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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Slavery, Exchange, and Islamic Law: A Glimpse from the Archives of Mali and Mauritania
Author:Lydon, GhislaineISNI
Periodical:African Economic History
Geographic terms:Mali
Subjects:slave trade
Islamic law
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
History and Exploration
Economics and Trade
Religion and Witchcraft
Law, Human Rights and Violence
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/4617607
Abstract:Based on a reading of Islamic legal theory, and relying on a handful of commercial and legal sources, including the two most commonly used legal manuals in West Africa, the compendia of Abu Muhammad 'Abdullah ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani and Khalil ibn Ishaq al-Jundi, the author explores how Islamic law, as it was practised in precolonial Mali and Mauritania, provided a framework for commercial exchange and slavery transactions and the regulation of slave property rights. After setting the context with a brief discussion of the trans-Saharan slave trade in the nineteenth century and Muslim justifications of it, the author examines the provisions regulating sales and purchases of slaves according to the Maliki doctrine of Islamic law prevailing in the region. She makes three preliminary observations. Firstly, Islamic legal principles on transactions in slaves were well known among learned Muslims who tended to be traders as well as conspicuous consumers of slaves. Secondly, local jurists provided legal intermediation to Muslims who actively sought counsel or arbitration in matters concerning slave transactions. Finally, Islamic law, as defined in classic legal manuals and represented in the official record of slave transactions, while offering guidelines, was not always followed, applied or enforced among these ostensibly litigious societies. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]