Kafaah كَفائَة
  • The doctrine of social equality in marriage.

    In `Abdul `Ati’s words, paraphrased, the argument is that where the main consideration in the choice of mates is not piety, as recommended by the Prophet, and put to good practice by his Companions and their immediate followers; and, when the two parties in marriage are not equal, (in lineage, honor, profession, etc.), it is the woman who suffers being the weaker of all involved. In such a case Kafa’ah should be applied in order that the man “measures up” to the woman so that a woman may marry above, and not below, her social status. Such an arrangement, it is argued, does not go contrary with the demands of the Shari`ah as it only aims at safeguarding the weaker sex.

    Being above involves that the male may be of a better lineage (the Prophet’s family being the highest, then the Quraysh, then other Arabs in general and so on), in social status, in education and wealth, though of course, it is always best to match with the most pious

    See the article Family Structure in Islam.

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