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Marriage and Slavery in Early Islam

This brilliant, eloquent and insightful book is not, despite its title, a provocative one. It does not claim that in Islam being a wife is like being a slave. Nor does it support the overly simplistic view of an egalitarian ethical Islamic core corrupted by social hierarchies. Instead, the author brings to the fore a very rich legal discourse, dating from the early centuries of Islam, in which the rights of wives and the rights of slaves are repeatedly compared and analysed in relation to each other. This discourse, the author shows, was central to the way the major Sunni jurists understood what rights and duties are entailed in marriage.

 

This brilliant, eloquent and insightful book is not, despite its title, a provocative one. It does not claim that in Islam being a wife is like being a slave. Nor does it support the overly simplistic view of an egalitarian ethical Islamic core corrupted by social hierarchies. Instead, the author brings to the fore a very rich legal discourse, dating from the early centuries of Islam, in which the rights of wives and the rights of slaves are repeatedly compared and analysed in relation to each other. This discourse, the author shows, was central to the way the major Sunni jurists understood what rights and duties are entailed in marriage.

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