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Some Observations on Infanticide In Medieval Muslim Society

  • Avner Giladi (a1)


Infanticide is known to have been a common means of birth control from early, apparently even prehistoric, times. In societies that lacked any precise knowledge of the fertilization process and consequently methods for its prevention, infanticide was used more frequently than other known methods of population limitation, such as abstention from intercourse and abortion. Infanticide was expected to serve several functions: “general reduction in population numbers (including twin removal), removal of defectives, elimination of social ‘illegitimates’ (i.e., offspring whose existence violated social group boundaries), response to loss of the nursing mother, control of dependency ratio, manipulation of sex ratio, and finally, use as a backstop to other methods when those fail”.



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Authors's note: This article is part of a larger study carried out at the University of Oxford with the generous support of St. Antony's College and completed at the University of Haifa with the help of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities. For a more detailed account of the study, see my article “Concepts of Childhood and Attitudes towards Children in Medieval Islam: A Preliminary Study with Special Reference to Reactions to Infant and Child Mortality”, Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 32 (June, 1989), pp. 121–52. My thanks are due to Professor Franz Rosenthal for his illuminating comments on the first version of this paper as well as to my former student lzhak Weissmann for his interesting observations on some of the infanticide verses in the Qur'an. I also wish to thank Marion Lupu, Cohn Lynes and Michael Billson for their help in improving my written English.

1 Dickeman, M., “Demographic Consequences of Infanticide in Man”, Review of Ecology and Systematics 6 (1975), p. 113;De Mause, L., “The Evolution of Childhood”, in L. De Mause, ed., The History of Childhood (New York, 1974), pp. 2532.

2 Dickeman, “Demographic Consequences”, p. 114 (referring to Aptekar, H., Anjea: Infanticide, Abortion and Contraception in Savage Society [New York, 1931]).Hawthorn, G., The Sociology of Fertility (London, 1970), p. 70, refers to Ryder's survey of the three societal types accompanying the main stages of the demographic transition (“Fertility” in Hauser, P. M. and Duncan, O. D., eds., The Study of Population: An Inventory and Appraisal [Chicago and London, 1959]). The first one is typified by high fertility and mortality, labor-intensive agriculture, and consanguineal familism. In such societies, fertility is controlled by various combinations of infanticide, abortion, and abstinence. See also Cameron, A., “The Exposure of Children in Greek Ethics”, Classical Review 46 (07, 1932), pp. 105–14, esp. 107–8;Harris, W. V., “The Theoretical Possibility of Extensive Infanticide in the Graeco-Roman world”, Classical Quarterly 32, 1 (1982), pp. 114–16;Coleman, E., “Infanticide in the Early Middle Ages”, in S. M. Stuard, ed., Women in Medieval Society (Philadelphia, 1976), pp. 4770, esp. 57, 59;Langer, W. L., “Infanticide: A Historical Survey”, History of Childhood Quarterly—The Journal of Psychohistory 1, 4 (1974), pp. 353–65, esp. 353–55.Ransel, D. L., Mothers of Misery: Child Abandonment in Russia (Princeton, 1988), p. 11, explains the advantages of infanticide, as a population-control measure, from the point of view of people in pre-modern societies living in subsistence economies with high mortality rates: “By exercising control at the end point of the reproductive process, they maintain sufficient fertility to assure population replacement and yet are able to trim the number of infants in response to periodic subsistence crises. As contrasted with abortion, infanticide has the additional advantage of providing greater protection for the mother's life. It also allows families to select the sex of offspring and to remove weak, crippled, or deformed products”. See also pp. 4, 6, and chap. 2 (“Illegitimacy and Infanticide in Early Modern Russia”).

3 Dickeman, , “Demographic Consequences”, p. 116. See also De, Mause, “Evolution of Childhood”, p. 25;Piers, M. W., Infanticide (New York, 1978), pp. 1343;Wrigley, E. A., Population and History (New York and Toronto, 1969), pp. 4243.

4 Ford, C., “A Comparative Study of Human Reproduction”, Yale University Publications in Anthropology 3 (1945), p. 47 (cited by Dickeman, p. 115).

