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The Mecelle (also transliterated Mejelle, Majalla, Medjelle, or Meğelle, from the Ottoman Turkish, Mecelle-ʾi Aḥkām-ı ʿAdlīye - from Arabic مجلۀ احکام عدلیه Majallah el-Ahkam-i-Adliya) was the civil code of the Ottoman Empire in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It was the first attempt to codify a part of the Sharia-based law of an Islamic state.[1][2]

The code was prepared by a commission headed by Ahmet Cevdet Pasha, issued in sixteen volumes (containing 1,851 articles) from 1869 to 1876 and entered into force in the year 1877. In its structure and approach it was clearly influenced by the earlier European codifications. Covering most areas of civil law, it exempted family law, which remained a domain of religious law.

The substance of the code was based on the Hanafi legal tradition that enjoyed official status in the Empire, put into European code-form. However, using the method of preference (tahayyur), it also incorporated other legal opinions that were considered more appropriate to the time, including from non-Hanafis.

As the Mecelle was eventually applied in the secular (nizamiye) courts as well as in the Sharia courts of the Empire, Jews and Christians were for the first time subjected to Islamic law instead of their own law, but could now be called as witnesses in court.

After the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire following World War I, the Mecelle remained a lasting influence in most of its successor states (except Egypt, where it was never in force). The Mecelle was long-lasting in most places since it was effective, coherent, and difficult to dislodge. It remained in force:

The Mecelle also remained the basis of civil law in Jordan and Kuwait.


Book 1: Sale[edit]

The first book of the Mecelle is composed of seven chapters that focus on the jurisprudence and codification of laws regarding sale. These include standards of contracts, the subject matter of sales, matters relating to price, giving and taking delivery, and various categories of things sold and the effect thereof.

Book 2: Hire[edit]

Book 2 is the legal codification of circumstances dealing with hire(renting). This book contains general hire specifications, questions relating to the contract of hire, questions relating to the amount of the hire, period of the hire, type of thing hired and matters relating thereto, rights and obligations of person giving and person taking on hire after the conclusion of contract, and matters of compensation.

Book 3: Guarantee[edit]

Book 3 deals with legal guarantee. This includes matters of contractual agreement and release from a contract of guarantee.

Book 4: Transfer of Debt[edit]

This book includes matters of contracts dealing in transfer of debts.

Book 5: Pledges[edit]

A pledge consists of setting aside property from which it is possible to obtain payment or satisfaction of some claim. Such property is then said to be pledged, or given in pledge. Book 5 includes the fundamental basis of the contract of the pledge, stipulations of the pledgor and pledgee, fundamental rules relating to the pledge, and sale of the pledge.

Book 6: Trust and Trusteeship[edit]

This book contains all legal information regarding trusts and trusteeship. A trust involves something that is entrusted to one person from another person for safe keeping. Trusts can also involve the loaning of something for use, meaning that the one accepting the loan is to enjoy use in the subject of the trust. This section includes general conditions of trusteeship, as well as stipulations for depositing for safe keeping and loaning for use

Book 7: Gift[edit]

A gift consists of bestowing the ownership of property upon some other person without receiving anything in return. This section consists of two chapters that outline matters relating to the contract of gift and fundamental rules relating to gift, such as guidelines for the revocation of a gift.

Book 8: Wrongful Appropriation and Destruction[edit]

Wrongful appropriation is when a person takes and keeps another person's property without the owner's consent. This book is composed of law regarding wrongful appropriation and destruction of one's property by another. This book also defines direct and indirect destruction of property and the legal ramifications associated with each type of property destruction.

Book 9: Interdiction, Constraint and Pre-emption[edit]

In this book, interdiction, constraint, and pre-emption are legally codified where interdiction consists of prohibiting any particular person from dealing with his own property; Constraint consists of wrongfully forcing a person through fear to do something without his consent. Pre-emption consists of acquiring possession of property which has been purchased, by paying the purchaser what he paid for it. This book defines matters relating to the interdiction of minors, lunatics, and imbeciles, as well as prodigals and debtors. In regards to pre-emption, this book includes conditions attaching to the right of pre-emption, the claim of pre-emption, and the effect of pre-emption.

Book 10: Joint Ownership[edit]

This book is composed of law regarding joint ownership, in which a thing belongs absolutely to more than one individual. In this book, there is a distinction made between two classes of joint ownership. The first class is when joint ownership arises due to purchase or gift. The second class is when joint ownership comes about through contract and agreement of parties in the joint ownership. This book is composed of eight chapters including legal code on partition, walls and neighbors, jointly owned property which is free, joint expenses, and partnership.

Book 11: Agency[edit]

Book 11 is based on agency, which consists of one person empowering another person to perform some act for him. This book is composed of three chapters regarding the fundamental basis and classification of agency, conditions attaching to agency, and essential elements of agency.

