On April 22, 2017, KARAMAH joined the Peaceful Families Project for their annual Imam and Chaplain training. The training addressed domestic violence in the Muslim American community. KARAMAH was invited to conduct the legal session, as we have for the past several years.
KARAMAH: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights is a research based educational organization. We believe that a core Islamic value is that every human being has inherent dignity (karamah). We aspire to become the leading source of just and gender equitable Islamic jurisprudence. We disseminate our research through our educational programs.
Before talking about any nuanced issue in Islamic law, or American law, KARAMAH underscored the need to understand Islam holistically. To understand any Islamic legal issue, you first have to understand the spirit of the law. You have to understand that the foundation for Islamic law, for example, is adalah or justice. Similarly, before you talk about violence and abuse in a marriage, you need to first understand the Islamic paradigm of marriage.
After discussing the general paradigm of marriage in Islam, KARAMAH turned its training to nuanced issues of divorce. Particularly, KARAMAH trained the imams on what parts of an Islamic marriage contract are applicable in the American legal system. KARAMAH also advised the imams of basic best legal practices. Among the advice given was:
1. Make sure you photograph and record the nikkah/kitab
2. Make sure you witness the signing of all the pages (if multiple pages) of the contract
3. Make sure you keep a copy of the marriage contract for your files
4. Make sure you ENSURE that there is a civil marriage license before you conduct any and all ceremonies
The training was very well received and many imams and chaplains expressed the need for continued legal training from KARAMAH. It is our hope to prioritize these conversations for our communities in the coming year. We will be traveling to Atlanta, GA on April 29, 2017 to conduct the next imam training at the Roswell Community Mosque. Join us!