5 De Mause, , “Evolution of Childhood”, pp. 26, 28, and seen. 2.

6 Lyman, R. B., “Barbarism and Religion: Late Roman and Early Medieval Childhood”, in De Mause, , ed., The History of Childhood, p. 90 (see also p. 84);Radin, M., “The Exposure of Infants in Roman Law and Practice”, Classical Journal 20 (03, 1925), p. 399. S. Wilson (“The Myth of Motherhood a Myth: The Historical View of European Child-Rearing”, Social History 9 [May, 1984], pp. 187, 188) assumes, however, that “infanticide and abortion [in traditional European society, rural and urban] were only resorted to … in very special circumstances of poverty and/or dishonour”.

7 Coleman, , “Infanticide”, pp. 57, 59 ff.;McLaughlin, M. M., “Survivors and Surrogates: Children and Parents from the Ninth to the Thirteenth Centuries”, in De, Mause, ed., The History of Childhood, pp. 120–21.

8 Piers, , Infanticide, pp. 4445.

9 On infanticide in pre-Islamic times and early Islam according to the Qur'an and later sources (e.g., al-Tabarī's Ta⊃rīkh, Ibn Hishām's Sīra, al-Azraqī's Ta⊃rīkh Makka), see Chelhod, J., Le sacrifice chez les Arabes (Paris, 1955), pp. 97100;Motzki, H., “Das Kind und seine Sozialisation in der islamischen Familie des Mittelalters”, in Martin, J. and Nitschke, A., eds., Zur Sozialgeschichte der Kindheit (Munich, 1986), pp. 392–98 (I wish to thank Dr. Lawrence Conrad of the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, London, for drawing my attention to this article). On the sacrifice of children as part of the religious cults in pre-Islamic Arabia, see, e.g., Henninger, J., “Menschenopfer bei den Arabern,” Anthropos 53 (1958), pp. 753–57; on the sacrifice of newborn children in the ancient Semitic civilizations, see Robertson-Smith, W., Lectures on the Religion of the Semites (New York, 1969), pp. 688–90. See also Levy, R., An Introduction to the Sociology of Islam (London, 1933), vol. 1, pp. 131–33.

10 Watt, W. M., Bell's Introduction to the Qur⊃ān (Edinburgh, 1970), pp. 206–11.

11 Pickthall, M. M., The Meaning of the Glorious Koran (New York, Toronto and London, n.d.), p. 431.

12 Lane, E. W., Arabic-English Lexicon (London and Edinburgh, 1863), s.v. “Wa⊃d.”

13 Jam¯al, al-Dīn Abū al-Fadl Muhammad b. Mukarram Ibn Manzūr, Lisān al-⊂Arab al-muhīt (Beirut, 1970), s.v. “Wa⊃d”; “…Wa-minhum man kāna ya⊃idu al-banīna ⊂inda al-majā⊂⊃ati.

14 Pickthall, , Koran, p. 206.

15 Ibid., p. 120.

16 See Ismā⊂īl, Ibn Kathīr, Tafsīr al-Qur⊃ān al-⊂nazīm (Cairo, n.d.), vol. 3, p. 38 (commentary on Qur⊃an 17:31).

17 And see also Qur⊃an 17:32, 33.

18 Pickthall, , Koran, p. 397.

19 Ibid., pp. 198–99. See also Qur⊃an, 43:17, and see Robertson-Smith, W., Kinship and Marriage in Early Arabia (London, 1903), pp. 291–95.

