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NIQABAH. The common contemporary Arabic for any association of those who earn their living by practicing a common profession or a profession within a common sector of the economy is nigdbah. Like the French syndicat the term covers a range of occupations from the university-trained professions, such as medicine or law, to craftsmen, skilled workers, and industrial employees. It can refer to a union branch or local as well as to higher levels of associations, but it is not generally used for the highest level of institutional coordination of many subordinate branches or locals. That level, often referred to in the United States as the international union, is frequently called the ittihdd in Arabic.
The use of the word nigdbah for “professional association” in a general sense appears to have begun in the late nineteenth or early twentieth century. Earlier craft associations were usually referred to by the term td’ifah and in Egypt an informal mutual aid association was called a jam’iyah. Niqdbah appears to have been frequently used to indicate a more formal organization with a higher level of commitment from its members and a greater authority vested in its officials.
This usage of the word somewhat corresponds to an older, if somewhat uncommon, meaning. Niqdbah appears in Tdj al-`Arcs (naqabah is given as the verbal noun) to have the meaning of guardianship or legal power and is a synonym for walayah [see Walayah]. The word appeared more commonly before the twentieth century for one who exercised such powers of trust, oversight, and responsibility, a naqib. The appearance in modern times of the nigdbah as an organization with powers that had previously only been seen as lodging in an individual thus marked a significant change in attitudes toward power, responsibility, and delegation of authority.
Baer, Gabriel. Egyptian Guilds in Modern Times. Jerusalem, 1964. Goldberg, Ellis. Tinker, Tailor and Textile Worker. Berkeley, 1986.

Azhar Niaz Article's Source: http://islamicus.org/niqabah/

  • writerPosted On: June 15, 2017
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