In the Islam Forum, we have been following the case of Fatima and Mansour, a Saudi couple that was forcibly divorced by the courts of that country. Fatima and Mansour had been happily married for three years when her half-brothers petitioned the court to annul their marriage. The brothers claimed that Mansour had mis-represented his tribal affliliation to the family when proposing marriage in 2002. The local courts found in favor of the brothers, and despite the objections of the couple, they were forcibly divorced. Fatima and Mansour resisted the ruling, and their case has been pending in the court system for the past four years. During that time, Fatima refused to return to live with her brothers and instead chose to live in prison or women's shelters with the couple's two children.
Yesterday the Arab News reported that the Supreme Judiciary Court of Saudi Arabia has overturned the annulment and ordered the couple reunited. In their decision, the courts found fault with the brothers' argument that tribal incomptability rendered the marriage void. In Islam, tribal background is not a condition of marriage. The courts also found that Islamically, male blood relatives do not have the right to intervene in a marriage that has already taken place.
For more on Fatima and Mansour's saga, and the debate about marriage law in Islam, visit the Islam Forum.