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Women as expert witnesses in pre-modern islamic courts

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Chapter Summary

In this chapter, the author focuses on the role of ordinary women, in general, and midwives, in particular, as providers of expert testimony concerning the intimate parts of the female body. He uses legal and historical sources to analyze the involvement of ordinary women and midwives in expert witnessing in pre-modern Muslim societies. He sees two points of interest in the chapter. The first is legal, that is, the attitude of Muslim jurists to expert testimony, in general, and to female expert testimony, in particular a topic that is not adequately covered in research. The second, the social aspect, is the relationship between the legal status of women as expert witnesses and their social status in patriarchal societies.

Keywords: expert witnesses; female slave; legal status; midwife; Muslim jurists; pre-modern Islamic courts; social status; virginity; women testimony



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