MUSLIM PERSONAL LAW IN SOUTH AFRICA: “UNTIL TWO LEGAL SYSTEMS DO US PART OR MEET?”
Keywords:traditional customary and religious law, legal pluralism, multiculturalism, Muslim Personal Law
South Africa is one of the most prominent examples of pluralism providing recognition to traditional customary and religious law. South Africa’s commitment to legal pluralism is an important development because it reflects not only constitutional dedication to
multiculturalism but also a political and functional need for incorporating traditional and religious legal systems. The legal recognition of Muslim Personal Law in South Africa provides an ideal case study on legal pluralism supported by a multicultural constitutional process. Over 15 years of democracy have passed and the draft Muslim Marriages Act has not yet been introduced into legislation. The issue of legal recognition of Muslim Personal Law in South Africa has highlighted the difficulties that arise when balancing the commitment to individual human rights and religious rights. This paper explores the question: What is the future of Muslim Personal Law in South Africa? Since the draft Muslim Marriages Act has not yet been enacted into legislation, it presents an opportunity to re-examine and rethink how to implement religious law effectively in a secular state. This is discussed in the paper by presenting
various multicultural and pluralistic jurisdictional family law models, which look at the key relationship between civil and religious authorities.
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