DISPENSING JUSTICE IN A MINORITY CONTEXT: THE JUDICIAL ADMINISTRATION OF UPPER EGYPT UNDER MUSLIM RULE IN THE EARLY EIGHTH CENTURY

Abstract : The early Islamic judicial system can be reconstructed from narrative texts that were definitively fixed either during the last quarter of the ninth century or the tenth century. Literature specialising in judicial history such as the semi-biographical genre of akhbār al-quḍāt assumed its definitive shape during the post-miḥna period, when the victory of Sunnism progressively imposed new political and institutional order. In this literature, qāḍīs appear as main representatives of Islamic law in a Muslim context while other religious groups remain underrepresented. However, documentary sources dating from earlier periods challenge this picture. Administrative papyri, originating mostly from Upper Egypt, describe judicial instances where provincial governors play a major role. Although these papyri paint an inconclusive picture of the early Islamic judicial system, they nevertheless offer illuminating insights about the actual judicial practice. In what follows, I shall examine excerpts from judicial letters of Qurra b. Sharīk, Umayyad governor of Egypt from 90/709 to 96/714. Although most of these letters were published decades ago, I believe they still merit a detailed contextual study within the historical framework of the Umayyad legal administration. The letters concern correspondence between Qurra and Basilios, pagarch of Aphroditō. Only letters addressed by Qurra to Basilios survive. Amongst the numerous papyri discovered in the early twentieth century, ten or so were of a " judiciary " nature, dealing with instructions from the governor to Basilios regarding lawsuits.
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Mathieu Tillier. DISPENSING JUSTICE IN A MINORITY CONTEXT: THE JUDICIAL ADMINISTRATION OF UPPER EGYPT UNDER MUSLIM RULE IN THE EARLY EIGHTH CENTURY. Robert Hoyland. The Late Antique World of Early Islam: Muslims among Jews and Christians in the East Mediterranean, 25, The Darwin Press, pp.133-156, 2015, Studies in Late Antiquity and Early Islam. ⟨halshs-01352454⟩

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