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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Tale of Two Courts: Colonial Governmentality Revisited
Author:Ibrahim, Abdullahi A.
Periodical:African Studies Review
Geographic terms:Sudan
Great Britain
customary courts
Islamic law
History and Exploration
Law, Human Rights and Violence
Politics and Government
Religion and Witchcraft
Abstract:This paper analyses the correspondence exchanged between the 'sharia' court authorities ('qadis', judges of Islamic courts) and British colonial officers in Sudan to work out the relationship between the Islamic courts and the native courts constituted in the wake of the imposition of Indirect Rule in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Colonial policy was intended to withdraw 'sharia' courts from 'tribal' regions and it granted native courts concurrent jurisdiction with 'sharia' courts over Muslim personal status matters. The 'qadis' were aggrieved by this policy because it gave untrained 'tribal' chiefs and infidel British district commissioners authority to interfere in Islamic matters. The paper shows that in driving a wedge between the two court systems, the colonial administration inhibited the growth of 'sharia' even in the restricted jurisdiction permitted to it. The author concludes that the relationship between the two court systems could have been more amicable and creative had it not been for the incurable Manichaean disease which blinded the colonial State. Bibliogr., notes, ref.