Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures

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Rape: Ottoman Empire
(1,579 words)

As elsewhere in the premodern world, rape was a common occurrence in the lands governed by the Ottoman sultans. Because of the tenacious habit of abduction, it was probably more common in rural than in urban areas. Rape was clearly viewed as a criminal offence by both the Islamic law (Sharīʿa) enforced by the sultans and their own statutes ( kanun ) (al-Marghinani 1791, al-Halabi 1891, Düzdag 1983, Heyd 1973). As a legal problem, rape was treated under the broad rubric of zinā , illicit sexual relations; the usual term for rape in Ottoman Turkish was cebran zinā, zinā by force. As a social p…

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Peirce, Leslie, “Rape: 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_0141b>
First published online: 2009

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