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1. Rogers, Domestic Life, p. 225. [BACK]

2. NICR, 13A:151. Recall, from Chapter 2, that Sayyid Mahmud Hashim sold his soap factory to Hajj Isma‘il Arafat and married his granddaughter to the latter’s son, Amr. [BACK]

3. The literature on the complexity of peasant societies and their role in shaping the modern period is extensive. For example, see Eric Wolf, Peasant Wars of the Twentieth Century (New York, 1969); James C. Scott, The Moral Economy of the Peasant: Rebellion and Subsistence in Southeast Asia (New Haven, Conn., 1976); Sydel Silverman, “The Peasant Concept in Anthropology,” Journal of Peasant Studies, 7 (1979), pp. 49–69; Frank Perlin, “Precolonial South Asia and Western Penetration in the 17th–19th Centuries,” Review, 4 (1980), pp. 267–306; Ludden, Peasant History; Jeffrey Paige, “One, Two, or Many Vietnams? Social Theory and Peasant Revolution in Vietnam and Guatemala,” in Edmund Burke III, ed., Global Crises and Social Movements (Boulder, Colo., and London, 1988), pp. 145–179. [BACK]

4. NICR, 13A:141, 146–148, 151, 155; 13B:41, 44, 47. [BACK]

5. Tax-farming bids registered in the minutes of the Advisory Council during the 1848–1853 period show that urban merchants were making inroads into villages long considered to be within the sphere of influence of subdistrict chiefs. Many more served as financial backers of tax-farming bids by the subdistrict chiefs (NMSR, pp. 3, 30, 212–213, 226–227, 263). [BACK]

6. One of four orthodox Sunni schools. All were recognized as valid by the Ottoman state, but the Hanafi school was the one officially adopted by the Ottoman religious bureaucracy. [BACK]

7. Abdur Rahim, The Principles of Muhammadan Jurisprudence According to the Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi‘i and Hanbali Schools (London, 1911; reprint, Westport, Conn., 1981), p. 281. [BACK]

8. An exception, discussed below, is an unusual case registered in the Jerusalem Islamic court records (JICR, 318:9–10). [BACK]

9. Nimr Family Papers, 2.2.12(B); 3.1.7, 3.3.8(B)–3.3.10, 3.4.5(B). Document 3.3.9 was reproduced in NIMR, 2:280. [BACK]

10. Nimr Family Papers, 3.1.7(B). [BACK]

11. This is according to Ahmad Agha Nimr’s own soap-factory account sheets for the year 1825–1826 (Nimr Family Papers, 3.1.6). [BACK]

12. For example, Nimr Family Papers, 3.3.10, dated September 3, 1851. [BACK]

13. According to Awad Yusuf Abu Alayya (b. 1908), from the village of Dayr Ghazala, peasants sometimes made the better part of the bargain by delivering low-quality goods, particularly in the case of grain. Conflicts over these issues, he added, were not unusual. [BACK]

14. NICR, 13B:136. [BACK]

15. See, for example, ibid., 12:246; 13A:133, 136, 140, 146, 219, 257, 261; 13.:15, 25, 32, 38, 41–42, 44, 71. [BACK]

16. Ibid., 13B:136. [BACK]

17. This was a long-standing practice in Greater Syria. For example, Amnon Cohen notes that in the case of sixteenth-century Jerusalem the wish to ensure future supplies was behind advance-purchase arrangements of olive oil by Jerusalemite merchants. He does not mention the salam system, however, and his description of the terms of advance purchase does not include the key provision of fixed prices (Economic Life, pp. 75–76). [BACK]

18. Eugene Rogan describes a similar situation in the Salt region between 1885 and 1914 (“Incorporating the Periphery,” chap. 6). [BACK]

19. Masters, Origins, pp. 6, 146–185. [BACK]

20. For example, a timar grant document (bara’a) dated December 18, 1723 (Nimr Family Papers, 1.1.13), a list of timar villages controlled by the Nimrs in the early nineteenth century (ibid., 2.2.13), and a list of villages included in the Nimr tax farm in the mid-nineteenth century (ibid., 2.2.8, 2.2.11). [BACK]

21. The receipt for these taxes was reproduced in NIMR, 2:233–234. [BACK]

22. For example, Ahmad Agha Nimr’s son, Abd al-Fattah, received moneys from Shaykh Sufyan Bustami and Shaykh Sulayman Banna, to whom he promised delivery of thirty jars of olive oil—measured by the jar of the Qatqutiyya soap factory—within thirty days (Nimr Family Papers, 3.3.8(B), dated December 7, 1841). [BACK]

