Download State, Society, and Law in Islam: Ottoman Law in Comparative by Haim Gerber PDF

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By Haim Gerber

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Extra info for State, Society, and Law in Islam: Ottoman Law in Comparative Perspective

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What, then, is the connection in the present case study? The answer can be summarized under the title of predictability. We have seen that contrary to Weber's suggestion kadi justice in the area under study was characterized by a great deal of predictability and internal consistency. As Turner has claimed, the supposed unpredictability of Ottoman law was an expression of a patrimonial political system, one in which the government was all-powerful and the citizens totally powerless. The extent to which this legal system was predictable would seem to indicate that the Ottoman political system was, in fact, much less harsh than is usually supposed.

Thus, in thousands of estates in seventeenth-century Bursa, countless numbers of people are recorded as owing sums of money to the deceased person. There is no question that this vast credit institution rested solely on witnesses. Inheritors would otherwise have had to summon scores if not hundreds of people in order to collect their debts. This was not only unlikely, but there is also no evidence that inheritors were in the habit of doing this. There is not the slightest doubt that the recorded evidence was rarely contested, simply because the court accepted written evidence as a matter of routine.

3 But to corne back to Weber, he approached analysis of the world's legal systems by proposing a fourfold classification based on two basic variables: rationality versus irrationality, and formalism versus substantiveness. 4 A legal system was said to be rational when judicial decisions were reached through a process of intellectual reasoning of some sort. When the process was based on some irrational mode of thinking (ordeals by fire and the like), the system as a whole was said to be irrational.

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