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

By E. Stiles

Stiles makes use of in-depth ethnographic examine of judicial reasoning and litigant job in Islamic family members courtroom in Zanzibar, Tanzania to attract new and critical conclusions on how humans comprehend and use Islamic criminal principles in marital disputes.

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By E. Stiles

Stiles makes use of in-depth ethnographic examine of judicial reasoning and litigant job in Islamic family members courtroom in Zanzibar, Tanzania to attract new and critical conclusions on how humans comprehend and use Islamic criminal principles in marital disputes.

Show description

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

Sample text

31 percent. So, Mzee Bweni’s view was not entirely accurate. Women, however, do lose fewer cases than men as plaintiffs, and as we will see in subsequent chapters, divorce is always available to women in one way or another, and many of the cases that were settled ended in divorce. However, often the ruling would please neither party, and it was sometimes difficult to determine who was more favored in the ruling. Even if a woman “won” a case by getting a ruling in her favor, it did not mean that she went home happy or got the outcome that she wished for.

However, although documents demonstrate the way in which their preparers present legal issues in a formulaic way, they cannot clearly illustrate the variation in participants’ perspectives and the different shapes a case may take throughout the proceedings. This chapter adds an ethnographic dimension to work on disputes and documents in Islamic courts by exploring the often-circuitous route from testimony to text. Juxtaposing courtroom ethnography with court-produced documents illustrates the way in which the many different parties to a dispute may exercise authority and exert authorial control in constructing claims and resolving disputes.

Prior to his appointment, Shaykh Hamid taught religion for 22 years at a school on the island of Tumbatu. He was born on the island in the 1930s into a fairly typical family. His father worked as a fisherman, like many men in the area even today, and his mother farmed rice, cassava, and potatoes for a living. The kadhi told me that his father taught him to fish, and although had never gone to school himself, he had studied the Qur’an and sheria, which seemed to instill a love of learning in his son.

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