Abbasid government institution
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Flag of Abbasid dynasty
Abbasid Government Institution overview
FormedLate eighth century
DissolvedThirteenth century
  • Baghdad
  • Samarra
Abbasid Government Institution executive
  • Abbasid Caliphs

Al-maẓālim (injustices, grievances) were an ancient pre-Islamic institution that was adopted by the Abbasids in the eighth century CE. The main purpose of the mazalim courts was to give ordinary people redress.[1] Mazalim, or the sultan's court, was distinguished from the shurṭa, police courts.[2]


  1. ^ Law and Empire: Ideas, Practices, Actors Page 140 90042495162013 "the mazalim tribunals were an ancient institution that was adopted by the ʿabbasids in the eighth century.14 its main purpose was to enable ordinary subjects to complain about the administrative elite of the empire. the mazalim ..."
  2. ^ Knut S. Vikør Between God and the Sultan: A History of Islamic Law 2005-0195223985 Page 191 "group them into two main types recognized by the adab literature: mazalim, or the sultan's court, and shurta, police courts.7 Mazalim: the sultan 's court The first of these is the private court of the sultan (that is, whoever has the political power in .."


  • Tyan, Emile. Histoire de l'organisation judiciaire en pays d'Islam. Leiden: Brill, 1960.
  • Nielsen, Jorgen. Secular Justice in an Islamic State: Maẓālim under the Baḥrī Mamlūks, 662/1264-789/1387. Leiden: Nederlands Historisch-Archaeologisch Instituut te Istanbul, 1985.
  • Tillier, Mathieu. Qādī-s and the political use of the mazālim jurisdiction under the ʿAbbāsids. In Maribel Fierro and Christian Lange (eds.), Public Violence in Islamic Societies: Power, Discipline, and the Construction of the Public Sphere, 7th-18th Centuries CE. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2009, p. 42-66. Online:
  • Tillier, Mathieu. The Maẓālim in Historiography. In A.M. Emon and R. Ahmed (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Islamic Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018, p. 357-380.
  • van Berkel, Maaike. Embezzlement and reimbursement. Disciplining officials in ‘Abbāsid Baghdad (8th-10th centuries A.D.). International Journal of Public Administration, 34 (2011), p. 712-719.