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From Transitory Status to Perpetual Sententiae: Rethinking Polygamy in Islamic Traditions

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Polygamy and inequity in inheritance rights are two fundamental concerns that continue to challenge the logic and practice concerning the way women are treated in Islamic society. These two subjects remain beyond the scope of critical analysis due in part to the explicit legal proof (dalīl) that is found in the Qur'ān. How explicit are such legal proofs in general and is there any scope for an alternative interpretation? The consensus that emerged on these two matters would suggest that there is none. However, in this paper, I would argue that the perceived consensus is guided and dictated by the fact that during the formative period of Islamic law, interpretive and normative disciplines were dominated by men; hence, the male bias. It can be argued, based on historical and linguistic evidence, that there is a very plausible alternative understanding that is radically different from any of those proposed by traditionalists.

10.1163/1569208043077323
/content/journals/10.1163/1569208043077323
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/content/journals/10.1163/1569208043077323
2004-12-01
2016-12-09

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