L'enfant endormi dans le ventre de sa mère.
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Muslim law, having originated in the Orient, institutionalized local customs in the course of its subsequent development. Taking into account the traditions of Medina, and without explicit reference to the Koran or the Sunna, particularly Malekism allowed for pregnancies of up to four or five years. Islamisation of the Maghreb brought such legal tendancies into contact with native Berber culture. Field surveys reveal a belief in North Africa according to which during pregnancy the human foetus can stop its development and remain in a woman's womb until her death, or successivly resume growth and be born. A widespread image of such a belief is that of a child asleep in its mother's bosom. From this legal-cultural junction results a certain consensus, which Maghrebin legists have recorded by admitting gestation periods beyond limits initially fixed. Analysis of such views, recorded in texts as well as in field work, suggests advantages which can be drawn from them by the given populations, particularly concerning questions of filiation.
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Colin, J, L'enfant endormi dans le ventre de sa mère., Med Sci (Paris), 1999, Vol. 15, N° 2; p.260-3