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Law: Family Law, 7th–Late 18th Centuries: Overview

(6,388 words)

Author(s): Mattson, Ingrid
The development of Islamic family law Classical Islamic family law, like other areas of Islamic law (the Sharīʿa), is based primarily on the texts of the Qurʾān and the sunna of the Prophet Muḥammad, and the principles derived and induced from those texts. Both bodies of texts contain specific rulings as well as general principles that form the basis of classical Islamic family law. The foundations for this law were developed over the first three centuries of Islam by scholars who employed various methods of reasoning to in…

Adoption and Fostering: Overview

(2,287 words)

Author(s): Mattson, Ingrid
Across cultures, adoption and fostering take different forms. In the Arabic language, adoption ( tabannā ) signifies the creation of a fictive relationship of parent to child, by naming the child as one's own and by endowing him or her with rights and duties identical to those of a biological child. Fostering ( kafāla ) is the act of assuming partial or complete responsibility for a child whose parents are temporarily or permanently unable to care for him or her. Adoption in the former sense is forbidden in Islam, while fostering is highly recommen…

Manual Labor

(934 words)

Author(s): Mattson, Ingrid
Literally “work with one's hands,” it often carries the implication of strenuous physical exertion. Manual labor is not a topic explicitly addressed in the Qurʾān though the term “forced laborer” ( sukhrī) is mentioned once and the Qurʾān describes some of the ancient prophets (see prophets and prophethood ) as having been able to achieve prominence by using forced and voluntary labor in great building projects (see art and architecture and the qurʾān; archaeology and the qurʾān). The Qurʾān states that it is God who “raises some to levels above others so that some of th…


(656 words)

Author(s): Mattson, Ingrid
Name of a deep, irregular valley, one day's journey from Mecca on the road to al-Ṭāʾif, where the Muslims fought a battle in Shawwāl 8/January 630, just a few weeks after the conquest of Mecca (see expeditions and battles ). The victory of yawm Ḥunayn, the “ battle of Ḥunayn,” is presented in q 9:25-7 (cf. Ṭabarī, Tafsīr, xiv, 178-88, ad q 9:25) as a reminder that ¶ victory (q.v.) can only come from God, for despite their large number, the Muslims were quickly routed by the enemy, until their panicked retreat was transformed into a successful rally by divine intervention. Early Muslim historian…


(1,585 words)

Author(s): Mattson, Ingrid
The activities engaged in to earn a living; occupation. Words associated with the root ʿ-m-l are used over one hundred times in the Qurʾān to signify “actions” or “deeds” in the broad sense; only a few times ( q 18:79; 34:12, 13) do they signify “work” in particular. Sh-gh-l twice signifies “occupation,” both in the sense of livelihood and what keeps one busy ( q 36:55 and 48:11). The Qurʾān's repeated emphasis on “good works” ( al- ṣāliḥāt; see good deeds ) while reflecting little interest in the occupations of believers, indicates that shaping a proper moral outlook, rathe…