The Muslim Caucasus

The role of ‘adats and shari‘ah

Authored by: Galina M. Yemelianova , Svetlana I. Akkieva

Routledge Handbook of the Caucasus

Print publication date:  March  2020
Online publication date:  March  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138483187
eBook ISBN: 9781351055628
Adobe ISBN:


 Download Chapter



This chapter applies a historical perspective to analyse the evolution of the social order among various peoples of the northern Caucasus in the period between the seventh and nineteenth centuries. It examines the ideational, cultural and legal aspects of the early arrival of Islam to southern Dagestan and outlines the stages, agencies and forms of the region’s subsequent comprehensive Islamisation. It pays special attention to the correlated application of ‘adats (customary norms) and shari‘ah in the familial, communal and political spheres and discusses the impact on them of the Caucasian War and Russian governance. The chapter argues that throughout history, unlike in the southern part of the Caucasus, the social order in its northern part, and especially in the highlands, has been shaped by local ‘adats, which have in turn influenced the nature and forms of the region’s Islamisation, including the prominence in it of Sufism and the ‛adat-shari‛ah legal dualism.

Search for more...
Back to top

Use of cookies on this website

We are using cookies to provide statistics that help us give you the best experience of our site. You can find out more in our Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.