This situation is found frequently in inheritance records. The mother was seen as the most appropriate guardian for her children and their assets. Judges usually had no problem in making mothers guardians; in this particular case, however, the grandfather appears to have been an important man and it was advantageous to the boys that he remained active in their concerns.
One interesting point that opens further question has to do with the sequence of oaths the woman took. As in the case of the man, each time the woman took the oath, she was warned that her punishment for lying would be more severe in the afterlife than it would be while she was living. When it came to the fifth oath, it was pointed out to her that this was her last chance and there was no going back. She chose to take the oath, yet her words explain her decision in doing so: “By Allah, I shall not disgrace my people.”
Jerusalem Shari'a Court, 17th Century case of renting out a young girl
In this particular case, the girl alleged that she had been married ‘urfi (common-law) but had no marriage certificate to present because the marriage had taken place in an oral form. The debate about the validity of oral marriage was a fierce one and still continues, but the previous Mufti of Egypt, Sheikh Ali Gom`a gave an opinion that the marriage contract was by its nature an oral contract which is then textualized. That assisted in getting the child recognized by the court based on evidence to the existence of such a relationship between the two.
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