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Chapter Twelve - Equality Of Birth Of Husband And Wife(Kafā'ah), An Early Arab Principle

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Chapter Summary

The admixture of ethnic groups, the long tradition of urbanization, the existence side by side of Arab and &t;client&t;, the resulting social differentiation-all these factors were highly conducive to the development of kafāʿah; in Iraq. This country, further, was heir to the class distinctions of the Sasanid empire, and these distinctions seem to have persisted despite the theoretical leveling process of Islam. Of course, Ziadeh pays attention not only to the possible existence of kafāʿah in ancient Arab society, but raises also the question whether such a principle-if one were inclined to assume that its origin is Arab, not foreign-would be compatible with the spirit of Islam. It is clear from the outset that the idea of kafāʿah; &t;equality&t; as a requirement for the partners in a marriage could come about only in a society in which the idea of &t;equality&t; was regulating social life generally.

Keywords: early Arab principle; kafāʿah; Sasanid empire



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