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Provincial judges: the Sharī'a judiciary of mid-twentieth-century Yemen

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Chapter Summary

Provincial judges in the mid-twentieth century Yemeni Imamate were very substantial men, not merely jurists practicing in the local and state-level sharì'a courts of the period but also, a number of them, major scholars, teachers and literary jurists as well. In their careers, sharì'a court judges exhibited a number of patterns that the author has tried to illustrate using the four principal biographies and, within them, the partial biographies of many other individuals who served in appointments in Ibb and elsewhere. Using the details of provincial careers the chapter portrays the practical and human side of the venerable dialogue of the Zaydì and Shàfi'ì schools of law in the pre-revolutionary highlands. Finally, it makes a small contribution to the still larger relation of the sharì'a to various systems of custom, a theme that has preoccupied Aharon Layish throughout his distinguished career.

Keywords: Ibb Province; Judge al-Iryànì; Judge al-Warìth; mid-twentieth-century Yemen; provincial judges; Sharì'a judiciary; Zaydì school



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