Tag Archives: Medieval

Probable Islamic Influence on The Presumption of Innocence

justice-gavel-and-book

The historian Marcel Boisard states in his journal “On the probable influence of Islam on western public and international law”, published in the International Journal of Middle East studies[i]:

“It was above all the very high ethical standard of Islamic law that impressed the medieval West and provoked the development of a more refined legal thinking. This aspect is undoubtedly the most durable merit of Muslim influence, as illustrated by the administration of justice. Until the Crusades, legal procedure in the West consisted of “God’s judgments” by boiling water or by duel, or by “ordeal” during which people were burnt with red-hot irons or boiling oil and, if they survived, declared “not guilty.” In contrast, we have only to quote the instructions given by Omar in the seventh century to the Muslim judges to show what a chasm separated the two conceptions:

“Only decide on the basis of proof, be kind to the weak so that they can express themselves freely and without fear, deal on an equal footing with litigants by trying to reconcile them.”

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