23. NICR, 13A:121–122. [BACK]

24. In Jabal Nablus the word maris usually refers to one thin strip of open agricultural land, devoid of trees, located in a valley, and used mainly to sow wheat and other grains. Normally, a small valley would be divided into numerous thin strips, each owned separately. For the use of this word in Gaza during the same period, see Rafeq, “Ghazza,” p. 121. [BACK]

25. NICR, 13A:114–115. [BACK]

26. Ibid., 13A:224. [BACK]

27. Ibid., 13B:83–84. [BACK]

28. Nimr Family Papers, No. 3.3.9 (emphasis added). [BACK]

29. Schölch, “European Penetration,” p. 14. [BACK]

30. The first contract, signed on September 8, 1851, had exactly the same terms and prices. The only difference was the added phrase: “this salam…is free from the vice of usury” (Nimr Family Papers, 3.3.10). [BACK]

31. Schölch, “European Penetration,” pp. 14–18; Buheiry, “Agricultural Exports,” pp. 61–81. [BACK]

32. For example, another Christian merchant from Jaffa, Khwaja Nicola Gharghur, was forced to turn to the Nablus council in order to enforce a salam contract he made with three shaykhs from Talluza village to deliver 24,375 piasters’ worth of barley to Jaffa port in 1852 (NMSR, p. 161). [BACK]

33. Elizabeth Anne Finn, Home in the Holy Land: A Tale Illustrating Customs and Incidents in Modern Jerusalem (London, 1866), pp. 350–353. [BACK]

34. This was the title of one of the chapters in Consul James Finn’s book, Stirring Times (2:266). [BACK]

35. Similar examples from the hinterland of Damascus were detailed by Abdul-Karim Rafeq: “Land Tenure Problems and Their Social Impact in Syria around the Middle of the Nineteenth Century,” in Tarif Khalidi, ed., Land Tenure and Social Transformation in the Middle East (Beirut, 1984), p. 389. (Rafeq uses the words bay mu’jjal (postponed purchase) to describe these contracts because this is how they are referred to in the Damascus Islamic Court records.) [BACK]

36. Shaykh Husayn Abd al-Hadi was represented in court by a leading Jerusalemite notable, Sayyid Ahmad Agha al-Alami (JICR, 318:9–10). I am indebted to Judith Mendelsohn Rood for kindly providing me with a copy of this document. [BACK]

37. Cuno, Pasha’s Peasants, pp. 125–129. [BACK]

38. JICR, 319:84. I am indebted to Judith Mendelsohn Rood for kindly providing me with a copy of this document. [BACK]

39. NMSR, p. 150. [BACK]

40. Finn, Stirring Times, 1:239–240. [BACK]

41. NICR, 12:65. The appointment letter was dated November 13, 1851. [BACK]

42. Tamimi, born in Nablus (1303/1885–1886) to a notable family of ulama, merchants, and soap manufacturers, was educated in Istanbul and France and worked as director of the Ottoman commercial bureau in Beirut. Bahjat, born in Aleppo (1308/1890–1891), had a law degree from Istanbul and, before World War I, worked as a teacher of Turkish and philosophy. [BACK]

43. Tamimi and Bahjat, Wilayat Bayrut, p. 89. [BACK]

44. Ibid. p. 94. [BACK]

45. Ibid., p 103. [BACK]

46. Ibid., pp. 103, 122. [BACK]

47. Ibid., p. 105. The 60–70 percent rate was probably applied for loans not secured against collateral. For similar rates in Egypt in the 1830s, see Cuno, Pasha’s Peasants, p. 145. [BACK]

48. Darwaza, Mi’at am, pp. 77–80. [BACK]

49. The author was referring to all peasants in Greater Syria during the nineteenth century (Muhammad Kurd Ali, Kitab khitat al-Sham [The Plan of Damascus] [3d ed.; 6 vols.; Damascus, 1983], p. 249). [BACK]

50. The only group that elicited unreserved praise were the Jewish European settlers they visited in Petah Tikvah. Despite ambivalent feelings toward their colonization project, Tamimi and Bahjat lauded their efficient organization, cleanliness, and sophisticated culture (Wilayat Bayrut, pp. 84–215). [BACK]

51. The first peasant inheritance estate to be registered in the nineteenth century was in 1860 (NICR, 13A:17). [BACK]

52. Land purchases involved a wide range of urban and rural groups, and for the first time, some peasants came to the court to register marriages, divorces, and inheritance estates. [BACK]

