Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures

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Law: Access to the Legal System: Ottoman Empire
(1,444 words)

The Ottoman legal system was a complex one that included administrative and public law ( kanun ), Islamic law (Sharīʿa), and customary law ( ʿurf ). The Sharīʿa had the most direct impact on women's lives, and this examination of women's access to the Ottoman legal system largely focuses on the Sharīʿa court ( muḥākama sharʿiyya ). Women in rural areas were also directly affected by customary law, but we do not have sources that would let us study how it affected women. Women had significant access to the Ottoman legal system; that they did so was closely linked to the role of the qāḍī (judge) and…

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Meriwether, Margaret L., “Law: Access to the Legal System: Ottoman Empire”, in: Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures, General Editor Suad Joseph. Consulted online on 07 December 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1872-5309_ewic_EWICCOM_0105g>
First published online: 2009

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