Kenyans arguing over number of wives permitted

As I wrote extensively on this blog last summer, the voters in Kenya adopted a new constitution for the nation which is very friendly to Islamic interests. A Commission has been formed to implement the provisions of the new Constitution. Certain decisions made by the Commission are not pleasing all the constituents of Kenya and verbal disputes are beginning to crop up.

One such dispute has to do with the definition of marriage. As I wrote last year, a portion of the Constitution stipulates that laws regarding marriage between Muslims will be adjudicated by¬†Islamic¬†courts (Kadi or Qadi courts) according to shari’a law. The Commission apparently has allowed for a man to have multiple wives, without stipulating a limit of four as required by shari’a. Some have interpreted this to mean a man can marry as many women as he desires. Further, the Commission wants to eliminate the dowry typically paid by a Muslim man for his bride. This also is meeting with resistance from those who adhere to shari’a literally. has a recent article which addresses this dispute. I will be following other developments regarding the implementation of Kenya’s constitution as they occur.

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