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By E. Stiles

Stiles makes use of in-depth ethnographic examine of judicial reasoning and litigant task in Islamic family members court docket in Zanzibar, Tanzania to attract new and critical conclusions on how humans comprehend and use Islamic felony rules in marital disputes.

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As noted earlier, many researchers have noted that women tend to “win” cases in Islamic courts more often than they lose, or more often than men win cases in the same courts. In my work, I find it difficult to describe the outcome of a case as a simple “win” or “loss,” even when the kadhi issues a clear ruling. 3 Marital Disputes between Husbands and Wives by Gender of Plaintiff, January 1, 1999–July 15, 2000 Type Number Marital disputes opened by wife Marital disputes opened by husband Total 57 (81%) 13 (18%) 70 Note: Table includes disputes between wives and husbands that did not involve child custody as primary complaint, N = 70.

Although Mkokotoni is not on the main road north, people from town often come to the market there because it is known for a fine selection of fresh fish. On any given day, the market vendors offered everything from octopus to skate to a delicious small fish known as tassi. A dirt road traveling northeast from the market area of Mkokotoni leads past a busy primary school to the whitewashed colonial-era building that houses several regional government offices. The kadhi’s courtroom is here, next door to the courtroom of the secular jaji, or judge.

A revolutionary government was established in Zanzibar under the leadership of first president Abeid Karume. Throughout the British period and with the terms of independence, Zanzibari Arabs maintained their domination of political life and local government. Some scholars propose that the continued dominance and the favored status of Zanzibari Arabs by the British was the major cause of the Zanzibar revolution (Lofchie 1965). However, others argue that this ethnic conf lict model is a simplistic explanation for a more complex phenomenon; Abdul Sheriff, for one, argues that ideologies of race and ethnicity “were allowed to take precedence,” and thus masked the more substantial underlying class conf licts (1991).

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