Marriage and Divorce in People’s Courts of Turkestan: The Interaction of Adat and Sharia under the Russian Governance
Type of publication: Research Article
ethnology of central asia, peoples courts, customary law, sharia, russian empire, turkestan, marriage customs, divorce, levirate, condition of muslim women, qazi, bey, bride-wealth
Drawing on a range of previously unpublished archival sources, the article examines the practice of settling marriage cases in peoples courts of Turkestan, the changes in the latter introduced after the reforms initiated by the Russian authorities, as well as the general changes in legal awareness in the second half of the 19th and the early 20th centuries. Special attention is paid to cases dealing with bridewealth, divorces, levirate and the custom of leaving children with their father or fathers relatives upon termination of marriage. The author argues that in the second half of the 19th century there was observed a gradual departure from certain Adat norms that implied neglect of the womans opinion in issues related to marriage and divorce. Judges in peoples courts began to ground their decisions more frequently in Sharia norms, as well as to follow its purer, classic, version. Notions of individual rights, and of womens rights in particular, were widening in the general legal awareness, even though there was still no convergence of customary law systems with the offi cial Russian legislation.
Brusina, O.I. 2012. Marriage and Divorce in People’s Courts of Turkestan: The Interaction of Adat and Sharia under the Russian Governance. Etnograficheskoe obozrenie 1: 151-166
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