Islamic law may be understood through juridical compendia, explications, and commentaries, but fatwa collections and court records reveal how it was applied in everyday life. Even court records may not be a transparent record of social life – one has to ask what is not mentioned. This paper draws on fatwas, juridical texts, and recent legal and social studies to explain the appearance of lawsuits in the Sharia Courts of late nineteenth-century Egypt over a debt owed a deceased person, which were a strategy to establish the legal standing of the plaintiffs as heirs. Heirs took this indirect approach when their rights were contested. For example, a family patriarch or village headman could deprive women and younger men of their rightful shares when dividing an estate out of court. Due to polygyny and easy divorce there also might be conflict between a man’s plural wives and ex-wives and his children by different mothers. These lawsuits resulted from new Sharia Court procedures that required documentation; suits to collect a debt owed the deceased necessarily produced documentation of heirship through marriage or descent. Cases such as these underline the ability of disadvantaged individuals (often women and children) to assert their rights within the legal system, and the way in which legal strategies changed to accommodate new procedural rules.
By the second half of the nineteenth century, the Russian Empire had conquered the whole of Western Turkestan and annexed most of its area. In the area annexed to the Empire, however, the Islamic legal system was allowed to co-exist with the newly introduced Russian legal system. This paper is a preliminary study to examine the influence of the dual legal system on the Central Asian Muslim society. To approach the problem, I compare here, as a case study, the court records of reversal cases of the Samarqand district court of 1901 with those of 1907 and examine the differences between them.
There is a distinct difference between the objections of 1901 and 1907. The reasons of most objections in 1901 are simple violations of the Statute on the Administration of the Turkestan Region, while in 1907 the number of more complicated cases and objections based on Russian law increased. The difference suggests that under Russian rule Central Asian Muslims became incorporated into the Russian legal procedure and accustomed to Russian law, which, in a historical view, seems to have prepared them for the acceptance of a non-Islamic legal system after the Revolution.
This paper concerns the history of post-imperial and early Soviet shari‘a justice. It focuses on the debate on shari‘a courts. Muslim scholars, state administrators, army officers, liberal intelligentsia and journalists were involved in it. The Soviet authorities established a new kind of indirect rule based on the shari‘a, which they regarded as the adversary of the “colonial ‘adat.” Contrary to the prerevolutionary “civilizing” approach, the Bolsheviks promoted “national and social liberation from the relics of tsarism.” On the other hand, there was continuity between Soviet and tsarist judicial policy in terms of the proposed aims and methods, and even in the vocabulary. The early shari‘a justice inherited the personnel, organization and functions from prerevolutionary verbal and people’s tribunals in the semi-autonomous social fields of the village communities and rural districts. In reality, both institutions were based on the principle of legal pluralism, and practised so Islamic as customary laws, together with elements of the Russian civil code. The reforms of the late 1920s replaced a “strong” form of legal pluralism by a “weak” one. The new Soviet judicial institutions emerged in the second half of the 1920s in the context of, and reaction to, such a hybrid legal situation.
The aim of this paper is to evaluate the settlement policy that the Ottomans applied to the Turkish and Kurdish nomads who resided in Anatolia and around Raqqah in northern Syria during the late seventeenth century and the first half of the eighteenth century. To achieve this goal, the paper will primarily draw its information from the registers of imperial edicts and the waqf registers.
The Ottomans changed their policies when they came to consider nomadic seasonal migration as a problem for obtaining significant tax revenue from crop farming in the late seventeenth century. As a result, the Ottomans recognized that most of the Turkish and Kurdish nomadic groups who lived in eastern Anatolia paid less tax and considered farmers to be more profitable than nomads for the first time in Ottoman history. However, in rare cases, the Ottomans permitted nomadic pastoralism, and even encouraged the nomadic lifestyle, when the nomadic people in question paid taxes to a waqf foundation, as this allowed them to accrue sufficient tax revenue.
When nomads escaped from their settlements, the Ottomans were more inclined to fulfill previous sedentarization orders rather than to change the settlement according to their requests or demands. Because of this, many ex-nomads escaped from their settlements for a life of banditry in other parts of the empire.
During the Oslo process from 1993, Israel continued to expand settlements in the occupied territories. The important question in this regard is; how one should relate within the Israeli history the political, economic, social and cultural forces, which led Israel to the Oslo process, and those which kept it expanding its settlements. This paper seeks the answer by examining the previous research, looking at how they evaluate the relations between the issue of the settlements and the Oslo process. They are categorized into three groups; the works focusing on “the narrowly defined settlement issue,” the works emphasizing “the widely defined settlement issue” and “the third paradigm,” which tries to combine the former two paradigms. This paper argues that even though scholars adopt the third paradigm, unless they recognize the widely defined settlement issue as a root cause of the conflict and distance themselves from the decolonization myth of the Oslo process, they cannot solve the contradiction between their research framework and proposal for the solution. This paper concludes that while the Green Line ceased to exist as a material boundary, it still functions as an imagined boundary and ideological devise to maintain the premise that Israel can be democratic while defining itself as the Jewish state despite the continuing colonization, creeping apartheid and the demand of the Palestine refugees.