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Islamic Family Law(s) in Finland

Reflections on Freedom of Religion from the Wellbeing Perspective




Islamic family law, Finland, Wellbeing, Freedom of religion, Legal pluralism


The right of Finnish Muslim women and men to organize their family practices according to Islamic family law(s) is often framed as an issue of their religious rights as a minority group. We argue that whilst the concept of freedom of religion may be a relevant factor, it is insufficient as an explanatory model, and in some cases, it may not even be the most relevant factor. We argue instead for an approach that locates the meanings and practices of Islamic family laws within Finnish Muslims’ daily pursuits and struggles towards wellbeing, which is theorized as three-dimensional, i.e., material, relational, and ethical. The concept of wellbeing, we contend, enables us to capture the familial, economic, racial, political, and ethical processes through which Finnish Muslims continually and dynamically organize, negotiate, and make sense of their marriage and divorce practices. Our wellbeing-centered approach also highlights the relevance and significance of legal pluralism as a framework that takes us away from simplistic legal centrism and highlights the layered and dynamic normative foundations of legal systems. Our analysis draws on anthropological research on Muslim marriage and divorce practices in Finland in the period from 2013 to 2018.  

Author Biographies

Mulki Al-Sharmani, University of Helsinki

is Associate Professor of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, Faculty of Arts, University of Helsinki.

Sanna Mustasaari, University of Eastern Finland

is a postdoctoral researcher at UEF Law School, University of Eastern Finland.





How to Cite

Al-Sharmani, M., & Mustasaari, S. (2022). Islamic Family Law(s) in Finland: Reflections on Freedom of Religion from the Wellbeing Perspective. Temenos - Nordic Journal of Comparative Religion, 58(2), 217–238.