Consanguineous marriages in the middle east: Nature versus nurture

Bowirrat Abdalla, Armaly Zaher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Family is societal institution that is conceptualized as "Vital" and "Valid" its importance is emphasized by social conservatives across cultures. Consanguinity is usually socially motivated and can be genetically harmful; it is a state of being descended from a common ancestor. It has been practiced by many societies around the globe from time immemorial, and a part of most civilizations as far back as the Old Testament of the Bible, and in the Arab world before the emerging of the Islam, and therefore, it is not monopoly where Islamic faith prevails. We scrutinize the effect of consanguinity on family health, its benefits and its detriments, and how should be tackled on medical and policy levels. We also pursue the Islamic attitude and discourses on the marriage custom, law, ethics and principles. Attention is then drawn to the cultural influences and challenges in the Arab word.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalOpen Complementary Medicine Journal
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Arab word
  • Consanguineous marriages
  • Family health


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