Halil Inalcik and His Studies on Ottoman Law

The publishing of Halil İnalcık regarding “Ottoman Law” is the focus of this article. Throughout his 65 years of academic career, Prof. İnalcık has published many articles and books on Ottoman Law. In some of them, he published the basic sources of Ottoman Sultanic laws. He also made distinction between Sharia and Sultanic law in Ottoman legal practice. In this regard, Prof. İnalcık emphasized that beside Sharia, which is based on Divine regulation, Ottoman Sultans had published Sultanic decrees with the force of law. These regulations had historical basis relied on old Turko-Mongolian khanates in Central Asia. According to İnalcık, these legal regulations were in effect until the overall reforms of Tanzimat era. In this period, instead of old style legislation, legal systems were translated from foreign codes. In reaction to this practice, conservative authorities enacted an authentic Civil Code, which is known as “Majalla”. In the rest of the article, researches of Prof. İnalcık, published in Encyclopedia of Islam (2nd edition), such as “Kanun”, “Kanunname” and “Mahkama” are introduced. Finally, his article handling the “ilmiye” class in the Ottoman Empire is taken into consideration. In this article, he expained the education process of the ilmiye members and hierarchical strata among them. He also emphasized the conflicts between the upper and lower classes of ulema and abuses within the system.


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