Book 12: Settlement and Release[edit]

This book divides settlement into three parts and release into two parts. Settlement: The first part consists of a settlement by admission of the defendant. The second part consists of a settlement by denial of the defendant. The third part consists of a settlement by the silence of the defendant consequent upon the absence of any admission or denial. Release: The first part consists of release by way of renunciation of a right. The second consists of release by admission of payment. This book includes chapters dealing with conclusion of a contract of settlement and release, the consideration and subject matter of the settlement, the subject matter of the settlement, and fundamental conditions governing settlement and release.

Book 13: Admissions[edit]

This book is composed of law regarding conditions governing admissions, the validity of an admission, the effect of an admission, and written admissions.

Book 14: Actions[edit]

This book is based on actions, where an action is a claim against a person made by another person in court. This book includes conditions and fundamental rules relating to an action and the defense, as well as limitations to actions.

Book 15: Evidence and Administration of an Oath[edit]

This book is composed of four chapters that include law on the nature of evidence, documentary evidence and presumptive evidence, administering an oath, and preferred evidence and administration of an oath to both parties.

Book 16: Administration of Justice by the Courts[edit]

This final book of the Mecelle is based on the legal administration of justice including codification of judges, judgement, retrial, and arbitration.


  1. ^ "Mecelle" in Oxford Islamic Studies Online
  2. ^ Abdal Hakim Murad, "Authority within Islam", halalmonk.com, 2013.
  3. ^ Guberman, Shlomo (2000). The Development of the Law in Israel: The First 50 Years, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, accessed January 2007


External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mecelle — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
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7 news items

Yeni Şafak
Sat, 30 Aug 2014 17:56:15 -0700

Fransız medeni kanununun alınmasını engellemekle yetinmedi, kendi medeni kanunumuzun yazılması için Mecelle Komisyonu kurulmasını sağladı. Hikâyenin devamı tahmin edebileceğiniz gibi. Ahmet Cevdet Paşa ne İsa'ya ne Musa'ya yaranabildi; hem ...
Sun, 17 Aug 2014 14:00:00 -0700

Aynı zamanda mecelle kuralıdır ve büyük İslâm âlimi İmâm Gazâlî de, “Ehem (yani daha mühim, en önemli) şey dururken mühimi (önemliyi) yapmak dalâlettir” der. Dikkat edin siyasi yürüyüşü sırasında Seçilmiş Cumhurbaşkanı ve Başbakan Erdoğan hiçbir ...
Fri, 15 Aug 2014 00:38:45 -0700

5. Dinî haklar: Genel olarak insanın inanma ve ibadet etme hakkı dokunulmazdır. Özelde ise İslâm'ı yaşama hususunda hiçbir kısıtlama söz konusu olamaz. İslâm, bu temel haklar çerçevesinde insanın her bir hakkını koruma altına almıştır. Başkalarına ...

Haber X

Haber X
Tue, 05 Aug 2014 06:07:30 -0700

O'na Mecelle'den bir hükümle yanıt vereyim; iddia eden, delilini de ortaya koysun. Türkiye'de Bilim Tarihi kürsüsünü ben kurdum. Yaptığım çalışmaları YÖK Kanunu'nun ilk çıktığı, terfilerin zor olduğu dönemlerde yaptım ve 1984'te profesör oldum. O ...

Canlı Haber

Canlı Haber
Mon, 04 Aug 2014 09:18:45 -0700

OSMANLI' nın MECELLE KANUNU olsaydı,Yargıtay üyeleri ve bilirkişiler şu anda gerçek hakimlerin karşısında idiler. Bilirkişiler, Coca Cola Rüya Reklâm Filminin renkli resim karelerine baktıklarında, buradaki kareleri 'GÖRÜNTÜ' olarak görmüşlerdir ...

Açık Gazete

Açık Gazete
Tue, 05 Aug 2014 08:30:53 -0700

19 yüzyılın sonlarına doğru, Osmanlı İmparatorluğu, Mecelle döneminde, daha ziyade yabancı sermayeli, yabancı işletmelerde başlayan, İstanbul'da ki sendikal örgütlenme ve eylemlerini, kaynaklardan öğreniyoruz. Cumhuriyet döneminde, yerli sanayi ve işçi ...


Mon, 04 Aug 2014 21:23:02 -0700

Umuma ait şeyler çalınmış çırpılmışsa, bunu ne Mecelle kurallarıyla siz şöyle böyle yumuşatabilirsiniz, ne de başka demagojilerle ve diyalektiklerle. Âmme hakkıdır bu. Umumun hukukuna tecavüz edilmişse, bir tek arpa umum milletin hakkıysa, o yenmişse, ...

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