Marriage in Akfa (among tribes)
From: email@example.com "Rick L. Bradford"
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
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.
Abd Raheem K. Muhammad.