Law Pertaining to Government Procedures and the Imposition of Penalties and Redresses


Qānūn-i kārguz̲ārī dar muʻāmalāt-i ḥukūmatī wa taʻayyun-i jarāyim wa siyāsāt (Law pertaining to government procedures and the imposition of penalties and redresses) is the earliest law manual produced in Afghanistan. The document dates from 1303 AH (1885-86), and was issued by the ruler 'Abd al-Rahmān Khān (reigned 1880−1901). The printed edition of this work was published somewhat later, and is dated Rabī̄ʿ al-Ākhar, 1309 AH (November−December 1891). It was through documents such as Qānūn-i kārguz̲ārī that 'Abd al-Rahmān Khān sought to transform traditional Islamic law into a codified body of rules. This effort was part of a broader project for the modernization and centralization of power in Afghanistan, which included the creation of an advisory council, a restructuring of the tax administration, and the division of the country into provinces that cut across the traditional territories of the tribal entities. In 1888, shortly after issuing Qānūn-i kārguz̲ārī, 'Abd al-Rahmān Khān commissioned Asās al-Quḍāt (Principles for judges), a blueprint for reshaping the Afghan court system through centralization and standardization. Unlike this later work addressed to judges, Qānūn-i kārguz̲ārī is primarily intended for the ḥukkām (local governors). It is a rather thin volume, consisting of 61 qāʿida (plural qawāʿid; rules) outlining procedures for dealing not only with criminals such as thieves, highwaymen, blackmailers, and murderers, but also those guilty of using foul language prohibited by sharīʻa law. The book was published at the Dār al-Salana printing press in Kabul. At the conclusion of each of the 61 sections a handwritten note states saḥīḥ ast faqaṭ (this much is correct), presumably to discourage spurious additions to the text.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Dār al-Salṭanah, Kabul


Title in Original Language

قانون کارگذاری در معاملات حکومتی و تعین جرایم و سیاسات

Type of Item

Physical Description

51 pages ; 22 centimeters

Last updated: September 30, 2016