Afro-Asian Religion, Marriage & Customs

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Afro-Asian Studies vocabulary list regarding religion, marriage & customs.


a science that deals with the division of human beings into races and their origin, distribution, relations, and characteristics


belief that there is but one God


belief in or worship of more than one god


the religious faith of Muslims including belief in Allah as the sole deity and in Muhammad as his prophet


Arabic muslim, literally, one who submits (to God), an adherent of Islam


the state or custom of being married to one person


refers to multiple marriages (more than one wife or husband at a time)


a form of polygamy which allows a husband to have more than one wife at a time. eg. Ganda (of Uganda)


marriage outisde one's social group according to custom.


marriage within one's social group according to custom.


a form of polygamy which allows a wife to have more than one husband at a time, eg. Ndebele (of South Africa)


or "bride price" (cattle, food, money, agricultural tools) is given to the bride's family to guarantee that the bride will be treated properly. It also helps compensate the bride's family for the loss of a worker.


the study of man

homo habilis

"skilled man", the term refers to the fossils discovered by Dr. Leakey in Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania


a human population whose members breed among themselves and have become distinct from other populations by sharing a number of inherited physical traits.


people found in he middle eastern part of Africa and along the Nile River who are the result of Negro-Hamitic intermarriage, eg. Watusi, Masai

nuclear family

consists of father, mother and children

extended family

consists of the nucler group as well as near relatives or even another nuclear family

patriarchal society

is dominated by a male figure

matriarchal society

is dominated by a female figure




means of keeping alive; livelihood


cliff dwellers who live in Mali


moving little and rarely


semi-arid area bordering a desert


thorny tree of the grasslands


large, ungainly-looking tree of the savanna; the "upside-down" tree


a very small grain used for food in Africa and Asia


a tall cereal plant resembling corn. One variety has a sweet juice used for making molasses or syrup, others provide food for livestock either by their grain or as hay, and still others provide material for brushes or brooms.


refers to the Pygamies of the Central Ituri Forest in the Congo Basin


a person who moves from place to place in search of pasture for cattle or areas for hunting and gathering

tropical rainforest



a long trumpet, usually of wood, used in ritual songs sung by the Mbuti at night. Only males participate during a crisis.

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