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The Calligraphic StateTextual Domination and History in a Muslim Society$
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Brinkley Messick

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780520076051

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520076051.001.0001

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Judicial Presence

Judicial Presence

(p.167) Chapter 9 Judicial Presence
The Calligraphic State

Brinkley Messick

University of California Press

This chapter looks at judgeship. It further develops the ideal of presence as it relates to shari'a court processes and to governmental practice under the imams. The vocabulary of zulm is precisely that utilized in shakwas. Proper conduct of the muwajaha style of government depended on the elimination and avoidance of barriers between ruler and ruled. A judge's personal knowledge of particular people and their affairs constituted an important and recognized basis for judicial action. A judge had to concern himself mainly with 'urf that was relevant to the applied shari'a. For judges as for ruling imams, the basic public muwajaha, the open court encounter, implicitly required the acquisition of a spectrum of informal knowledge. A further assessment of changes and continuities in the shari'a courts must take account of innovations introduced in the Ottoman period.

Keywords:   judgeship, shari'a court, government, imams, shakwas, muwajaha, judicial action

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