Search Results

Restricted Access

Mahmoud Yazbak

Abstract

Sharī'a court records (sijills) are legal documents that summarize discussions that took place in the courtroom. They also contain a wealth of detail on various aspects of Muslim society. Drawing on different sijills from nineteenth-century Palestine and fatwās of Khayr al-Dīn al-Ramlī, I examine the phenomenon of child marriage and the practice of khiyār al-bulūgh, literally "option of puberty". If a natural guardian contracts a marriage for a minor child, male or female, the child may not subsequently have the contract annulled. Whereas a boy enjoys the right to divorce his wife through the mechanism of talāq as soon as he reaches his majority, a girl who reaches her majority must approach the court if she wants to dissolve a marriage (faskh), and she may do so only if she was married while a minor by a non-natural guardian. In this case, she may exercise her right of khiyār al-bulūgh immediately upon reaching her legal majority, i.e., at the onset of her first menstruation. But she must make a public declaration of the occurrence of menstruation so that the persons who hear the declaration may serve as witnesses on her behalf.

Restricted Access

Mahmoud Yazbak

Abstract

When Shaykh Dahir al-ʿUmar al-Zaydani died in 1775, he had ruled large parts of Palestine for over half a century. Capitalizing on the forward economy introduced by the Dutch merchant “gone native,” Paul Maashoek (d. 1711), Dahir created a politics of trade and power that brought about the economic flourishing of Palestine and the prosperity of its population for most of the eighteenth century. From his urbanization of the Galilee’s main villages, Tiberias, Nazareth, Acre and Haifa, sprang the merchant class whose subsequent active trading with the West helped quicken the pace of Palestine’s integration into the Europe-dominated world economy.

Restricted Access

Mahmoud Yazbak

Abstract

According to sharī'a, an orphan is an under-aged infant or child, until the age of puberty, whose father or both his/her parents have died. In the sijill cases (Muslim court records) under study here, under-aged children who lost their mother are not defined as orphans. This way of defining orphans reflects the different socio-economic roles fathers and mothers played. This paper, depending essentially upon the sijillāt of Nablus, Jerusalem and Haifa during the Ottoman period, investigates the social status of the orphans, how families and relatives acted, and how the sharī'a court fulfilled its job in this sphere. Selon la sharī'a, un orphelin est un enfant mineur, n'ayant pas atteint l'âge de la puberté, dont le père ou les deux parents sont décédés. Parmi les cas notés dans les sijill (registres des tribunaux) étudiés ici, les mineurs ayant perdu leur mère ne sont pas considérés comme des orphelins. Cette définition de l'orphelin reflète les différents rôles socio-économiques du père et de la mère. La présente étude est fondée sur l'exploitation des documents des registres des tribunaux de Naplouse, Jérusalem et Haïfa à l'époque ottomane. Elle examine le statut social des orphelins, les comportements des familles et parents proches à leur égard et également le fonctionnement du tribunal dans ce domaine.

Restricted Access

Mahmoud Yazbak

Abstract

By the late 17th century Nazareth was no more than a sleepy little hamlet. Within the next five decades, it emerged as an important urban centre. This change was prompted by major economic and political processes that affected the whole of Palestine. In the following I will outline the three main factors that combined to put Nazareth on the map: Europe’s growing interest in the region, and the weakness of the Ottoman Central government, with local chiefs taking advantage of both and acquiring near autonomous status.