Transgressing the boundaries

Zinā and legal accommodation in the premodern Maghrib

Authored by: Rosemary Admiral

The Routledge Handbook of Islam and Gender

Print publication date:  November  2020
Online publication date:  November  2020

Print ISBN: 9780815367772
eBook ISBN: 9781351256568
Adobe ISBN:


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Despite the clear regulation of the boundaries of sex in the Islamic legal discourse, the implementation of these laws in a particular historical and social context demonstrates a pragmatic approach by both legal officials and communities that did not prioritize drastic punishments or other harsh reactions. Rather, families, communities, and legal officials worked together to find solutions to crises that arose and return the participants to a legally valid framework. In the examples from cases of sexual transgressions (zinā) considered here from premodern North Africa, this usually involved finding a way for the couple to marry.

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