The Law of Marriage and Divorce in the United Arab Emirates

Background
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federation formed from tribally organized seven sheikhdoms, or emirates, along the southern coast of the Persian Gulf and the northwestern coast of the Gulf of Oman, they include: Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaima, Shrjah and Umm Al Quwain. That region was designated as ‘protectorate’ under the British Empire. In 1968, the British government announced its decision to grant independence to the seven sheikhdoms, together with Bahrain and Qatar. The rulers of the nine territories attempted to form a union of Arab emirates, but were unable to agree on terms of the union. Bahrain became independent in August, 1971 and Qatar in September of that year; the rest of seven sheikhdoms became fully independent on December 1, 1971. On December 2 of that year, six of them entered into a union called the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The seventh, Ras al-Khaimah, joined in early 1972. The emirates formed the Federal Supreme Council (FSC), the highest constitutional authority in the UAE and the highest legislative and executive authority. It is also the council that draws up the general policies and approves the various federal legislations. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan, ruler of Abu Dhabi, was elected by the Federal Supreme Council as President of UAE, Sheikh Rashid bin Said al Maktoum of Dubai, became Prime Minister.

In 2004, the President died, his eldest son and Crown Prince, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, succeeded him as Ruler of Abu Dhabi and President of the UAE. In January 2006, Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum passed away and was succeeded by his brother, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Under the constitution of 1971, each of the seven emirates has its own ruler; and each, reserves considerable powers, including control over mineral rights, mainly oil and gas, and revenues. In the years following their independence, federal power developed gradually by constitutional means. The constitution established the positions of President and Vice President, each serving five-year terms; a Council of Ministers, led by a Prime Minister, a supreme council of rulers; and a forty-member Federal National Council (FNC).

The Judicial System in UAE
UAE law is based on Islamic legal principles and influenced by English common law and Egyptian legal traditions. The UAE Constitution permits each emirate to structure its own judicial branch of government. As a result, there are federal as well as local courts. Except for Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah–who maintain their own judicial systems–the other five emirates have joined the federal system. Although the legal procedures and laws applicable to courts in the individual emirates are fairly similar, there are differences, particularly where a special law has been enacted and applied in a specific emirate.

Article 7 of the constitution states that Islamic sharia (law) shall be the main source of legislation in the UAE. Article 94 guarantees the independence of the judicial branch under the Supreme Court of the Union. Judges are appointed by the president and their decisions are also subject to review by the Federal Supreme Council (FSC). The Supreme Court is vested with the power of judicial review and original jurisdiction over federal-emirate and inter-emirate disputes. The constitution also provides for the establishment of union courts of First Instance to adjudicate civil, commercial, criminal, and administrative cases. Judgments of these courts can be appealed to the Court of Appeals, then to the Court of Cassation (Supreme Court).

Sharia courts work alongside the civil and criminal courts in the UAE. Their primary function is confined to civil matters between Muslims and have exclusive jurisdiction to hear matrimonial cases. The jurisdiction of the sharia courts was expanded in certain emirates such as Abu Dhabi to include serious criminal cases, labor and other commercial matters. Dubai also added the Dubai Court of Cassation.

Personal Status Law (PSL) in UAE
In 2005, the UAE enacted Federal Law No. 28 (hereinafter, Law) to govern matrimonial issues in what is called Matters of Personal Status or Personal Status Law (PSL). The provisions of the Law apply to all emirates and cover rules over marriage, divorce, guardianship, maintenance (Arabic nafaqa) and inheritance. Article 1 makes the Law applicable to all Muslim citizens of UAE, to non-Muslim citizens who “have no special laws specific to their own sect or ‘millah’ (denomination) and to non-citizens if they do not want to apply their own laws.

Article 2 of the Law states that the provisions of the law are based on Islamic “fiqh” (jurisprudence), and if no ruling exists in Islamic jurisprudence, a determination will be made in accordance with the “prevailing opinion in the Sunni Schools in the following ranking: Maliki, Hanbali, Shafi’i, and Hanafi followed by “general principles of the Islamic sharia and social justice.”

Marriage in the UAE must be registered and married couples are required to pass health examination. Article 49 requires two mature, rational, and witnessed by two Muslim male witnesses for the validity of the marriage between two Muslim couples, although Christian and Jewish witnesses are acceptable if one of the couple is Jew or Christian. The Law does allow a Muslim man to marry a Christian or Jewish woman (Art. 48). The same article prohibits Muslim women from marrying non-Muslim men.

Article 39 requires that the marriage of a woman over eighteen must be approved by a male guardian, otherwise, the marriage will be considered “null” and the couple will be separated. Article 21 requires the husband to be (kafu’an) or suitable in social and economic terms to the wife at the marriage; it allows a woman or her guardian to “request an annulment when suitability is lacking.” Article 21 also gives a judge, the right to disallow marriages in which the groom is “double or more” the age of the bride.

The Law requires the husband to offer “mahr” to the wife, which become her own property. The “mahr”, which is a major element in Islamic marriage contract, can be paid up front (muqaddam) or deferred (mu’akhar). According to Article 116, women who have not received their “mahr” (dowry) before the intercourse (ghayr al-dukhuli biha), as required by the contract, can have their marriage annulled by judicial order. The Law allows the couple to include legitimate stipulations written into the registered marital contract. Such stipulations may be considered bases for annulment or divorce.

The Law defines marriage as a “contract that permits enjoyment (sexual) by the spouses of each other legally.” (Art. 19), whose purpose is to “strengthen and raise a stable family under the guidance (ri’ayat) of the husband, on the basis that it guarantees for both of them the ability to fulfill its charge of affection and compassion.” Article 56 commands that a husband has the right to obedience from his wife “in accordance with custom.” Article 63 states that the husband provides maintenance to his wife, which includes food, clothing, medical treatment, and services. A wife may lose her maintenance if she does not sleep with her husband, or refuses to move to the marital home, or leaves the home, or prevents her husband from entering the marital home, or refuses to travel with her husband, all without legitimate excuses (Art. 71). The law defines family structure in patriarchal terms under the guardianship of the husband with the wife obedient to him, taking care of the home and raising his children.

Adultery is illegal in the UAE. In 2005, a sharia court in the emirate of Ras al-Khaimah sentenced a female domestic worker to 150 lashes for becoming pregnant outside marriage. The UAE has not ratified the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhumane, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UN Convention against Torture).

The law permits a man to have as many as four wives at one time. He has the right to divorce his wife or wives, any time at his own will, without a judicial interference. Women by contrast, must obtain their divorce through a judicial order. In order for a woman to obtain a judicial divorce, she must prove that her husband has inflicted physical or moral harm upon her, has abandoned her for at least three months, or has not maintained ‘nafaqa’ and other financial benefits for her and for their children. Before such a divorce is obtained from the court, women are required by the federal law to go through “guidance” and “arbitration” in all the emirates. Articles 98 and 117 require the Committee of Family Guidance, followed by judge if the committee fails to reconcile the “dissent”. If the judge was unable to find a reconciliation, he will then appoint two other arbitrators for investigation and reconciliation within a period of ninety days, although the time “can be extended by court order,” as stated by Articles 118 and 119. The court has authority to appoint a third arbitrators if the previous ones could not reach a unanimous decision. After all these procedures have been consumed, the law places more obstacles before women seeking divorce on the basis of being harmed.

The Law states the situations in which a woman can obtain divorce without demonstrating harm. Article 100 allows a wife to seek divorce if the husband granted her power of attorney to divorce herself. Such permission is usually stated in the marriage contract, or granted by the husband to his wife at a later time during the marriage.

Article 110 allows a married woman to seek judicial divorce through khul’. This means that she relinquishes her right to the mahr. The khul’ process requires husband’s consent to the divorce; without his consent the court will not issue a divorce. Additionally, the husband has to be compensated financially before he agrees to the dissolution of the marriage sought by his wife. The law gives divorced fathers custody of female children above the age of 13 and male children above the age of 11.

It is important to note that a non-Muslim woman married to a Muslim man loses custody of her children in case of divorce when they reach the age of five, unless the judge rules otherwise, (Art. 145).

Recognition of UAE divorce in USA
A divorce obtained in the UAE without service of notice to the absent defendant is considered void and not recognized by the U.S. courts. Under the principle of estoppel, many jurisdictions will prohibit the spouse who consented to the divorce from attacking it later.

A divorce decree obtained in the UAE generally is recognized in a state court in the United States on the basis of a doctrine called “comity”, provided that both parties to the divorce receive adequate notice, i.e. service of process and, generally, provided one of the parties was a domiciliary in the UAE at the time of the divorce. Under the doctrine of “comity”, a divorce obtained in the UAE under the circumstances described above receives “full faith and credit” in the United States. A full faith and credit may be given to an ex parte divorce (where one party to the divorce action is absent) decree, states usually consider the jurisdictional basis upon which the foreign decree is founded and may withhold recognition and enforcement if not satisfied regarding domicile in the foreign country. If neither party to a divorce obtained domiciliary in the foreign country, such a divorce will be considered invalid.

DISCLAIMER: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author at: gabygms@gmail.com  or call (609) 915-2237.

