Sulh in Eighteenth-century Ottoman fatwa compilations
Hosainy, Hadi Mohammed (2007) Sulh in Eighteenth-century Ottoman fatwa compilations. [Thesis]
Sulh is a mechanism for dispute settlement in the Hanafi and Ottoman law. This study aims to explore this concept through three fatwa compilations of eighteenth-century şeyhülislams, namely Behcetü'l-fetâvâ ma‘a’n-nukûl, Fetava-yı Abdurrahim and Neticet’ül-fetâvâ me‘an-nukul. It has been tried to situate the concept of sulh in the broader picture of the Ottoman law. It will be argued that sulh has been a practice through which the individuals can behave as courts. In other words, the disputants can settle their disputes based on very well-defined legal principles. This makes sulh different from mere negotiation or mediation in which the disputants are crucial in setting the regulations of the process of the dispute settlement. Furthermore, it will be also argued that while the legal opinions of the eighteenth-century Ottoman jurists are very consistent, they are not in total agreement with the pre-Ottoman and earlier Ottoman jurists. This further observation seems to have implications for the broader debates on the ‘closure of the gate of ictihâd’ as well as homogeneity and integration in the Ottoman law of the eighteenth century.
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