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David S. Powers

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David S. Powers

Abstract

Sometime after the year 1312-13 a paternity dispute was brought before a qādī serving in an undetermined location in the northern part of the Western Maghrib. The claimant asserted that he was the son of a local notable, whereas the latter's legally recognized children asserted that he was the child of a slave-girl who belonged to the notable's daughter. Before issuing his judicial decision, the qādī wrote a detailed letter to a distinguished Fāsī mufti in which he presented a summary transcription of the testimonial evidence and asked the mufti to issue a fatwā corroborating his handling of the case. In the following essay, I seek to shed light on the operation of qādī-justice under the Mārinids in the fourteenth-century by studying the qādī¸s familiarity with legal doctrine, his ability to manipulate legal discourse, and the "art" of his judicial narrative.

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David S. Powers

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