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Untying the knot: Muslim women, divorce and the Shariah

Researchers: Sonia Shah-Kazemi

Project overview

Untying the Knot: Muslim Women, Divorce and the Shariah reports on a study of the experiences of British Muslim women who try to divorce their husbands according to Muslim Law.

The study had three components:

The women’s experiences of marriage breakdown were diverse, but a critically important common factor was the self-identification as Muslim, rather than, or as well as, various national identities. This was the case regardless of the extent to which the religion was practised. The problem of contending with a negative attitude towards Islam was also a recurrent theme.

Many of the women were able to achieve the dissolution of their marriage contracts, others were able to negotiate talaq divorces from their husbands, both with or without the intervention of the MLSC. Others either reconciled with their husbands, or withdrew from the MLSC process.


  • Sonia Shah-Kazemi
    University of Westminster

  • Director, Welfare
    Nuffield Foundation

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