53. Cuno, Pasha’s Peasants, pp. 75–76. [BACK]

54. For instance, in a theft lawsuit between two peasant clans, dated February 14, 1843, the judge disqualified one of the witnesses because, among other things, he was considered as “one of those who disinherit women” (min al-ladhina la yuwarrithuna al-nisa) (NICR, 10:89). [BACK]

55. Moors, “Women and Property,” pp. 76–77. [BACK]

56. NICR, 12:339. [BACK]

57. Ibid., 9:120, 375; 12:86, 277, 279–280, 286–287, 301, 309. [BACK]

58. Ibid., 9:160. [BACK]

59. For a discussion of the formation of the Ottoman view on state and private lands, see Baber Johansen, The Islamic Law on Land Tax and Rent: The Peasants’ Loss of Property Rights as Interpreted in the Hanafite Legal Literature of the Mamluk and Ottoman Periods (London, 1988), especially chap. 4. [BACK]

60. For more details, see Bernard Lewis, “Land Tenure and Taxation in Syria,” Studia Islamica, 50 (1979), pp. 115–116. For the categories of landholding as outlined in Ottoman cadastral surveys of Palestine in the sixteenth century, see Cohen and Lewis, Population and Revenue, p. 42. [BACK]

61. For this point in particular, and for a discussion of the military and fiscal imperatives behind the development of Ottoman policies regarding land tenure, see Halil Iṅalcik, “Land Problems in Turkish History,” The Muslim World, 14 (1955), pp. 221–222. An example of a ruling along these lines by an Islamic court judge in Nablus can be found in NICR, 12:310. [BACK]

62. Cuno, Pasha’s Peasants, pp. 77–81. Cuno further elaborated this argument in regard to Greater Syria in his paper, “Was the Land of Ottoman Syria miri or milk? An Examination of Juridical Differences within the Hanafi School” (unpublished paper delivered to the PARSS Seminar on the Middle East, University of Pennsylvania, November 1993). [BACK]

63. Cuno, Pasha’s Peasants, pp. 81–84. [BACK]

64. NICR, 4:58. [BACK]

65. Ibid., 9:263, 326, 331–332; 12:303, 310, 353. [BACK]

66. Ibid., 9:241. [BACK]

67. Owen, Middle East, p. 34. Also see Naff, “Zahle,” pp. 162–164; Iliya Harik, Politics and Change in a Traditional Society: Lebanon, 1711–1845 (Princeton, N.J., 1968), pp. 27–28; and Cuno, Pasha’s Peasants, pp. 81–84. [BACK]

68. For similar reasons, peasant land purchases were also underrepresented in the Damascus court registers during this period, although, on the whole, they were still far more common there than in the Nablus court records (see Reilly, “Origins,” pp. 192–193). [BACK]

69. For a typical ruling on state ownership of land, rights of usufruct, and the application of Ottoman secular law, see NICR, 9:326. [BACK]

70. Ibid., 12:324. [BACK]

71. In most other cases of this sort, the status of land was simply left undefined although, judging from the description and location, they were clearly state lands. For example, the court accepted the argument of one peasant from the village of Marda that he bought several pieces of land, some clearly located far from the village, from a fellow peasant in 1835–1836 (ibid., 12:197–198). In another case, the court accepted the argument that a piece of flat land located between the villages of Bayta and Yasuf—that is, also clearly state land—was the private property of two peasants from Yutma village because they “legally” purchased it in 1800–1801 (ibid., 12:246). By leaving the status of these lands undefined, the presiding judge never put himself in a position where the contradiction between theory and practice was brought to the surface, allowing him to conveniently ignore this issue altogether when necessary. For other cases involving the sale of state-owned lands, see ibid., 12:60, 79, 284, 303. See also the sale of what may have been state lands in ibid., 7:232; 10:219; 12:92. [BACK]

72. For a summary of the debate, see Peter Sluglett and Marion Farouk-Sluglett, “The Application of the 1858 Land Code in Greater Syria: Some Preliminary Observations,” in Khalidi, ed., Land Tenure, pp. 409–421. [BACK]

73. For example, Kayyali, Tarikh Filastin, p. 38. [BACK]

74. A total of eleven purchases were registered: NICR, 9:241, 288, 349, 369; 10:20, 21, 22. [BACK]

75. Ibid., 9:350–351, 379; 10:11–17, 51. [BACK]

76. Ibid., 9:50; 10:4, 31, 48. [BACK]

77. Ibid., 9:379. [BACK]

78. Similar purchases of lands near Baqa al-Gharbiyya village were transacted during this period (Ibid., 9:349–350). [BACK]