Gabriel Sawma is a lawyer with Middle East Background; Professor of Middle East Constitutional Law and Islamic law; Expert Consultant on Islamic and Hindu Divorce in U.S. courts; admitted to the Lebanese Bar Association of Beirut; Associate Member of the New York State Bar Association and Associate Member of the American Bar Association. http://www.islamicdivorceinusa.com
http://www.gabrielsawma.blogspot.com

Islamic Syrian Divorce in USA

 By Prof. Gabriel Sawma

 

Background

Syria is an independent state in the Middle East. It borders Lebanon and Israel to the west, Turkey to the north, Jordan to the south and Iraq to the east. In ancient history, Syria was occupied by Canaanites, Phoenicians, Hebrews, Aramaeans, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks,  Nabataeans, Palmerenes, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Crusaders, Mongols, Mamluks, and the Ottomans.  From early times in its history, Syriac, a dialect of Aramaic, was the national language of the country. It developed after the Aramaeans invaded Syria during the upheavals of the 13th century BC. Aramaic was spoken and written language of the inhabitants of modern-day Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Transjordan, Iraq, Palestine, parts of Egypt and the western parts of Iran. Aramaic was also the language of the Arab tribes who lived in Syria under the Romans and Byzantine Empires before the Islamic conquest in 636 AD. Epigraphic materials from the Nabataean and Palmerene kingdoms show that these two major Arab kingdoms had their inscriptions written in Aramaic and Greek; none was written in Arabic since modern Arabic script was not developed yet. Most of the modern day villages and cities throughout Syria and the Middle East still preserve their names in Aramaic.  Aramaic was displaced by Arabic in the following centuries that followed the Islamic conquest of Syria and the region. Damascus, capital of modern-day Syria, was the seat of the Umayyad Dynasty in early Islam.

In 1517, Syria fell to the Ottoman Turks and formed a major territory of the Ottoman Empire. While under the Ottomans, Syria was occupied briefly by the ruler of Egypt, Ibrahim Pasha from 1832 to 1840. After World War One, the Ottoman Empire was dismembered and Syria came under the Mandate system which was established by the League of Nations cialis paypal. In accordance with the Sykes-Picot Agreement signed during the War between France and Great Britain, France held control over modern Syria, Lebanon, Alexandretta and other portions of southern Turkey.  In 1939 Turkey recaptured Alexandretta.

In January 1, 1944, Syria was recognized as an independent republic; the following year, the Syrian government announced the formation of a national army. In March of that year, Syria became a member of the United Nations, and in April, it signed the pact of the League of Arab States (Arab League). In view of the recent turmoil and lack of progress in reforms promised by President Bashar al-Assad, Syria’s membership in the Arab League has been temporarily suspended as of November 12, 2011.

 

Islamic Law of Marriage and Divorce in Syria

In 1917, the rulers of the Ottoman Empire passed the “Ottoman Law of Family Rights” (OLFR); the law represented the first state-sponsored codification of the personal status law as part of Islamic sharia. OLFR of 1917 remains in effect as the Muslim personal status law of Lebanon, and Israel to this day, and was recognized as the official law of Syria until 1953 and in Jordan until 1951.

Thus, the Islamic law of Syria was integrated in the Ottoman legal system. In 1926, Law No. 261 was introduced to render to Sharia courts the powers related to personal status, succession and waqf (real estate property and institutions belonging to Muslim religious community.) In contrast to Lebanon, Islamic sharia courts in Syria were regarded as ordinary judicial authorities in matters of personal status of non-Muslims, except for matters left to the jurisdiction of the communal courts. Matters of guardianship, succession, wills, legal majority (rushd), and maintenance of relatives within the family, waqf-khayri (real estate property and institutions belonging to non-Muslim communities) are controlled by the sharia courts.  The sharia courts consist of a single qadi (judge), whose rulings may be appealed to the sharia department of the Court of Cassassion (mahkamat al Tamyeez). The law of 1926 established religious courts for non-Muslims with jurisdiction limited to matters not within the competence of the sharia courts; mainly in cases involving betrothal, marriage, divorce, matrimonial and children  maintenance.

In 1953, the Syrian Law of Personal Status replaced the Ottoman Family Law of 1917. This law is based on the Hanafi School of jurisprudence and on other legislations adhered to by other Sunni doctrines. Islamic marriage contracts have to be signed by the couple in addition to a judge, and then registered with the state authorities. In Islamic marriage contract the value of the mahr has to be stated. The husband has duty to support his wife and provide her with a residence. The property of the husband and the property of the wife are not merged through marriage. In compliance with Islamic sharia, the law of Syria allows polygamy, although amendments in 1975 were passed to restrict the absolute right for a man to take a second, third, or a fourth wife.

In compliance with Islamic sharia, the Syrian code grants husband the right to divorce his wife, without a specific cause (Arabic, talaq). Thus, a man can divorce his wife any time, in any place, without any reason. The marriage can be terminated by the husband by announcing, three times “I divorce you”, or “I divorce my wife”, or “you are divorced”, or “my wife is divorce”, or by any statement that indicates his intention to divorce his wife. Also, according to Islamic sharia, the law of Personal Status of Syria, a man has the right to remarry his divorced wife, but only if she remarries and divorce another man.

The Syrian code does not allow women to initiate divorce in the same manner husbands do; instead, women have recourse to a judicial divorce (khul’). Women may also seek dissolution of the marriage if the husband is impotent or insane, or if he has been absent for over a year, or if he refuses to offer maintenance to his wife. When Islamic divorce occurs, custody of children (hadanah) of the young child resides with the mother, during childhood. If the mother remarries, she loses this right. As to guardianship (wilayah) of the children, this right is reserved for the father alone, or in case of the father’s death, the paternal grandfather is entitled to the custody. If the grandfather is dead, a paternal uncle assumes guardianship.

Article 3 of the Constitution of Syria states that, Islamic jurisprudence is “a main source of legislation”. The constitution also states that “the president has to be Muslim. In 1961, Law No. 12 was introduced; it establishes twenty-five Muslim courts throughout Syria. Each court consists of a single qadi (judge), except for those in Damascus and Aleppo, which comprise of three judges each. Islamic sharia courts are state courts with jurisdiction over the Law of Personal Status.

 

Recognition and Enforcement of Syrian Islamic Divorce in USA

The problems associated with recognition of a foreign divorce obtained from Syria arise when a U.S. citizen travels to Syria and obtain a quick divorce “triple talaq”. Such a divorce is generally entitled to recognition in the United States if it was valid and effective in Syria where it was granted and that Syria was the residence or domicile of both parties. U.S. courts will determine if the divorce was obtained by mail, by fraud or by any means that may violate State’s public policy requirements. Recognition of a divorce obtained in Syria may require that the person has his or her domicile in Syria, or whether both parties appeared in the divorce action, even in the absence of domicile. All of these factors are taken into consideration before the divorce obtained in Syria is recognized and enforced in the United States. Individuals facing these issues should consult with a competent attorney and/or consultant before they initiate any legal action.

It is important to note that a civil divorce obtained in the United States for couples belonging to Muslim faith, is not recognized by Islamic tribunals in the Middle East or any other country whose personal status laws are based on Islamic sharia. Islamic sharia does not recognize a divorce obtained outside its rules. Muslim individuals, mainly women, who obtain civil divorces in the United States, and would like to remarry within the Islamic faith, must obtain an Islamic divorce too, a civil divorce alone in not enough.  Muslim women who obtain a civil divorce alone in the United States and then remarry without obtaining an Islamic divorce may face prosecution in the Middle East for adultery. They may even face stoning in some countries. Furthermore custody of their children born of Islamic marriage will be taken away and granted to the father or to his paternal family members. Again, Muslim women who obtain civil divorce only in the United States should consultant a competent attorney and/or consultant before they travel to a country whose family law is based on Islamic sharia.

 

DISCLAIMER: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

 

Gabriel Sawma is a lawyer with Middle East Background; Professor of Middle East Constitutional Law and Islamic law; Expert Consultant on Islamic and Hindu Divorce in U.S. courts; admitted to the Lebanese Bar Association of Beirut; Associate Member of the New York State Bar Association and Associate Member of the American Bar Association. http://www.islamicdivorceinusa.com

Editor in Chief of International Law Blog: http://www.gabrielsawma.blogspot.com

Email: gabrielsawma@yahoo.com

Email: gabygms@gmail.com

Tel. (609) 915-2237

Islamic Yemeni Divorce in USA

By Prof. Gabriel Sawma

Historical Background
Yemen is known in antiquity as Arabia Felix or Happy Arabia. It is a mountainous country having more rainfall and more fertile soil than the rest of Arabia and, therefore it was able to support a relatively dense population. During the nineteenth century, the southern part of Yemen became a British colony whereas the northern part of the country came under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. By the end of World War One, North Yemen became independent from the Ottoman Empire, while South Yemen remained under British administration until it declared its independence in 1967.

The relations between the socialist South Yemen and the Western oriented North were strained at time, and conflicts occurred in 1972 and 1978-1979 between the two states. In 1990, both states were united forming the Republic of Yemen. Between May and July 1994 a new civil war in Yemen started involving the former Northern and Southern Yemeni states. The war resulted in the defeat of the southern armed forces and the flight into exile of many Yemeni Socialist Party leaders and other southern separatists.

