Who Owns the Money That She Earns?: Spousal Financial Abuse and the Contradictory Role of Religious Narratives among Bangladeshi Migrant Muslim Women in Australia

Abstract

This paper explores the phenomenon of spousal financial abuse among Bangladeshi migrant Muslim women in Australia, focusing on the contradictory role of religious narratives in shaping these experiences. According to Fiqh or Islamic jurisprudence, a wife’s earnings belong exclusively to her, while simultaneously emphasizing the concept of ta’a or obedience to the husband as a marital right. This culture also reinforces the similar gender ideology of a wife’s obedience to her husband. This creates a dilemma when a husband demands control over his wife’s income, as compliance would deprive her of her religious jurisprudential privilege to retain and manage her own money. Drawing on fieldwork, this study aims to analyse the concept of ta’a or obedience in the fiqh as a contributing factor to spousal financial abuse. By shedding light on the mechanisms that enable such abuse, particularly within the Bangladeshi Muslim community in Australia, this article seeks to contribute to a broader understanding of the complexities surrounding this issue. Ultimately, the findings emphasize the need for more empowering religious responses to support abused migrant women in breaking free from the cycle of abuse.

Presenters

Farjana Mahbuba
Student, PhD, Australian Catholic University, New South Wales, Australia

Details

Presentation Type

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Theme

Religious Community and Socialization

KEYWORDS

ISLAMIC JURISPRUDENCES, MUSLIM WOMEN, BANGLADESHI COMMUNITY, AUSTRALIA, FINANCIAL ABUSE

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