International Journal of Middle East Studies

Research Article

Dhimmīs in the Muslim Court: Legal Autonomy and Religious Discrimination

Najwa Al-Qattan

This article will examine the legal status of dhimmīs (non-Muslims) as documented in the sijills of the sharia courts of Ottoman Damascus in the 18th and 19th centuries. It will focus on two related aspects of dhimmī legal life: the extent of the judicial autonomy granted to non-Muslims and the kind of justice that dhimmīs obtained at the Muslim court.