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The grammars of adjudication

Zouhair Ghazzal


Table of cases

Texte intégral

1Cases are divided and numbered by Chapter.

C 3-1

Debt in the form of a silk-loan from Emir Khalīl Shihāb to the Dūmānīs.

Beirut sharī‘a courts, 7 December 1846.

C 3-2

Typical contract of sale of an urban property involving a straightforward offer and acceptance.

Damascus sharī‘a courts, 11 May 1803.

C 3-3

Transfer of the kadak and khulū (“right of occupancy”) of a barber’s shop from one tenant to another for a specific pre-approved sum. Also includes a fictitious debt.

Damascus sharī‘a courts, 1 July 1809.

C 3-4

Purchase and transfer of a kadak.

Damascus sharī‘a courts, 15 July 1809.

C 3-5

Selling of a combination of kadak and khulū.

Damascus sharī‘a courts, 2 May 1803.

C 3-6

Marad procedural fiction.

Damascus sharī‘a courts, 31 July 1809.

C 3-7

Genuine marad litigation.

Damascus sharī‘a courts, 26 July 1809.

C 3-8

Marad where the investment “replaced” the value of the rent per se.

Damascus sharī‘a courts, 20 May 1809.

C 3-9

Procedural fiction to fix the “equitable price” between the plaintiff-seller and the buyer.

Damascus sharī‘a courts, 25 July 1809.

C 3-10

Fictitious litigation to fix the price.

Damascus sharī‘a courts, 25 July 1809.

C 3-11

Sharecropping contract involving a procedural fiction.

Damascus sharī‘a courts, 20 July 1809.

C 3-12

Sharecropping contract.

Damascus sharī‘a courts, 3 May 1803.

C 5-1

Estate of Bashīr II. Involves procedural fiction based on “unlawful occupation.”

Beirut sharī‘a courts, 24 September 1857.

C 5-2

Transfer of properties between two Shihābī emirs and their wives. Involves same procedural fiction as in C 5-1.

Beirut sharī‘a courts, 6 May 1857.

C 6-1

Waqf of Bashīr III. Purpose was to validate the waqf through the procedural fiction of the “three-founders” technique.

Beirut sharī‘a courts, 8 July 1852.

C 6-2

Case similar to C 6-1 in validating a waqf through the “three-founders” technique.

Beirut sharī‘a courts, 13 April 1843.

C 7-1

Plaintiff accuses defendant of unlawful occupation. Genuine case of property restitution.

Beirut sharī‘a courts, 20 February 1848.

C 7-2

Another case of unlawful occupation, where the defendants failed to show up at the last moment, thus prompting for a lengthy fatwā in favor of an ex parte ruling for the plaintiff.

Beirut sharī‘a courts, 12 May 1843.

C 8-1

Case of an oral alteration of an original waqfiyya by the founder himself.

Beirut sharī‘a courts, June 1, 1844.

C 8-2

Case of unlawful taking of a share of an inheritance, which involves a fatwā regarding the legitimacy of the children of one of the founder’s daughters as beneficiaries.

Beirut sharī‘a courts, 26 March 1850.

C 9-1

Confrontation between the regional council of Damascus and the Shī‘ī arfūshs, who were tax-farmers in the north of Lebanon.

Regional council of Damascus, Majlis shūra Dimashq al-‘ālī, 18 December 1844.

C 9-2

Complaint of villagers against their creditor.

Damascus council, 6 December 1844.

C 9-3

Complaint of villagers for having been overburdened by their creditors, thus requesting a review of the debt schedule.

Damascus council, 21 November 1844.

C 9-4

Petition from all the inhabitants of Damascus and im requesting a plea for mercy.

Damascus council, 14 January 1845.

C 9-5

Petition of a villager regarding the status of his village, and which centers on a private family waqf.

Damascus council, 24 October 1844.

C 9-6

Petition of villagers regarding their village which was part of the waqf al-aramayn.

Damascus council, 5 January 1845.

C 9-7

A privileged peasant reviewing with the majlis his special status.

Damascus council, 18 February 1845.

C 9-8

Case of a farm whose water canal turned out to be the pièce-de-résistance in a case forwarded to the majlis.

Damascus council, 15 November 1844.

C 9-9

Petition from a waqf’s administrator arguing that the villagers of a certain village under her dominion should be exempt from taxes.

Damascus council, 3 January 1845.

C 10-1

Sultanic firman on conscription addressed to the people of Beirut.

Copy based on the Beirut sharī‘a courts registers, May-June 1850.

C 10-2

A firman, received in Beirut and dated April 1852, aimed at regulating what was thought to be excessive gains from money-lending, targeted the ribā practice without ever mentioning it by name.

id., April 1852.

C 10-3

Sultanic firman regulating the land and sea customs of the empire.

id., 24 February 1846.

C 10-4

Firman regarding the wealth of individuals who were the beneficiaries of an inheritance, and the possibilities of using their wealth for public purposes.

id., 14 October 1866.

C 11-1

Procedural fiction common to many homicide settlements where the plaintiff accuses the defendant of deliberately killing a kin member, without, however, furnishing any evidence for his allegations.

Beirut sharī‘a courts, 4 September 1859.

C 11-2

Plaintiff accuses defendant of murdering his nephew.

Beirut sharī‘a courts, 29 August 1867.

C 11-3

Plaintiff accuses defendant of murdering her nephew.

id., 20 July 1867.

C 11-4

Father accuses his son of killing his sister. Defendant takes oath and denies allegations.

id., 14 September 1866

C 11-5

Plaintiff accuses the inhabitants of a village of killing the victim. But while the representative of the defendants maintained their innocence, a cash-settlement was nevertheless reached.

id., September 1867.

C 11-6

Report describing a murdered body.

id., 2 September 1866.

C 11-7

Plaintiffs accuse defendant of beating their mother, thus causing her premature death. Includes a muftī’s fatwā in favor of defendant.

Damascus sharī‘a courts, 27 December 1836.

C 11-8

Plaintiff accuses defendant of killing his cousin. Involves a fatwā and payment of the diya.

id., April 1837.

C 11-9

Plaintiff challenges the defendant regarding an alleged visit made to him by the missing victim.

id., 3 October 1828.

C 11-10

Theft case within the jurisdiction of the regional council.

Damascus council, 8 January 1845.

C 11-11

Theft case with a one-year imprisonment for the culprit.


C 11-12

Alleged theft; culprit released from prison.


C 11-13

Defendant accused of killing his wife, and an incarceration follows.


C 11-14

Culprits accused of gunning down people in a nearby village.


C 11-15

Case of an officer who was aggressed by a passerby for having gazed at a woman.

id., 5 November 1844.


2Working on Ottoman texts is always a solitary enterprise. An early draft of the present book was made possible thanks to a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (N.E.H.) in 1996-97. The publication of the final draft would not have been possible without the tireless efforts of Baudouin Dupret who, through his ethnomethodological work on legal systems, introduced me to new ways for reading texts and understanding court practices; the patient labor of Kathy Wood for the copy-editing of a long manuscript; and the generosity of Franck Mermier for proceeding with this publication.

© Presses de l’Ifpo, 2007

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