Page:Frederic Shoberl - Persia.djvu/87

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PERSIA.

sumptuous offering to excuse this heinous offence. A judge will refuse his decision, unless the parties previously bribe him to the exercise of his functions; nay, he will even claim a share of the profits of his servants. The Persian never gives any thing, but in expectation of a return. If he makes you a present without receiving at least one of equal value, he will not hesitate to demand it of you again.



PART II.

LEGISLATION.


CHAPTER I.

GENERAL CHARACTER OF THE PERSIAN LEGISLATION.

In treating of a Mahometan state, it is necessary to examine at one and the same time its religion and the laws to which it is subject, because the former serves as a foundation to the latter. The Koran is both a religious and civil code; just in the same manner as the sacred books of many nations of antiquity, and of the Israelites in particular, furnished rules for the various circumstances of life. The legislator, in thus stamping his works with the seal of the deity, undoubtedly had recourse to this expedient, as the only one calculated to ensure to them the veneration and obedience of men.

The Persians have but a single term, cheriet, to express the canon law and the civil law. That they have a legislation cannot be questioned; but there is every reason to believe that its application is frequently perverted or evaded, and that though there exist laws, there is no justice.

The Musulman legislation takes the lex talionis for its basis. It is the developement of the principle: do not to others what you would not have them do to you; or receive an equivalent for whatever you do for them. Murder is accordingly punished by murder, and one wound by another, provided the latter be not more dangerous than the former. Such is the rule, but its application is subject to various modifications.

In this legislation, no judgment or decision, that of the king excepted, is without appeal: the same cause may be carried successively before all the tribunals in the kingdom.

Judicial decisions should be founded on—1. passages of the Koran: 2. prophetic traditions, hadees, that is judgment pro-