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“Islamic Law materialized” (ILM) provides a new perspective on the study of Islamic law by analyzing published and unpublished Arabic legal documents.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 The verification of published and unpublished documents is ongoing. More than half of our data concerns unpublished documents from under-examined corpuses from al-Andalus, Egypt and Palestine from the 13th to 15th century.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