Yemen’s population is predominantly Muslim (Sunni and Shia), with a small Jewish, Christian, and Hindu minority. Conversion from Islam to another religion is prohibited for all Muslims, and according to the laws of Yemen, a Muslim person found changing his religion is considered an apostate and subject to the death penalty. Family traditions as well as Yemeni laws may restrict a woman’s freedom of movement. Women are not allowed to obtain a passport without permission from the guardian (Arabic wali). A guardian may prevent a woman from seeking education or employment and may restrict her ability to leave home without his permission.

 

The Judiciary in Yemen
During the time where both Northern and Southern Yemen were separated, both states had their own judiciaries. But that status changed after the unification in 1990.The judicial system according to the amended constitution of 1994 declares in Article 3 that Islamic sharia shall be the source of all the laws. This means that no other law can be enacted contrary to the Islamic sharia. The constitution establishes three layers of civilian judiciary: (1) a District Court in the main centers of all the districts called the Courts of First Instance (al-mahakim al-ibtida’iyyah) which have original jurisdiction in all civil, criminal, commercial, family and administrative cases; (2) Provincial Courts of Appeals (al-mahakim al-isti’nafiyyah), found in every province as well as in the capital city of Sana. These courts hear cases at the appellate level after the Court of the First Instance has rendered its judgments; (3) The Supreme Court of the Republic (al-mahkama al-‘ulya), which is the highest court of the land.

In 1992, the government of Yemen passed Decree Law No. 20 establishing the Yemeni Law of Personal Status. The law sets the minimum marriage age for both males and females at 15 years. However, discrepancies between legal rights and actual practices are significant. For example, although the legal minimum age of marriage is 15 for males and females, violations of this law are common and early marriage is a serious problem in Yemen. The law requires a non-virgin woman who has been previously married to pronounce her consent to marriage verbally, while the law allows the silence of a girl or woman considered to be a virgin to signify her approval or consent to marriage. The law requires the wife to provide sexual access to her husband; she is required a permission of her husband to leave the house except to attend to the needs of her parents. Polygamy is legal, although the first wife must be informed if her husband is marrying another; thus a man is allowed to be married to up to four women at one time. The divorce law grants the mother custody until her children are of age (nine for male children and 12 for female) on condition of her maturity, sanity, faithfulness, moral and physical ability or if she remarries.

Islamic sharia, which is the basis of Yemen Personal Status Law allows the husband the unconditional right to divorce his wife using the “triple talaq” formula, which includes his announcement of divorce by stating three times: “I divorce you, I divorce you, I divorce you”; or “I divorce my wife, I divorce my wife, I divorce my wife.” The husband can divorce his wife any time, any place and without having to give any reason, whereas a woman must seek a judicial divorce in which she must present adequate justification in order to end the marriage. Article 47 of the amended Personal Status Law provides women with the right to have their marriage contract nullified but only under the condition that the woman’s husband has a defect or dangerous disease, which, according to Yemeni laws includes tuberculosis, leprosy, insanity, or impotence. In all these cases, the court must agree to the separation or to nullification of the marriage contract; the wife alone has no right to separate from her husband on her own.

Women face additional challenges when travelling abroad. The ‘Passport Law’ does not have gender requirements for issuing a passport, but in practice a woman seeking a passport for travel must have a male sponsor. Personal Status Law No. 20, amended in 1998, requires wives to yield to the authority of their husbands. A wife is obligated to reside with her husband at his residence, no matter what the condition of the residence is.

 

Recognition of Yemeni Divorce in USA
Many Yemeni Muslim men with U.S. citizenship travel to Yemen in order to obtain a fast track “triple talaq” divorce according to the Personal Status Law of Yemen. They then return to the United States and seek recognition and enforcement of the Islamic Yemeni divorce in the U.S. But can such an ex parte divorce be recognized and enforced?

International law includes the question of right between nations; it also includes question arising under what is usually called private international law, or the conflict of laws, and in particular concerning the right of individuals within the territory and dominion of one nation, by the judgments issued by the courts of other nations. In theory, no law has any effect beyond the limits of the sovereignty of the nation in which the law is enacted. However, such a law can be allowed to be implemented within the dominion of another nation in what is called “the comity of nations.” Our U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in Hilton v. Guyot, (159 US 113 – Supreme Court 1895) that comity , in the legal sense, “is neither a matter of absolute obligation, on the one hand, nor of mere courtesy and good will, upon the other. But it is the recognition which one nation allows within its territory to the legislative, executive or judicial acts of another nation, having due regard both to international duty and convenience, and to the rights of its own citizens or of other persons who are under the protection of its laws.” “The recognition of a judgment of a foreign court under the principle of comity is subject generally to two conditions: (1) that the foreign court had jurisdiction of the subject matter; (2) that the foreign judgment will not offend the public policy of our own state” (See Fantony v. Fantony, 21 NJ 525, 533, 122 A.2d. 593 ( 1956).

The Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause, which is applicable to the states, “limits the power of a state court to render a valid personal judgment against a nonresident defendant.” (See World-Wide Volkswagen, supra, 444 U.S. at 291, 100 S. Ct. at 564, 62 L.Ed.2d at 497) (citing Kulko v. California Superior Court, 436 U.S. 84, 91, 98 S. Ct. 1690, 1696, 56 L.Ed.2d 132, 14041, 1978). When a judgment fails to conform to the due process requirements, it is void in the rendering State and is not entitled to full faith and credit elsewhere.

DISCLAIMER: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

 

Gabriel Sawma is a lawyer with Middle East Background; Professor of Middle East Constitutional Law and Islamic law; Expert Consultant on Islamic and Hindu Divorce in U.S. courts; admitted to the Lebanese Bar Association of Beirut; Associate Member of the New York State Bar Association and Associate Member of the American Bar Association. http://www.islamicdivorceinusa.com
Editor in Chief of International Law Blog: http://www.gabrielsawma.blogspot.com

Email: gabrielsawma@yahoo.com      Tel. (609) 915-2237

Islamic Jordanian Divorce in USA

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Islamic Jordanian Divorce in USA