79. These purchases, too numerous to list, are dispersed in ibid., 10–13A, 13B. For typical examples, see ibid., 11:105; 12:80, 144–146, 185–190. [BACK]

80. Ibid., 13B:64. [BACK]

81. Ibid., 13A:225. [BACK]

82. Over the course of the nineteenth century, more and more salam contracts started to list the names of one or more individuals who guaranteed, on pain of being personally liable, that the goods in question would be delivered. [BACK]

83. NICR, 13B:188, dated April 25, 1865. If flight did not release debt obligations, neither did death. In a lawsuit registered on February 27, 1862, the survivors of a rich grain and oil merchant, Mas‘ud Qaltaqji, brought the survivors of a peasant, As‘ad al-Khadir, from the village of Dayr al-Ghusun, to court in order to enforce a salam contract signed by their parents which stipulated the delivery of eighty-eight and one-half jars of olive oil. As usual, the defendants lost the case but did not have the olive oil demanded from them. The judge then ordered that the lands, house, and immovable properties of the debtors be sold in order to satisfy the debt (NICR, 13A:151). [BACK]

84. Nimr Family Papers, 5.2.43. Mi‘na refers to the flat space between terraces. Qasim was a member of a rich merchant family that dealt primarily in soap. [BACK]

85. Another document refers to these lands as “fit for planting winter and summer crops”; that is, flat valley lands (Nimr Family Papers, 5.2.44). [BACK]

86. Ibid., 5.2.44, dated late May 1855. As mentioned above, most merchants were not keen on keeping lands they appropriated through enforcement of loan obligations and preferred to be more selective in their purchases. This particular case is a good example. The Jaffa merchant lived too far away and would have been considered a stranger in Jabal Nablus. The man to whom he sold the land, in contrast, belonged to one of Nablus’s oldest ruling families and had the political influence, conveniently located infrastructure—such as shops, a soap factory, an olive press, and grain mills—and patronage relations that would allow him to capitalize on these lands much more efficiently. (The village of Aqraba had long been part of the Nimr’s timar holdings.) [BACK]

87. NMSR, p. 236. [BACK]

88. NICR, 12:122. [BACK]

89. A typical example is Ma‘oz, Ottoman Reform. [BACK]

90. For examples of salam contracts and other loan obligations between peasants, see NICR, 12:69, 103, 247, 256, 284, 303, 324, 345; 13A:92, 106, 136, 146, 149, 151, 155, 158, 162, 257; 13B:5, 15, 25, 33, 38, 41–42, 44, 47. For examples of land sales between peasants (including disputes over such sales), see ibid., 9:197–198, 331–332; 10:61, 219; 12:92, 94, 105–106, 109, 232, 237, 246, 286–287, 294, 301, 304–306, 309; 13A:28, 61–62, 141, 147–148; 13B:26–27, 29. For examples of business contracts and share-cropping agreements, see ibid., 11:152; 12:11, 345, 352; 13B:56, 73. [BACK]

91. Naff, “Zahle,” pp. 172–174. She based this observation on local sources, such as land records. [BACK]

92. Dina Rizk Khoury, “The Introduction of Commercial Agriculture in the Province of Mosul and Its Effects on the Peasantry, 1750–1850,” in Keyder and Tabak, eds., Landholding, pp. 155, 164, 171. [BACK]

93. NICR, 11:142. [BACK]

94. Kafr al-Labad is twenty kilometers northeast of Nablus on the way to Tulkarem. Burqa is sixteen kilometers north of Nablus on the way to Jenin. [BACK]

95. For examples, see NICR, 13A:17, 180–181. [BACK]

96. Ya‘kov Firestone, “Production and Trade in an Islamic Context: Sharika Trade Contracts in the Transitional Economy of Northern Samaria, 1853–1943,” IJMES, 6 (1975), pp. 185–209, 308–324. [BACK]

97. For example, Shaykh Muhammad Afandi Husayni, a Jerusalemite, was appointed as judge of the subdistricts of Jamma‘in al-Gharbiyya (NICR, 12:249, 251, 254). [BACK]

98. Ibid., 13B:73. [BACK]

99. This type of business venture between peasants was not a new development. A similar arrangement had been reached in 1842–1843 between a peasant from the village of Dayr al-Ghusun who had just moved to the city of Nablus and a fellow peasant from the village of Baqa al-Gharbiyya (ibid., 12:11). [BACK]

