n Journal for Islamic Studies - Women's agency in Muslim marriage : from Timbuktu




The dominant genre of Islamic legal texts is not an accurate reflection of wives' agency or of their ability to act independently within a Muslim marriage. These texts are not the best source to gauge questions of agency in the light of their specific structure as a legal genre that aims to explicate a normative legal-social-ethical order of things. Fatw?s, another genre of Islamic legal literature, show that Muslim wives clearly had their own ideas of sexual rights and obligations, divorce and husbands. Fatw?s show that women had knowledge of Islamic law and often acted independently in the light of this knowledge. This article demonstrates this agency in a number of fatw?s from Timbuktu, West Africa.


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