The book “Dispensing Justice in Islam” is designed to serve as a sourcebook of Islamic legal practice and Qāḍī court records from the rise of Islam to modern times.
This book is a series of ‘case studies’ in both senses of the term. Its strengths and weaknesses derive from either or both of these characteristics. As case studies, twenty articles have been assembled which are generally well written and clearly structured, each article examines the operation of the Qadi court in a particular time frame and geography. The limitations of such a collection are obvious. The editors clearly hoped that by giving a restrictive brief to the contributors (both those who participated in an original conference and those who were commissioned for chapters after the event), coherence would result. To an extent, this has been achieved. After finishing a reading of the book, one has learned much about the operation of courts in different circumstances and in different locales. Whether this facilitates more general conclusions (the sort of synthetic conclusions which are useful when discussing with those outside the field) is not so certain. The editors make gallant efforts towards this end. An extensive introduction (ch.1) provides both an overview of the state of the field to date (with criticisms of some past approaches). Incorporated into the introduction are references to the findings in the subsequent chapters. The subsequent case studies are grouped under four rubrics (judging chs. 2-9; Organizing law: chs 10-12; Applying doctrines, ch. 13-18 and Recording Procedures and Evidence, chs 19-21). Nearly all these chapters, however, contain material and conclusions which could be placed under another rubric. It is the nature of a nascent field such as Islamic legal studies that studies such as these will be a meze- and perhaps the volume should be used as such.
Table of Contents
Chapter One: Qāḍī and their Courts: An Historical Survey
Chapter Two: Settling Litigation without Judgment: The Importance of a Ḥukm in Qāḍī Cases of Mamlūk Jerusalem
Chapter Three: A New Judge for Aintab: The Shifting Legal Environment of a Sixteenth-Century Ottoman Court
Chapter Four: Broken Edda and Marital Mistakes: Two Recent Disputes from an Islamic Court in Zanzibar
Chapter Five: Fairness and Law in an Indonesian Court
Chapter Six: The Practice of Judging: The Egyptian Judiciary at Work in a Personal Status Case
Chapter Seven: The Constitution and the Principles of Islamic Normativity against the Rules of Fiqh. A Judgment of the Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt
Chapter Eight: Commercial Litigation in a Sharīʻa Court ….
Chapter Nine: The Re-Islamization of Criminal Law in Northern Nigeria and the Judiciary: The Safiyyatu Hussaini Case
Chapter Ten: Law in the Marketplace: Istanbul, 1730-1840 245
Chapter Eleven: On Judicial Hierarchy in the Ottoman Empire: The Case of Sofia from the Seventeenth to the Beginning of the Eighteenth Century
Chapter Twelve: Islamic Judicial Councils and their Sociopolitical Contexts: A Trans-Saharan Comparison
Chapter Thirteen: Ill-treated Women Seeking Divorce: The Quranic Two Arbiters and Judicial Practice among the Malikis in al-Andalus and North Africa
Chapter Fourteen: The Award of Matāʻ in the Early Muslim Courts
Chapter Fifteen: Four Cases Relating to Women and Divorce in al-Andalus and the Maghrib, 1100-1500 383
Chapter Sixteen: The Application of Islamic Law in the Ottoman Courts in Damascus: The Case of the Rental of Waqf Land
Chapter Seventeen: The Waqf’ in Court: Lawsuits over Religious Endowments in Ottoman Aleppo
Chapter Eighteen: Shopping for Legal Forums: Christians and Family Law in Modern Egypt
RECORDING PROCEDURES AND EVIDENCE
Chapter Nineteen: Twelve Court Cases on the Application of Penal Law under the Almoravids
Chapter Twenty: Shahādat Naql in the Judicial Practice in Modem Libya
Chapter Twenty-One: Pakistan’s Evidence Order (“Qanun-i-Shahadat”), 1984: General Zia’s Anti-Islamization Coup
The book edited by Muhammad Khalid Masud, Rudolph Peters and David Powers
Muhammad Khalid Masud, Ph.D. in Islamic Studies, McGill University, formerly Academic Director, ISIM, Leiden is Chairman, Council of Islamic Ideology, Pakistan. He has published extensively on Islamic law and social change. His recent publications include Shatibi’s Philosophy of Islamic Law (1996), the co-edited work Islamic Legal Interpretations (1996), and the edited volume Travelers in Faith (Brill 2000).
David S. Powers, Ph.D., Islamic History, Princeton (1979). Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies at Cornell University since 1979; editor of the journal Islamic Law and Society (Brill); author of Studies in Qur’an and Hadith: The Formation of the Islamic Law of Inheritance (University of California Press, 1986); and Law, Society and Culture in the Maghrib, 1300-1500 (Cambridge); co-editor of Islamic Legal Interpretation: Muftis and the Fatwas (Harvard, 1996). He has published articles in Arabica, Studia Islamica, Journal of the American Oriental Society, Journal of Near Eastern Studies, Comparative Studies in Society and History, Continuity and Change, Law and Society Review.
Rudolph Peters, Ph.D., Islamic Studies, University of Amsterdam (1979). Professor of Islamic Studies at University of Amsterdam; co-editor of the series Studies in Islamic Law and Society (Brill); author of Islam and Colonialism: The doctrine of jihad in modern history (Mouton/Walter de Gruyter, 1979), Jihad in classial and modern Islam (Princeton, Wiener, 1996), Crime and punishment in Islamic law (Cambridge University Press, 2005). He has published articles in Islamic Law and Society, Die Welt des Islams,International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Mediterranean Studies and Annales Islamologiques.