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How do lawgivers define what makes a good parent? NADJMA YASSARI is interested in the impact of the principle of the best interests of the child on custody decisions in the Middle East and countries with common heritage from Islamic family law. As she explains in this video, her research team adopted a comparative inner-Islamic approach. They did not only examine the legal aspects of the question but they also put each country’s laws and rules in a social, historical and cultural context. They discovered that while there was a historical continuity on the use and the application of the principle of best interests in custody rules in pre-modern Islamic law, the legislatures of modern Muslim Nation states introduced and applied that principle to varying degrees in statutory laws and court practice. Their findings enhance the understanding of Islamic concepts of family and custody and might, for instance, help the integration processes of immigrants from Muslim countries to Europe.


Nadjma Yassari is Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law where she researches the laws of Muslim jurisdictions. Since 2009, she has been leader of the Max Planck Research Group ‘Changes in God’s Law – An Inner Islamic Comparison of Family and Succession Laws’. Her research focuses on International and Private Law in the Near and Middle East, Iran and Afghanistan.


Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law

Different countries, different cultures – and usually also a different basis for legal systems. The development of the European single market, the global integration of multinational business and commercial companies as well as the increasing internationalisation of our daily lives require that areas of private and commercial law provide solutions that cannot only be derived from the legal systems of individual countries. Academics at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law in Hamburg apply analysis of the differences and similarities between different legal systems to develop a foundation for an international understanding of law and its application to cross-border circumstances. This also includes addressing the methodological issues of comparative law and unification of law. The central research tool of the Institute is its library, which contains one of the world’s most extensive collections of literature on civil law. ( Source )
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Original publication

Parental Care and the Best Interests of the Child in Muslim Countries

Yassari Nadjma, Möller Lena-Maria and Gallala-Arndt Imen
Published in 2017

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