The project examines both edited and unedited Arabic legal documents from a new, comparative perspective. Documents, as immediate manifestations of legal practice, were instruments for guaranteeing subjective rights of persons for whom the copy had been issued. Most studies on Medieval Islamic legal practice, however, focus on literary sources (notarial manuals, responsae, juridical treaties) and neglect documents mainly for two reasons: 1) cursive handwriting and technical language make it difficult to decipher them; 2) the existing collections come from varied sources, which hindered their synthetic analysis. This project inverts the focus with a new historical perspective: thanks to its innovative full-text database that analyses documents based on functional components and sequence-patterns, it reveals significant variations in structure and juridical clauses among a relevant number of documents, both in detail and from multiple aspects.

From the final phase of the ERC-financed phase of the project onwards, the ILM-project members have made an effort to render their work available to a wider community. Two different research tools are proposed for researchers studying Islamic documentary texts:

1) The “Corpus of Arabic Legal Documents”: see

2) A new version of the database aiming to enlarge the former ILM-research group.

In brief...

The Project ILM: Summary of its achievements (2009-2013)

The project “Islamic Law materialized” (ILM) provides a new perspective on the study of Islamic law by analyzing published and unpublished Arabic legal documents. Throughout history, deeds, immediate manifestations of legal practice, were instruments for assuring the subjective rights of persons who held a copy of them. The fundamental question of the ILM project is this: whether and how notarial practice corresponded and responded to the rules of Islamic law (fiqh), as developed by Muslim jurists over centuries.

The newly created database “Comparing Arabic Legal Documents” (CALD) offers the full Arabic text, images and metadata for each document. Due to its elaborate typology and chronological data, cross queries for precise analytical purposes become possible. This innovative tool facilitates the study of our sources, which are cursorily written, contain technical language, and are often scattered over various collections.

Over the last five years, the ILM research group has constituted a corpus of nearly 2400 legal notarizations on 1659 documents with 4770 images and over 64000 Arabic textual sequences. 979 specimens are published, and many are integrated with the full Arabic text. The verification of published and unpublished documents is ongoing. More than half of our data concerns unpublished documents from under-examined corpuses from al-Andalus, Egypt and Palestine from the 13th to 15th century.

Taken as a whole, CALD constitutes a new type of dataset for the study of Arabic legal documents in Islam that allows for a first-ever survey of

Nouvelle Parution

Christian Müller, Der Kadi und seine Zeugen : Studie der mamlukischen Ḥaram-Dokumente aus Jerusalem, Wiesbaden, Harrassowitz Verlag, Deutsche Morgenländische Gesellschaft, 2013, X+647 p.

L’étude des documents légaux : nouvelles approches de la papyrologie et de la diplomatique arabes »

Colloque 27-29 juin 2013
Organisateurs : Lahcen Daaif et Moez Dridi dans le cadre du Projet ILM
S’efforçant d’interroger autrement le matériau papyrologique et diplomatique, ce colloque se propose d’éclairer le rapport entre matérialité des sources et conception de l’histoire. D’une part, il explore le fonctionnement du système judiciaire musulman, et à travers lui, le statut juridique des minorités religieuses, de l’autre, il réexamine le rapport du monde musulman médiéval à l’Autre, aux pays limitrophes de la dār al-ḥarb

Le Projet ILM « Le droit musulman et sa matérialisation : nouvelles perspectives ». The projet Islamic Law Materialiazed : New Perspectives

Table-ronde : 21-22 mars 2013
Organisateurs : Lahcen Daaif et Moez Dridi dans le cadre du Projet ILM
Cette table ronde a pour objet principal de présenter à un large public les travaux de l'équipe du projet "Islamic Law Materialized", en particulier sa base de données CALD (Comparing Arabic Legal documents) qui contient quelque 3000 documents.