By
Professor Gabriel Sawma
Background
After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, following World War One, Jordan was created as an Emirate of the Transjordan under the British Mandate, which was instituted by the League of Nations. By 1946, the mandate over Jordan came to an end, and Jordan was declared the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in April 1949 with a constitution that gave the king legislative and executive powers.
Until 1918, the legal system of Jordan was part of the Ottoman Empire; it was formed of Sharia courts, which applied various Islamic schools of jurisprudence, whose interpretation of the law was greatly influenced by local traditions. This made it possible for the religious judges to allow tribal traditions (‘urf) to be applied in cases involving personal status. Like the rest of the states who were ruled by the Empire, the 1917 Ottoman Family Code was also applied in Jordan and later became the basis of modern Jordanian personal status law. It follows the Hanafi school of thought in Sunni Islam.
Jordan’s personal status law for Muslims is based on Islamic sharia, which is summarized as the unchanging body of laws representing the Quran and prophetic hadiths (sayings and deeds attributed to the Prophet of Islam). Thus, Islamic sharia is recognized as part of the Jordanian law, whose application is extended to personal status law covering marriage, divorce, child custody, inheritance, and waqf (religious institutions owned by the Muslim community).
The Judiciary in Jordan
In 1952, a new constitution was adopted in Jordan; it declares that Islam is the state religion; Jordan’s legal system was reconstructed, and the court system divided between civilian judiciary (mahakin nizamiyyah), religious courts (mahakim diniyyah), and special courts established for specific reasons (mahakim khaassah). The religious courts are subdivided into Christian and Muslim courts in the areas of marriage, divorce, child custody, inheritance, and waqf.
Royal Decree 41, 1951 divides religious courts into two bodies: first degree (mahakim al-Bidayah), then one or more second degree courts (mahakim al-Issti’naf). The function of Islamic courts is stated in the following terms:
“Sharia courts are responsible for adjudicating personal status among Muslims and to look into disputes involving the establishment and internal administration of waqfs in the benefit of Muslims…and problems emanating from a marriage contract registered at the sharia court or any of its licensed authority, and that in accordance to what is most widely accepted from the Hanafi Jurisprudence (madhhab of Abu Hanifah) with the exceptions of any of its special laws.”
The Law of Personal Status for Muslims, No. 61 of 1976 codified the provisions of Islamic jurisprudence as it pertains to family relations, from engagement through marriage dissolution. Thus, personal status law of Jordan deals in disputes involving Islamic marriage contracts, divorce, child custody, guardianship (wali), inheritance, payment of blood price, mahr (amount of money or its equivalent the husband promise to give his bride if she agrees to marry him), spousal support (nafaqah), and any dispute that results from the marriage contract.
Jordanian law sets minimum marriage age of sixteen for men and fifteen for women. Under-age marriages are, nevertheless, validated under certain conditions. The consent of the guardian is required for a female under the age of eighteen, but not for a divorced wife or widow over eighteen. Although the Jordanian law requires the consent of the bride’s guardian to her first marriage, the judge (qadi) can override the guardian’s refusal if it has no justification according to the law. Marriages and divorce are required by law to be recorded in special registrars with the proper authority under penalty.
Polygamy is allowed in Jordan in compliance with Islamic sharia; under this rule, a man may marry up to four wives at the same time, provided that he secures separate dwelling to each wife. There is no requirement that an existing wife be notified of a subsequent polygamous marriage by her husband. The law requires the husband to pay a higher fee for registering a polygamous marriage than that of a monogamous union.
As for custody of children, the Hanafi School of jurisprudence mandates that in case of divorce or death of the husband, children belong to the husband and his family. In such a situation, the mother’s custody of her son ends when he reaches the age of seven and her daughter when she reaches the age of nine. The religious court may extend that period for more years.
Islamic Divorce Law in Jordan
Divorce is known in Arabic as talaq. As elsewhere in the countries who apply Islamic family law, marriage comes to an end when a divorce is uttered three times by the husband at his own will. He may announce the divorce in any place of his choosing, with or without a reason, and no judicial supervision is required. The presence of his wife is not necessary for a divorce to take effect. The words used by the husband to divorce his wife should be expressed clearly to indicate a divorce. He can say, for example: “you are divorced, you are divorced, you are divorced”, or “I divorce you, I divorce you, I divorce you”, or “my wife is divorced, my wife is divorced, my wife is divorced”. When uttering these words, the divorce becomes final, and the marriage will end immediately. Such a divorce is irrevocable; the husband cannot remarry his wife until she is married legally to a second man and then divorced from the second husband.
The divorce can be pronounced orally, by phone, via text message or by any means of communication in the presence of two male witnesses, or one male and two female witnesses. The witnesses are required to be Muslims. Under Islamic sharia, the testimony of one male is equivalent to two female witnesses.
As to women who seek divorce, the rules are different. A woman may seek judicial divorce under Islamic sharia if her husband delegated his wife to do so (tafweed el-talaq). This kind of divorce must be provided in the marriage contract; it implies that the husband gives his wife the authority to divorce herself under certain specified conditions. The wife may also seek Khul’ divorce, whereby she relinquishes her right to the mahr or to any financial compensation; a divorce may be obtained by mutual consent of both parties. It should be noted that any kind of divorce initiated by women has to be done through the judiciary.
Under the rules of Islamic sharia, the wife may seek judicial divorce if the husband disappeared for a long period of time, or if he neglects his wife by not providing her with maintenance, or if he has been sentenced to jail for a long period of time, or if he was impotent at the time of marriage and continued to be so after the marriage, or if the husband has been insane for a period of time or is suffering from leprosy or a virulent disease.
While the husband can end his divorce within a few minutes by uttering a divorce without the intervention of the court, the wife, on the other hand, has to go to the religious court to obtain a divorce (faskh).  Judicial divorce initiated by the wife may take years to obtain.
Recognition of Islamic Jordanian Divorce by U.S. Court
Recognition of an ex parte divorce decree obtained in Jordan is not governed by the Full Faith and Credit Clause, but rather by the doctrine of “comity”, which may be broadly defined as the respect which the U.S. family courts render to the legal proceedings and judgments of other sovereign foreign nations. By ex parte it is meant that the other spouse neither participated in the divorce proceeding, did not make an appearance in the proceeding, nor was personally subject to the jurisdiction of the divorcing court. Divorces obtained in this manner are generally not recognized by U.S. courts but may be immune from attack by virtue of the estoppel doctrine. The reason usually given for no recognition is that jurisdiction for divorce is dependent upon the domicile of at least one of the spouses in the divorcing state, and the divorce will not be recognized without jurisdiction over the subject matter. The law to be applied in such cases is the law of the state of the domicile of the couples at the time the foreign divorce was obtained.
While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.
Gabriel Sawma is a lawyer with Middle East background; admitted to the Lebanese Bar Association of Beirut in 1970; Associate Member of the N.Y. State Bar Association; Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Professor:  Middle East Constitutional Law; Professor of Islamic law. Expert consultant on recognition and enforcement of foreign divorce judgments in the USA, http://www.islamicdivorceinusa.com
Editor in Chief of International Law Blog: http://www.gabrielsawma.blogspot.com

Email: gabrielsawma@yahoo.com     Email: gabygms@gmail.com

Tel. (609) 915-2237

Recognition of Hindu Divorce in New York State

By Gabriel Sawma Sunday, Aug. 21, 2011 at 3:03
PM

gabrielsawma@yahoo.com
(609) 915-2237

A Hindu divorce decree obtained in India in accordance with Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 may or may not be recognized and enforced in the State of New York. Such recognition, when it happens, is based on the concept of
‘comity’ in private international law.

Prof. Gabriel Sawma

Comity in Private International Law A Hindu divorce decree obtained in India in accordance with Hindu Marriage Act of
1955 may or may not be recognized and enforced in the State of New York. Such
recognition, when it happens, is based on the concept of ‘comity’ in private
international law. The doctrine of comity is an acceptable solution to the
problem of both respecting territorial sovereignty of the state in which the
foreign judgment is sought to be recognized and enforced and the legal principle
of private international law where no judgments would have any extraterritorial
effect outside the countries where they were issued.
It is important to note that the conception of comity is not an obligation of any state to apply foreign laws. New York along with all other states, apply foreign law as a matter of
international courtesy and good will. Therefore, the application of a foreign
divorce decree would only be declined when the interests of New York State or
its citizens and residents are impaired.
The definition of comity was provided by the U.S. Supreme Court in Hilton v. Guyot in 1895. It laid down in a case on the recognition and enforcement of a French judgment in the United States. The U.S. Supreme Court, in defining the doctrine of comity, stated that
“Comity, in the legal sense, is neither a matter of absolute obligation, on the one hand, nor a mere courtesy and good will, upon the other. But it is the recognition which one nation allows within its territory to the legislative, executive or judicial acts of another nation, having due regard both to international duty and convenience, and to rights of its own citizens or of other persons who are under the protection of its laws.” (See Hilton v. Guyot,
Supreme Court of the United States, 1895, 159 U.S. 113, 16 S.Ct. 139, 40 L.Ed. 95).
Personal Jurisdiction
The state of New York may recognize a Hindu divorce decree from India provided that the Indian court has personal jurisdiction on the couple seeking divorce. In a recent case, a wife,
resident of Michigan, USA, obtained a divorce from U.S. court. Her husband went back to India and filed for a divorce in an Indian court. The judge of the High Court in Pune, India rejected his petition on the ground that the husband’s domicile is in the U.S., not India. The court ruled that “The man cannot confer jurisdiction on the court of Pune where the couple never stayed together for any length of time in their own matrimonial home (i.e., India), they having had their matrimonial home in the U.S. The HMA [Hindu Marriage Act] itself does not apply to the couple conse-qu-ent upon their domicile in the US and also because
the rights between the parties have been settled by a judgment conclusive between them.” (See The Times of India, March 6, 2010). The husband in this case, presented to High Court in Pune, documents showing that he was domiciled in India; he also submitted his ration card issued in 2001, his driving license obtained in 1999, his 1995 voter identity card and passport with validity up to 2019. But the court was not satisfied with the documents: “None of these documents shows his intention to reside in India permanently; his Green Card shows he intends to stay in the US…It is easy to see that both parties have had the intention of making the US their permanent home even prior to their marriage. Since their parents reside in India, they came to India to be married as per Hindu rites.” (Id.)Domiciliary is an important factor in jurisdiction over divorce in India. Under the Indian Divorce Act, 1969, domicile has great importance. A petition in any matrimonial case may be presented to the District Court or High Court on the basis of residence of the parties within
that jurisdiction (or that the parties last resided within the jurisdiction of the court) or for dissolution of the marriage the parties are domiciled in India at the time of the presentation of the petition.
Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Divorce in the State of New York
In one case, the husband went to Mexico, not for the purpose of residing there, but for
obtaining a divorce decree. The husband remained at all times a resident and domiciliary of New York State to which he returned promptly and where he continued to reside and practice his profession, and that he was physically present since his return from Mexico, except for vacation or business trips. In this case the court ruled that the unilateral Mexican divorce without the consent of his wife was a “complete nullity.” (Lamb v. Lamb, 61 Misc.2d 1032 – NY: Family Court, 1969).In another case, the Court of Appeals ruled that “In cases where a divorce has been obtained without any personal contact with the jurisdiction by either party or by physical submission to the jurisdiction by one, with no personal service of process within the foreign jurisdiction upon, and no appearance or submission by, the other, decision has been against the validity of the foreign divorce decree.”(See Perrin v. Perrin, 408F.2d 107 – Court of Appeals, 3rd Circuit, 1969). If it appears that neither party to the divorce decree was domiciled in India and the arrangements the parties make to obtain it were collusive and contrary to the public policy of New York in respect to the dissolution of marriage, New York Courts would
consider that divorce decree to be a nullity.Gabriel Sawma is a lawyer with foreign background, member of the Lebanese Bar Association of Beirut; Associate Member of the N.Y. State Bar Association; Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Professor of Middle East Constitutional Law and
Middle East Studies. Expert consultant on recognition and enforcement of foreign
divorce in the U.S., http://www.islamicdivorceinusa.com/

Editor in chief of International Law Blog: http://www.gabrielsawma.blogspot.com
Tel. (609) 915-2237.
Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this
publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations
will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific
technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please
contact the author.

