The line between fornication and prostitution: The prostitute versus the Subaşi (police chief)

Yilmaz, Fikret (2016) The line between fornication and prostitution: The prostitute versus the Subaşi (police chief). Acta Orientalia Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae, 69 (3). pp. 249-264. ISSN 0001-6446


Download (379kB) | Preview


This paper examines the approaches to prostitution within the frame of legal norms and social life in the Ottoman Empire via the case study of a Muslim woman who was adjudged to be a prostitute at a court in 1580. Compared with similar case reports, this case study also demonstrates the struggle of a prostitute for her rights against the unjust and arbitrary practices applied by officers and common people, which allows us to think about gender mainstreaming. One of the results of this paper establishes that there are no special regulations about prostitution in Islamic Law. Although it is viewed as ‘adultery’ in Hanefi Islamic Law, prostitution is understood to be punished with light sentences since most prostitutes were not married. The severe penalties in Islamic Law were designed to prevent married women’s adultery. Upon marriage a woman grants or transfers her right of sexual intercourse to her husband and if she lets another person use that right, it is seen as allowing someone to steal her husband’s property. In the case of unmarried women and prostitutes, the fee taken is counted as a gift or other consideration. The paper attempts to explain why the concept of prostitution did not occur in Islamic Law and why it was regulated in the Ottoman Empire as a part of private life.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: D History General and Old World / történelem > D0 History (General) / történelem általában
P Language and Literature / nyelvészet és irodalom
Depositing User: Ágnes Sallai
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2016 10:22
Last Modified: 30 Sep 2018 23:15

Actions (login required)

Edit Item Edit Item