Abstract

Although human rights doctrine has primarily been a product of Western history, non-Western conceptions and interpretations of issues which we may today link with "human rights" can undoubtedly enrich the debates on this topic. The Ottoman system prioritized the benefits of collectivities rather than those of individuals, and emphasized justice rather than freedom. This paper argues that both the Ottoman sultan as well as the courts took great care to observe the Shariah law, understood of course from a Sunni perspective, which accorded extensive rights to the individual, Muslim and non-Muslim alike. These rights included the right to life, property, fair trial, and social protection, as well as specific rights for women. Contrary to some claims, the state in the Ottoman case did not seek to take control of the "public sphere" unless politics set in. It is only after the Tanzimat reforms of the nineteenth century, influenced primarily by European laws and institutions, that the state came to predominate the public sphere, thus narrowing the scope for civic action.

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1085-794X
Print ISSN
0275-0392
Pages
pp. 454-482
Launched on MUSE
2004-05-19
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.