Clara Pitocchi

Clara Pitocchi

clara.pitocchi@unimore.it

The aim of the proposed research is to find an answer to the question of how, and why, Jews in the medieval Muslim world used Islamic Courts, and thus drawing a socio-legal history of Jews in sharī’a courts from the point of view of the legal consumers, drawing primarily on documentary evidence from the Cairo Geniza. My survey will explore old topics through a new lens, that is the prism of legal pluralism, defined as a condition in which a population observes more than one body of law. The paradigm of legal pluralism will help to shed light on certain aspects of Islamic rule in Fatimid Egypt, verifying whether legal pluralism existed or not, and if it was of the strong or weak type, depending on how much the government interfered. There were other legal venues that non-Muslim litigants could appeal to that constituted what Simonsohn (2011) called “Islam’s judicial bazaar”, these venues offered petitioners alternative ways to bypass the local court or challenge its decisions.