An Islamic Court in Context: An Ethnographic Study of by E. Stiles

By E. Stiles

Stiles makes use of in-depth ethnographic research of judicial reasoning and litigant task in Islamic relatives courtroom in Zanzibar, Tanzania to attract new and significant conclusions on how humans comprehend and use Islamic criminal principles in marital disputes.

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Extra info for An Islamic Court in Context: An Ethnographic Study of Judicial Reasoning

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Women may file for divorce in court and are granted it on a variety of grounds, the most common being desertion and lack of maintenance. However, most divorces happen out of the court through repudiation or variations on a type of divorce known as khuluu (also written as khului or khula, from the Arabic khul’), in which a woman compensates her husband financially; this is common in Zanzibar and will be discussed at length in later chapters. 1). The village of Mkokotoni is situated in the northwestern part of the island, and is the administrative center for northern Unguja.

In chapter five, I explore the position of the kadhi between state and community through looking at the practice of witnessing. This chapter also examines how different types of authority figures are party to the dispute resolution process. I also consider how the kadhi differentiates between types of testimony and prioritizes the authority of particular witnesses. In a number of cases, Shaykh Hamid justified that a decision that he considered technically unlawful was appropriate because it was fair or equitable.

K ADHI, Court, and Anthropologist 13 governors, liwalis, rather than Islamic legal experts who were administering the law in Zanzibar (1987). Although John Gray writes that Seyyid Said “tried his hand” at judicial reform and went out of his way to try to appoint kadhis of worthwhile reputation who were respected in the community (1962), little is known about Seyyid Said’s specific legislation affecting the islands, and no formal process of enacting legislation is evident. The one significant piece that is considered to be a decree from the period of Said, dating back to 1845, stated that each kadhi must resolve a dispute according to his own school of Islamic law.

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