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Criminal Law in the Ottoman Empire

Questions for seminar:
  • Chapter 1 of the kanunname covers sexual offenses. Compare this with the treatment of zina (fornication) in fiqh texts, as described in chapter 2 of Peters. How should we describe the relationship between the kanunname and fiqh? Are they compatible?
  • Several actors other than the qadi are involved in the enforcement of criminal law. Who are they and how should we understand their roles? Does what they are doing count as "law"?
Assigned Reading:
Rudolph Peters, Crime and Punishment in Islamic Law: Theory and Practice from the Sixteenth to the Twenty-First Century (Cambridge University Press, 2005), chapter 2, “The classical doctrine,” and chapter 3, “The implementation of Islamic criminal law in the pre-modern period: The Ottoman Empire.”
Primary Sources:

A homicide case from the shari'a court of Safad, Palestine.

Further Reading:
James E. Baldwin, "Prostitution, Islamic Law and Ottoman Societies," Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 55 (2012), 117-52.
Eyal Ginio, "The Administration of Criminal Justice in Ottoman Selānik (Salonica) during the Eighteenth Century," Turcica 30 (1998), 185-210.
Uriel Heyd, Studies in Old Ottoman Criminal Law (Clarendon Press, 1973).
Colin Imber, "Zina in Ottoman Law," in Imber, Studies in Ottoman History and Law (Isis Press, 1996).
Leslie Peirce, Morality Tales: Law and Gender in the Ottoman Court of Aintab (University of California Press, 2003): in particular, Part III, "Law, Community and the State," is an interesting discussion centered around a particular case of alleged heresy in the sixteenth century.
Rudolph Peters, "Murder on the Nile: Homicide Trials in 19th-Century Egyptian Shari'a Courts," Die Welt des Islams n.s. 30 (1990), 98-116.
Kristen Stilt, Islamic Law in Action: Authority, Discretion and Everyday Experiences in Mamluk Egypt (Oxford UP, 2012). This book is about the Mamluk period, but is a detailed study of the important character the muhtasib.