20 Pickthall, , Koran, p. 118.

21 See also: Motzki, “Das Kind und seine Sozialisation.”

22 See, e.g., Ahmad, Ibn Hanbal, Musnad (Cairo 1313/ 1895–1896), vol.4, p. 246:“…Qāla Rasūlu Allāhi s;al⊂⊃am: 'Inna Allāh a kariha lakum thalāthan: Qīla wa-qāla wa-kathrata al-su⊃āli wa-idā⊂ata al-māli. Wa-harrama ⊂alaykum Rasūlu Allāhi s;al⊂am wa⊂da al-banāti wa-⊂uqūqa al-ummahāti…” See also Ibid., pp. 251, 254, 255; vol. 5, pp. 313, 314, 320; Muslim, b. al-Hajjāj Abū al-Husayn al-Naysābūrī, Sahīh (Cairo, 1955), K. al-aqddiya, bāb 12, 14;Abū, Muhammad ⊂⊃Abdallāh al-Dārimī, Sunan (Medina, 1966), K. al-riqāq, bāb 38;Muhammad, b. lsmā⊂⊃īl al-Bukhārī, Sahīh, ed. Krehl, L. (Leiden, 1862–1908), K. al-istiqrād, bāb 19, K. al-adab, bāb 6. For hadith reports in praise of saving the life of infant females, see e.g.,Ibn, Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 4, p. 147:Qāla (Rasūlu Allāhi s;al⊂am): ‘Man satara mu⊃minan kāna ka-man ahyā maw⊃ūdatan min qabrihā’” And see also Ibid., pp. 153, 158.

23 See, e.g., Ibn, Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 5, p. 58;Abū⊂⊃Abdallāh Muhammad, al-Manbijī, Tasliyat ahl al-mas;ā⊃ib [fī mawt al-awlād wa-al-aqārib](Medina, 1380/1960), p. 107.

24 See, e.g., Abū, Dā⊃ūd al-Sijistānī, Sunan (Cairo, n.d.), K. al-sunna, bāb 17: “…al-wā⊃idatu wa-al-maw⊃ūdatu fī al-nāri.”

25 Muhammad, b. Idrīs al-Sh¯fi⊂ī, K. al-umm (Bulāq, 1321/19031904), pt. 6, pp. 23.

26 Abū, ⊂Abdallāh Muhammad b. al-Hasan al-Shaybānī, K. al-as; (Haydarabad, 1973), vol. 4, pt. 2, p. 464;Ibn, Bābawayh al-Qummā, Man lā yahduruhu al-faqīh (Najaf, 1378/19581959), vol. 4, p. 89;Abū, Ja⊂far Muhammad b. al-Hasan Ibn ⊂Alī, K. al-khilāf fī al-fiqh (Tehran, 1382/19621963), vol. 2, p. 343;Shams, al-Dīn al-Sarakhsī, K. al-mabsūt (Beirut, 1980), vol. 27, p. 84.

27 See, e.g., ⊂⊃Abdallāh, b. Ahmad Ibn Qudāma, al-Mughnī (Beirut, 1972), vol. 9, pp. 359–61, 373–74;Ibrāhīm, b. ⊂⊃Alī b. Yūsuf al-Fīrūzābādhī al-Shīrazī, al-Muhadhdhab fī fiqh madhhab al-Imām al-Shāfī⊂⊂ī (Cairo, n.d.), vol. 2, p. 174.

28 Musallam, B. F., Sex and Society in Islam (Cambridge, 1983), pp. 18, 19.

29 See below.

30 Abū, Ja⊂⊃far Muhammad b. Jarīr al-Tabarī, Jāmi⊂⊃al-bayān fī tafsīr al-Qur⊃an (Cairo, 1902), vol. 8, p. 30 (commentary on Qur⊃an 6:137), p. 35 (commentary on Qur⊃an 6:140), vol. 15, p. 54 (commentary on Qur⊃an 17:31);Abū, al-Qāsim al-Zamakhsharī, al-Kashshāf ⊂an haqā⊃iq al-tanzīl (Beirut, 1966), Pt. 2, p. 72 (commentary on Qur⊃an 6:140);⊂⊃Abdallāh, b. ⊂Umar al-Baydāwī, Anwār al-tanzīl wa-asrār al-ta⊃wīl, ed. Fleischer, H. O. (Leipzig, 1846), vol. 1, p. 311 (commentary on Qur⊃an 6:140), vol. 2, p. 329 (commentary on Qur⊃an 60:12);Abū, ⊂ al-Fadl b. al-Hasan, al-Tabarsī, Majma⊂⊃ al-bayān fī tafsīr al-Qur⊃ān (Cairo, 1379/19591960), vol. 6, p. 413 (commentary on Qur⊃an 17:31). Interestingly enough, in some hadith reports cited by the exegetes to support their commentary, qatl al-awlād is explained as wa⊃d al-awlād (in general!). See al-Tabarī, , Jāmi⊂ al-bayān, vol. 8, p. 30, vol. 15, p. 54.

