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By E. Stiles

Stiles makes use of in-depth ethnographic examine of judicial reasoning and litigant task in Islamic kin courtroom in Zanzibar, Tanzania to attract new and demanding conclusions on how humans comprehend and use Islamic felony rules 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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Most people in this part of Zanzibar refer to the Islamic courts as korti (court) ya kadhi. ” Mzee Bweni, a friend and neighbor in his sixties who was the primary person who watched over me in Kinansi, jokingly referred to the courts as “the place of chongoo” (the one-eyed), which implied that the kadhi always decided in favor of women. Was Mzee Bweni right? Let’s look at the outcomes of cases. ” As noted earlier, many researchers have noted that women tend to “win” cases in Islamic courts more often than they lose, or more often than men win cases in the same courts.

The desk was always tidy, and a well-worn leather-bound Qur’an and several aged books of hadith in Arabic were neatly arranged on top. In the center of the desk lay one or two current case files and an inexpensive ballpoint pen. Two wooden chairs for disputants sat facing the desk. The clerks’ desk was near the doorway. It was much smaller and far less tidy; most of the time it was piled high with case files. I always sat on a chair against the wall near Shaykh Hamid’s desk; I was often unlucky and got the worst chair in the room with the broken rattan seat.

Eventually, the kingdom was politically divided. Seyyid Majid, Said’s second eldest son, ruled Zanzibar from 1856 until 1870. Majid’s brother, Seyyid Barghash, succeeded him and became Sultan of Zanzibar from 1870 until 1888. In a series of developments that corresponded with increasing British interest in the region, Zanzibar eventually became fully autonomous from Muscat. For example, Seyyid Thuwani, who succeeded Said in Oman, was unhappy with Majid’s rise in Zanzibar and prepared to take it militarily, but was thwarted by British intervention (Gray 1967).

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