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Title: Foreign to Palestinian society? ʿUrfī marriage, moral dangers, and the colonial present
Authors: Johnson, Penny 
Moors, Annelies 
Keywords: Common law marriage (Islamic law) - Palestine;Marriage - Social aspects - Palestine;Secret marriages - Palestine
Issue Date: 2022
Publisher: Journal of Women of the Middle East and the Islamic World
Abstract: In 2005, religious authorities in Palestine warned publicly of a new phenomenon, one that was ‘foreign to Palestinian society’: ʿurfī marriages. They used this term to refer to ‘secret marriages,’ which they considered as linked to social breakdown, the result of the Israeli occupation. In the tales (similar to rumors) of young men and women throughout the West Bank and Gaza in the early 2010s, these marriages were often related to the colonial geographies of anxiety, of social and political fragmentation, and of the spatial segregation that Israel has imposed on Palestinians. Related concerns were expressed by the men of religion as they attempted to maintain their authority in highly uncertain times and in contested spaces. Still, in the very small number of concrete cases shariʿa judges continued to use the flexibility of Islamic jurisprudence to legally recognize ʿurfī marriages to work towards the most equitable solution in problematic situations.
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