31 See note 35 (al-Qurtubī's commentary on Qur⊂an 6:151).

32 Such was the tendency also in the Greco-Roman world, in medieval Europe, and in pre-modern Russia. See Langer, , “Infanticide: A Historical Survey,” p. 353; Harris, , “Theoretical Possibility of Extensive Infanticide in the Graeco-Roman World,” p. 114; McLaughlin, , “Survivors and Surrogates,” p. 120; Ransel, , Mothers of Misery, pp. 19, 130.

33 Al-Tabarī, , Jāmi⊂ al-bayān, vol. 8, p. 56 (commentary on Qur⊃an 6:151, where infanticide in times of famine is presented as an act of mercy);Ma⊂mar, b. al-Muthannā Abū ⊂Ubayda, Majāz al-Qur⊃ān (Cairo, 1954), vol. 1, p. 208 (commentary on the same verse);al-Baydāwī, , Anwār al-tanzīl, vol. 1, p. 538 (commentary on Qur⊃an 17:31);Ibn, Kathīr, Tafsīr, vol. 4, p. 354 (commentary on Qur⊃an 60:12).

34 See, e.g., al-Zamakhsharī, , al-Kashshāf ⊂an haqā⊃iq al-tanzīl, Pt. 2, pp. α 69, 70 (commentary on Qur⊃an 6:138): … Wa-kāna al-rajulu fī al-jāhiliyyati yahlifu la-in wulida lahu ghulāman la-yanharanna ahadahum…Abū, ⊂Abdallāh Muhammad b. Ahmad al-Ans;ārī al-Qurttubī, al-Jāmi⊂ li-ahkām al-Qur⊂ān (Cairo, 1381/1962), vol. 7, p. 91 (commentary on the same verse).

35 al-Qurtubī, , al-Jāmi⊂ li-ahkām al-Qur⊃ān, vol. 7, p. 132 (commentary on Qur⊃an 6:151): “Qawluhu ta⊃ālā ‘wa-lā taqtulū awlādakum min imlāqin’ …wa-qad kāna minhum man yaf⊃alu dhālika bi-al-in¯āthi wa-al-dhukūri khashyata al-faqri kamā huwa zāhiru al-ayāti”;Ibn, Kathīr, Tafsīr al-Qur⊃ān al-azīm, vol. 2, p. 188 (commentary on the same verse): “Wa-rubbamā qalalū ba⊂da al-dhukūri khashyata al-iftiqāri…” See also lbn Manzūr, Lisān al-⊂Arab, s.v. “wa⊃d”: “Wa-minhum man kāna ya⊃idu al-banīna ⊂inda al-majā⊂ati wa-kānat Kinda ta⊃idu al-banāti.”

36 See al-Tabarī, as cited in n. 33.

37 Wensinck, A. J. et al. , Concordance et indices de la tradition musulmane (Leiden, 1936–1969), s.v. “wa⊃d”; lbn Manzūr, Lisān al-⊂Arab, s.v. “wa⊃d.” See also: Musallam, , Sex and Society in Islam, p. 19.

38 See, e.g., Qur⊃an, 18:44, 34:34–36, 64:14, 15.

39 Musallam, , Sex and Society in Islam, p. 37.

40 Ibn, Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 3, p. 478;lbn, Kathīr, Tafsīr, vol. 4, p. 477 (commentary on Qur⊃an 8 1:8–9). See lbn Taymiyya's fatwa on a mother who killed her ailing son.

41 Al-Tabarī, , Jāmi⊂ al-bayān, vol. 30, p. 40. See also lbn, Kathīr, Tafsīr, vol. 4, p. 478; al-Rāghib al-ls;fahānī (Abā, al-Qāsim Husayn b. Muhammad), Muhādarāt al-udabā⊃ wa-muhāwarāt al-shu⊂arā⊃ wa-al-bulaghā⊃ (Cairo, 1287/18701871), p. 205.

