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Birth control

(2,975 words)

Author(s): Giladi, Avner
Birth control, in Modern Arabic most commonly tanẓīm or taḥdīd (“planning” or “limiting”) al-nasl or al-usra (“offspring” or “the family”), broadly applies to control over and decisions about the timing and number of pregnancies, for example, through the use of contraception, although the term applies generally to various aspects of family planning. In classical Arabic the term most commonly used is ʿazl, or coitus interruptus (withdrawal), and this term, by extension, applies, in classical literature, to contraception in general. The principal aim of marriage in Islamic e…
Date: 2020-02-11


(633 words)

Author(s): Giladi, Avner
Entrusting a child to foster parents. There is no technical term in the Qurʾān for fosterage. As formal adoption of children (q.v.) is forbidden ( q 33:4-5; for dating see Bell, ii, 409, 411, 415), the qurʾānic discussion focuses exclusively on the prohibition for a man to marry women with whom he has foster relationships of a certain type (see forbidden; marriage and divorce). According to q 4:23 (from years 4-5 a.h., cf. Bell, i, 66, 71) a man is not allowed to marry his step-daughters ( rabāʾib, sing. rabība, “a man's wife's daughter by another husband…” [Lane, 1005] whom the new…


(1,385 words)

Author(s): Giladi, Avner
Those who beget or bring forth children. Terms designating “parents” in the Qurʾān are wālidāni and abawāni, respectively the dual form of wālid, “father, one who begets a child” (the passive al- mawlūd lahu indicates “to whom the child is borne”; wālida, “mother, one who brings forth a child,” appears in both the singular and the plural; umm/ummahāt also designate “mother”), and the dual form of ab, “father” (the singular means “nurturer,” see Robertson-Smith, Kinship and marriage, 142; Lane, 10; in certain verses the plural ābāʾ means “ancestors”). Natural aspects of parenthood a…

Kinship: Milk: Overview

(2,250 words)

Author(s): Giladi, Avner
This entry examines the legal-ethical rules and practices, prevalent in Muslim societies, past and present, which stem from the idea that transmission of milk from a nursing woman to a strange (that is, another woman's) nursling creates impediments to marriage. The idea that the relations created through lactation between a nurse and her (strange) nursling are similar, from the viewpoint of prohibitions of marriage, to blood relations, is based on a pre-Islamic Arabic concept. In Arabic medical writings of the classical period of Isla…


(997 words)

Author(s): Giladi, Avner
Breastfeeding — voluntary or for payment — of an infant by a woman other than its own mother, or by the latter, following divorce (see marriage and divorce ). Murḍiʿa (pl. marāḍiʿ) in the Qurʾān denotes in general “suckling female” ( q 22:2, Bell; “nursing mother,” Pickthall) and, more specifically, a “foster-mother” ( q 28:12, Arberry) or a “wet-nurse.” In q 65:6 the root r-ḍ-ʿ in the fourth form describes the act of wet-nursing, and in q 2:233 the tenth form of this root denotes “seeking, or demanding, a wet-¶ nurse” (see Lane, 1097). The term ẓiʾr, “one that inclines to, or affects, the…


(865 words)

Author(s): Giladi, Avner
Production of milk for nursing a child; the act of nursing a child. q 2:233, 4:23 and 65:6, all dating (according to Bell) from the Medinan period (see chronology and the qurʾān ), lay the foundations of an Islamic “ethics of breastfeeding” (the Arabic terms for which utilize derivatives of the triliteral root r-ḍ-ʿ). In the Medinan sūra q 22:2, nurses (kull murḍiʿa) and nurslings (mā arḍaʿat) are mentioned in an eschatological context (see eschatology ); the qurʾānic story of Moses' (q.v.) infancy (the Medinan q 28:7, 12) includes references to nursing and wet nurses ( marāḍiʿ); and, fina…


(785 words)

Author(s): Giladi, Avner
Children (q.v.) who have lost their parents, generally to death. Yatīm (pl. yatāmā), a term designating a fatherless minor child (al-Rāghib al-Iṣfahānī, Mufradāt; Lisān al-ʿArab, s.v.), appears throughout the Qurʾān more than twenty times. Early verses from the first Meccan period (see chronology and the qurʾān ), celebrating God's providence towards the orphan Muḥammad ( q 93:6), warn against oppressing orphans as such ( q 93:9) and identify those who turn away the orphan as unbelievers ( q 107:2; see belief and unbelief ). Later verses from the same period rebuke the unbelie…


(1,277 words)

Author(s): Giladi, Avner
Offspring; gender-inclusive term for young people, between infancy and youth. The Qurʾān contains a number of terms for ¶ “offspring” and “young people,” (e.g. dhurriyya; ghulām, pl. ghilmān; ibn, pl. banūn; walad, pl. awlād), but it is only seldom clear from the context when these refer to the age group between birth (q.v.) and maturity (q.v.). More specific terms for infants and children are: walīd, “child” (pl. wildān, although in q 56:17, wildān probably means “youths”); mawlūd, “born, child,” ṣabī, “infant, boy,” ṭifl, “infant” and ṣaghīr, “young.” Generally the terms in th…


(1,709 words)

Author(s): Giladi, Avner
Those who live in one house or share a common lineage. While several qurʾānic terms can be understood as referring to family, it is impossible to distinguish, on the basis of terminology alone, between household and biological family, or between one type or another of the latter (e.g. core, ¶ compound, joint or extended family; cf. Smith, Family). Āl (Lane, 127) at q 15:59 and 61 (the family of Lot [q.v.]; Bell, i, 246); 3:11 and 8:54 (the family of Pharaoh [q.v.]; Bell, i, 45, 167) may mean either household or (in the case of Pharaoh) followers. Āl Ibrāhīm (the family of Abraham [q.v.]) at q 4:54 …


(922 words)

Author(s): Giladi, Avner
Care and management of the person and/or property of a person deemed incapable of managing his or her own affairs. Although the Qurʾān has no specific term for guardian and nowhere says what kind of relationship (kinship of a certain degree or otherwise) should exist between a guardian and ward, guardianship is nonetheless referred to in several verses. It is understood that (a) minors and (b) women are those who ought to be protected by male, adult guardians (see also children; women and the qurʾān). The Qurʾān, probably against a background of injustice and violence to which o…