Terminology in the Jerusalem context can be complex and also controversial. Words and their meanings shape narratives. Our Lexicon goes beyond standard definitions and also offers, where applicable, nuanced shades of meanings that matter to Palestinian Jerusalemites.


A Muslim judge who interprets and renders decisions based on Islamic law, or sharia. Historically, in Muslim societies, qadis were considered the primary religious leaders of the community. Starting in the mid-19th century, with the secularization of Ottoman administration, qadis’ roles were increasingly restricted to personal status matters, with civil courts assuming more power. As a result, muftis began to grow in importance to fulfill the role of rendering religious rulings. 

In Ottoman Jerusalem, qadis were appointed by Istanbul, and they were considered a rank above the muftis, who were selected based upon family lineage. However, following its occupation of Palestine in 1917, Britain severed Jerusalem’s ties with Istanbul and assigned more importance to the mufti by creating the role of Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. To this day, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem serves as both the mufti and qadi of the city. 


The book composed of sacred writings accepted by Muslims as revelations made to the Prophet Muhammad by Allah through the angel Gabriel