Marriage in Akfa (among tribes)

        From:  "Rick L. Bradford"

        Assalamu 'alaikum,

        Dear Sisters:

	I would like to offer an artical on the subject of Marriage in
	Akfa', In sha'allah.

	Marriage in Akfa'

	Akfa' is the plural of kuf' which means an equal or one alike. For
	example, the Arabs are the akfa' of the Arabs and the Quraish are
	the akfa' of the Quraish. Thus the people of the one tribe or one
	family would be akfa' among themselves, and people of one race
	would be akfa' among themselves. There is nothing in the Qur'an or
	in the Tradition to show that a marriage relation can only be
	established among the akfa'. It is quite a different thing that,
	generally, people should seek such relations among akfa', but
	Islam came to level all distinctions, whether social, tribal or
	racial, and therefore it does not limit the marriage relationship
	to akfa'.

	The principle that tribes and families have no special value with
	God is clearly established: "O mankind, surely We have created you
	from a male and female, and made you tribes and families that you
	may know each other. Surely the noblest of you with Allah is the
	most dutiful of you" (49:13). The way is open for establishing all
	kinds of relationships between Muslims to whatever country or
	tribe they may belong be declaring that "the belivers are
	brethren" (49:10), and "the believers, men and women, are friends
	(auliya') of each other" (9:71).  The Prophet interpreted these
	verses by saying:  "The Arab has no precedence over the non-Arab,
	nor the non-Arab over the Arab, nor the white man over the black
	one, nor the black man over the white one except by excelling in

	When speaking of contracting marriage-relationships, the Qur'an
	speaks only of certain forbidden relations and then adds: "And
	lawful for you are all women besides those" (4:24).  And again it
	goes so far as to allow marital relations with non-Muslims: "And
	so are the chaste from among the believing women and th chaste
	from among those who have been given the Book before you" (5:5).
	The Prophet recommended the marriage of a lady of the tribe of
	Quraish of the noblest family, his aunt's daughter, Zainab, to
	Zaid who was a liberated slave; and Bilal, a negro, was married to
	the sister of 'Abd al-Rahman ibd 'Auf.  There are other examples
	of the same kind in the early history of Islam. In one tradition
	it is stated that the Prophet recommended a certain man, called
	Abu Hind, to the tribe of Bani Bayadz, to whom he stood in the
	relation of a maula (a liberated slave), and followed the
	profession of hajamah (the craft of the cupper), saying: "O Bani
	Bayadz! Give (your daughters) to Abu Hind in marriage and take in
	marriage his daughters" (AD.  12:26).

	This tradition cuts at the root of the limitation of marriage to
	akfa'; yet the jurists have insisted on it. Imam Malik, in this
	respect, differs from others, saying that Kafa'ah (equality) is
	brought about by religion, that is to say, all Muslims are alike
	or equal. The majority of the jurists require equality in four
	things-religion, freedom, descent and profession. Iman Shafi'i
	says that he could not declare a marriage outside of the akfa' to
	be illegal (haram; it is disability which is removed by the
	consent of the women and her guardians.

        Wa 'alaikumussalam,

        Abd Raheem K. Muhammad.

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