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ConferencesGCWRI

The Right to Custody


Gamal Serour is a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Director of the International Islamic Center For Population Studies and Research and former Dean of the Faculty of Medicine Al Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt. He won the United Nations Population Award in 2013 and the Nile Prize for Science in 2018. Since 2019, he has been a member of the Islamic Research Council Al Azhar. He established and directed Al Azhar training programmes for laparoscopy in 1976, microsurgery in 1980, and a large number of training workshops on academic, research and training for candidates from Middle East, Asia and Africa. He has conducted numerous workshops on sexual and reproductive health and rights for religious leaders and Imams from Egypt, Asia and Africa in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Population Fund and the United Nations Children’s Fund. Gamal established the first in vitro fertilization (IVF) centre in Egypt on March 1986 and IVF centres at the Ministry of Health in 2000 and at Al-Azhar University in 2004. He established the Egyptian Fertility Society (EFFS) in 1994 and has been the EFFS’ President since 2004.

He was President of the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) from 2009 to 2012, a member of the Lancet–Guttmacher Commission on SDGS (2016–2018) and is currently President of the African Federation Fertility Societies (AFFS). He was a member and then Chair of the FIGO Ethics Committee for Women’s Reproductive Health (1994–2006), a member of the WHO Strategic and Technical Advisory Group (STAG) (2011-2016), Chair of STAG (2017–2018) and has been Co-Chair of the Ethics Review Committee at the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean since 2017.

BACA JUGA:   Welcoming Remarks by Rev. Canon Grace Kaiso

This paper discusses child custody in Islamic law. It emphasizes the importance of prioritizing the child’s well-being.

Key points:

  • Custody protects the child and fulfills their needs.
  • Mothers have the primary right to custody, as long as they meet certain conditions (being Muslim, adult, of sound mind, etc.).
  • This right is forfeited if the mother remarries (according to some interpretations).
  • Custody then transfers to female relatives in a specific order (grandmother, sister, etc.).
  • If no female relative is available, male relatives inherit the right (father, grandfather, etc.).
  • Custody ends at a certain age, with some variations depending on jurisdiction (around 15 years in Egypt).
  • The custodian is entitled to financial compensation for caring for the child.

The paper concludes that Islamic law on custody is well-defined and serves the best interests of children, mothers, and fathers if applied fairly. It emphasizes avoiding using custody as a tool for revenge during divorce.

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