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Al-mahr zaytuna: property and family in the hills facing Palestine (1880 - 1940)

By Martha Mundy

Abstract

Mahr, the object that the groom gives a bride as a condition of the Muslim marriage contract, would promise to be the epitome of gender-specific property, the object that would "make" the woman a married woman. Women's jewelry, their finery, and the bedroom sets of contemporary marriages all come to mind; the chapter in this volume by Annelies Moors explores such gendered mahr in the form of women's gold in the twentieth-century town of Nablus. Yet, as an ancient body of juristic commentary suggests, in Islamic legal tradition mahr could be composed of any legally valid property from slaves to land to specie. In legal doctrine and practice mahr proved most easily measurable, and hence capable of measuring differences in social status, in the form of money. But unlike its categorical isolation in legal discourse, mahr may form part of a series of social exchanges within a network of kin and between households over time. It has thus also to be understood within such a context. © 2003 State University of New York. All rights reserved

Topics: GN Anthropology, HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Publisher: State University of New York Press
Year: 2003
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.lse.ac.uk:3158
Provided by: LSE Research Online
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