In 2008, Nujood Ali’s story got headlines around the world. The ten-year-old girl had escaped from her husband, to whom she had been forcibly married, and went to the courthouse and asked for a divorce. Ali was eventually granted her divorce. However, the court asked Ali to pay compensation to her husband because she was the one initiating the divorce.
Under Islamic law, whoever initiates a divorce carries the consequence. So, if the husband initiates a divorce he cannot take back the dowry and must complete payment of it if he has not paid it in full. If the wife initiates divorce, she must return the dowry to the husband. Unfortunately, the court did not seem to recognize the circumstances of the situation and applied the traditional rules for divorce by asking Nujood to pay. Nujood’s lawyer, though, was able to raise the money.
After her divorce, Ali received fame for her story and was even named one of Glamour Magazine’s Women of the Year. Ali’s story called attention to the practice of child marriages in Yemen. Continue reading