42 Al-Qurtubī, , al-Jāmi⊂ li-ahkām al-Qur⊃ān, vol. 19, pp. 232–33 (commentary on Qur⊃an 8 1:8–9). See also al-Baydāwī, , Anwār al-tanzīl, vol. 1, p. 311 (commentary on Qur⊃an 6:140), where a different reading is suggested: qattalū instead of qatalū to emphasize the vast number of the victims. The figures mentioned in these narrations are not necessarily accurate. However, they might be taken as an indication that in times of economic pressure infanticide was widely practiced, although generally the regulation of population was effected by high mortality rates, particularly of infants and children. See Hawthorn, , The Sociology of Fertility, p. 47.

43 Al-Tabarī, , Jāmi⊂ al-bayān, vol. 8, p. 35 (commentary on Qur⊃an 6:141): “Kāna al-rajulu yashtartu ⊂alā imra⊃atihian tastahyia jāriyatan wa-ta⊃ida ukhrā. Fa-idh kānat al-jāriyatu allatī tuw⊃adu, ghadā al-rajulu aw rāha min ⊂inda imra⊃atihi wa-qāla lahā: 'anti ⊂⊃alayya ka-zahri ummī in raja⊂tu ilayki wa-lam ta⊃idīhā. Fa-takhuddu lahā fi-al-ard khaddaan wa-tursilu ilā nisā⊃ihā fa-yajtami⊂na ⊂indahā thumma tadāwalnahā [should be yatadāwalnahā?] hattā abs;arathu rājican dassathā fi¯ huf-ratihā thumma sawwat ⊂⊃alayhā al-turāba.”

44 Al-Rāghib, al-ls;fahānī, Muhādarāt al-udabā⊃, p. 205.

45 Al-Zamakhsharī, , al-Kashshāf, Pt. 2, p. 708. See also al-Tabarsī, , Majma⊂ al-bayān, vol. 6, P. 367, vol. 10, p. 444;al-Qurtubī, , al-Jāmi⊂ li-ahkām al-Qu⊃ān, vol. 7, p. 91, vol. 19, pp. 232–33. And see Robertson-Smith, , Kinship and Marriage in Early Arabia, pp. 291–95.

46 Al-Zamakhsharī, al-Kashshāf, Robertson-Smith, Kinship and Marriage.

47Wa-su⊃ila ⊂ammā idhā hadara nisā⊃un wilādata dhakarin fa-qata⊂at ihdāhunna sarratahu min ghayri rabtin wa-nahāhā al-bāqiyātu fa-māta ba⊂da al-qat⊂i bi-qalīlin, fa-hal yaqiulna aw hiya faqat?Ibn, Hajar al-Haythamī al-Makkī, al-Fatāwā al-kubrā al-flqhiyya (Cairo, 1890), vol. 2, p. 220.

48 Al-Tabarī, , Jāmi⊂ al-bayān, vol. 8, p. 56 (commentary on Qur⊃an 6:151). On a more dramatic measure taken by Arabs in pre-Islamic times and apparently even later in periods of want—namely, i⊂tifād, starving oneself to death, “the final resort of those proud tribal people frustrated and despairing, but unflinching in their resolve to die rather than beg”—see Serjeant, R. B., “Famine Death without Loss of Honour in Ancient Arabia and Yemeni Arhab,” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 50, part 3 (1987), pp. 527–28.

49 Ibid.; also al-Qurtubī, , al-Jāmi⊃ li-ahkām al-Qur⊃ān, vol. 7, p. 132 (commentary on Qur⊃an 6:151): “Wa-qad yastadillu bi-hādhā man yamna⊂u al-⊂azla li-anna al-wa⊃da yarfa⊂u al-mawjūda Wa-al-nasla, wa-al-⊂azlu—man⊂u as;li al-nasli, fa-tashābahā, illā anna qatla al-nafsi a⊂zamu wizran Wa-aqbahu fi⊂l an.” See also Muslim, , Sahīh, K. al-nikāh, bāb 141;Abū, ⊂Abdallāh Muhammad b. Yazīd lbn Māja, Sunan (Cairo, n.d.), K. aI-nikāh, bāb 61;Ibn, Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 6, pp. 361, 434.

