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The Expert Witness in Islamic CourtsMedicine and Crafts in the Service of Law$
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Ron Shaham

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780226749334

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226749358.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 19 September 2021

Agents of Patriarchy in the Secluded World of Women: Females as Expert Witnesses

Agents of Patriarchy in the Secluded World of Women: Females as Expert Witnesses

(p.83) Chapter Three Agents of Patriarchy in the Secluded World of Women: Females as Expert Witnesses
The Expert Witness in Islamic Courts
University of Chicago Press

In Islam, the morality code obliges females to be segregated from unrelated males. The preference is for one female to treat another, especially if the malady or the wound is located in the intimate parts of the body. Male physicians are instructed by legal texts to teach women how to treat other women. This article explores the role of knowledgeable women in general, and midwives in particular, as providers of expert testimony concerning the intimate parts of the female body. These women testified on such issues as the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, birth, virginity, defects of the sex organs, and the identity of newborn infants and their physical condition. The article considers the physical inspections conducted by female experts and argues that they represented the interests of the patriarchy by supplying information and advice that were essential for maintaining the dominant male-oriented social and moral order. The article concludes by assessing the relationship between the legal status of women as expert witnesses and their social status in patriarchal societies.

Keywords:   Islam, expert testimony, female experts, expert witnesses, patriarchy, midwives, physical inspections, legal status, social status, female body

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