Why I No Longer Use the Term “Qāḍī-Court Documents”

By Marina Rustow I came into my graduate seminar on Arabic legal documents with some experience in paleography and diplomatics, but vanishingly little knowledge of the material I was going to be teaching. I knew I wouldn’t always, or even often, have answers about how to read the sources, let alone how the judicial system … Continue reading Why I No Longer Use the Term “Qāḍī-Court Documents”

Are Medieval Arabic Judicial Documents as Opaque as They Look?

By Marina Rustow Legal documents have survived from the medieval Islamic world in considerable quantity, but the mystery of their quotidian production and use abides. The mystery concerns personnel and physical location: Who wrote documents, and where? Where did witnesses sign them? To what extent were judges involved in their production and handling? Over the … Continue reading Are Medieval Arabic Judicial Documents as Opaque as They Look?

Islamic law and the documentary record before 1500: Unsolved problems and untried solutions

By Marina Rustow (Princeton University) This essay is part of the Islamic Law Blog’s Roundtable on Islamic Legal History & Historiography, edited by Intisar Rabb (Editor-in-Chief) and Mariam Sheibani (Lead Blog Editor), and introduced with a list of further readings in the short post by Intisar Rabb: “Methods and Meaning in Islamic Law: Introduction." Although … Continue reading Islamic law and the documentary record before 1500: Unsolved problems and untried solutions