50 Ibn, Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 3, pp. 33, 51.

51 Musallam, Sex and Society in Islam, ch. 1.

52 Ibid., pp. 57–71. On the use of various abortifacient methods by Muslim women, see, e.g., Taqī, al-Dīn Ahmad Ibn Taymiyya, Majmū⊂at fatāwā (Cairo, 1326/19081909), vol. 4, pp. 182;⊂Alī, b. Ahmad b. Sa⊂id Ibn Hazm, al-Muhallā (Beirut, n.d.), vol. II, pp. 2931;Ibn, Bābawayh, Man lā yahduruhu al-faqīh, vol. 4, p. 109;Muhammad, Kāmil b. Mus;tafā al-Hanafi al-Tarabulsī, al-Fatāwā al-kāmiliyya fī al-hawādith al-Tarabulsiyya (n.p., 1313/1895), p. 249. On the penalty for abortion and for causing abortion, see, e.g., lbn, Taymiyya, Majmū⊂at fatāwā, p. 188;⊂Abdalrahmāan, b. ⊂Alī lbn al-Jawzī, Ahkām al-nisaā⊃ (Beirut, 1981), pp. 376–77. I would like to thank Professor R. B. Serjeant for drawing my attention to a Yemeni manuscript (an acephalous manuscript of Ibn Zinbā⊃) from ca. 1105 whose contents represent a Jahili tradition of tribal law. The manuscript deals, inter alia, with the penalty of “women who do something to themselves of a nature to cause the abortion of a boy from their womb, by drinking a potion or something else, or massage which causes the boy to be aborted.”

53Wa-laysa hādhā [tarku al-nikāhi, wa-tarku al-jimā⊂i wa-tarku al-inzāhi] ka-al-ijhādi wa-al-wa⊃ di, li-anna dhālika jināyatun ⊂alā mawjūdin hās;ilin wa-lahu aydan marātibu, wa-awwalu marātibi al-wujūdi an taqa⊂a al-nultatu fī al-rahimi wa-takhtahiu bi-mā⊃i al-mar⊃ati wa-tasta⊂iddu li-qabūli al-hayāti wa-ifsādu dhālika jināyatun, fa-in sārat mudghatalan wa-⊂alaqatan kānat al-jināyatu afhasha wa-in nufikha fīhi al-ruhu wa-istawat al-khilqatu izdādat al-jināyatu tafahushan. Wa-muntahā al-tafāhushi fī al-jināyati ba⊂da al-infisālihfiayyan.” Abū, Hāmid Muhammad al-Ghazālī, Ihy⊃ ⊂ulūm al-dīn (Cairo, 1967), vol. 2, p. 65. The English translation is based on Farah, , Marriage and Sexuality in Islam: A Translation of al-Ghazali's Book on the Etiquette of Marriage from the Ihya (Salt Lake City, Utah, 1984), pp. 109–10. See also Musallam, , Sex and Society in Islam, pp. 1718, 22–23.

54 Ibn, al-Jawzī, Ahkām al-nisā⊃, p. 374: “Fa-idhā ta⊂ammadat isqāta mā fīhī al-rūhu kāna ka-qatli mu⊃minin wa-qad qāla ta⊂ālā: ‘Wa-idhā al-maw/ūdatu su⊃ilat bi-ayyi dhanbin qutilat.”

55 Ibn, Kathīr, Tafsīr, vol. 4, p. 354:Wa-qawluhu ta⊂ālā: ‘wa-lā yaqtulna awlādahunna’ wa-hādhā yashmulu qarlahu ba⊂da wujūdihi kamā kāna ahlu al-jāhiliyyati yaqtulūna awlādahum khashyata al-imlāqi. Wa-ya⊂ummu qatluhu wa-huwa janīnun kamā qad yaf⊂aluhu ba⊂du al-jahalati min al-nisā⊃…al-Tabarsī, , Majma⊂ al-bayān, vol. 9, p. 275 “‘Wa-lā yaznīna wa-lā yaqtulna awlāda-hunna’ ⊂alā wajhin min al-wujūhi, lā bi-al-wa⊃di wa-lā bi-al-isqāti.

