Muslim Midwives: The Craft of Birthing in the Premodern by Avner Giladi

By Avner Giladi

This booklet reconstructs the function of midwives in medieval to early smooth Islamic background via a cautious analyzing of quite a lot of classical and medieval Arabic resources. the writer casts the midwife's social prestige in premodern Islam as a privileged place from which she may perhaps mediate among male authority in patriarchal society and feminine reproductive energy in the family members. This examine additionally takes a broader historic view of midwifery within the heart East by way of interpreting the tensions among discovered drugs (male) and renowned, medico-religious practices (female) from early Islam into the Ottoman interval and addressing the disagreement among conventional midwifery and Western obstetrics within the first 1/2 the 19th century.

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Muslim Midwives: The Craft of Birthing in the Premodern Middle East

This booklet reconstructs the function of midwives in medieval to early sleek Islamic background via a cautious interpreting of a variety of classical and medieval Arabic assets. the writer casts the midwife's social prestige in premodern Islam as a privileged place from which she may well mediate among male authority in patriarchal society and feminine reproductive strength in the relatives.

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II, 45; Farah, Marriage and Sexuality in Islam, 76. On S ̣ūfī attitudes to celibacy see Annemarie Schimmel, Mystical Dimensions of Islam (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1975), 36, 111, 252, 428. Āmāl Qarāmī, al-Ikhtilāf fī al-thaqāfa al-‘arabiyya al-islāmiyya (Benghazi: Dār al-Madār al-Islāmī, 2007), 47–55. Al-Ghazālī, Iḥyā’, vol. II, 66. Islamic views on birth and motherhood 37 that have been given unto him, whether he shall preserve it in humiliation, or trample it into the dust.

The child borne to her master by a slave is free from the moment of birth. See J. Schacht, “Umm al-Walad,” EI2, vol. X, 857–9. A saying attributed to the Prophet Muh ̣ammad reduces women’s roles to four: bearing children, giving birth, breast-feeding and treating their (husbands’) children mercifully: Ḥāmilāt, wālidāt, murd ̣i‛āt, raḥīmāt bi-awlādihinna. Al-Makkī, Qūt alqulūb, vol. II, 515. 95 96 Trans. Arberry. Trans. Arberry. Trans. Arberry. On the economic duties children have with regard to their parents see, for instance, Qurʾān 2:180; 4:11.

Al-Iskandarī, Masā’il, 120–4. v. ). Muh ̣ammad b. Muh ̣ammad al-Manbijī, who lived in northern Syria in the fourteenth century, dedicates a special chapter in his consolation treatise to “those who lost a nursing child,” where he quotes consoling h ̣adīth reports assuring parents that the 32 Femininity, wifehood, motherhood A more heroic model for mothers is offered by Umm Sulaym, Rumaysā’̣ bint Milh ̣ān (d. ca. 650), one of the Prophet’s (female) companions. It is told that when her young son died, she deliberately waited to break the news to her husband, Abū Ṭalh ̣a, until she had conceived anew by him the following night.

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