The Shari’a in context

Mai 2017
2 017

Type de pub.:

Murray Last

People’s quest for justice today and the role of courts in pre- and early-colonial northern Nigeria
The essay, written originally in northern Nigeria during the “shari’a crisis” ca. 2000, focuses on how persistent has been the “quest for justice” there over recent centuries – whether it is ‘traditional’ justice or Muslim justice or modern ‘secular’ systems of justice. Justice has a deeply rooted priority in Hausa Islamic culture: Allah is ‘just’, Judgment Day is ‘real’ and coming soon to us all. Colonial rule ca. 1910 extended the Qadi-court system, moving the handling of disputes from local rulers to a wider, bureaucratic profession of qadis; the number of cases (especially over marriage) shot up with the end of slavery. By the late 1950s and early 1960s the judicial system was becoming party-political, while today (2000 – 2015) it is widely recognised that judicial decisions have become more commercialised than ever before. In this context, then, the initial re-introduction of ‘full shari’a’ was considered feasible (and politically astute) because of the popular hopes invested in it and the enormous enthusiasm generated for it at the grass-roots of northern society.