56 Musallam, , Sex and Society in Islam, p. 118 (see also p. 19).

57 See Langer, (cited in n. 2), Radin, (cited in n. 6), and McLaughlin, , “Survivors and Surrogates,” p. 121.

58 Ibn, al-Jawzī, Ahkām al-nisā⊃, pp. 374–75.

59Wa-idhā kāna Allāhu qad harramanā qatla al-awlādi ma⊂a al-hājati wa-khashyati al-faqri. fa-la-an yuharrima qatlahu bi-dūni dhālika awlā wa-ahrā.” Ibn, Taymiyya, Majmu⊂at fatāwā, vol. 4, p. 182.

60 Al-Baydāwī, , Anwār al-tanzīl, vol. 1, p. 518. According to an interpretation presented by al-Qurtubī, , dassa (to trample… into the dust) means not to bury the female infant alive but only to hide her Out of shame (ikhfā⊃uhā ⊂an al-nāsi hattā lā tu⊂rafa),al-Qurtubī, al-Jāmi⊂ li-ahkām al-Qur⊃ān, vol. 10, p. 117.

61 Al-Qurtubi, , al-Jāmi⊂ li-ahkān al-Qur⊃ān. See also al-Tabarsī, , Majma⊂ al-bayān, vol. 6, p. 367.

62 Al-Qurtubī, , al-Jāmi⊂ li-ahkām al-Qur⊃ān, vol. 19, pp. 232–33;al-Tabarsī, , vol.4, p. 371.

63 Ibn, Kathīr, Tafsīr, vol. 4, p. 477 (commentary on Qur⊃an 81:8–9).

64 Muhammad, b. Abī Bakr Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya, Tuhfat al-mawdūd fī ahkām al-mawlūd (Bombay, 1961), pp. 1013: “Fī karāhati tasakhkhuri al-banātī”;Ibn, Nās;ir al-Dīn al-Qaysī, Bard al-akbād ⊂an faqd al-awlād, manuscript, Bodley, Marsh 583, fol. 166a, where Dā⊃ūd b. Abī Hind is accused of desiring the death of his daughter, kunta tatamannā mawtahā. See also Giladi, , “Concepts of Childhood,” pp. 147–48.

65 Miller, B. D., The Endangered Sex (Ithaca, New York, and London, 1981), p. 42 (see also pp. 43–44);Wrigley, Population and History, p. 43.

66 Al-Zamakhsharī, , al-Kashshāf, vol. 2, pp. 69, 70. See also al-Qurtubī, , al-Jāmi⊂ li-ahkām al-Qur⊃ ān, vol. 7, p. 91;al-Baydāwī, , Anwār al-tanzīl, vol. 1, p. 310; also see n. 9.

67 The same pagan parents who sacrifice their children to gods are described by the Prophet Ezekiel as loving parents: “For when they had slain their children to their idols, then they came the same day into My sanctuary to profane it” (Ezekiel, 23:39): “And you son of man, shall it not be in the day when I take from them their stronghold, the joy of their glory, the desire of their eyes, and the yearning of their soul, their sons and their daughters…” (Ezekiel, 24:25).

68 Ibn, Qayyim al-Jawziyya, Tuhfat al-mawdūd, p. 75.

69 Ibn, al-Jawzī, Ahkām al-nisā⊃, p. 380 (see also p. 373).

70 Al-Qaysī, , Bard al-akbād, fol. 172a. For similar narrations, see fols. 171b-72a. See also Jalāl al-Dīn, al-Suyūtī, al-lhtifāl bi-mawt al-atfāl, manuscript, Mingana Collection, Ar. 469 (1174 III), fol. 9a;al-Rāghib, al-Is;fahānī, Muhādarāt al-udabā⊃, p. 305; “Tamannī mawt al-awlād.”

71 Abū al-Hasan ⊂Alī b., Muhammad al-Madā⊃inī, Kitāb al-ta⊂āzī (Najaf, 1971), p. 17:Al-hamdu li-Allāhi… nālū al-fawza wa-hāmū al-dhimāra”; p. 18: a similar narration about a father who lost two of his sons as martyrs on two different occasions and yet praised God every time the bad news was brought to him, “al-hamdu li-Allāhi alladhī ja⊂ala min s;ulbī man us;ība shahīdan.”

