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Islamic Law and Empire in Ottoman Cairo$
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James E. Baldwin

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781474403092

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474403092.001.0001

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A culture of disputing: how did Cairenes use the legal system?

A culture of disputing: how did Cairenes use the legal system?

(p.117) Chapter 6 A culture of disputing: how did Cairenes use the legal system?
Islamic Law and Empire in Ottoman Cairo

James E. Baldwin

Edinburgh University Press

Chapter 6 examines how Cairene litigants navigated the multiplicity of forums and practices with overlapping jurisdictions that constituted Cairo’s legal system. Moving away from the state-centric orientation of much Ottoman historiography, this chapter adopts the perspective of the legal consumer in order to discover how legal institutions were used, rather that the role the state intended them to play. The chapter emphasizes the lack of formal hierarchies or defined relationships between the different legal forums, and argues that this jurisdictional imprecision offered litigants opportunities to manipulate the system’s pluralism to their own advantage.

Keywords:   Sharīʿa courts, Dīvān-i Hümāyūn (Imperial Council), Al-Dīwān al-ʿĀlī (Ottoman governor’s tribunal), Petitions, Ṣulḥ (mediation), Fatwās, Extra-judicial dispute resolution, Intimidation, Legal pluralism

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