KUALA LUMPUR, May 16 – Musawah, the global movement for equality and justice in the Muslim family, has launched a new policy brief titled Supporting Just and Harmonious Marriages Through Marriage Contracts.

Available in both English and Arabic, the brief highlights how marriage contracts can be a tool to equalise power between partners.

It offers an exhaustive overview of different marriage contract practices across Muslim communities, and serves as a tool for advocates to support them in their call for legal reform towards just marriages.

“Legally, marriage is based on an agreement, which means that its conditions can be mutually agreed upon by the partners and outlined in a contract,” said Amira Abou-Taleb, Musawah’s interim executive director.

Highlighting the benefits of negotiating marriage contracts, Abou-Taleb explained, “the process of adding conditions helps create a sense of trust and intimacy between parents and helps establish an ethical foundation for their marriage. 

“This is especially important in cases of conflict, as they can stay rooted in Quranic values of justice, love, mercy, and goodness, which can also clarify the rights of the partners and protect them emotionally, spiritually, socially, and financially.”

The permissibility of adding conditions to marriage contracts can ensure equal rights to divorce, promote fair division of household chores and domestic and financial responsibilities, and give partners a chance to agree on their decision-making process.

The brief puts forward key recommendations to states, local governments, communities and religious leaders, and other relevant stakeholders.

These advice include: training marriage registrars about their responsibility to inform couples and ensure marriage contracts are used to their full advantage; promoting the option of adding conditions to existing marriage contract templates; and educating communities about the benefits of agreeing on conditions for the benefit of the couples, their future children, their families, and societies.

The launch comes as part of Musawah’s activities to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the International Year of the Family, which was first commemorated in 1994, as proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly.

Musawah urges that a starting point to reform all existing discriminatory family laws at national, regional, and global levels begin immediately.

This call is spearheaded by eight leading women’s rights, human rights, and faith based organisations, united under The Global Campaign for Equality in Family Law (GCEFL).

Through this global coalition, and with one voice, they demand equality in the family and call for the reform of discriminatory family laws, policies, and practices, across religions and cultures.

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