72 Ibid., p. 20.

73 Ibid., p. 23 (see also p. 43). For similar reports see Shihāb al-Dīn Abū al-⊂Abbās ibn Abī, Hajala, Sulwat al-hazīn fī mawt al-banīn, manuscript, Berlin 2660 (Lbg. 187), fols. 10b, 11a.

74 Al-Bayddāwī, , Anwār al-tanzīl, vol. 1, p. 311 (commentary on Qur⊃an 6:140);al-Zamakhsharī, , al-Kashshāf, vol. 2, p. 72 (commentary on the same verse);al-Qurtubī, , al-Jāmi⊂ li-ahkām al-Qur⊃ān, vol. 7, pp. 9697 (commentary on the same verse: “Wa-kāna minhum man yaqtuluhu [waladahu] safahan bi-ghayri hujjatin minhum fī qatlihim wa-hum Rabī⊂a wa-Mudar kānū yaqtulūna banātihim li-ajli al-hamiyyati”).

75 Ibn, Kathīr, Tafsīr, vol. 2, p. 188 (commentary on Qur⊃an 6:152): “Sa⊃ala [⊂Abdallāh b. Mas⊂ūd] Rasūla Allāhi hal⊂cm: ‘ayyu al-dhanbi a⊃zamu?’ Qāla: ‘An taj⊂ala li-Allāhi niddan wa-huwa khāliquka.’ Qultu: ‘Thumma ayyu?’ Qāla: ‘An raqtula waladaka khashyata an yat⊂ama ma⊂aka’. See also: Muhammad, b. Abi Bakr Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya, Fatāwā Rasūl Allāh (Cairo, 1980), p. 183.

76 Al-Qurtubī, , al-Jāmi⊂ li-ahkām al-Qur⊃ān, vol. 7, pp. 9697 (commentary on Qur⊃an 6:141).

77 Al-Tabarī, , Jāmi⊂ al-bayān, vol. 14, p. 76 (commentary on Qur⊃an 16:59–61):al-Tabarsī, , Majma⊂ al-bayān, vol. 6, p. 367 (commentary on the same verse).

78 Al-Tabarī, , Jāmi⊂ al-bayān;al-Tabarsī, , Majma⊂ al-bayān. See also al-Baydāwī, , Anwār al-tanzīl, vol. 2, pp. 233–34 (commentary on Qur⊃an 42:49–50). For reports praising girls, see Ibn, Qayyim al-Jawziyya, Tuhfat al-mawdūd, pp. 1013.

79 For reports on Sa⊂s;a⊂a, al-Farazdaq's grandfather, see, e.g., al-Qurtubī, , al-Jāmi⊂c li-ahkām al-Qur⊃ān, vol. 10, p. 117 (commentary on Qur⊃an 81:8–9). For a similar report on Zayd b. ⊂Amr b. Nufayl, see al-Bukhārī, , Sahīh, K. manāqib al-ans;ār, bāb 24.

80 Mālik, b. Anas, al-Muwatta⊃ (Tunis, 1280/1863), pp. 163, 164;Abū, Dā⊃ūd, Sunan, K. al-jihād, bāb 111;al-Dārimī, , Sunan, K. al-siyar, bāb 25. In some of these hadith reports, however, the Prophet is said to have allowed the killing of the enemy's families before he took the unequivocal decision to forbid this. The criterion used to distinguish between a child and an adult is given in Sunan, al-Dārimī, K. al-siyar, bāb 26: “Fa-man anbata al-sha⊂ra qutila wa-man lam yunbit turika.

81 Taqī al-Dīn Ibn, Taymiyya, Majmū⊂ fatāwā (Riyadh, 1382/1962–1963), vol. 16, p. 80.

82 See Cameron, , “The Exposure of Children and Greek Ethics,” p. 105;Wrigley, , Population and History, p. 126.

83 See n. 67.

84 Pollock, L., Forgotten Children: Parent-Child Relations from 1500 to 1900 (Cambridge, 1983), pp. 4950.

85 Giladi, , “Concepts of Childhood and Attitudes towards Children in Medieval Islam,” pp. 142–50.

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