Prohibited Relationships With Women within the Extended Family: Leviticus 18:7–18 Compared With Surah Al-Nisa’ 4:22–23

General Article




Surah 4, Leviticus 18, Surah al-Nisa’, taboo sexual relations, unlawful sexual relations in the Bible and Qur’an 


Various unlawful sexual relationships are the topic of Leviticus 18, concentrating (vv. 7–18) on women within the extended family who may not be approached. A comparable but condensed list of taboo relationships is stated in the Qur’anic Surah al-Nisa’ (The Women) 4:22–23. The first objective of the article is to give an account of the way the respective directives are expressed. Prohibitions in Lev 18:7–18 are, for example, introduced by the formula, “The nakedness of … do not uncover,” usually followed by a reason, e.g., “the nakedness of … she is.” The Qur’anic portion begins with the restriction, “And do not marry” (Q al-Nisa’ 4:22), or “Forbidden to you [are]” (Q al-Nisa’ 4:23). Secondly, individual taboos which are shared, or only found in either of the two sources, are scrutinised. Thirdly, the arrangement of the items in the two lists is investigated. Fourthly, the literary contexts of the biblical and Qur’anic portions are juxtaposed.


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How to Cite

Dockrat, Ashraf. 2023. “Prohibited Relationships With Women Within the Extended Family: Leviticus 18:7–18 Compared With Surah Al-Nisa’ 4:22–23: General Article”. Journal for Semitics 32 (2):28 pages .



Received 2022-10-09
Accepted 2023-11-21
Published 2023-12-19