In the first chapter of his book The Justice of Islam, Lawrence Rosen focuses on explaining the role of the qadi under an Islamic justice system in Morocco. He explains that the qadi essentially acts as a mediator between both parties of a dispute and attempts to establish a momentary peace before an agreement can be reached. Although this description could be applied to a judge or an arbitrator in the American judicial system, the qadi’s role differs in that they must take into consideration the divine law as laid out in the quran, the value system of the society they live in, what is in the best interest of the community, in addition to applying his or her judgment and discretion in coming to a decision. In Rosen’s example, people in Morocco are bound together tightly by a “web of indebtedness” and “mutual obligations” which pervades into all aspects of life. Relationships between neighbors, coworkers, and even family are negotiated in an attempt for both parties to solidify their bond with one another. Thus, in coming to a decision, a qadi in Morocco should strongly consider the relationship between both parties and any existing informal agreements they may have.
Regardless of the society’s value system in which they live, there are several things that virtually all qadis do according to Rosen. As a result of the emphasis placed upon the character of those involved in a dispute, one universal task performed by qadis is consultation with “notables” to determine a person’s