Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures

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Virginity: Sub-Saharan Africa
(1,659 words)

The notion of virginity in Muslim societies has given rise to three types of discourses, each overlapping with another but nonetheless distinct in its perception. These may be described as discourses related to purity, to control, and to virility.

The first discourse, and the most prevalent, refers to what is considered as a state of purity for a girl within a family. The expected norm for to her is to “guard” her virginity until she is lawfully given in marriage in accordance with the requirements of the Sharīʿa. Marriage, in Muslim…

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Topan, Farouk, “Virginity: Sub-Saharan Africa”, in: Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures, General Editor Suad Joseph. Consulted online on 07 December 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1872-5309_ewic_EWICCOM_0209g>
First published online: 2009

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