100. For another example of how wealthy peasants established trading networks between villages and even between regions, see ibid., 12:352. [BACK]

101. NICR, 13A:61–62. These lands were located in three different villages: Burqa, Kufr Lubbad, and Bazarya. Shaykh Burqawi headed the Sayf clan. Burqa was the seat village of the other ruling clan, al-Ahfa. For further details see Chapter 1. [BACK]

102. Ibid., 12:249–251, 254. [BACK]

103. NMSR, p. 30. The term shaykh nahiya did not disappear overnight. It was sometimes used in conjunction with muhassil,mudir, (manager), and nazir (supervisor). As a group, they and other appointed officials were most often referred to as ma’murin (employees; literally, those who are ordered) (NMSR, p. 76). The term for subdistrict also changed to muqata‘a and, if it had a judge appointed to it, qada. [BACK]

104. Ibid., p., 76. [BACK]

105. Among other things, they were responsible for counting the adult males in the villages, for reporting numbers of births and deaths to the census bureau on a monthly basis, for overseeing the disarming and conscription of the peasants, and for abiding by the decisions of judges assigned to their subdistricts. [BACK]

106. Tamimi and Bahjat, Wilayat Bayrut, p. 103. [BACK]

107. Ibid., p. 93 (emphasis added). [BACK]

108. For forms of peasant resistance in general, see James C. Scott, Weapons of the Weak: Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance (New Haven, Conn., 1985). [BACK]

109. Now known as Asira al-Shamaliyya. Both sham and shamal mean “north.” The former has long been used to refer to Damascus or Greater Syria; hence the term Bilad al-Sham, meaning, presumably, the lands north of Egypt. [BACK]

110. NMSR, p. 174 (emphasis added). Para was the smallest denomination of money used at that time. Forty paras equaled one piaster. [BACK]

111. Ibid. [BACK]

112. NMSR, pp. 174–175 (emphasis added). A mashlah was a long, flowing cloak made of wool or camel hair and usually embroidered with gold. The verb tenses used in the last part of this memorandum, when translated, give the impression that this was a live report being transmitted to the governor from the premises of the council. [BACK]

113. NICR, 10:220. [BACK]

114. Hafiz Pasha himself prepared the grounds for such a response by relegating the matter to his assistant whose terse communiqué, in turn, assumed the guilt of the peasants in this matter. [BACK]

115. See Yehoshua Porath, “The Peasant Revolt of 1858–1861 in Kisrawan,” AAS, 2 (1966), pp. 77–157; and Marwan Buheiry, “The Peasant Revolt of 1858 in Mount Lebanon: Rising Expectations, Economic Malaise and the Incentive to Arm,” in Khalidi, ed., Land Tenure, pp. 291–301. [BACK]

116. NMSR, p. 231. [BACK]

117. Ibid., p. 242. [BACK]

118. For a general discussion in the Ottoman context of the relationship between notions of political authority and agrarian production, see Huri Iṡlamoğlu-Iṅan, “Peasants, Commercialization, and Legitimation of State Power in Sixteenth-Century Anatolia,” in Keyder and Tabak, eds., Landholding, pp. 57–64. [BACK]

119. He might have had the salam moneylending system in mind, though this was not spelled out. [BACK]

120. NICR, 10:289–290. [BACK]

121. NMSR, pp. 73–74. [BACK]

122. The word watan could mean nation, homeland, country, or fatherland. The term “fatherland” is used to emphasize that they meant the Ottoman polity as a whole, not a specific nation or an ethnic homeland. [BACK]

123. NMSR, pp. 76–77. See above for translation. [BACK]

124. Ibid., p. 77. [BACK]

125. It is not clear whether all the prisoners were freed, because the council members only referred to four prisoners in their letter, whereas the petition by Asira peasants mentioned ten. [BACK]

126. Tamimi and Bahjat, Wilayat Bayrut, p. 95. [BACK]

127. David Urquhart, The Lebanon (Mount Souria): A History and Diary (2 vols.; London, 1860), 1:5. [BACK]

128. One fruitful area for further research would be an investigation of whether and to what degree peasants, judges, merchants, and others changed their attitudes and approach to law in general and to Islamic law in particular, and, if so, the role of these changing attitudes in constructing the meanings of modernity during the nineteenth century. [BACK]

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The Political Economy of Olive Oil
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