The Qurʾān and the putative pre-Islamic practice of female infanticide

Author

Lindstedt, Ilkka, 1986‒

Date of creation
2023 Gregorian
Preferred title
The Qurʾān and the putative pre-Islamic practice of female infanticide English
Work type
Single work
Work manifested
Article
Work genre
Textual work
Audience

Adult, serious

Summary

In this article, I take issue with one alleged characteristic of pre-Islamic Arabia: namely, the notion that the Arabians frequently, and disturbingly, practiced female infanticide by burying their daughters alive. This is what the Islamic-era reli-gious scholars inferred on the basis of two qurʾānic passages (Q Naḥl 16:57–59 and al-Takwīr 81:8–9). However, I will argue that the classical Muslim scholars’ inter-pretation of these verses is highly tendentious. By analyzing the specific qurʾānic passages and comparing the crucial word al-mawʾūdah (Q 81:8), usually translated as “the daughter buried alive,” with early Arabic poetry, I conclude that the conven-tional understanding of it is unlikely.

Edition in English
Year
2023
Article
The Qurʾān and the putative pre-Islamic practice of female infanticide
Call number
41-842 8 (2023) 1