Divorce and Types of Divorce at the End of Seventeenth-century Bursa


JOURNAL OF FAMILY HISTORY, vol.41, no.2, pp.118-130, 2016 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 41 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Doi Number: 10.1177/0363199016635218
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.118-130
  • Bursa Uludag University Affiliated: Yes


According to Islamic law which is the basis of the Ottoman law of domestic relations, the right to get divorced, in principle, belonged to the man. It was sufficient for the man to verbally announce that he was divorcing his wife by his own declaration of intention. It was not necessary to have the court record the situation. However, the number of divorce documents that we encountered in court records shows that the divorce cases in the Ottoman society were recorded. This situation was crucial to protect the rights of the two parties after divorce. The termination of a marriage, which was recorded in the religious records by the kadi (Muslim judge) in the Ottoman courts, was possible in three different ways: talak, a man's unilateral declaration of will (bain or ric'i); muhalaa, generally realized by the woman renouncing her rights such as mehir (bridewealth) and iddet nafakas (the alimony given to women in the waiting period to remarry after divorce); and tefrik, which was realized through the verdict of the judge. Talak was completely the man's decision, whereas the woman's request could be considered in muhalaa and tefrik. This study examines all of the divorce documents from 1670 to 1698 in the Bursa Shari'a Court Records.