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Sharia and the Making of the Modern EgyptianIslamic Law and Custom in the Courts of Ottoman Cairo$
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Reem A. Meshal

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9789774166174

Published to Cairo Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5743/cairo/9789774166174.001.0001

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The Rights of God (Huquq Allah)

The Rights of God (Huquq Allah)

“A Moral Transgression but Not a Crime”

(p.141) Chapter Six The Rights of God (Huquq Allah)
Sharia and the Making of the Modern Egyptian

Reem A. Meshal

American University in Cairo Press

As the Ottoman state attempted to regulate what were arguably the most regulated of Muslim institutions—waqf, marriage, and divorce—it did so with the understanding, at least for the better part of the sixteenth century, that this was a right delegated to its rulers as institutors of a perfected moral order. The ‘rights of God’ could never be changed in and of themselves, but they could be refined where informed by custom. The lowering of the evidentiary proof required for the fixed penalties, and the judicial movement to push more and more items under the umbrella of ta‘zir (discretionary punishment), meant that the state was now in a position to refine the link between the rights of God and custom. Although custom was never completely abandoned as a factor in legal thought, the traditional reliance on local custom became instead a willingness to adopt as a universal principle whatever “custom” seemed to fit best into the Ottoman ideal of correct conduct.

Keywords:   divorce, marriage, rights of God, waqf

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