DIVINE LAW OR MAN-MADE LAW? EGYPT AND THE APPLICATION OF THE SHARI'A Rudolph Peters* INTRODUCTION The application of the Shari'a has been a central issue in Egyptian politics since the beginning of the seventies. Originally advocated only by Islamic opposition groups, it gained such popularity as a political slogan that the Government could not remain pas- sive. As of 1976 there was feverish and largely government-promoted legislative activity with the aim of codifying and, subsequently, applying the Shari'a. During the first years of the eighties this activity came to a sudden stand-still, again at the insti- gation of the Government.
Until now, the first criminal legislation promulgated by Mehmed Alī has been available only in an unreliable Arabic summary. In this essay, I edit and translate the original Ottoman Turkish text, as found in the Egyptian National Archive. The edition and translation are preceded by an analysis of the code in which I argue (1) that this code is best regarded as an expression of Mehmed Alī's attempt to centralize and rationalize the governmental apparatus and the administration of justice, in order to tighten his control over Egypt; and (2) that the document can be read as an articulation of the perceived social distance between the Turkish-speaking ruling class and other groups in Egyptian society.
MURDER ON THE NILE HOMICIDE TRIALS IN 19TH CENTURY EGYPTIAN SHARI � A COURTS * BY RUDOLPH PETERS Amsterdam Introduction In this paper I intend to investigate the application of the Shar^i'a in homicide cases in 19th century Egypt, before the reception of French law codes in 1883.1 The scope of enforcement of the Shar^l'a in the Islamic world before the introduction of Western law is still a matter of controversy. On the one hand there are many Western scholars maintaining that the Sharîca was merely a theoretical con- struction, hardly applied in practice except in matters of personal status
RELIGIOUS ATTITUDES TOWARDS MODERNIZATION IN THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE A nineteenth century pious text on steamships, factories and the telegraph BY RUDOLPH PETERS Cairo Introduction The historiography of the Ottoman Empire in the nineteenth century is mainly concerned with the process of modernization and change. There is an abundance of studies on the measures of reform that were introduced in the fields of warfare, education, law administration and communication, and on the men and ideas behind them. But information on the forces of opposition and their leaders and ideologies is difficult to find. This, of course, is a result of the
THE ISLAMIZATION OF CRIMINAL LAW: A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS BY RUDOLPH PETERS Amsterdam With the exception of a few states on the Arabian Peninsula, the legal systems prevailing in the Islamic world are almost entirely based on Western law. Western codes were adopted during the second half of the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries. Only the law concerning personal status, succession and religious foundations is rooted in Islamic law, the Shari"a. This situation is a thorn in the flesh of Islamic opposition movements, whose political in- fluence has recently been waxing. They regard the Western charac- ter of the law applied
REINHARD SCHULZE'S QUEST FOR AN ISLAMIC ENLIGHTENMENT BY RUDOLPH PETERS Amsterdam During the last two decades the 18th century has almost become a fashionable topic of research among historians of the Islamic world. Till then this era was regarded either as a decrepit extension to the flourishing of Islamic civilization, studied only to give the heyday of Islam more relief, or as the background to 'moderniza- tion', studied in order to provide a starting point to measure the effects of the impact of the West. The Islamic world in the 18th cen- tury was regarded as dead and lifeless, passive