Islamic Divorce in New York State

August 23, 2011     By


Muslims residing in the State of New York are in a dual situation when it comes to the implementation of family law. On one hand, they are governed by the religious law of Islam, known as Islamic sharia, and on the other hand, the secular family law of the state of New York. To Muslims, the family law of Islam mandates that marriage and divorce among Muslims should be done in accordance with the Islamic sharia, regardless of whether they live in an Islamic or secular country. Civil divorce decrees obtained by secular courts are not recognized by Islamic sharia.Under Islamic law, a Muslim man may marry a non-Muslim woman, whereas a Muslim woman is prohibited from marrying non-Muslim man. Under these rules, a non-Muslim woman marrying a Muslim man in compliance with Islamic sharia is subject to the rules of Islam in the areas of divorce, child custody and inheritance. In other words, a non-Muslim woman who gets married to a Muslim man in accordance with Islamic sharia, loses custody of her children in case of divorce, or in case the husband dies. Consequently, a non-Muslim woman marrying to a Muslim man in Sunni Islam, is forced, under the rules of Islamic sharia, to surrender custody of her son when he reaches the age of seven, and her daughter at the age of nine. She is also prohibited from inheritance. These rules are applied throughout Muslim countries with a system of sharia-based family law in place.

 

Marriage Contracts in Islamic Sharia
Under the rules of Islamic sharia, the marriage contract should include: (1) names and addresses of the couple; (2) name of the guardian of the bride; (3) names and addresses of two male witnesses; and (4) the amount of ‘mahr’, or a promise of money or its equivalent to be given by the husband to the bride. Like any other civil contracts, Islamic marriage contract should be in the form of offer and acceptance by the parties.

Contrary to the popular notion that mahr is dowry; it is not. A dowry is what the wife contributes to her marriage while mahr is an obligation on the husband to pay his future bride. Others call it a ‘gift’; it is not a ‘gift’ either, because mahr is an obligation on the husband and is mandated by the Quran. The Quran calls it ‘sadaq’ (Quran 4:4). If no stipulation of mahr is provided in the marriage contract, the marriage remains legal and in effect; in such a situation, the “qadi” (judge) will determine the amount of mahr, which remains a property of the wife alone. The amount of mahr can be paid partially: up-front (Arabic, muqaddam), and deferred until divorce or death of the husband (Arabic, mu’akhar), or it may be prepaid in full before the consummation of the marriage.

 

Legal Status of the Mahr Provision in Islamic Law
The most important feature of the mahr provision is that one party makes an offer and the other can accept or refuse to accept. It is a financial settlement between the couple in case a divorce occurs or the husband dies. Although, Muslim women do not personally bargain for the mahr agreements, and, in almost all of the divorce cases that I have seen so far, in the Middle East, Europe and the United States, Islamic marriage agreements involving mahr are negotiated by the representative (Arabic Wali) of the bride.

In the State of New York, an Islamic marriage contract involving mahr may be considered premarital agreement for a divorce settlement. In legal terms, this is called a concurrence of wills or meeting of the minds of the future husband and his future wife. This also means that each party from an objective perspective engaged in conduct manifesting their acceptance, and a contract was formed when both parties met such a requirement.

The basic rule is that a premarital contract will be interpreted and enforced in accordance with the law of the state in which it was entered into. Thus an Islamic marriage contract signed in Egypt according to the Egyptian law for example, must be interpreted according to the law of Egypt. The Restatement of the Law Second Conflict of Laws 3d, Chapter 8, Contracts, is clear about the law for the state chosen by the parties to a contract. The text of the Restatement reads: “(1) The law of the state chosen by the parties to govern their contractual rights and duties will be applied if the particular issues is one which the parties could have resolved by an explicit provision in their agreement directed to that issue.”

Looking at both academic and case studies in this area of law, this article points the reader in the direction of the current trends in the treatment of mahr in New York State and to address Islamic family law issues relevant to New York State law and the working of its legal system. The mahr provision in an Islamic marriage contract has been interpreted differently in other states. For more information on treatment of mahr in other states, the individual should seek legal advice.

 

Interpretation of the Mahr in New York State
Muslim men and women assert their Islamic legal rights in American family courts; as a result, Islamic sharia governing their marriages and divorces becomes an important and complicated part of the American legal landscape. This leads to a discussion of court cases involving Muslim marriage and divorce litigations in the State of New York, as well as whether New York courts will enforce the terms of Muslim marriage contracts, mainly the mahr provision.

New York courts have jurisdiction over divorce cases within its territory, with specific focus on premarital contract structured in accordance with foreign laws. And, various state courts have found no public policy prohibition in enforcing such agreements. In New York, a mahr agreement may be interpreted within the context of a contractual obligation.

In Aziz v. Aziz, the couple entered into a mahr agreement which required the payment of $5,032, with $32 advanced and $5,000 deferred until divorce. The New York court ruled that the contract conformed to New York’s contract requirements, and that “its secular terms are enforceable as a contractual obligation, notwithstanding that it was entered into as part of a religious ceremony.” (See Aziz v. Aziz, N.Y.S.2d at 124).

In this case, the husband argued that the mahr agreement provided in the Islamic marriage contract could not be enforced because it was a religious document and was not enforceable as a contract. The wife responded by stating that although the mahr is a religious stipulation; its secular terms can be properly enforced by the court. The court agreed with the wife and ordered the husband to pay the deferred mahr. The court found that the mahr agreement complied with the necessary statutory requirements to be recognized and enforceable as a premarital agreement and held that the secular terms of the mahr agreement were “enforceable as a contractual obligation, notwithstanding that it was entered into as part of a religious ceremony.” The court stated that the mahr agreed to by the couple constituted a secular debt of $5,000 and ordered the husband to fulfill the terms of the agreement.

The case was based entirely on another New York of Appeals case of Avitzur v. Avitzur involving a Jewish Ketubah in which a Jewish woman sued for specific performance to force her ex-husband to appear before a Beth Din (Jewish Court). Under Jewish Law, only a man can grant a divorce, or “Get”. Until he does, the woman cannot remarry within the Jewish faith to anybody. Her children will then be considered illegitimate. In order that a “Get” may be obtained, both husband and wife have to appear before the Beth Din. The husband refused to appear, leaving the woman in a state of marital limbo, making her an “agunah.” The New York Court of Appeals found that the Jewish ketubah constituted a valid premarital agreement that could be enforced despite the religious underpinnings of the agreement.

 

Conclusion
As the second largest religion, and with the number of Muslims immigrating to the United State on the rise, American courts are more frequently looking into Islamic divorce litigations between Muslim couples. Out of respect to Islamic law and culture, American courts attempt to apply certain provisions from Islamic sharia, such as the mahr contract in divorce cases involving Muslim couples. By doing so, American courts risk involving their arguments with gender and economic inequalities between Muslim men and women, leaving Muslim women destitute. The application of mahr agreements in Islamic divorce in the United States prevents women from exercising their rights to equitable distribution of marital assets upon divorce. If the courts need to extend their respect to Islamic law in divorce situations, they should look into whether the wife had a choice in signing the mahr agreement. Muslim women do not personally bargain for the mahr agreements, and, in almost all of the divorce cases that I have seen so far, in the Middle East, Europe and the United States, the Islamic marriage agreements involving mahr are negotiated by the representative (Arabic Wali) of the bride. Other states do not regard the mahr to be a premarital contract. Individuals seeking information on the treatment of mahr by other states should seek legal advice from a competent attorney.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Gabriel Sawma, Esq.
Gabriel Sawma is a lawyer with Middle East background; Professor of Middle East Constitutional Law and Islamic sharia; Expert consultant on Islamic and Hindu divorce in U.S. courts; Member of the Lebanese Bar Association of Beirut; Associate Member of the New York State Bar Association, and Associate Member of the American Bar Association; Editor in chief of International Law blog: http://www.gabrielsawma.blogspot.com

Email: gabrielsawma@yahoo.com

Email: gabygms@gmail.com

Tel. (609) 915-2237

Copyright Gabriel Sawma, Esq., Expert Consultant
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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

The Khul’ Divorce in Egypt

U.S. | Indymedia

 

by Gabriel Sawma ( gabrielsawma [at] yahoo.com )
Friday May 13th, 2011 8:10 AM

Under the rules of divorce in Islamic sharia, a husband has the prerogative right to divorce his wife any time, any place, with or without any reason. Under certain conditions, the wife may request from the religious judge a judicial divorce in case of ‘harm’ or maltreatment (darar), as stated by the Maliki School of jurisprudence.

