Max Planck Society

Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law

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Online version Handwörterbuch des Europäischen Privatrechts
The Dower in Family Property Law – Inner-Islamic Comparison and Incorporation into German Law

The post-doctoral work of Nadjma Yassari examines dower agreements. The Islamic dower is an asset to be given by the bridegroom to the bride upon marriage. Alongside divorce by repudiation (talāq), it is the legal institute of Islamic law most often considered by German courts. However, it poses significantly greater challenges to scholarship and jurisprudence than does talāq, the latter having now taken shape through a steady flow of case law. The dower proves complex to evaluate in terms of both substantive law and conflicts of law. Particularly, ascertaining its exact function for its characterisation under conflict-of-law rules proves difficult, as the dower is attributed a number of functions which are in turn governed by various instruments of not only German private international law, but family law as well. It is questionable, however, if the dower is capable of satisfying the functions and requirements it is attributed. This question is of interest, first, with regard to the legal systems of Islamic countries which unconditionally accept and regulate this legal institution. At the same time, a more in-depth analysis of the dower and its function helps in creating clarity as concerns its private international law characterisation and its integration into the family law of non-Islamic countries. The book accordingly comprises four sections. The first section considers the dower and its religious origins in Islamic law. The second section outlines the modern regulation of the dower in selected Islamic countries, with a centre of focus on the financial relations between spouses and the latest family law reforms and their reception in the jurisprudence of selected Islamic countries. Finally, the conclusions drawn over the possibly evolving function of the dower will be traced in the third and fourth sections of the book so as to allow the dower to be mapped into private international law regimes and German family law.

The post-doctoral project was concluded in December 2012 and published in 2014 in German by Mohr Siebeck Verlag (Nadjma Yassari, Die Brautgabe im Familienvermögensrecht – Innerislamischer Rechtsvergleich und Integration in das deutsche Recht (Beiträge zum ausländischen und internationalen Privatrecht, 104), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 2014, XXXIV + 580 pp.).