The French Mandate authorities in Greater Lebanon formally recognized the Ja'fari madhhab in January 1926. As a result, state-led shari'a courts in Beirut, South Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley, the Lebanese Ja'fari court, were authorized to adjudicate matters of personal status-marriage, divorce, nafaqa, inheritance and property. As the first Lebanese Shi'i institution to enjoy communal autonomy granted by the state, the records from the Ja'fari courts provide insight into the everyday life-worlds of ordinary Shi'i Muslims in Lebanon during a period of gradual social change. Through a close reading of some unique cases-dealing with inheritance, maslaha and zinā-this article invites a consideration of how both the bureaucratization and practice of Shi'i law in these courts were central to the institutionalization of a new kind of Shi'i sectarianism in Mandate-era Lebanon.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science
- French Mandate
- Ja'fari court
- Personal status law