 

Based on the wide interpretation of the Maliki School, the wife may seek divorce if she can convince the judge that she is suffering a ‘harm’ from her husband, a provision that is not allowed by the Islamic Hanafi School of law.In general terms, Islamic sharia allows the wife to seek divorce under the following conditions: (1) impotency; if the husband is unable to consummate the marriage; (2) his apostasy from Islam; (3) his imprisonment for a long period of time; and (4) if he contracts an incurable skin disease.The additional ‘harm’ as a cause for divorce in Maliki interpretation of sharia, allows the wife to bring evidence to the judge showing that the husband used systematic maltreatment, and is unable to provide maintenance to her.Such provisions in Islamic sharia created hardship for thousands of women who were seeking divorce, but unable to prove the ‘harm’ factor to the satisfaction of the judge. Women were unable to get out of their un-happy marriages because their husbands refused to consent to the divorce, and the judges were not persuaded with the evidence presented by the women. To remedy this situation, the Egyptian government enacted a law allowing judges to approve the divorce through a process known as Khul’, or repudiation, without the consent of the husband.Khul’ was practiced in early Islamic period; it allows the wife to obtain a final divorce by means of a financial settlement paid by her to the husband in compensation, without having to prove of harm or maltreatment. Frequently, under the terms of Khul’, the wife is required to pay back all or part of the “mahr”, which is the amount of money or objects of value that the husband gave his wife when the marriage contract was signed. Also, she has to relinquish her right to the amount of “mahr” he promised to give her in the future. In addition, the husband must agree to the Khul’. In other words, should the husband refuse to consent to the Khul’, the wife will be unable to get divorce. Faced with that difficulty, the legislators in Egypt enacted a law in which the judge was given authority to separate the married couple based on Khul’ without the approval of the husband and without having to prove maltreatment.

On January 2000, former President, Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, issued in the Official Gazette [al-Jaridah al-Rassmiyyah] Law No.1, of 2000, granting women the right to file for a “no-fault” divorce (Khul’) on the basis of “incompatibility,” without having to provide evidence of harm.  Under the provisions of the new law, the wife may obtain a definitive judicial separation from her husband if she desires so; the only condition she has to satisfy is to forfeit her rights to alimony and her deferred “mahr” (mu’akhar) as well as repay her advanced “mahr” (muqaddam).

First section of Article 20 of the new law provides the following: “A married couple may mutually agree to separation (al-Khul’); however, if they do not agree and the wife sues demanding it [i.e., the separation], and separates herself from her husband (khala’at zawjaha) by forfeiting all her financial legal rights, and restores to him the “mahr’ he gave to her, then the court is to divorce her from him (tatliqiha ‘alayhi).”

Before the judge rules on Khul’, he has to order the couple to undergo a process of reconciliation, and after asking two mediators [hukkam] to pursue conciliation efforts between them for a period that may not exceed three months; and after the wife decides explicitly [tuqarrir sarahatan] that she abhors living with her husband and there is no way to continue married life between them, and that she is afraid to transgress God’s limits of this abhorrence.

It is important to note here that while a woman is required to submit to burdensome and time-consuming court-ordered conciliation, men seeking divorce, on the other hand, are never required to make any efforts at reconciliation. The reconciliation process is rooted in the biased notion that women are not capable of making rational decisions on issues related to divorce. According to one prosecutor in Cairo, mediation was necessary because “a woman may be hasty in filing for a divorce and may not have a strong keenness in keeping the family together. The court has to play this role and intervene. Men are more wise and rationale than women. A woman’s emotions can overcome her rationality”. (See Divorced from Justice: woman’s unequal access to divorce in Egypt, Google eBook, p.28).

Section 3 of Article 20 states that the separation order of the judge is “an irrevocable divorce [talaq ba’in]”; and the court’s decision is not subject to any form of appeal. Article 20 of the Egyptian law of 2000 does not accord legal weight to the husband’s consent to the terms of Khul’ divorce. This is based on the Sunnah literature, embodied in the Islamic canonical collections of the sayings and deeds of the Prophet of Islam, and especially the collection of Sahih al-Bukhari, which contain an authenticated version of Muhammad’s handling of the Habiba separation case in which he ruled to separate her from her husband without asking the husband’s permission.

Although Article 20 of the Egyptian Personal Status Law, which grants women the right of Khul’ is considered a significant accomplishment by women’s rights activists, it is harmful to women’s financial rights because the wife is forced to give up her mahr, alimony and other gifts provided by the husband during their marriage. Poor women, particularly in rural areas, suffer most of this financial loss.

DISCLAIMER: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

An authorization to republish this article is hereby granted by the author provided that author’s name is attached to the article.

Gabriel Sawma is a lawyer with Middle East background. Professor of Middle East Constitutional Law, Islamic sharia, and Islamic economics. Expert consultant on Islamic divorce in U.S. courts: http://www.islamicdivorceinusa.com

Editor in chief of International Law blog: http://gabrielsawma.blogspot.com/2010/01/khul-divorce-in-egypt.html.

Lecturer on Islamic economics, http://www.islamiceconomics101.com;

Email: gabrielsawma [at] yahoo.com; Tel. (609) 915-2237.

Islamic Women Divorce Laws in Egypt

newswire article commentary united states 02.Jun.2011 16:36

gender & sexuality | human & civil rights

author: Gabriel Sawma       e-mail:e-mail: gabrielsawma@yahoo.com

 

Under the rules of Islamic sharia, the husband can end his marriage unilaterally by simply announcing the words “I divorce my wife” or “I divorce you” three times. He does not need to justify his decision, nor explain any reason for his divorce and never need to enter a courtroom to end his marriage. Egyptian Muslim women however are denied equal right to divorce. They are trapped in unwanted marriages or left begging for a divorce that can take years to obtain and leave them destitute.

 

Egypt’s Islamic family law of divorce is established in five legislations: (1) the law of 1920; (2) the law of 1929; the law of 1979; (4) the law of 1985; and (5) the law of 2000.The Divorce Laws of 1920 & 1929
The 1920 law deals with divorce and financial support under which a woman might be eligible to seek a divorce from her husband, The law restricted woman’s right to divorce to  lack of husband’s economic support, such as desertion, disappearance, and imprisonment. Article 1 of the Law of 1920 provides that maintenance was a cumulative debt owed by the husband to his wife, it starts from the first time the husband failed to support his wife. Article 2 decreed the wife’s maintenance debt should be computed from the date of her divorce. Articles 4 and 5 included the husband’s failure to provide maintenance as sufficient grounds for divorce.The law of 1920 provided that if the husband is absent or imprisoned and if he does not own a property from which the wife’s maintenance can be extracted, the wife is then entitled to a divorce on the grounds of non-support. And, if the husband lives in a distant place, or his location is unknown, the wife is granted a divorce at once. Article 6 provides the husband a further period to pay the maintenance, the waiting period of the menstrual cycle (iddah). A divorce obtained from the religious court in nonsupport cases is irrevocable, however, payment of the current maintenance is a sign of good will and sufficient to reverse the divorce.The 1920 law provides that a wife may seek judicial divorce if the husband suffered from an irreversible illness such as madness, leprosy, or impotence, whether or not the illness was developed before or after the marriage. According to the law of 1920, women were not allowed to divorce if the husband claims poverty. In all these cases, women had to file for divorce in front of a male judge. At the same time, the law allowed men to exercise their divorce according to Islamic sharia by uttering the formula of divorce anywhere they choose.The law of 1929 granted women right to seek judicial divorce according to Maliki School of jurisprudence in case the husband was absent for an extended period of time. This particular cause for divorce is not included in the Hanafi doctrine. According to the Maliki School, the judge may issue a divorce decree when the husband abandons his wife for more than one year without the knowledge of his wife.

The law of 1929 stipulates that a woman whose husband had been sentenced to more than three years may seek divorce after a separation of at least one year. This complies with the Maliki doctrine.

In view of the maltreatment inflicted  by men on their wives, the Egyptian government deemed it necessary to adopt the doctrines of the Maliki School of jurisprudence to make it easy for women to get out of their dysfunctional marriages associated with maltreatment and sufferings, a doctrine which is absent from the Hanafi School. The 1929 legislation allowed judges dealing with Islamic divorce to refer to Maliki School instead of Hanafi in order to grant a woman the right to divorce her husband in case of maltreatment.

Furthermore, the Law of 1929 grants the wife the right to seek judicial divorce in case the husband suffers from serious and incurable disease, if such a cause makes life harmful to women.

Article 6 of the law decreed that where a wife’s allegation of maltreatment detrimental to the continuation of marital relationship is substantiated and reconciliation becomes impossible, the judge (qadi) shall grant the wife an irrevocable divorce. To prove the harm and bad treatment inflicted by the husband, the wife must present two witnesses, whose testimonies will be subject to the unconstrained assessment of the judge who evaluates the evidence.

If the judge rejects the wife’s petition for divorce, twice,  the law mandates that he appoints two arbitrators for the couple in accordance with the Quran injunction: “And if you fear a breach between the two, then send forth an arbiter, one from his family, another from hers” (Q. 4:35). Article 7 stipulates that if this is not possible, men acquainted with the circumstances of the case should be appointed. These men should conduct thorough investigation of the causes for the married couple and submit recommendations to the court for reconciliation if that becomes possible.

Article 10 provides that should the arbitrators indicate a deadlock, the judge is to order them to make a new attempt. If the new attempt fails, then other arbitrators are to be appointed. Article 11 stipulates that the final judgment of divorce is made after the newer attempts were fruitless and the prospect for reconciliation reached a deadlock.

