THE MUHTASIB BY R.P. BUCKLEY 1. Beginnings: The cÃmil al-Suq HERE is no mention of any official charged solely with respon- T sibilities over the market during the Giihiliyya despite the fact that there were some very large markets in Pre-Islamic Arabia. Some of these markets were of local status, such as that of al-Hajar, the biggest and richest oasis on the peninsula; some were interna- tional, such as that of al-Hira, the capital of the Lakhmids and a vital caravan city on the route between Persia and Arabia, or such as Dumat al-J andal, an oasis town on the direct route between Medina and Damascus and one of the principle markets of Northern Arabia. Then of course there are the famous markets of cUkä? near Mecca and the suq of Medina upon which the oasis totally depended for its prosperity. There must have existed some machinery of control over these markets, some authority to which claims of unfair treatment were directed and which would dispense justice. But if there was, it is not identified in the sources. The important towns such as Mecca were not completely devoid of judicial and administrative institutions. In Mecca many of these
Arabica – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1992
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