The Use of Ottoman Sharīʿa Court Records As a Source for Middle Eastern Social History: A Reappraisal

in Islamic Law and Society
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?



Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.



Help

Have Institutional Access?



Access content through your institution. Any other coaching guidance?



Connect

Abstract

Sharīʿa court records are among the most important sources available for the social, economic and cultural history of the Ottoman empire and its provinces, especially from the sixteenth century onwards. These records contain invaluable material on diverse subjects such as economic consumption, agrarian relations, personal status, social stratification, crime and local politics. While covering a large geographical area and spanning several centuries, these records are often regarded by researchers as a single, homogeneous source and treated as a simple account of facts.In this essay, I argue that Sharīʿa court records are a complex source and that researchers should be cautious about accepting the information they contain at face-value. From their questionable statistical representation of society to their biased representation of Islamic law and order, these records defy categorization as simple reflections of reality. Comparisons between different geographical areas and time periods — and to fieldwork carried out in contemporary Sharīʿa courts, demonstrate the potential distance between the records and the reality they purportedly convey.

The Use of Ottoman Sharīʿa Court Records As a Source for Middle Eastern Social History: A Reappraisal

in Islamic Law and Society

Sections

Information

Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 35 35 16
Full Text Views 41 41 26
PDF Downloads 13 13 6
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0