The Divorce Laws of 1979 and 1985
Under Islamic sharia, a Muslim husband is entitled to marry up to four wives at a time. In 1979 President Anwar Sadat issued Decree-Law No.44 to amend the previous laws of 1920 and 1929, mainly in the area of polygamous marriages. A new provision was added requiring that the husband’s remarrying without the first wife’s (or first wives’) consent be considered harmful and that if the husband remarries a second wife, his first wife is granted a judicial divorce upon her request provided that she became aware of his second marriage within a year from the day she got to know of his remarriage. The ground for such a divorce is based on the notion of harm inflicted on the wife. This law was criticized and challenged on the basis of restriction to polygamy which is considered legal and religiously legitimate in Islam.

In 1985, the Decree-Law No.44/1979 was declared unconstitutional on the grounds that it was passed by presidential decree and presented to the Egyptian Assembly as a done-deal.  Later in the same year the Law No. 100/1985 was passed again with some revisions. It states that polygamy may be considered a possible source of harm, according to which a woman may seek judicial divorce. Under such circumstances, the wife presents the court with evidence showing the harm. The judge evaluates the evidence and issues his ruling. The law of 1985 does not prohibit the husband from having a polygamous marriage; it only offers a remedy to the first wife who would can seek divorce for damage resulting from her husband’s second marriage. A wife seeking divorce on this ground has to bring two witnesses to testify for the damage incurred. Such a procedure is lengthy and costly for the wife.

Although the law allows women to divorce for polygamy, in many instances, judges refuse to apply this provision, which they consider to be contrary to Islamic sharia and to the Constitution of Egypt. Article 2 of the Constitution of 1980 affirms that Islamic sharia is “The main source of legislation”. Accordingly, judges who opposed the new provisions in the divorce law brought up the “unconstitutionality” issue.

The Law of 2000
In 2000, a new legislation was introduced in Egypt allowing women to seek judicial divorce in a procedure called Khul’, according to which, a married woman can request a judicial divorce in exchange for monetary compensation. This procedure is well known in Islamic sharia, but Egyptian judges did not intervene in such a divorce. Islamic sharia requires that the husband consent to this type of divorce without judiciary interference. The new law grants the wife right to seek a judicial divorce through khul’ without the consent of the husband. Under such divorce, the wife declares that she detests life with her husband, that the marital status between the couple has become impossible to continue, and that she fears she will not be able to maintain the “Limits of God” due the deteriorating relationship with her husband.

As a compensation for the husband, she has to forfeit her maintenance (nafaqah), her compensation of “mahr” and agrees to return to him the amount of “mahr” that he paid her at the marriage and she must renounce the amount of the “deferred mahr” (mu’akhar). The law of 2000 made it possible for a wife to get a “no fault divorce” from the judge after a lengthy process of reconciliation. For more on the khul’ divorce in Egypt, see our piece on this topic titled: “The Khul’ Divorce in Egypt”.

Anti-Women Sentiments in the Egyptian Law
It is extremely important to note that this discussion covering the Egyptian Personal Status Laws (or family law for the Muslim community) is derived from Islamic sharia and codified by the Egyptian government.

Furthermore, Muslim women seeking divorce in Egypt are denied equal access; they are at a distinct disadvantage for no reason other than they are women. Muslim women seeking divorce in Egypt must resort to the notoriously backlogged, inefficient court system and face procedural and evidentiary hurdles that are inherently discriminatory and may take several years to get a divorce.

When men initiate divorce, they do not have to go through reconciliation process. In fact a husband can divorce his wife in as little as one hour with the local marriage registrar. The wife does not have to be informed.
When women seek divorce, including those of domestic violence, they must submit to compulsory mediation in the name of family preservation and the biased notion that women are unable to make rational decisions about family issues. Many Egyptian Muslim women, including those in abusive relationships, refrain from ever attempting to seek divorce for fear of violence and potentially life-threatening marriages.

In all other court cases in Egypt, a woman’s testimony is worth half of a man. Therefore a woman living with a violent husband would need testimonies from two men, four women, or one man and two women to prove her case.
The khul’ law of 2000 failed to address the discriminatory aspects of the divorce system. Its introduction has spared women the need to specify grounds for divorce, but forced them to give up critical financial rights in exchange for divorce, such as returning any cash or property provided by her husband under their marriage contract. This option is limited only to women with significant resource or those who are desperate for a divorce.

Recognition of Egyptian Divorce in USA
In the United States, state courts decide on divorce cases. A divorce judgment issued in Egypt is generally recognized in the United States on the basis of “comity”, provided that both parties to the divorce receive adequate notice, such as services of process and at least one of them is domiciled in Egypt at the time of the divorce.

Egyptian women citizens of the U.S. must obtain divorce decrees from Egypt as proof of divorce. The documents must be authenticated by the relevant authorities in Egypt and the U.S. This is important to women who could not remarry without presenting proof that they are free to remarry. Egyptian Muslim women who remarry without obtaining a divorce decree from Egypt, their second marriage may be considered illegal. In Islamic countries, women who remarry without divorce documents, may be labeled as adulterous, and in some countries like Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Sudan may be subject to the death penalty by stoning under strict interpretations of Islamic sharia.

DISCLAIMER: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

Republishing of this article is permitted.

Gabriel Sawma is a lawyer with Middle East background. Professor of Middle East Constitutional Law and Islamic sharia. Expert consultant on Islamic divorce in U.S. courts: http://www.islamicdivorceinusa.com

Editor in chief of International Law blog, http://www.gabrielsawma.blogspot.com 

Email: gabrielsawma@yahoo.com

Tel. (609) 915-2237

Iranian Muslim Divorce in USA


     By Gabriel Sawma, Esq., Expert ConsultantExpert Consultant in Islamic Banking and Finance; Islamic Divorce in US Courts

PhoneCall Prof. Gabriel Sawma at (609) 915-2237

Muslim men with Iranian passports may choose to go back to Iran and obtain a fast track divorce in that country by stating three times, “I divorce my wife” in the presence of two male witnesses, show proof of the “mahr” payment, record the divorce in Iran, authenticate the documents, return back to the U.S. and seek recognition and enforcement of the Iranian divorce in a state court.
The Family Law in Iran was codified in 1928 and 1935 as part of the Iranian Civil Code. The law set a legal age requirement for marriage, prohibiting the marriage of girls under 13 and requiring court permission for the marriage of those under 15. In 1931, a separate legislation, known as the Marriage Law (qanun-I izdivaj) was enacted; it made marriage subject to state provisions and required the registration of all marriages and divorces in civil registrars. The law of 1931 expanded the grounds on which women could initiate divorce proceedings and required such actions to be brought before civil courts rather than Islamic sharia courts.In 1967, the Family Protection Law (qanun-I himaya-I khanivada) was enacted. This law was considered a departure from the traditional Islamic sharia. It abolished the husband’s rights to extra-judicial divorce and polygamy, and increased the age of marriage to 15 for females and 18 for males. The law established special religious tribunals, headed by judges trained in modern jurisprudence. This law was criticized by Muslim clergy, calling it un-Islamic, and was regarded in violation of Islamic shria principles.In 1975, the Family Protection Law was replaced by another law carrying the same title. This law increased the minimum age of marriage from 15 to 18 for females and from 18 to 20 for males, and provided the courts with discretionary power to decide cases involving child custody, disregarding Islamic sharia provisions.

Following the Iranian revolution or 1979 under Ayatollah Khomeini (1902-1989), the Family Protection Law was annulled and replaced by the Special Civil Court Act. The new law was entirely enacted in compliance with the Shiite law of ithnai Ashar (Twelvers), the courts are empowered to deal with a whole range of family issues, including divorce. According to the new law, legal marriage for girls plummeted to nine; 15 for boys, and members of the Iranian society were strictly segregated along gender lines. Women were forced to put hijab and were not allowed to appear in public with a man who was not a husband or a direct relation such as brother, father, or son. Women could be stoned to death for adultery, which incidentally, includes being raped. But the reformists under former president, Khatami, allowed single women to study abroad and raised the legal age for marriage from nine to 13 for girls. However, a woman’s testimony in Iran is worth half that of a man in court and in the case of blood money that a murderer’s family is obliged to pay to the family of the victim, females are estimated at half the value of a male.

In mid 2007, the government of Ahmadi Najad began enforcing restrictive laws; women wearing too much make-up and not enough scarf were arrested; they were first banned from attending the country’s popular soccer matches held in public stadiums, but later, under pressure, the president allowed women to attend the games on the ground that their presence would be “morally uplifting” and make the men behave better.

The new law requires marriage and divorce to be registered with the courts; the husband has unconditional right to divorce his wife for which he needs not to give any reason and his wife is almost certain to lose custody of her children. The new law allows the wife to divorce her husband under khul’, and even then she would have to present to the court a power of attorney from the husband allowing her to divorce herself on behalf of her husband. A woman is allowed to seek divorce if her husband was insane, impotent or infertile, absent from home without reason, imprisoned, or unable to support his wife. A woman seeking divorce in Iran must provide the court with supporting evidence to get a divorce decree.

