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The Status of Allies in Pre-Islamic and Early Islamic Arabian Society

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image of Islamic Law and Society

In pre-Islamic and early Islamic times many tribes accepted outsiders into their midst by means of a certain type of alliance. In this article I investigate the integration and the status of such allies within the host tribes. As indicators of integration, I examine marriage and adoption cases involving allies, and the way in which allies used tribal nisbas. The status of allies is reflected in accounts of their conduct and the ways in which they were treated. I conclude that there were no strict rules governing the integration of allies; and that not all allies shared the same status even though they belonged to the same category.


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