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Title: Zimmis (non-Muslims) of Cyprus in the Sharia court : 1110/39 A.H. / 1698-1726 A.D
Author: Cicek, Kemal
ISNI:       0000 0001 3551 5459
Awarding Body: University of Birmingham
Current Institution: University of Birmingham
Date of Award: 1992
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Based on the records of the proceedings of the sharia court ($er'iye sicilleri)this study contributes to the understanding of the legal status of the non-Muslims (zimmis) in Ottoman Cyprus at the beginning of the eighteenth century. Having introduced the sources and determined their limitations, which defined the topic under discussion, the sicils are studied for their diplomatic properties. Then, a brief evaluation of the administrative and political circumstances under which the zimmi and Muslim population of the island lived is made. An analysis of nearly 2,000 recorded cases indicates that the Church of Cyprus was not as influential in the administration of the island in general in this period as has sometimes been thought. Its role was confined to the distribution of non-Muslims' tax burden and gathering these taxes and dues, and representation of the zimmis in official matters. Furthermore, the jurisdiction of the Church appears to have been less significant than was anticipated and the cadi's court held a central position in the life not only of the Muslims, but also the zimmis, who brought before him all matters including personal law and matrimonial law, theoretically under the jurisdiction of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus. Analysis shows that 40% of all recorded cases involved at least one non-Muslim. This represents the highest figure so far obtained for the zimmi communities anywhere in the Ottoman Empire. It was obvious that in general the zimmis had recourse to the cadi's court on a voluntary basis, and when they did so, they were subject to Islamic law in all aspects. With regard to Muslim-Christian relations in Cyprus, a very different picture has thus emerged from that portrayed by the travellers and historians in this period. The records show that the cadi upheld their rights against Muslims and notable officials rather than the contrary. The conclusion is that the general decline observed in the late eighteenth century in the legal status of zimmis in the Ottoman empire was not yet very noticeable in Cyprus during the period studied.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available