A Revolution in Muslim Family Law? Egypt’s Pre- and Post-Revolutionary Period (2011-2013) Compared

Nadia Sonneveld, Monika Lindbekk


In the weeks following the Egyptian revolution of 2011, a group of divorced fathers

rose to demand a “revolution in family law.” Portraying extant family law provisions as

symbolic of the old regime and as deviating from the principles of shariʿa, their call was given

prominent media attention and, in the ensuing transitional period (2011 to 2013), women’s

rights and family law emerged as contentious areas in Egypt.

By comparing public debates on family law reform in the decade preceding the 2011

revolution to the two years following it, we argue that Egypt’s “revolution in family law”

actually started a decade earlier, in 2000, when Egyptian women’s new right to divorce

unilaterally rocked the country.1 This set in motion other legal reforms that challenged

fundamental aspects of male authority in the family and slowly led to the emergence of

innovative conceptions of motherhood and fatherhood.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.29311/nmes.v5i0.2666


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