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Milk kinship and the maternal body in Shi’a Islam

Ladan Rahbari (UGent)
(2020) OPEN THEOLOGY. 6(1). p.43-53
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Abstract
In Islamic law, kinship is defined by consanguineal and affinal relationships. Birth and Islamic marriage are important events that define religious responsibilities of family members towards each other. Some responsibilities are connected to Mahramiyat, a framework of interpersonal relations that regulates marriages and interactions with the opposite sex. Besides consanguineal and affinal bonds, mahramiyat and kinship can also be established through breastfeeding. The relationship formed through breastfeeding is called milk mahramiyat/kinship. It is spoken of in the Quran and hadith and has been extensively discussed in Islamic Feqh. This study investigates Shi'i guidelines on milk kinship. My interest is in the exploration of existing gendered rulings on the conditions of milk mahramiyat/kinship in Shi'i jurisprudence. The analysis aims to bring forth discussions on the significance of breast milk and the maternal body, and to investigate how milk kinship is framed within the patrilineal system of kinship in Shi'a Islam. The findings discuss rulings on the role of milk-mother and -father in the way kinship takes effect. While patrilineal kinship is often defined based on a paternal 'milk line', the study suggests that alternative readings and interpretations of the Quran and hadith are available that centralize the mother and the maternal body.
Keywords
Gender, kinship, maternal, milk, motherhood, paternity, Shi'a Islam, MOTHERHOOD

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MLA
Rahbari, Ladan. “Milk Kinship and the Maternal Body in Shi’a Islam.” OPEN THEOLOGY, vol. 6, no. 1, 2020, pp. 43–53, doi:10.1515/opth-2020-0006.
APA
Rahbari, L. (2020). Milk kinship and the maternal body in Shi’a Islam. OPEN THEOLOGY, 6(1), 43–53. https://doi.org/10.1515/opth-2020-0006
Chicago author-date
Rahbari, Ladan. 2020. “Milk Kinship and the Maternal Body in Shi’a Islam.” OPEN THEOLOGY 6 (1): 43–53. https://doi.org/10.1515/opth-2020-0006.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Rahbari, Ladan. 2020. “Milk Kinship and the Maternal Body in Shi’a Islam.” OPEN THEOLOGY 6 (1): 43–53. doi:10.1515/opth-2020-0006.
Vancouver
1.
Rahbari L. Milk kinship and the maternal body in Shi’a Islam. OPEN THEOLOGY. 2020;6(1):43–53.
IEEE
[1]
L. Rahbari, “Milk kinship and the maternal body in Shi’a Islam,” OPEN THEOLOGY, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 43–53, 2020.
@article{8647546,
  abstract     = {In Islamic law, kinship is defined by consanguineal and affinal relationships. Birth and Islamic marriage are important events that define religious responsibilities of family members towards each other. Some responsibilities are connected to Mahramiyat, a framework of interpersonal relations that regulates marriages and interactions with the opposite sex. Besides consanguineal and affinal bonds, mahramiyat and kinship can also be established through breastfeeding. The relationship formed through breastfeeding is called milk mahramiyat/kinship. It is spoken of in the Quran and hadith and has been extensively discussed in Islamic Feqh. This study investigates Shi'i guidelines on milk kinship. My interest is in the exploration of existing gendered rulings on the conditions of milk mahramiyat/kinship in Shi'i jurisprudence. The analysis aims to bring forth discussions on the significance of breast milk and the maternal body, and to investigate how milk kinship is framed within the patrilineal system of kinship in Shi'a Islam. The findings discuss rulings on the role of milk-mother and -father in the way kinship takes effect. While patrilineal kinship is often defined based on a paternal 'milk line', the study suggests that alternative readings and interpretations of the Quran and hadith are available that centralize the mother and the maternal body.},
  author       = {Rahbari, Ladan},
  issn         = {2300-6579},
  journal      = {OPEN THEOLOGY},
  keywords     = {Gender,kinship,maternal,milk,motherhood,paternity,Shi'a Islam,MOTHERHOOD},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {43--53},
  title        = {Milk kinship and the maternal body in Shi’a Islam},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/opth-2020-0006},
  volume       = {6},
  year         = {2020},
}

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