Ibn al-Ḥārith al-Khushanī, Quḍāt Qurṭuba. Pages 177-179.

In this excerptfromQuḍāt Qurṭuba, Khushanī recounts an incident that took place at a time ofsevere famine, which led to many criminal acts, death sentences, and hand amputations. The emir Muḥammad charged the ṣāḥib al-sūq, Ibrāhīm b. Ḥusayn b. ʿĀṣim, with dispensing cases quickly and harshly. One day a young boy (fatā) was brought to Ibn ʿĀṣim by the boy’s neighbors, who complained about his evil deeds, although they did not want him to be punished, only to be taught a lesson. The ṣāḥib al-sūq asked the eldest of the neighbors what punishment he thought applicable in this case, and the old man answered in an exaggerated way (al-mithl waʾl-mubālagha) that the boy deserved to be put in the hands of the executioners. To the neighbors’ dismay, the boy was crucified. In her chapter in Justice and Leadership in Early Islamic Courts, Maribel Fierro uses this passage to show that wordplay, jokes, and exaggerated utterances could have dangerous consequences for everyone, including judges. 

This source is part of the Online Companion to the book Justice and Leadership in Early Islamic Courts, ed. Intisar A. Rabb and Abigail Krasner Balbale(ILSP/HUP 2017)—a collection of primary sources and other material used in and related to the book.

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