A study of Islamic law and political power in the Ottoman Empire's richest provincial cityWhat did Islamic law mean in the early modern period, a world of great Muslim empires?
Often portrayed as the quintessential jurists' law, to a large extent it was developed by scholars outside the purview of the state.
However, for the Sultans of the Ottoman Empire, justice was the ultimate duty of the monarch, and Islamic law was a tool of legitimation and governance.
James E. Baldwin examines how the interplay of these two conceptions of Islamic law religious scholarship and royal justice undergirded legal practice in Cairo, the largest and richest city in the Ottoman provinces.
Through detailed studies of the various formal and informal dispute resolution institutions and practices that formed the fabric of law in Ottoman Cairo, his book contributes to key questions concerning the relationship between the shari'a and political power, the plurality of Islamic legal practice, and the nature of centre-periphery relations in the Ottoman Empire.Key featuresOffers a new interpretation of the relationship between Islamic law and political powerPresents law as the key nexus connecting Egypt with the imperial capital Istanbul during the period of Ottoman decentralizationStudies judicial institutions such as the governor's Diwan and the imperial council that have received little attention in previous scholarshipIntegrates the study of legal records with an analysis of how legal practice was represented in contemporary chroniclesProvides transcriptions and translations of a range of Ottoman legal documents