Muslim judge who renders decisions according to the Shari'ah, the canon law of Islam. The qadi hears only religious cases, such as those involving inheritance, pious bequests, marriage, and divorce, though theoretically his jurisdiction extends to civil and criminal matters. The second caliph, 'Umar ibn al-Khattab, was the first to appoint a qadi to eliminate the necessity of his personally judging every dispute that arose in the community.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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