April 27, 2011 § 2 Comments
With a quick glance at the coal marks, the discarded skewers, and melted wax, you can tell our monday night terrace barbeque was fun while it lasted. Unfortunately, things always manage to balance as though the man with a rickety scale at the market counter-balanced my half-kilo of fun times with a clunky octagonal weight of work time. In other words, something didn’t sit right, so I’ve been hosting a sit-in with myself, protesting my tyrant stomach.
On the flip side, the timing allows me to start stitching my notes together and come closer to a legible report. I’m in the wade-pool of the analysis, but I can’t dive in until I finish the translations. So for now, here’s a super sneak preview of the boring write-up section. It’s just a draft, mind you.
The Qur’an, whose principles Muslims believe to be universal and eternal, discusses marriage as a propitious part of life. Islam defines marriage first as a contractual relationship, before being a sacred institution. Within this definition, the consummation of marriage is granted only when a marriage contract has been entered with the conscientious consent of both parties (Barazangi, 2004, p. 77). Investigations of texts reveal that marriage is hardly mentioned with the aim to form a new family unit but rather with an emphasis for the legitimating of sexual relations. Essentially, it is a social and familial matter agreed to privately between two families, in which the state has no jurisdiction (Charrad, 2001). However, in addition to being a contract, an Islamic marriage is subject to predetermined rules in Islamic law for private and social life, shari’ah (Sebti, 1997, p. 73).
Taking into consideration the location in which this research took place, one must include a more localized definition. Within the Sunni tradition of Islam, there are four “rites” or legal schools. Following the Arab political domination of North Africa in 1100 (Fernea, 1998, p. 63), the rite followed in the Maghreb region is known as the Maliki Rite. According to this particular rite, marriage is still regarded as contractual, but historically controlled and arranged by kin through marital tutors (Charrad, 2001).
As shari’ah, developed in the first 200 years after the Prophet Mohamed’s death, there existed no statewide administrative structure. Today, Islamic states integrate their interpretations of shari’ah into their legal codes. In Morocco, the most important texts of the Maliki rite provided inspiration for Moroccan legislation. Historically, a minority of men instructed in Qur’anic verse held the religious responsibilities toward the community and eventually, creating legislation. This system, known as fiqh, is still an important element of the legal and juridical system in Morocco.
Within Moroccan law as it exists today, a definition of marriage is given as, “a legal contract by which a man and a woman mutually consent to unite in a common and enduring conjugal life” (Book 1, Title 1, Article 4). In addition to this blatant requirement of mutual consent, equality of majorities before the law is established. The law stipulates that capacity for both men and women to marry is reached at the age of eighteen (Book 1; Title 2; Ch 1; Article 19), at which point the woman may conclude her marriage contract herself (Book 1; Title 2; Ch 1 Article 25). While a man’s ability to conclude his marriage contract himself is neither historically nor presently debated, the revisions to Article 25 marks a large break with the preexisting system of required marital tutors for women.