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Holder of the office of al-hisbah, in classical Islamic administrations an executive falling roughly between the offices of judge (qadi) and court magistrate. Charged with enforcing public morality, overseeing the public welfare, and supervising the markets, the muhtasib had no jurisdiction to hear cases—only to settle disputes and breaches of the law where the facts were admitted or there was a confession of guilt. The muhtasib was vested with discretionary powers through which he could intervene in such matters as commercial fraud and public nuisances. Today there are few vestiges of this medieval institution.

See also Hisbah

Subjects: Islam.

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