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The Reform Ideas of Shaykh 'Abdallāh Sālih al-Farsī and the Transformation of Marital Practices among Digo Muslims of Kenya

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This essay examines the reformist ideas of Shaykh 'Abdallāh Sālih al-Farsī (1912-1982) on the institution of marriage in Muslim East Africa as expressed in his work Ndoa-Talaka na Maamrisho Yake (“Marriage-Divorce and Governing Regulations”). Unlike earlier scholars who mention al-Farsī's reformist ideas without detailing the specifics, I attempt to relate al-Farsī's reform agenda to the transformation of the marital practices of the Digo Muslims of the southern Kenyan coast. Although al-Farsī did not depart radically from the predominantly Shāfi'ī law, he did attempt to use Islamic normative teachings to transform prevailing practices which he regarded as antithetical to the spirit of the law.

Affiliations: 1: Lecturer, Department of Philosophy & Religious Studies, Moi University, P.O. Box 3900–30100 Eldoret, Kenya;, Email:


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