Divorce: A View from Abbasid Adab Collections

Nadia Maria El Cheikh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article discusses the subject of divorce in three Abbasid adab texts, ‘Uyūn al-akhbār by Ibn Qutayba (d. 889 CE), al-‘Iqd al-farīd by Ibn ‘Abd Rabbih (d. 940 CE), and the thirteenth-century CE Akhbār al-nisā’ by Pseudo Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya. The material on divorce in these compilations will be used and compared. In the first part of the article, I review important caveats and concerns when dealing with adab compilations. In the second part of the article, I discuss the material on divorce in these adab anthologies. By examining these adab texts internally, the analysis focuses on the issues the authors/compilers of these volumes chose to discuss, the stories selected for inclusion, and the terms in which the stories and the issues discussed in them were presented. This approach allows for the incorporation of both women and men into the discussion and helps us further develop a new historiographical approach to uncover the legal personalities of early Islamic women and the realities of Abbasid-era domestic law.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-32
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Islamic and Muslim Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 2019


  • Abbasid literature
  • adab
  • divorce in Islam
  • nikāḥ
  • ṭalāq

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Anthropology
  • Cultural Studies


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