Comparative Islamic Studies, Vol 11, No 1 (2015)

Islamic and Jewish Religious Feminists Tackle Islamic and Jewish Oral Law: Maintenance and Rebellion of Wives

Ruth Roded
Issued Date: 6 Sep 2017


Beginning in the early 1970s, Jewish and Muslim feminists, tackled “oral law”—Mishna and Talmud, in Judaism, and the parallel Hadith and Fiqh in Islam, and several analogous methodologies were devised. A parallel case study of maintenance and rebellion of wives —mezonoteha, moredet al baʿala; nafaqa al-marʾa and nushūz—in classical Jewish and Islamic oral law demonstrates similarities in content and discourse. Differences between the two, however, were found in the application of oral law to daily life, as reflected in “responsa”—piskei halacha and fatwas. In modern times, as the state became more involved in regulating maintenance and disobedience, and Jewish law was backed for the first time in history by a state, state policy and implementation were influenced by the political system and socioeconomic circumstances of the country. Despite their similar origin in oral law, maintenance and rebellion have divergent relevance to modern Jews and Muslims.

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DOI: 10.1558/cis.31497


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