Iranian Muslim couples faced with a divorce situation in the United States, see themselves in a dual process of having to go through civil as well as religious divorce, especially for a Muslim woman; she is prohibited by Islamic sharia from marrying a non-Muslim man unless he converts. Divorced Muslim men and women must obtain an additional religious divorce decree from Muslim authorities should he or she decides to remarry in compliance with sharia; civil divorce alone is not recognized in Islam. Under Islamic sharia, a Muslim woman or man is still considered married even though she or he has obtained a civil divorce. Failure to obtain an Islamic divorce before remarrying, the woman would be considered adulterous and might risk her life if she travels to a country where stoning for adultery is still in place, such as Pakistan, Iran, Sudan, and Saudi Arabia.

American Muslim men with Iranian passports may choose to go back to Iran and obtain a fast track divorce in that country. They get divorce decree by stating three times, “I divorce my wife” in the presence of two male witnesses, show proof of the “mahr” payment, record the divorce in Iran, authenticate the documents, return back to the U.S. and seek recognition of the Iranian divorce in a state court. Divorce obtained in Iran is less expensive to the husband; women get the amount of “mahr” as stipulated in the marriage contract, usually less than what a U.S court may rule on, and the divorce is obtained in a short time, without having to hire an attorney. Islamic divorce does not allow women to receive compensation other than the amount of “mahr” she and her family agreed upon before her marriage.

State courts in the U.S. deal with Islamic divorce obtained overseas on the basis of “comity”, a discretionary doctrine that governs the recognition of divorce rendered by the courts of a foreign country. Although occasionally, courts in England and the United States use the term “international comity” in the meaning of general international law, the more accepted concept of this doctrine defines it as rules of courtesy or goodwill which states observe in their mutual relations without any sense of legal obligations under international law. The desire for a Muslim man to obtain divorce from Iran and have it recognized and enforced in the United States, is generally entitled to recognition if it was valid and effective in Iran, and that Iran was the residence or domicile of both parties or at least one party. In other cases, recognition in the United States of a divorce obtained in Iran will depend on the way the divorce was obtained by mail, by default, by phone, or upon the appearance of both parties. A divorce obtained in Iran should not violate U.S acheter cialis pharmacie belgique. public policy and cannot be “repugnant” to major principles of U.S. law. State courts have the sole competent to recognize or to deny recognition of a divorce decree obtained in Iran.

Although divorce recognition within the United States is dependent on the concept of domicile, an Iranian divorce may be recognized where both parties appear in the action, even in the absence of domicile. In New Hampshire, a Muslim husband secured a Lebanese divorce, based on Islamic sharia by declaring that he pronounced the divorce of his wife by saying three times “I divorce you” in her presence and by going to Lebanon to consult an attorney and sign divorce papers. The New Hampshire family court refused to recognize the Lebanese ex parte divorce. The court reasoned that the wife would be forced to bear the burdensome cost of an ex parte divorce obtained in a foreign nation where neither party is domiciled.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Prof. Gabriel Sawma
Gabriel Sawma is a lawyer with Middle East background. Professor of Middle East Constitutional Law, Islamic sharia, and Islamic finance. Expert consultant on Islamic divorce in U.S. courts; editor in chief of International Law blog; Lecturer on Islamic economics; Author of “The Aramaic Language of the Qur’an”.

Email: gabrielsawma@yahoo.com

Email: gabygms@gmail.com

Tel. (609) 915-2237

Copyright Gabriel Sawma, Esq., Expert Consultant

More information about Gabriel Sawma, Esq., Expert Consultant

While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

Pakistani Islamic Divorce in U.S. Courts

Expert Witness Directory

Pakistani Islamic Divorce in U.S. Courts


     By Gabriel Sawma, Esq., Expert ConsultantExpert Consultant in Islamic Banking and Finance; Islamic Divorce in US Courts

PhoneCall Prof. Gabriel Sawma at (609) 915-2237

Pakistani men residing in the U.S. travel to their homeland to get divorce decrees from Pakistan. They return back to the United States and seek recognition and enforcement of the Pakistani Islamic divorce decree in a state court. This article deals with the issues related to Pakistani Islamic divorce in U.S. courts.
Following the partition of Pakistan in 1947, the Islamic family law regulating marriage and divorce introduced under the British rule continued to govern until 1961 when the government of Pakistan passed the Muslim Family Law Ordinance (MFLO) to regulate divorce in that country.The Constitution of Pakistan requires all laws to be brought in accordance with the Quran and the Sunnah which constitutes the deeds and sayings of Muhammad, the prophet of Islam. Chapter 3A establishes the Federal Shariat Court. The law of marriage and divorce is governed by the rules of Islamic sharia.The law requires the age of males entering into marriage to be 18, and for females 16; there are penalties for contracting under-age marriages, though under age marriages in Pakistan remain valid regardless of the age limit. As to the guardianship issue, the law requires the application of the Hanafi School of Jurisprudence allowing a woman to contract herself in marriage without the consent of her guardian (wali).

The law requires mandatory registration for marriage; failure to register, however, does not invalidate the marriage. Legal constraints are placed on polygamy by requiring the husband to register his marriage at the local Union Council for permission and notification of existing wife/wives. The chairman of the Union Council establishes an arbitration council with representatives of both husband and wife/wives in order to determine the necessity of the proposed marriage. The law requires that the application must state whether the husband has obtained consent from the existing wife or wives. Violation to these rules is subject to fine and/or imprisonment and the husband becomes bound to make immediate payment of “mahr” to the existing wife or wives. However, if the husband does not obtain consent of his existing wife/wives, the subsequent marriage remains valid regardless of the provisions stated in the law; that is because provisions of Islamic sharia are superior to any other law in Islamic countries.

Under the rules of Islamic divorce in Pakistan, a husband can divorce his wife unilaterally, any time, in any place, and, without any obligation to state a reason for divorce. After the husband announces his divorce statement “I divorce you”, three times (triple talaq), the law mandates that the husband gives a notice in writing to the chairman of the Union Council. The chairman must forward a copy of the notice of divorce (talaq) to the wife. Non-compliance with these provisions is punishable by imprisonment and/or fine. The law requires that within thirty days of receipt of the notice of divorce, the chairman of the Union Council must establish an Arbitration Council in order to take steps to bring about reconciliation between husband and wife. If reconciliation is failed, a divorce takes effect after the expiration date of ninety days from the day on which the notice of repudiation was first delivered to the chairman. If the wife is found pregnant during the period following the announcement of divorce, the divorce does not take effect until ninety days have elapsed or the end of the pregnancy, whichever is later. Since the 1980s, and in view of the pressure from Islamic sharia scholars, the practice of the courts in Pakistan is that they validate a unilateral divorce by the husband (triple talaq) by pronouncing “I divorce you” three times, despite a failure to notify the Union Council; this is because Islamic sharia allows a husband to divorce his wife at will, without any provision regarding registration of divorce.

U.S. State family courts do not apply Islamic sharia because of violation of the Establishment Clause set in the U.S. Constitution. However, state courts can recognize divorce decrees issued in Pakistan on the basis of a doctrine in private international law known as “Comity”. Such recognition does not entail an obligation on State Courts to agree with the rulings of a foreign divorce judgment in Pakistan. The Doctrine of Comity is raised when the husband resides legally in the United States, travels to Pakistan, to obtain an Islamic divorce decree from a court in that country, obtains an easy divorce by just stating three times: “I divorce you”, or “I divorce my wife”, in the presence of two male witnesses or one male and two female witnesses; pays the deferred “mahr”, records his divorce in Pakistan, authenticate the documents through proper channels, travels back to the United States, serves his wife with divorce papers, and then seeks recognition and enforcement of the Pakistani divorce by a State Court.

Recognition of Pakistani Islamic divorce decree by a State court in the United States on the basis of “comity” is not mandatory. State courts may deny recognition and subsequent enforcement if the judge deems the Pakistani law is “repugnant” to a U.S. principle of law. Generally speaking, foreign divorce judgments are recognized on the basis of “comity” if the parties involved receive adequate notices, i.e., service of process, and, generally, provides one of the parties has a domicile in the foreign nation at the time of divorce, and the foreign court has given opportunity to both parties to present their case, and the trial was conducted upon regular proceedings after due citation or voluntary appearance of the defendant, and under a system of jurisprudence likely to secure an impartial administration of justice between the citizens of its own country and those of other countries, and no prejudice towards either party, and should not violate a strong U.S. principle of law.

An Islamic divorce decree in Pakistan differs substantially with respect to property division and the “mahr” stipulation. Under Pakistani Islamic law of divorce, wives are entitled to the deferred “mahr”, which is, in most cases, much less than what a State court in the U.S. grants the wife. State courts may not recognize a Pakistani divorce decree if the cause of action on which the divorce is based is “repugnant” to “Public Policy”.

An authorization to republish this article is hereby granted by the author, provided the author’s name appears with the article.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Prof. Gabriel Sawma
Gabriel Sawma is a lawyer with Middle East background. Professor of Middle East Constitutional Law, Islamic sharia, and Islamic economics. Expert consultant on Islamic divorce in U.S. courts; editor in chief of International Law; Instructor on Islamic economics; Author of “The Aramaic Language of the Qur’an.

Email: gabrielsawma@yahoo.com

Email: gabygms@gmail.com

Tel. (609) 915-2237

Copyright Gabriel Sawma, Esq., Expert Consultant

More information about Gabriel Sawma, Esq., Expert Consultant

While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.