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date: 07 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article examines the relationship between the ‘urfi (monarchical/sultanic) and the shari‘a courts in the administration of justice in Safavid Iran. In particular, it considers the notion that there was a split between a sacred and a secular basis for justice in Safavid Iran. To prove that this is not the case, the article looks at the roles of the Shah, the sadr, the qazis, the shaykh al-Islam, and the divan-begi in administering justice during the period. It shows that legal roles and processes in the Safavid justice system unfolded within a religious framework, reflecting the interface between ideal stipulations and practical ends, and between public shari‘a -derived law and private monarchical law. This provides evidence that shari‘a and ‘urfi courts were interdependent and provided overlays of jurisdiction in Safavid Iran.

Keywords: ‘urfi court, shari‘a court, administration of justice, Safavid Iran, Shah, sadr, qazis, shaykh al-Islam, divan-begi, monarchical law

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